How to Become a Cosmetologist in Mississippi

According to the Mississippi Department of Economic Security, job opportunities for cosmetologists statewide are expected to increase by 15 percent between 2010 and 2020.

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As a cosmetologist in Mississippi, you will find opportunities all across the state – from serving tourists in beautiful Gulf Coast areas like Gulfport and Biloxi, to working with hip clients in trendy salons located in Jackson, to maintaining classic styles in neighborhood beauty parlors in Oxford and Tupelo.

To become eligible for a license through the Mississippi State Board of Cosmetology, follow these steps:

Enroll in a Cosmetology Education and Training Program
Apply for the Cosmetology Examination and License
Find Work as a Cosmetologist in Mississippi
Maintain and Upgrade Your License



Step 1. Enroll in a Cosmetology Education and Training Program

The Mississippi State Board of Cosmetology issues licenses to qualified, trained cosmetologists at the following levels:

    • Practitioner’s license:
      • Cosmetologist
      • Master Cosmetologist


  • Instructor’s license:
    • Cosmetologist

Basic requirements that must be met by all practitioners include:

  • 17 years of age or older
  • Read, speak and write English
  • Hold a 12th grade education, with high school diploma, GED or transcript
  • Complete 1500 hours of training in a Board-approved cosmetologist training program that is at least nine months long (a list is found here)
  • Pass the necessary examinations

Basic requirements for instructors are:

  • 21 years of age or older
  • Hold a Mississippi practitioner’s license
  • Compete 12 semester hours in Board-approved college courses
  • Complete 2000 hours of instructor training in a Board-approved cosmetologist instructor training program (list may be found here) OR two years of practical experience in a licensed salon
  • Complete an additional 750 hours of instructor training in a Board-approved school
  • Attend one Board-approved “Methods of Teaching” seminar for five continuing education hours
  • Pass the necessary examination

Board-approved programs at the practitioner and instructor levels are located all across the state, including in the following cities:

  • Hattiesburg
  • Gulfport
  • Booneville
  • Clarksdale
  • Tunica
  • Tupelo
  • Columbus
  • Cleveland
  • Jackson
  • Meridian

Your Board-approved cosmetology practitioner program will consist of a mix of classroom and practical coursework. In the classroom, you will learn information that you will later apply in a practical setting, working on real clients.

Your cosmetology program should include classes that cover:

  • Ergonomics
  • Anatomy
  • Chemistry
  • Bacteriology
  • Skin Physiology
  • Nail Physiology
  • Hair styling
  • Shampooing
  • Hair cutting
  • Scalp and hair treatments
  • Chemical relaxer application
  • Perm wrapping
  • Color application
  • Hair removal
  • Applying cosmetics
  • Skin care treatments
  • Pedicures
  • Manicures
  • Professional ethics
  • Communication
  • Business planning
  • Business management

Additional courses that prospective cosmetology instructors take include:

  • School administration
  • Record keeping
  • Principles of student teaching
  • Psychology
  • Introduction to teaching methods
  • Classroom management
  • Practice classroom teaching
  • Practice teaching salon floor



Step 2. Apply for the Cosmetology Examination and License

Once you have completed the necessary training to become a cosmetologist in Mississippi, the next step is to pass the Mississippi State Board of Cosmetology Exam. There are two parts to this exam: Practical Skills Examination and Theory Examination.

You may take these exams in any order. Before taking this step, however, you must submit the completed and notarized Examination Approval Form, along with two passport-sized photos of yourself taken within the past three months, an affidavit/certification of completion of cosmetologist training, and certification of any other cosmetology licenses you have held.

Everything should be sent to the Mississippi State Board of Cosmetology, P.O. Box 55689 Jackson, MS 39396-5689. The Board may call you for an interview.

When you have received an approval letter from the Board, you may register and pay fees for the exams through Pearson Vue testing centers by visiting this link or calling (800) 274-8969. Fees include the exam application and two-year license fee. The Practical Skills Exam costs $95 and it costs $65 to take the Theory Exam.

The last day Pearson Vue will be administering the Mississippi State Board of Cosmetology Exam is December 31, 2014. Contact the Board at (601) 359-1820 for information on scheduling examinations after that date.

Practical Skills Exam

An evaluator in a simulated salon setting conducts the Practical Skills Exam. You must provide all of your own supplies and equipment, listed here. Skills that are tested in the Cosmetologist exam are:

  • Infection control and safety
  • Hair cutting
  • Hair styling
  • Hair coloring, bleaching, highlighting
  • Chemical relaxing
  • Permanent waving
  • Esthetics
  • Manicure

The following Pearson Vue testing centers offer the Practical Skills Exam once a month:

  • Senatobiz
  • Gulfport
  • Tupelo
  • Meridian
  • Hattiesburg
  • Jackson (offers the Practical Skills Exam twice per month)

You will receive your Practical Skills Exam results on the day of the exam. You must pass all parts of the Practical Skills Exam in order to pass the entire exam.

Theory Exam

You are given 2 hours and 15 minutes to complete the Cosmetologist Theory Exam. The Theory Exam consists of 110 scored items and 25 pretest multiple-choice questions on the following subjects:

  • Rules, regulations and safety
  • Trichology
  • Shampoo/scalp analysis
  • Styling
  • Haircutting
  • Hair color, bleaching, lightening, tinting
  • Permanent waving
  • Chemical straightening/relaxing
  • Esthetics
  • Nails

The following Pearson Vue test centers offer the Theory Exam at the listed times:

  • Mobile (3-4 days/wk)
  • Decatur (3-4 days/wk)
  • Birmingham (4-6 days/wk)
  • Memphis (3-4 days/wk)
  • Baton Rouge (5-6 days/wk)
  • Metairie (4-6 days/wk)
  • Meridian (3-4 days/wk)
  • Tupelo (2-3 days/wk)
  • Jackson (2-3 days/wk)
  • Summit (5 days/wk)
  • Hattiesburg (5 days/wk)

You will receive your Theory Exam results on the day of the exam. Once you have passed both the Theory and Practical Skills Exam, you are ready to apply for a practitioner’s license in Mississippi.

Receive your Cosmetology License

After passing the Mississippi State Board of Cosmetology Exam, if all of your previous paperwork was in order (i.e., Examination Approval Form received, passport-sized photos and certification of training received), you should expect to receive your license by mail within six to eight weeks.



Step 3. Find Work as a Cosmetologist in Mississippi

Congratulations! You have become a licensed cosmetologist in Mississippi!

You will find that your cosmetology license in Mississippi, whether at the practitioner or master level, will open all sorts of doors. Job opportunities should be available all across the state, not only at salons but also at athletic clubs, within long-term care facilities and health care facilities, in some larger corporations, in department stores, at resorts, and in other settings.

Examples of some of the places that support cosmetologist jobs in Mississippi include:

  • Seva Beauty – Biloxi
  • Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance, Inc. – Southaven
  • Le-Maxim Salon – Meridian
  • Barnette’s Salon- Jackson
  • Tracy Perry Salon – Gulfport
  • Kosmos Hair Designers, LLC Salon and Spa- Ridgeland
  • Expressions Hair Salon – Natchez
  • Senses Spa & Salon at IP Casino Resort Spa – Biloxi
  • Pearl River Resort- Choctaw

You might consider eventually opening your own salon, or renting a chair in someone else’s salon. Not all salons in Mississippi will let you do this, but you can always inquire about the possibility.

If you would like to open your own salon in Mississippi, you must meet requirements and file this Salon Application Packet. Much information must be submitted with the packet, including (but not limited to) a fee of $85, a list of minimum equipment your salon plans to have, two recent passport sized photos of yourself, the name and address of the proposed salon, names and addresses of any proposed owners, and their social security numbers.

Once you submit this information to the Board, you will be contacted by an inspector who will schedule a mandatory inspection of your salon. It may not begin operation until the inspection is performed and approval is granted.



Step 4. Maintain and Upgrade Your Mississippi Cosmetologist License

Your license will renew every two years, with a renewal fee of $50. No continuing education is required to renew a practitioner’s license. However, if you wish to upgrade your license to a Master Cosmetologist, there are some requirements you must fulfill. Becoming a master cosmetologist may garner you higher wages and more prestigious jobs in Mississippi, so it is a good idea to do this when you can.

In order to become a master cosmetologist in Mississippi, you must hold a practitioner’s license for at least one year and complete 16 hours of continuing education in the licensing period immediately preceding your application for a master cosmetologist license. Complete the Master License Application and send it, along with the fee of $70, proof of your completion of continuing education, two passport-sized photos of yourself taken with the past three months, and your current cosmetology license renewal form, to Mississippi State Board of Cosmetology, P.O. Box 55689, Jackson, MS 39216-5689.

Your master cosmetologist license will also renew every two years, and you must complete 18 hours of continuing education every two years in order to maintain it.

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