How to Become a Cosmetologist in New Mexico

The Laru Ni Hati salon in Albuquerque (named after the Guatemalan phrase for “clear blue sky”) made it onto Elle’s list of the top 100 salons in the United States, and is known for its complimentary consultations, and Cuban café that serves Cuban food, cigars, beer, and wines. As a cosmetologist in New Mexico, you will be able to find fun, energetic, and eccentric salons like this all across the state. What other career could offer as much fun along with opportunities for creative self-expression?

Enter Zip:

In order to delve into the exciting world of cosmetology in New Mexico, you will need to start by earning a license through the New Mexico Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists. As a cosmetologist, you will get to work with hair, makeup, and skin products.

For a guide on how to become a cosmetologist in New Mexico, follow these simple steps:

Meet Education and Training Requirements
Pass National and State Jurisprudence Exams
Apply for a License with the New Mexico Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists
Begin Your Career in New Mexico’s Spa and Salon Industry
Keep your License Current



Step 1. Meet Education and Training Requirements

The first step toward a cosmetology license is completing the educational requirements. You will need to complete 1600 hours of school credit at a Board-approved school.

Although the school program will include theory and sanitation courses, it will also include fun and exiting courses such as:

  • Shampooing
  • Rinsing
  • Scalp Treatments
  • Chemical Rearranging (perms and relaxers)
  • Hairstyling
  • Hair coloring
  • Hair cutting
  • Facials
  • Salon Business and Retail

Attending beauty school is a fun, fast, and rewarding way to prepare yourself for the national and state exams. Not only will the education prepare you by covering hair theory and practice, but it will also teach you the skills and techniques to please your clients, impress your employers, and potentially open and manage your own salon!



Step 2. Pass National and State Jurisprudence Exams

To attain your license, you must pass the national theory and written exams, as well as the state jurisprudence exam, with a score of at least 75% or higher.

National Exam

The Board partners with the National Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology, Inc. (NIC) to administer a fair and consistent national practical and written exam. There are two parts to this exam—the theory and the written.

For the practical exam, you will come to the testing site with a kit and models or mannequins, and you will be tested on your ability to perform services in the following six (6) areas of cosmetology:

  • Set Up and Client Protection
  • Thermal Curling
  • Haircutting
  • Chemical Waving
  • Virgin Hair Lightening Application and Hair Color Retouch
  • Virgin Relaxer Application and Relaxer Retouch

There will be a script that the test administrator reads, and you may study the script on the practical exam instructions page.

The written exam will be 90 minutes long, and it will cover the following topics:

  • Infection Control
  • Draping Procedures
  • Human Anatomy
  • Basic Principles of Chemistry
  • Trichology
  • Principles of Hair Design
  • Haircutting
  • Wigs, Hair enhancements, and extentions
  • Chemical Services Consultation
  • Chemical Services
  • Hair color
  • Skin histology
  • Skin care services
  • Nail care services

You may take the NIC Cosmetology online practice test by calling 1-800-211-2754 and submitting a $30.00 fee. Along with that, you may study using the following books:

  • Milady’s Standard Cosmetology, by Milady
  • Salon Fundamentals, Cosmetology
  • Cosmetology Career Concepts, haircutting, Hair designing, Hair coloring, and Success Dynamics
  • NIC Health and Safety Standards
  • NIC Cleaning and Disinfecting of Circulating and Non Circulating Tubs and Spas

Jurisprudence Exam

In order to attain a license, you will need to pass the Jurisprudence exam, which covers New Mexico cosmetology rules, regulations, and laws. It is a multiple choice, written exam, and you have a two (2)-hour time limit to take it. You may use the Barbers and Cosmetologists Act in helping you prepare for and take the exam.

To take this exam, download it here, complete it, and submit it to the following address:

New Mexico Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists
P.O. Box 25101
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505



Step 3. Apply for a License with the New Mexico Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists

If you are applying for an initial license, you will be issued the license immediately upon completing your educational and examination requirements, as long as you have also completed your sophomore year of high school and are at least 17 years old. However, if you have been licensed as a cosmetologist in a different state, you will need to complete the licensure by reciprocity process.

To be approved for a license by reciprocity, you need to provide proof that you have:

  • Completed 1600 hours of cosmetology training (if you have not completed 1600 hours, you may be allowed a 150 hour credit for each full six (6) months you actively worked with your previous license)
  • An affidavit from the state agency who issued your previous license
  • Proof of your high school education
  • Proof of age
  • Passing scores on the New Mexico Jurisprudence exam

If you’ve completed these steps, you may submit the application for licensure by reciprocity and submit the $150 application fee. You will want to mail these documents to the Board at their mailing address:

New Mexico Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists
P.O. Box 25101
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505



Step 4. Begin Your Career in New Mexico’s Spa and Salon Industry

As a licensed cosmetologist, you will be able to rent a chair or apply for a position with many of the great salons located through New Mexico, including:

  • Salon Marjorie, Taos
  • Square Root Salon, Albuquerque
  • La Bella Spa & Salon, Albuquerque
  • Next Step Spa/Salon, Las Vegas
  • Expressions, Artesia
  • La Roux Salon, Farmington

As you move forward in your cosmetology career, you may establish your own booth by submitting a Booth Establishment Application, which can be found here. Further, you may even be able to move on to managing and owning your own salon after just a few years of experience!

In the cosmetology industry, fashion and beauty are always changing, leaving tons of room for you to improve, innovate, and create your own styles, trends – and salons.



Step 5. Keep your License Current

You must renew each year during your birthday month. For your license renewal, you will receive an annual, official renewal notification package form the Board with all of the information you will need. Once you receive this, you may even renew online.

As a licensed cosmetologist, you will not need to complete continuing education. However, if you become a licensed instructor, you will need to start completing twelve (12) hours or more per year for renewal.

Although, as a cosmetologist, it isn’t necessary for you to complete continuing education, courses offered by your employer salon or by local beauty school will keep you on the cutting edge of fashion and beauty trends. This will allow you to give clients anything they ask for! The more services you are able to perform, the more clients you will be able to please, and since the cosmetology industry is based on pleasing your clients, you will find that continuing your education helps your all-around career as a stylist.

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