Cosmetologist License Requirements in Alabama

Alabama cosmetologists are licensed to perform hair dressing and ‘beauty culture’ services. Cosmetology is one of several disciplines regulated by the Alabama Board of Cosmetology & Barbering. Manicure and esthetics are among the others. Cosmetologists are hair styling experts. The cosmetologist scope also includes manicure and esthetic practices. However, cosmetologists do not have as much specialized preparation in these disciplines.

Licensure is based on education and examination. Students must be at least 16 years of age and have completed at least 10th grade before beginning their cosmetology studies.

Cosmetologist Training in Alabama

Alabama requires prospective licensees to complete 1,500 hours of training in a school of cosmetology or 3,000 hours of training as an apprentice. Private cosmetology schools are licensed by the Alabama Board of Cosmetology and Barbering. Public schools are regulated by the Alabama Department of Education.

Board-licensed schools provide a curriculum that includes theory, practical demonstration, and sanitation and safety training.

Alabama allows students who have completed at least 70% of the required hours to work in a facility when not in school; work hours are separate from training hours.

Facilities must meet Board standards in order to take on apprentices. The Board has established content categories for the apprentice curriculum. The majority of the curriculum is hair-related and covers a range of services. The apprentice will, for example, need 525 hours of permanent waving. The apprentice will also need 225 hours of manicure and nails; 150 hours of skin, facials, and make-up; and 450 hours of sanitation, safety, and applied science. Some hours are at the facility’s discretion. Apprentices need to register with the Board.

Best Alabama Cosmetology Schools

Alabama students should enroll in programs that appear on the list of state-regulated schools (

Alabama boasts ‘big name’ beauty schools, locally owned private schools, and public colleges with cosmetology programs. Students have multiple program options. Public school students may opt to complete associate degrees or certificates in spa and salon management with a concentration in cosmetology.

Aveda Arts & Sciences (Birmingham) has a record of success; it boasts a placement rate above 92% and licensure rate above 96%. Students learn business skills as well as hair, nails, and makeup artistry. The school is accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences. Eligible students can receive federal financial aid.

New Beginning College of Cosmetology (Albertville) is accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences and is a member of American Association of Cosmetology Schools. There are many start dates throughout the year. Experienced cosmetologists can pursue cosmetology instructor training.

Shelton State Community College gives students the choice of an AAS degree or a certificate in cosmetology. There are also multiple options for individuals who are already licensed by the Alabama Board of Barbering & Cosmetology but want to move into new career areas. Those licensed in esthetics or barbering can complete short-term certificates in cosmetology. Cosmetologists in turn can qualify in esthetics or nail technology.


Prospective Alabama cosmetologists take written and practical examinations. They must pass the written examination before taking the practical examination. PSI is the contracted vendor for both. Examination information is available on the website of the Alabama Board of Cosmetology & Barbering. Students should receive exam applications from their programs.

The theory examination is available in Korean, Vietnamese, and Spanish as well as English.

The practical exam tests preparation and set-up, polish and manicure, basic facials, and blood exposure procedures, as well as a number of skills related to hair styling and cutting. Among the skills are highlighting, relaxing, and thermal curling. Alabama candidates bring their own supplies to the practical examination. Alabama has testing centers in Mobile, Montgomery, Huntsville, and Birmingham.

After a third failure at the written or practical examination, Alabama candidates will need to complete an additional 375 hours of training.

License Reciprocity in Alabama

Alabama can grant reciprocity to out-of-state licensees. Reciprocity application forms are available from the Alabama Board of Cosmetology & Barbering (

Cosmetologist Employment in Alabama

A 2020 Alabama job search finds a majority of cosmetology positions advertised in the hair cutting, treatment, and styling discipline. Some employers seek cosmetologists for manicures and pedicures. Cosmetologists are sometimes considered for positions such as lash artist.

The following are among the places Alabama cosmetologists work:

• SmartStyle Hair Salon • Head Start Hair Care • Sport Clips • Great Clips • Cuts by Us • Dillard’s Salons & Spas • JC Penney • New Creations • Studio 21 Salon • Nouveau on Dauphin • Salon U

Cosmetologists may perform manicure or pedicure services at hotels like the Marriott.

One will find some unique opportunities. Children’s of Alabama recently sought a cosmetologist to bolster self-esteem and well-being by providing hair styling services to pediatric patients and their families.

Alabama Cosmetologist Salary and Career Outlook

Full-time Alabama cosmetologists averaged $24,380 in 2019. Those at the 10th percentile made $16,760 while those at the 90th percentile made $36,120.

Additional Resources

Licensing information is available from the Alabama Board of Cosmetology & Barbering ( The Board can be reached by telephone at 334-242-1918 or 800-815-7453 or by email at ‘cosmetology at’.

The Alabama Cosmetology and Barbering Association is a state professional association (

Related Resources:

Alabama Massage Therapy License Requirements

Massage Therapy Schools in Alabama