Apply for an Operator License


Education and Training

Education Requirements

You must have a high school diploma or equivalency to apply for a Texas cosmetology license. As an alternative to a diploma or equivalency, you may also take an “ability-to-benefit” test administered by a certified testing agency that measures a person’s ability to benefit from training.

Beauty School Training

To apply for a Texas Cosmetology Operator license, you must first enroll in a beauty school licensed in Texas. Beauty school students will be issued a student permit while in training.

Applicants for an operator license must complete one of the following beauty school training requirements:

  • Complete 1,000 hours of instruction in a beauty school
  • Complete 1,000 hours of instruction in a beauty school and 500 hours of related high-school courses as part of a vocational cosmetology program in a public school
  • You hold a Class A Barber Certificate and have completed 300 hours of instruction in cosmetology through an approved training program in a beauty school

Find a School

If you did not receive your training in Texas, please see the Transferring Your Cosmetology License From Another State page.

 


Examinations

You must pass both a written exam and practical exam to obtain a Texas cosmetology 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 examination.

Please see the exam information page for more information.

Practical Exam

After you have successfully completed all hours of your beauty school training program, 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 for your cosmetology license (Apply Online or Apply by Mail). There is a non-refundable application fee of $50.

You must be at least 17 years old to apply.

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


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 described below. 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.