Cosmetologist License

Department of Public Health


A cosmetologist shampoos, cuts, colors, singes, bleaches, curls, styles, chemically curls and straightens hair for men, women and children. They may work on wigs and hairpieces, use cosmetics on customers, massage customers\’ scalps, do manicures and pedicures, apply artificial nails, or do nail tips and extensions. Duties may include massaging, cleansing, stimulating, exercising, beautifying, or similar techniques upon the face, neck, arms, hands, or upper part of the body with the hands or mechanical or electrical apparatus or appliances with other preparations. Cosmetologists might also sell hair care products or other beauty related items, answer the telephone, take appointments, schedule walk-in customers, operate cash register, and stock supplies. See also Cosmetology Instructor, Electrologist, Esthetician, Manicurist, or Nail Technologist. Separate licensures are available for each.

Code Citation IC, Chapter 157; 645 IAC 60, 61, 63, 64, 65

Who Applies Persons wishing to practice cosmetology in Iowa.

When To Apply After completion of academic and examination requirements and before practice.

Initial Requirements Applicants must have a high school education or have passed the General Education Development (GED) test and complete 2,100 hours of training at least ten months in duration. The 2,100 hours of training includes 615 hours in cosmetology theory, 150 hours in core life sciences, and 1,335 hours of supervised practical instruction. Out-of-state applicants must submit proof of passing the National Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC) exam.

Duration Two years.

Processing Time 30 days after receipt of examination scores. Online renewal in real time.

Fee Structure Initial License: Renewal:

Renewal Requirements Eight hours of continuing education are required biennially for license renewal.

Exam National Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology Examination

Additional Information Persons wishing to practice cosmetology in Iowa.

Services Provided

Service Category

  • Service SubCategory
Contact Information
Bureau of Professional Licensure
Lucas Building
321 East 12th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319