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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 hair braiding classes and requirements for a braiding license.

Do I Need a Braiding License?

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. It may be possible to complete some aspects of a hair braiding license online, as cosmetology courses may be offered online, including some free cosmetology courses.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Median Salary (2018) $24,830 (for barbers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists)
Job Outlook (2018-2028) 8% growth (for barbers, hairstylists, 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 and length 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 also 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, as well as passing an exam and registering as a hair braider.

Illinois braiders are required to have 300 hours of classroom learning or practical experience in 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

It is essential to stay up-to-date on your state's regulations. While you may not be required to have a license at this time, that may change. Braiding laws were changed in Illinois in 2011, while Mississippi updated their laws in 2012. Keep an eye on your state's hair braiding licensure requirements to ensure you stay compliant.