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Apply for a Cosmetology Operator License

Education and Training

Before applying for a Cosmetology Operator license, you must complete a Cosmetology Operator course consisting of 1,000 hours of instruction at a licensed school.

Students enrolled in a licensed school will be issued a student permit while in training.

Find a School

If you did not receive your training in Texas, please see the Apply for a Cosmetology or Barbering License by Equivalence page.


You must pass both a written exam and practical exam to obtain a Cosmetology Operator license.

Written Exam

After completing 900 of the 1,000 required hours, your school will notify TDLR of your eligibility to take the written licensing exam. Once TDLR has verified your eligibility to take the exam, our third-party vendor (PSI) will send you an email confirmation with instructions for scheduling an appointment to take the written exam.

Please see the exam information page for more information.

Practical Exam

After you have successfully completed all hours of the Cosmetology Operator course and passed the written exam, you will be notified of your eligibility to take the practical exam.

Please see the exam information page for more information.

Application and Fee

Once you have passed both the written and practical exams, you may apply online. There is a non-refundable application fee of $50

Apply Online

You must be at least 17 years old to apply for a Cosmetology Operator license.

Cosmetology Operator licenses are valid for two years from the date of issue.

Applying By Mail

You may also apply by mail using a printable PDF application form.

Most applicants should generally apply online for faster service.

Applicants with Criminal Convictions

If you have ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor (other than a minor traffic violation) or pleaded guilty or no contest (resulting in a deferred adjudication) to any in-state, out-of-state or federal criminal offense, you must provide a completed Criminal History Questionnaire (PDF) along with your application materials.

The department will conduct a criminal history background check on all persons who apply for a license. Criminal convictions are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Licenses may be denied based on the nature of the conviction and how long prior to the application the conviction occurred. Depending on your criminal history, a review can take from one to six weeks to complete.

Individuals may request TDLR review their criminal background before actually applying for a license. TDLR uses the same process for this pre-application evaluation as the process for a license application. See the Criminal History Evaluation Letter page for more information.

Please see the Guidelines for License Applicants with Criminal Convictions, which describe the process that TDLR uses to determine whether a criminal conviction renders an applicant an unsuitable candidate for the license, or whether a conviction warrants revocation or suspension of a license previously granted.