How to Become a Cosmetologist in New Jersey

As a cosmetologist – hairstylist, you will work mostly with hair, but you will also be trained in how to perform some nail and makeup services. Follow these steps to learn how to become a licensed cosmetologist – hairstylist in New Jersey:

Enter Zip:
Meet Education and Training Requirements
Pass State Board Examinations
Apply for the New Jersey Cosmetology and Hairstyling License
Explore your Career Options
Renew your License

As a cosmetologist in New Jersey, you will be on the leading edge of fashion trends. This means that clients will come to you for your expert knowledge of the latest styles.

The salon and beauty industry is big business in New Jersey, with more than 15,070 cosmetologists working as stylists, hairdressers, and makeup artists in the state. This still falls short of meeting the demand for personal care services from New Jersey’s wealthiest trendsetters.

To become a licensed cosmetologist in New Jersey, you will want to get to know the New Jersey State Board of Cosmetology and Hairstyling, which sets all license requirements for cosmetologists in the state. The Board maintains separate educational and exam requirements for beauticians, barbers, manicurists, skin care specialists, and cosmetology-hairstylists.



Step 1. Meet Education and Training Requirements

The first step toward attaining your license is completing a cosmetology and hairstyling program of at least 1200 course hours.

Cosmetology school is a fun, relatively quick, and often flexible way to learn all of the skills necessary to surviving and thriving in the professional world of beauty and hairstyling. You will learn everything from keeping your work kit sterile, to how to texture hair, to how to run your own salon.

Board-approved schools offer courses that cover:

  • Laws, Rules, and Regulations for New Jersey
  • Decontamination and Infection Control
  • Facials and Massage
  • Skin Care
  • Make-up
  • Eyebrow Arching
  • Shampooing and Rinsing
  • Hair and Scalp Treatments
  • Basic Cuts and Hairstyling
  • Hair Tinting, Bleaching, Frosting
  • Color Theory
  • Hair Structure and Analysis
  • Thermal Curling and Waving
  • Management
  • Ethics
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Professionalism and Salesmanship

Once you have completed half of the required educational training, you can obtain a Student Permit, if you wish. The student permit will let you start practicing cosmetology and hairstyling while you are still finishing school.



Step 2. Pass State Board Examinations

The second step toward earning a cosmetology license in New Jersey is taking and passing the state board exam, which your cosmetology school will have prepared you for. To apply for the State Board Examination, you must be at least 17 years old, and provide proof and documentation that you have:

  • Completed the required educational training
  • Completed high school (or equivalent)

The Board has created a comprehensive examination that includes two subsections:

  • Written – You must pass the written, or theory, exam with at least a 75% or higher in order to move on to the practical exam. If you fail, you may apply to re-take the exam, but you may not take the exam more than two (2) times.
  • Practical – The practical portion will involve you actually performing hairstyling techniques on mannequins.

These exams will cover basic sanitation, hairstyling, and ethical skills, as well as New Jersey rules, regulations and laws related to cosmetology.



Step 3. Apply for the New Jersey Cosmetology and Hairstyling License

If you are applying for your initial license, it will be issued to you as soon as you pass the State Board exam. However, if you are applying for a student license, a temporary permit, or a license based on endorsement you will need to complete the following steps.

Student License

You may apply for a student license when you are halfway through your beauty education. This license will allow you to work while you are still in school. To apply for this permit, fill out the following:

Temporary Permit

You may apply for a temporary permit after you have completed your education and before you have been issued your full license. The temporary permit was created so you can work while you are waiting to be scheduled to take your examination for license. However, once this permit expires, you may not renew it. It is only valid for 120 days.

To apply for this license, you must submit the following application at the same time. They will not be accepted if they are submitted separately:

With the application for authorization to sit for the exam, you will need to submit a $50.00 filing fee, plus a licensing fee. The licensing fee will be $60 if you are currently applying in the first year of a licensing cycle, or it will be $30 if you are applying in the second year.

Endorsement License

If you held a previous license for cosmetology, hairstyling, or as a beautician in another state or country, you must complete and submit the Licensure by Endorsement application. With this, you will submit a $100.00 filing and application fee, as well as the licensing fee, which is either $60 or $30, depending on if you are applying in the first or second year of the licensing cycle, respectively. As part of the application, you will need to provide proof of your education and training, your previous license, and your experience.

If you are sending in anything to the Board, rather than online, you will submit it to the following mailing address:

Board of Cosmetology and Hairstyling
P.O. Box 45003
Newark, NJ 07101



Step 4. Explore your Career Options

There are many options for employment in New Jersey once you attain your license. As the 11th most populous state in the U.S., there is no shortage of people in need of salon services.

You will find that many salons allow you to rent a chair in their salon, but there are no limits to how far you can go in this field! Once you have held your cosmetology license and actively worked as a cosmetologist for a minimum of three years, you can apply for a shop license, which will allow you to operate and manage your own beauty shop!

Some of the top salons in New Jersey where you may consider include:

Verde, a salon by Kevin Gatto —This salon, located in Collingswood, NJ, is known for their efforts to go green and provide their clients with natural, safe, and effective beauty products. They have even begun a Recycle Rewards program, where any client can bring in any old hairspray, shampoo, or styling product bottles, and Verde will recycle the bottles, as well as give the client 15% off their next purchase.

Just Salon & Spa – Located in Millburn, is known for its hairstylists, but it is also known for the cosmetologists who offer wonderful manicures, pedicures, skincare, and waxing or hair removal. The cool atmosphere and friendly staff keep the customers coming back.

Panico Salon & Spa – This salon is located in Ridgewood, Oradell, West Caldwell, and South Beach Florida! They employ all levels of cosmetologists, and they are obsessed with fashion! Along with this, they specialize in the area of Bridal hair design and makeup art. They are known as a leader in the field of beauty, and one of the ways they continue that reputation is by providing all of their employees with continuing education.



Step 4. Renew your License

There is a two-year renewal cycle for your New Jersey cosmetology- hairstylist license. The Board will notify you when the renewal period is coming up, and they will send you information on renewing your license, including where to access the renewal application and what your renewal fee is.

If you do not renew your license, it will expire six (6) months after the expiration date, and you will have to be reinstated in order to keep practicing cosmetology.

Although New Jersey does not require you to complete continuing education in order to renew your license, taking continuing education courses through your employer salon or through a beauty school is a phenomenal way to stay up to date on the latest beauty and fashion trends. You will learn the cutting edge styles and techniques, and by continuing your education, you will never be left in the dark on styles, cuts, or colors that your clients may want.

Your ability to provide more services will translate into your clients being happier (maybe even giving better tips!) and your employers being impressed.

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