How Can I Get a Hair Braiding License?

Licensing requirements vary by state for individuals who want careers as hair braiders or natural hair stylists. Read on to learn about requirements for licensure and whether your state requires a hair braiding license in order for you to work. Schools offering Nail Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Do I Need a License to Braid Hair?

You may not need any type of schooling or license to work as a hair braider, depending on where you live. You don't need a license in California, according to the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology. In Mississippi, you have to pass a test and register with the state's Department of Health. Other states with similar policies require only a health test and registration fee. In other cases, you may be exempt from obtaining a hair braiding license if you're already in possession of a cosmetology license.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Median Salary (2014) $25,410 (for barbers)
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 10% growth (for barbers, hairdressers and cosmetologists)
Key Skills Creativity, tidiness, customer service
Similar Occupations Cosmetologist, skincare specialist, manicurist

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Check the Licensure Requirements for Your State

While some states require that hair braiders undergo full cosmetology training to become licensed, other states require braiding-specific training. The definition of training also varies by location.

Requirements for Full Cosmetology Training

The amount of training you'll have to complete to be a licensed cosmetologist who can work as a hair braider depends on your state. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in order to take most states' cosmetology licensing exams, you must have a high school diploma or its equivalent, be at least 16 years old and have graduated from a secondary school cosmetology program or a postsecondary cosmetology school.

Most postsecondary cosmetology programs take about nine months to complete, according to the BLS. Some schools require 30 hours of class per week, and some schools will require you to complete a certain number of procedures before you graduate.

Requirements for Braider-Specific Training

Some states will not require you to complete full cosmetology training in order to be licensed, but will require you to undergo braider-specific training. The South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation requires completing a six-hour, board-approved training course, passing an exam and registering as a hair braider.

Illinois requires new braiders to take 300 hours of classes on braiding techniques and sanitation; if you've been braiding for more than two years, the state requires you to prove your expertise and pay a registration fee. In general, states with braider-specific training laws will require less than 1,000 hours of training in the field and may require an exam or registration fee.

Stay Up-to-Date on Your State's Licensure Laws

Since 2000, braiding laws have changed in Mississippi and Illinois. In 2013, California was considering changes as well. Keep an eye on your state's hair braiding licensure requirements - they may be changing.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • Fortis College

    Fortis College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Fortis College:

    • Certificates

    Campus Locations:

    • Florida: Pensacola
  • Southern Careers Institute

    Southern Careers Institute responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern Careers Institute:

    • Certificates

    Campus Locations:

    • Texas: Brownsville, Corpus Christi
  • Empire Beauty School

    Empire Beauty School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Empire Beauty School:

    • Certificates

    Campus-Based Programs Available:

    View All Locations
    • Maryland: Owings Mills
    • Pennsylvania: Owings Mills, Hanover
  • Waukesha County Technical College

    Campus Locations:

    • Wisconsin: Pewaukee
  • United Beauty College

    Campus Locations:

    • Colorado: Denver
  • South Texas Barber College Inc

    Campus Locations:

    • Texas: Corpus Christi
  • Seymour Beauty Academy

    Campus Locations:

    • Missouri: Seymour
  • Milwaukee Area Technical College

    Campus Locations:

    • Wisconsin: Milwaukee
  • Red Rocks Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Colorado: Lakewood