Enter your search term

Search by title or post keyword

Can a Felon Get a Cosmetology License?

Table of Contents

Our website is supported by our users. We sometimes earn affiliate links when you click through the affiliate links on our website

Contact us for Questions

Felons may have to learn new skills or start a different career after their incarceration ends. There are resources available as many employers have found that felons make good employees. Those with experience in the beauty and skincare field may think of becoming a cosmetologist.

This blog post will address the issue of whether or not a felon can get a cosmetology license.

  • What is a Cosmetologist?
  • What is a Cosmetology License?
  • What is Required to Get a Cosmetology License?
  • An Opportunity for Felons?
  • Recommended Action


What is a Cosmetologist?

A cosmetologist works primarily as a hairdresser and stylist, but each one has a great deal of knowledge about all areas of beauty care.  As a hair care expert, a cosmetologist works with clients to:

  • Cut, straighten, and style hair
  • Shape and trim eyebrows
  • Remove facial hair

A cosmetologist may also be involved in:

  • Skin care. Applying beauty treatments and moisturizers
  • Applying makeup and doing makeovers
  • Nail care. Cleaning, trimming, and polishing nails

What is a Cosmetology License?

A license is issued by a state agency to practice a profession and is required in order to call oneself a licensed professional. A license shows that someone has the specific knowledge and skills necessary to do a job.

Typically, these types of credentials are attained after meeting certain educational requirements. Licenses are legally required by the government to work in an occupation.

Basically, a license:

  • Is awarded by a government licensing agency
  • Gives legal authority to work in an occupation
  • Requires meeting certain criteria such as having a degree or passing a state-administered exam

A cosmetologist license from a certificate program allows someone to perform basic hair, skin, and nail care services, although most states have separate licenses and requirements for different areas of health and beauty.

What is Required to Get a Cosmetology License?

Requirements to get a cosmetology license differ from one state to another. The minimum age for licensure as a cosmetologist is typically between 16 and 18 years of age. To enroll in a board-approved cosmetology training program, most states require an applicant to have a high school diploma or a GED.

To obtain a license in cosmetology, someone must complete all the state requirements, including attending a licensed beauty school and completing all course work. A person must also pass a licensing exam offered by the particular state.

Regardless of the state, a cosmetologist is legally required to have a state license and must complete a state-approved cosmetology school and pass a written and practical exam.

A typical cosmetology program includes approximately 1500 hours of instruction.

The cosmetology license exam typically includes the following:

  • Written exam on theory in procedures
  • Practical exam on cosmetology skills
  • Written exam on state regulations

Cosmetology programs may be offered through the schools, community colleges, and vocational schools. Someone graduating from one of these programs will either earn a certificate, a diploma, or an associate’s degree.

A cosmetology license typically allows someone to practice in the areas of:

  • Esthetics
  • Manicuring
  • Eyelash extension
  • Hair weaving

Most cosmetology schools allow students to achieve a certificate, which typically takes between 9 and 15 months to complete. Certificate programs in cosmetology include all training required to become licensed in cosmetology.

An Opportunity for Felons?

Cosmetology license requirements differ from state to state. These requirements don’t specify anything regarding criminal convictions.

Typically, obtaining a cosmetology license is focused on training and education rather than on criminal convictions. There are state departments involved with licensing and regulating businesses that may be stricter and fall under the Business and Professions code for that state.

A state board can deny a cosmetology license if the applicant has been convicted of a crime. When applying for state licensing as a cosmetologist, each application is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. For a felony conviction the board considers the:

  • Nature of the crime
  • Severity of the crime
  • Recency of the crime
  • Displays of rehabilitation
  • Other related factors like any prior convictions

The board will approve or deny licensure after evaluating the entire application and supporting evidence.

It’s important to be honest when applying for a license as a cosmetologist. If a felony isn’t disclosed but is found on a background check, this constitutes fraud and is punishable. It’s a crime to falsify an application which could result in being sent back to prison.

Having their record expunged can give felons the chance to begin with a clean record and succeed in getting a cosmetology license. Expunging a criminal record allows anyone to honestly state on an application that he or she has not been convicted of a crime.

There are many success stories, as the Guide to Being Employed reveals, showing how having a goal, commitment, dedication, and perseverance can assist felons in achieving their dreams.

There are re-entry programs, such as drug treatment, and educational opportunities for felons who need them. For many felons, having their felony expunged can give them the chance they need to begin with a clean record and succeed in getting a cosmetology license.

Recommended Action

It’s a significant challenge, but it might be worth it for a felon that wants to get a cosmetology license. Having his or her record expunged and documenting any training programs or additional education could make the essential difference in a felon succeeding in getting a cosmetology license.

Having support from family, friends, or previous employers can make a huge difference. A felon doesn’t have to be defined by his or her crime. We’re not defined by our mistakes but by how we recover from them. He or she can begin again and live an honest life no matter how difficult it might seem.

What do you think about this blog post? Have you or someone you know been in the situation of trying to get a cosmetology license with a felony? What was that like for him or her, and how did he or she achieve success? Please tell us in the comments below.

3 thoughts on “Can a Felon Get a Cosmetology License?”

  1. Im looking fir the same and i have a 3G felony 15 years ago and still cant get any good jobs no education or careers will accept me . ????


Leave a Comment

Explore More within Felony Record Hub

Jobs for Felons
Get to work faster with jobs for felons curated for you.
post explore


How we help

This website was created by a few folks who have personally watched their loved ones struggle to get a job due to having a felony.

Your New Life Starts Here.

logo frh no text
Start Here
icon jobs

Jobs for Felons

Get to work faster with jobs for felons curated for you.

icon housing

Housing for Felons

Find housing for felons, listed by state.

icon legal

Legal Help

The legal help you need to put your past behind you

icon rights

Rights For Felons

Learn how you can get your rights back as a felon.

icon companies hiring

Companies Hiring Felons

Finding employment as a felon is tough. That’s why we have aggregated the best jobs for felons in one spot.

View Companies
icon programs

Reentry Programs

Resources to help ex-offenders gain essential life skills for making the right choices in life.

View Reentry Programs