How to Become a Cosmetologist in Arizona

According to the Professional Beauty Association, growth in Arizona’s salon industry has outperformed the state’s overall private sector market in recent years, with product sales and services totaling $843 million in 2013.

Enter Zip:

You can use your creativity and talent while working for one the State’s 1,300-plus salon establishments, or by taking advantage of Arizona’s growing population and getting your own salon up and running.

The Arizona State Board of Cosmetology regulates and licenses cosmetologists in the State. Therefore, if you want to enjoy a rewarding career behind the salon chair, making men and women feel great about themselves, you must complete the following:

Complete a Program in Cosmetology
Apply for Licensure as a Cosmetologist in Arizona
Register to Take the Arizona Cosmetology Examinations
Maintain your Cosmetology License in Arizona



Step 1. Complete a Program in Cosmetology

The first step to a rewarding salon career is to complete a comprehensive program through a cosmetology school in Arizona. In Arizona, a licensed cosmetologist has the authority to perform the following duties:

  • Cutting, clipping, and trimming hair
  • Applying lotions or other preparations to massage, stimulate, exercise, beautify, or stimulate
  • Styling, arranging, waving, straightening, beaching, or tinting hair
  • Arching eyebrows or tinting eyebrows and eyelashes
  • Hair removal (other than electrolysis)
  • Nail technology

You can expect to receive training in these areas when you complete a Board-approved cosmetology program and meet the Board’s minimum hours of cosmetology training, which is currently 1,450 hours.

A comprehensive cosmetology program through a beauty or vocational school often runs between 12 and 18 months, while a cosmetology associate degree generally takes about 2 years to complete.

Although both types of programs are suitable for licensure as a cosmetologist in Arizona, you may choose to complete an associate degree if you are seeking additional study in the areas of business and salon management or if you plan on pursuing a bachelor’s degree in a program related to spa and salon management in the future. Many individuals with aspirations of working as cosmetology instructors also choose to complete a more detailed program.

If you want to concentrate your career on a certain area of cosmetology, you may also choose to complete a more focused program that takes much less time to complete. The Board requires the following training requirements for specialized cosmetology licenses:

  • Aesthetician: 500 hours
  • Nail technician: 500 hours



Step 2. Apply for Licensure as a Cosmetologist in Arizona

Once you have successfully completed your educational requirements, you must apply for licensure, a prerequisite for taking the Arizona cosmetology examinations. To qualify for licensure, you must show proof that you have completed at least two years of high school.

You must complete an Application for Examination and provide the Board with a passport-size photo, a certificate from graduation from an approved cosmetology program, a document that verifies you are a U.S. resident (or proof that you are authorized to be in the U.S.), and a $40 initial license fee.



Step 3. Register to Take the Arizona Cosmetology Examinations

After sending your application to the Board, you may register online with Professional Credentials Services (PCS) to take the Arizona theory and practical examinations required for licensure. The cost to take both examinations is $177. You can pay by credit card on the PCS website.

The Board, through PCS, utilizes the National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC) examinations.

Once the Board receives your completed examination packet, they will notify PCS that you qualify to take the examinations. You can then expect to receive an email notification from PCS that provides you with the date of your practical examination and instructions on scheduling the written examination. You must be prepared to take the first available practical examination. If you are unable to take the examination on the day provided, you will be required to pay a rescheduling fee.

The written (theory) examination is administered through PSI Exams. You can schedule to take the written examination by contacting a PSI rep at 1-800-733-9267 during weekday business hours or through an automated system during non-business hours.

The minimum passing score on both the theory and practical examinations is 75. If you fail either examination, you can expect to receive a report from PCS detailing your strengths and weaknesses, as well as information on how to reapply online. Once you have passed both examinations, you will receive a Notice of Completion from PCS, and PCS will automatically notify the Board office of your status so that your license will be issued.

You can view the PCS candidate handbook for cosmetology here to learn more about registering and preparing for the Board-required examinations.



Step 4. Maintain your Cosmetology License in Arizona

Your cosmetologist license in Arizona must be renewed annually on your birthday through the completion of a renewal application and the renewal fee of $30.

There are no continuing education requirements for renewal for Arizona licensed cosmetologists. However, this certainly doesn’t deter beauty professionals from constantly seeking education and training as a way to remain up-to-date on the latest technologies, trends, and advances in the cosmetology profession.

It is also quite common to seek additional training if you have plans to either manage a salon or spa or open up your own salon in Arizona. An associate or bachelor’s degree in salon and spa management, for example, may be the ideal way to embellish your resume while achieving valuable education and training on everything from marketing and computers to business and salon administration and management.

Back to Top