How to Become a Cosmetologist in Minnesota

To discover how you can become a licensed Minnesota cosmetologist, consult this guide:

Enter Zip:
Get your Cosmetology Education and Training
Pass the Required Examinations for Cosmetologists in Minnesota
Apply for Licensure as a Cosmetologist
Maintain Your License

Big changes are in the winds blowing through Minnesota, when it comes to the cosmetology field. New laws requiring cosmetologists to complete continuing education and new examination centers for initial operators have just been put into place. The state is also beginning to fine violators at salons, including managers and operators, for not having their licenses in public view, having expired licenses, and other breaches of state law.

According to information provided by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, the highest percentage of jobs for cosmetologists, relative to the cities’ populations, are in Duluth and Minnesota. Coincidentally, these two cities also offer cosmetologists the highest salaries in the state, as well as the greatest total number of jobs.

If you want to become a cosmetologist in Minnesota, you must pursue licensing through the Minnesota Board of Cosmetologist Examiners. Before you do that, however, you must complete specialized training in the field, learning all about hair, skin, make-up and nail care. Options also exist to become a licensed salon manager, beauty school manager, or beauty school instructor.



Step 1. Get Your Cosmetology Education and Training in Minnesota

In order to become a cosmetologist in Minnesota, you must hold a high school diploma or GED and complete 1550 hours of cosmetology training at a school that is approved by the Minnesota Board of Cosmetologist Examiners (BCE).

Approved programs are found within the following Minnesota cities (not an exhaustive list):

  • Hibbing
  • Bloomington
  • Duluth
  • Brainerd
  • Park Rapids
  • Rochester
  • Cloud
  • Plymouth
  • Blaine
  • Alexandria

Some BCE-approved schools in Minnesota may require an admissions interview and entrance exam before you may enroll in their cosmetology program. Coursework will be made up of both classroom time and practical time working on clients. Classes may include:

  • Shampooing
  • History of cosmetology
  • Scalp and hair conditioning
  • Life skills
  • Hair design shaping
  • Professional ethics
  • Hair coloring
  • Communication
  • Chemical hair control
  • Infection control
  • Hair styling
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Facials and makeup
  • Chemistry
  • Manicures
  • The salon business
  • Minnesota laws and rules



Step 2. Pass the Required Examinations for Cosmetologists in Minnesota

When you have completed your cosmetology education in Minnesota, you are ready to take the required examinations. The Minnesota Cosmetology Exam (MCE) is a written exam with two parts: General and State. Both parts are scored separately, and you must pass them both in order to pass the exam and obtain your license. The total exam fee is $60 ($35 for the General, $25 for the State).

The General portion of the MCE consists of 155 multiple-choice questions and you are given three hours to complete it. The State portion of the MCE consists of 35 multiple-choice questions and you are given one hour to complete it. Until November 30, 2014, both parts of the exam will be administered at the following Pearson Vue testing centers in Minnesota:

  • Bloomington
  • Brooklyn Park
  • Paul
  • Willmar
  • Eagan
  • Rochester
  • Duluth

To make a reservation to take the exam, call Pearson Vue’s reservations line at (877) 538-3417 or visit

After November 30, 2014, PSI will be the exam provider for the Minnesota BCE. Visit to schedule your exam at one of the following locations:

  • Woodbury
  • Thief River Falls
  • Cloud
  • Rochester
  • Moorhead
  • Mankato
  • Lake Elmo
  • Edina
  • Duluth



Step 3. Apply for Licensure as a Cosmetologist in Minnesota

When you have passed both parts of the MCE, you are ready to apply for an Initial Operator license as a Minnesota cosmetologist. Complete the Initial Operator License Application. You will need to submit the application, license and surcharge fees of $139 payable to the Board of Cosmetologist Examiners via check or money order only. Additional documentation that must be sent with your completed application includes:

  • Copy of your high school diploma, GED or transcript
  • Original certificate of course completion from your cosmetology program documenting 1550 hours of training
  • Original certificate of skills/readiness from your BCE-approved cosmetology school
  • Original results showing that you passed the General part of the MCE not more than one year ago
  • Original results showing that you passed the State part of the MCE not more than one year ago

It is recommended that you make a copy of your completed application and all documentation and maintain it for your records before submitting them to the BCE. Once this is done, mail everything to Board of Cosmetologist Examiners, 2829 University Ave SE, Suite 710, Minneapolis, MN 55414.



Step 4. Maintain Your Minnesota Cosmetologist License Through Continuing Education

Congratulations! You are now a licensed cosmetologist in Minnesota! Make sure you know the rules for maintaining your license. Your cosmetology license renews every three years. As of August 1, 2014, you must complete four hours of BCE-approved continuing education (CE) every three years to maintain your license. Three of the required CE hours must be in health, safety and sanitation, and the remaining hour must be on Minnesota laws and rules. A list of approved providers of continuing education is found here. Continuing education for cosmetologists is offered in the following Minnesota cities:

  • Minneapolis
  • Worthington
  • Brainerd
  • Duluth
  • Shakopee
  • Richfield
  • Mankato
  • Winona
  • Lakeville
  • Pipestone
  • Jackson
  • Bloomington
  • Cloud
  • Thief River Falls
  • Bemidji
  • Brooklyn Park

Maintain records of your continuing education, as the BCE conducts random audits of renewals.

Your license may be renewed 10 weeks before its expiration date. You may renew your license online or through the mail using the Operator or Salon Manager Renewal Application. The renewal fee for operators is $81.

Salons in Minnesota

With your cosmetology license in hand, you will find that doors will open all across the state. Jobs may be available not only in spas and in salons, but also in nursing homes, health care facilities, athletic clubs, resorts, corporations, and more. Some cosmetologists in Minnesota opt to open their own salons. Others may work at any of the following larger salons within the state:

  • Haus Salon – Minneapolis
  • Beau Monde Salon – Burnsville
  • East 42nd Street Salon – Minneapolis- St. Paul
  • Purefex Salon – Stillwater
  • Tease Salon- St. Paul
  • Etica Salon – Maple Grove
  • Sorellas Salon and Spa – Perham

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