Arizona State Board of Cosmetology: Threats, Powers, and Licensing Requirements

Arizona State Board of Cosmetology

After cosmetology student Juan Carlos Montes de Oca gave a free haircut to a homeless man, the state board of cosmetology threatened him with sanctions. It’s no surprise that Gov. Doug Ducey wants to trim the board’s powers.

The Board establishes minimum curriculum standards and administers written and practical examinations (or contracts with national professional organizations to administer them). It also grants instructor licenses, hairstylist licenses, nail technician licenses and aestheticians.

Education Requirements

If you’re dedicated to beauty and want to become a cosmetologist, Arizona is a great place to pursue your dreams. However, before you can begin working in salons and spas, you must complete your education requirements. This includes completing a cosmetology program, and passing the state board exam. Depending on your goals, you may also want to consider pursuing additional training, such as an associate or bachelor’s degree in salon and spa management.

To become licensed in the state of Arizona, you must first submit an application to the Board of Cosmetology. In addition, you must provide proof of age, and high school education or GED certificate. Once your application is approved, you must pay the applicable fees to appear for the cosmetology exam. PCS will then notify you of the results. If you fail the exam, you will have to reschedule and pay the rescheduling fee. If you pass the exam, the Cosmetology Board will issue your license.

Licensing Requirements

Once students have completed their cosmetology education, they must become licensed in order to work in the state of Arizona. The licensing process requires the submission of an application, a passport-size photo, a copy of your diploma or certificate of graduation from a cosmetology program, and proof that you are a US citizen or legally authorized to work in the United States. In addition, you must pay a $40 initial license fee to the Board of Cosmetology.

Once your application is approved, you will be able to register with Professional Credential Services (PCS) for the theory and practical exams. Once you have successfully passed both of these examinations, the PCS will notify the Arizona Cosmetology Board that you are licensed.

Those who wish to teach at cosmetology schools or launch their own salons can take a step further by earning an associate or bachelor’s degree in spa and salon management. These programs usually last two years or more, and they are ideal for those who want to expand their careers.

Examination Requirements

The Arizona state cosmetology exam is a written and practical examination. The written exam covers topics like hygiene, anatomy and chemistry, while the practical exam is based on your specific field of study. Usually, the practical exam takes 4 hours for cosmetologists, 3 hours for barbers and 1 hour for estheticians.

The Board of Cosmetology regulates the practices of cosmetologists, hairstylists, nail technicians and estheticians. It also licenses cosmetology and barber schools, salons and barbershops. Its duties include adopting sanitary and safety requirements, administering exams and taking disciplinary action for outlined violations and conduct (A.R.S. Title 32, Chapter 5).

An associate degree in beauty or cosmetology may be a good choice for those interested in opening their own salon or spa in Arizona. Typically, these programs run between 12 and 18 months. However, many beauty professionals opt to pursue a bachelor’s degree in a program related to salon and spa management, as these programs provide additional education on marketing and business management.


In order to be licensed in Arizona as an esthetician, students must complete a 600-hour course and pass the state’s written and practical exams. These exams are offered in English, Spanish and Vietnamese.

After passing the exam, students must complete a licensing application and pay the fee. The Board will then review the application and issue the license.

The Board is responsible for setting standards in salons and schools, enforcing sanitation and safety requirements, licensing cosmetologists, estheticians, nail technicians and hairstylists, and disciplining those who violate rules and statutes. It also regulates fees for applications, examinations and related services.

The Board is comprised of seven members who are appointed by the Governor to three-year terms. Laws from 2000 and 2010 amended the Board’s responsibilities by allowing it to either administer its own written and practical exams or contract with a national professional organization; adding licensure requirements for aestheticians, nail technicians and instructors; and regulating fees for applications, tests, transcripts and investigations.

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