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How to Transfer a Cosmetology License to Texas

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Whether you’re getting hair and makeup done for your big day or just need a fresh haircut, cosmetologists help us look our best. They provide a variety of beauty services for your hair, nails, body and face, pampering us in the process. Every state sets its own requirements for cosmetology training and licensing. In Texas, an aspiring cosmetologist can either follow the path for earning a Texas cosmetology license or have their current license from another state transferred into Texas. The Texas Board of Cosmetology, under the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, manages all cosmetology licenses in the state. The organization sets the regulations for earning and transferring a cosmetology license.

How Do I Transfer a Cosmetology License?

If your state’s cosmetology license requirements are equivalent to those in Texas, you can transfer your cosmetology license through the Texas Board of Cosmetology. You may also be eligible to transfer your license, if you have enough work or apprenticeship experience in another state. You can start the transfer process by checking the TDLR website to see if your state qualifies for transfer to Texas. If it does, you’ll need to fill out the application form, pay the fees and submit any necessary documentation.

What States Have Reciprocity for Cosmetology?

Texas cosmetology reciprocity is available for different types of cosmetology licenses with various states. The exact states that have reciprocity vary, depending on the type of license. The Cosmetology Operator license can transfer to Texas from the following states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Guam, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Cosmetology Operator licenses from these states and territories need one year of experience: Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Virgin Islands. Licenses from Florida and New York require at least two years of experience to transfer to Texas.

What States Have Reciprocity With Texas for Manicurist Specialty Cosmetology License?

A manicurist license can transfer from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky, Nevada, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Washington.

The following states require one year of experience to transfer a manicurist license into Texas: Alaska, California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. New York and Florida Manicurist licenses need two years.

What States Have Reciprocity With Texas for an Esthetician Specialty Cosmetology License?

These states qualify to transfer an esthetician specialty license into Texas: Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, Tennessee and Utah Master Esthetician. You’ll need one year of experience to transfer your esthetician license from the following states: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming. Florida and New York require two years of experience to transfer.

What Form Do You Need to Transfer Your License?

All the forms needed to obtain any type of Texas cosmetology license are located on the TDLR and Texas Board of Cosmetology website. When transferring a license into the state of Texas, you’ll need Form COS003, Cosmetology License by Reciprocity Application. The application asks for the applicant’s name, social security number, date of birth, gender, home address and email address. Each applicant will also have to indicate what type of license they are applying for and the state where they are transferring from.

The application also asks about your criminal background. If you’ve ever been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony other than a minor traffic violation, you’ll have to submit a Criminal History Questionnaire for each offense. Each applicant must also disclose if they’ve had an occupational license, certification, or registration suspended, revoked, or denied in any state. If so, they must complete a Disciplinary Action Questionnaire for each disciplinary action.

Applicants must type or fill in the form with black ink and submit it with the $100 application fee, payable with a cashier’s check or money order payable to TDLF. The application must also come with a Certified Transcript of Hours and a Letter of Certification in a sealed envelope from the issuing state board or school. Be sure to sign the application and make a copy for your records before sending.

How Do You Transfer Your License Through Apprenticeship?

Another option for transferring your license is through an apprenticeship program from your current state. If your cosmetology license is active in Alabama, California, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Virginia or Wisconsin, you need one year of experience. Licenses from Alaska, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Utah or Washington require two years of experience to transfer to Texas. When choosing this method of transferring a license, you’ll need to provide a certificate of completion for the apprenticeship program and a letter of certification from the issuing state. This type of transfer also requires Form COS003, Cosmetology License by Reciprocity Application and the same $100 application fee.

What Types of Texas Cosmetology License Exist?

The State of Texas offers several different types of cosmetology licenses, including Cosmetology Operator, Esthetician Specialty, Manicurist Specialty, Esthetician/Manicurist Specialty, Wig Specialty, Hair Weaving Specialty and Eyelash Extension Specialty. The Cosmetology Operator license allows the holder to perform any cosmetology duties. Each of the other licenses limits the cosmetologist to those duties named in the title. For example, a Hair Weaving Specialty license holder can only perform hair weaving and a Manicurist Specialty holder can only do nails.

How Much Is Cosmetology School in Texas?

The cost of cosmetology school in Texas varies depending on the length of the program, the prestige of the school and the cost of incidentals. Looking at the top ten cosmetology schools in Texas, the average tuition is $8,800 to $16,000. Incidentals, such as supplies and the starter kit to us during schooling, can cost anywhere from $650 to $3,300. Most Texas cosmetology schools have programs that take 10 to 12 months to complete. The TDLR website offers information on what schools in the state have earned accreditation, so you can check if a school you’re interested in meets the requirements. Some of the top schools in Texas include Central Texas Beauty College, Franklin Beauty School and Ogle School of Hair, Skin and Nails. Because a large number of students have full-time jobs while attending cosmetology school, many schools offer nighttime and weekend classes.

Can You Do Nails With a Cosmetology License?

As long as you hold a Manicurist Specialty License or the combined Esthetician/Manicurist Specialty from the State of Texas, you can do nails. The Manicurist Specialty License requires completing 600 Texas cosmetology hours of instruction in manicuring. The combined license necessitates 1,200 hours in manicure/esthetics or 600 hours in manicure and 750 hours in esthetics. Both licenses also require the applicant to be 17 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent.

How Much Does Someone in Cosmetology Make an Hour?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2017, cosmetologists had a median wage of $11.95 an hour. This means that half of cosmetologists make more and half made less. The lowest 10 percent of cosmetologists earn less than $8.73, while the highest 10 percent bring home over $24.36 an hour. Typically, a cosmetologist will work full-time, although many part-time positions are available. Work hours include evenings and weekends, as many people aren’t available during normal nine-to-five work hours.

Jobs in the cosmetology industry is expected to grow nearly 13 percent from 2016 to 2026. That’s almost twice as fast as the seven percent growth predicted across all industries.

What Schooling Is Needed for Cosmetology?

The amount and type of schooling needed for a cosmetology license depends on the type of license. Each type of license has its own requirements for the amount of Texas cosmetology hours are needed to fulfill the requirements. Like mentioned above, the Manicurist Specialty License requires 600 hours and the combined Manicurist/Esthetician License needs 1,200 hours. The Texas esthetician license requirements for the Esthetician Specialty License include 750 hours of esthetician training. The Cosmetology Operator license requires the most hours – 1,500 hours at a licensed beauty culture school or 1,000 hours at a beauty school and 500 hours at a vocational school. All the hours must be from an accredited cosmetology school.

Along with classes specific to that type of cosmetology, cosmetology school programs also offer courses covering other topics. Cosmetology students take classes in licensing, regulation, safety procedures and skin diseases and disorders. Instruction includes both classroom-type lectures, as well as hands-on practical training.

What Is on the Cosmetology Exam?

Each type of Texas cosmetology license has its own specific exam, which tests knowledge and skills in that area. Once you finish the necessary hours of schooling, the TDLR will issue an eligibility postcard from PSI, who administers the exams for TDLR. This postcard tells the candidate how to register and schedule their exam.

You’ll also want to find your exam’s Candidate Information Bulletin, which gives you additional information on the exam fees, scheduling and rescheduling the exam and what to bring the day of the exam. It outlines the exam procedures and tells what percentage of the test covers different topics. The esthetician exam, for example, has 11 questions covering licensing and regulation, 19 about infection control, 11 about skin care, 19 questions over facial treatments, 11 over hair removal and four about facial makeup. Exam takers must get a 70 percent or better to pass the written exam.

Each exam has a written portion and a practical portion, in which the test-taker uses the skills they’ve learned in cosmetology school. TDLR sponsors the written exams at locations all throughout the state, including Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, San Antonio and Waco. Practical exams are only offered in Austin, San Antonio, the DFW Metroplex, the Greater Houston area, McAllen, El Paso, Midland and Amarillo.

How Do You Renew Your Cosmetology License?

A Texas cosmetology license is good for two years. Every two years, the cosmetologist must renew by getting on the TDLR website. The online application requires entering your license number and last four digits of your social security number, to access your account. From there, you can fill in the renewal application and pay the renewal fee of $53, which you can pay for with a credit card.


From putting together her first resume to editing friends' cover letters, Lindsey has always had an interest in career-related writing. She gets paid to do what she loves - writing - and loves helping others find their dream jobs. Her career-related articles have appeared on, USA Today and

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