Kentucky Licensing Overview for a Cosmetologist

Licensing for a cosmetologist in Kentucky is controlled by the Kentucky Board of Hairdressers and Cosmetologists.

General Guidelines for a Cosmetologist in Kentucky

Specific requirements to perform cosmetologist services can generally be used as a guideline, but make sure to check with your local governing rules and regulations.

Who’s allowed to perform these services?


General requirements for cosmetologist license required?

At least 17 years old; 12th grade education

What’s the state licensing site for cosmetologist?

Kentucky Board of Hairdressers and Cosmetologists

What are some training programs available for cosmetologist?

See training programs

How long is a license good for and when do I need to renew?

Renew every year between July 1-31

What are fees associated with licensing?


Cosmetologist / Esthetician Licensing

A cosmetologist is a beauty professional who specializes in the beautification and health of their client’s hair, skin and nails. An esthetician is a beauty professional that specializes in the beautification and health of their client’s skin, particularly through hair removal, skin and facial treatments and the application of makeup. With additional training, a cosmetologist can become an esthetician and vice versa. While there are fundamental differences between cosmetologists and estheticians as we have just explained, the process of becoming licensed within each career is almost the same.

There are four main steps that need to be completed to become a qualified cosmetologist / esthetician in the state of Kentucky. These include:

  1. The successful completion of a cosmetology / esthetician course
  2. Submission of an application of intent with the Kentucky Board of Hairdressers and Cosmetologists
  3. Successfully undergo state testing and pass the minimum requirements of each test
  4. Maintain your knowledge base through regular education to keep your cosmetologist / esthetician license current.


There are basic educational requirements needed before one can become a licenced cosmetologist and/or esthetician in the state of Kentucky. The minimum education requirement for this profession is a certificate or diploma in cosmetology / esthetician undertaken at a registered beauty school. To successfully complete this course, students are required to undertake a minimum of 1,800 hours of training before they can be signed off. For further training, some beauticians may choose to gain an associate degree to boost their qualifications. For those looking to begin their own start up business, an associate degree is quite a desirable skill to possess. The hours to become an esthetician are quite similar, with students needing to complete 1000 registered hours at a registered school of estheticians.

Another popular method in which to become a standard cosmetologist in the state of Kentucky is through an apprenticeship. To gain an apprenticeship, a student must be over the age of 16 years and have successfully completed high school. For those wishing to undertake an apprenticeship instead of attending a registered beauty school, they will need to be accepted under the charge of a licensed cosmetologist and complete three years and 3,000 supervised hours within the field. 

Application for licensure

Upon the successful completion of a cosmetology / esthetician course or an apprenticeship, students within the state of Kentucky are required to submit an application for licensure. This license application must be submitted to The Kentucky Board of Hairdressers and Cosmetologists for both a cosmetology license and an esthetician license. The cost of this application is $75 for cosmetologists, and $175 for estheticians.

Licensing Exam

The state of Kentucky requires students who wish to become fully licensed as either a cosmetologist or an esthetician to successfully pass a licensing exam. Kentucky requires professionals to complete both a theoretical and practical exam.

The cosmetology theoretical examination covers topics such as:

  • State regulations
  • Client services
  • Hygiene
  • Anatomy 

The cosmetology practical examination will cover topics such as:

  • Hygiene
  • Physical services
  • Chemical services
  • Manicures
  • Customer interaction
  • Clean up

The esthetician theoretical examination covers topics such as:

  • State laws and regulations
  • Product knowledge
  • Hygiene and safety precautions
  • Equipment
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Skin care
  • Services

The esthetician practical examination requires professionals to bring their own tools, and follows a script that looks at a range of areas of the profession including (but not limited to):

  • Hygienic set up
  • Facial cleansing
  • Hair removal
  • Makeup application
  • Facial mask

Ongoing education

Following the successful completion of your state license to become either a cosmetology or an esthetician, it is important to remember that you must renew this licence on July 31st of each year for cosmetologists and estheticians. This process is simple and can be done online through The Kentucky Board of Hairdressers and Cosmetologists. There is a fee of $50 for this renewal.

In Kentucky, there are no ongoing educational requirements for cosmetology or esthetician licenses, however, many professionals continue to grow their expertise. This allows them to stay up to date with the latest techniques and trends in the field of beauty.