How to Become a Cosmetologist in New Hampshire

To qualify for a cosmetologist license from the New Hampshire Board of Barbering, Cosmetology and Esthetics, follow these simple steps:

Enter Zip:
Gain Education or Experience in Cosmetology
Apply for Licensure by Examination
Pass the Examinations Required for Licensure in New Hampshire
Find Work in a New Hampshire Salon
Maintain Your New Hampshire Cosmetologist License

According to one of the top cosmetology schools in New Hampshire, the field of cosmetology offers a unique “zero unemployment factor.” This simply means that once you earn your cosmetologist’s license in New Hampshire, you will find no shortage of opportunities – from renting a chair in an established salon, to landing a job in a resort spa.

About 40 percent of cosmetologists in New Hampshire are self-employed. Additionally, the New Hampshire Employment Security Department projects that between 2012 and 2022, the number of jobs for cosmetologists in the state will grow by almost 12 percent.



Step 1. Gain Education or Experience in Cosmetology

The New Hampshire Board of Barbering, Cosmetology and Esthetics requires that you fulfill its training requirement in one of these ways:

  • Complete 1500 hours of training from a Board-approved cosmetology school, OR
  • Complete 3000 hours of apprentice training over a period of at least 18 months under the supervision of a New Hampshire licensed cosmetologist who has practiced in the state for at least two years

The Board maintains a list of New Hampshire-approved cosmetology schools on its website.

They are located within the cities of:

  • Laconia
  • Hudson
  • Hooksett
  • Somersworth
  • Portsmouth
  • Keene
  • Bedford
  • West Lebanon

In your cosmetology training, you will combine classroom instruction with practical instruction, working hands-on with mannequins or real-life clients, practicing the skills you have learned in the classroom. These skills will prepare you to take the New Hampshire Licensing Exam, and include:

  • Hair cutting
  • Color and texture
  • Hair design
  • Skin care
  • Makeup
  • Business training



Step 2. Apply for Licensure by Examination

Upon completion of your cosmetology training, you must apply for the licensing exam. If you graduated from one of New Hampshire’s cosmetology schools, your school will provide you with the application to submit to the testing company.

If you graduated from an out-of state school, follow this process:

  • Complete application form Along with the completed application form, you must mail the following information to the Board:
  • Current name and mailing address (if you have had a name change, you must provide a copy of official documentation such as marriage license or divorce decree- driver’s license not acceptable for this)
  • Copy of your driver’s license
  • Copy of your high school diploma or GED
  • Two recent passport-sized photos of yourself
  • A letter verifying your school training
  • If you do not have 1800 hours of training, a notarized letter verifying 3000 hours of work experience
  • Completed questionnaire found within application form

Mail the above to State of New Hampshire Board of Barbering, Cosmetology and Esthetics, 121 South Fruit St, Concord, NH 03301. The Board will review your materials and send you an authorization to schedule the New Hampshire State Board cosmetology licensing exam.



Step 3. Pass the Examinations Required for Licensure in New Hampshire

The National Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology Inc. (otherwise known as the NIC) developed the exams that the New Hampshire Board of Barbering, Cosmetology and Esthetics use for licensing purposes. You must pass the NIC Written Exam, NIC Practical Exam and NH State Law Exam in order to receive your New Hampshire cosmetology license.

When you have received your verification of eligibility to test, you must go to the website of DL Roope Administrators, Inc. to schedule your NIC Practical Exam and NIC Written Exam. You may apply and pay fees online for the exams. The Practical Exam has a fee of $104, while the written and state law combined exam fees are $88.

NIC Written Exam and NH State Law Exam

These computerized written exams are administered through Iso-Quality Testing centers (IQT), and you may pre-register at their website. The tests are administered at IQT centers in Lebanon and Manchester.

For the NIC Written Exam, you are given 90 minutes to complete questions on:

  • Human anatomy and physiology
  • Infection control
  • Body positioning and ergonomics
  • Basic electricity
  • Trichology
  • Hair draping services
  • Shampooing, conditioning, massaging, brushing
  • Hair cutting
  • Hair design
  • Hairstyling
  • Wigs, extensions and hair enhancements
  • Hair coloring
  • Chemical services
  • Haircoloring
  • Skin care services
  • Facial draping services
  • Hair removal
  • Facial techniques
  • Applying facial makeup
  • Nail care
  • Nail structure
  • Manicure and pedicure techniques
  • Advanced nail care

Review the Rough Guide for the NH State Law Exam prior to taking the test. It covers New Hampshire law and regulations pertaining to cosmetology, as well as professional ethics of cosmetologists in New Hampshire.

You will receive the results of these exams as soon as you have completed the tests.

NIC Practical Exam

Over the course of four hours, you must demonstrate your competencies in the following areas:

  • Client protection and setting up
  • Thermal curling
  • Hair cutting
  • Chemical wave
  • Virgin hair lightening / hair color retouch
  • Virgin relaxer application /relaxer retouch

Read the NIC Practical Exam bulletin for information on the supplies you must bring to the practical exam. It is administered at the DL Roope test center in Concord. After the exam, your results will be mailed to you.

You must pass all New Hampshire licensing tests with a score of 75 or better in order to receive your cosmetology license. If you do so, the Board will mail your license to you.



Step 4. Find Work as a Cosmetologist in New Hampshire

As a licensed cosmetologist in New Hampshire, you have many options. You may work for someone else in a salon, work for yourself and rent a booth in an established salon, or open your own salon.

If you choose to a rent booth, complete the Booth Rental Application with the necessary fees and documentation and mail it to the Board. You will receive a Booth Rental License via mail.

If you want to open your own shop, complete this Shop Application and mail it, along with necessary fees and documentation, to the Board. You may not open your shop until it has been inspected and approved by the Board.

Cosmetologist jobs in New Hampshire may be available in a variety of settings, from salons and spas to health clubs, resorts and hotels, health care facilities, department stores and more.

New Hampshire’s most popular salons include:

  • Omni Mount Washington Resort- Bretton Woods
  • Bella Viaggio Spa & Salon – Windham
  • Great Clips – Manchester, Nashua and Epping
  • JC Penney Salon – Concord
  • L’oreal – Lebanon
  • Hair Cuttery – Nashua and Seabrook
  • Cost Cutters – Manchester



Step 5. Maintain Your New Hampshire Cosmetologist License

Make sure to maintain your license properly by keeping it updated according to state law. Your New Hampshire cosmetology license renews every two years during your birth month. Continuing education is not required to renew your license.

Complete this Renewal Form and enclose:

  • A 2”x2” passport photo of yourself
  • Copy of your driver’s license or your expired cosmetology license
  • Completed questionnaire found in application
  • Social security number
  • Money order or check for $40 payable to Treasurer, State of NH
  • Your current name and address with official documentation of any name changes

Mail this information to NH State Board of Barbering, Cosmetology and Esthetics, 121 South Fruit St, Concord, NH 03301.

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