Maryland Licensing Overview for a Cosmetologist

Licensing for cosmetologist in Maryland is controlled by the Maryland Board of Cosmetologists.

General Guidelines for a Cosmetologist in Maryland

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; 9th grade education

What’s the state licensing site for cosmetologist?

Maryland Board of 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?

Renews every 2 years

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. The process of being a fully licensed cosmetologist and/or esthetician varies between each state.

The following pages look at the detailed information on individual state licensing to help give you the best advice as you move forward in your career path.

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

  1. The successful completion of a cosmetology / esthetician course
  2. Successfully undergo state testing and pass the minimum requirements of each test
  3. Submission of an application of intent with the Maryland Board of Cosmetologists
  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 Maryland. 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 1500 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. To become an esthetician, students are required to complete 600 registered hours at a registered school of estheticians.  

Another popular method in which to become a standard cosmetologist in the state of Maryland is through an apprenticeship. 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 2000 supervised hours within the field. An apprentice esthetician must complete 800 supervised hours and has the same prerequisites as those of the cosmetology apprenticeship.

Licensing Exam

Maryland requires students who wish to become fully licensed as either a cosmetologist or an esthetician to successfully pass a licensing exam. Maryland conducts their examination through the Prometric testing centres. This exam consists of two parts: a theoretical exam, and a practical exam. There is an $80 fee for those wishing to take the exams together, or a $50 fee per exam for those taking the exams separately. 

The theoretical cosmetology examination consists of 100 multiple-choice questions and lasts for 2 hours. It covers a range of questions such as:

  • Hygiene
  • Client services
  • Safety
  • Ethics
  • State regulations
  • Anatomy
  • Chemical services
  • Physical services

The theoretical esthetician examination consists of 100 multiple-choice questions and lasts for 2 hours. It covers a range of questions such as:

  • Bacteriology
  • Safety 
  • Anatomy of the skin
  • Chemicals
  • Hair removal
  • Makeup application
  • State laws

The cosmetology practical exam will take 195 minutes, and will typically look at a range of areas of the profession including (but not limited to):

  • Maintaining a safe work environment
  • Hair set up
  • Hair removal
  • Hair cutting
  • Hair coloring  

The esthetician practical exam will last for 144 minutes and require you to bring your own equipment. The exam will typically look at a range of areas of the profession including (but not limited to):

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

Application for licensure

Upon the successful completion of a cosmetology / esthetician course or an apprenticeship, students within the state of Maryland are required to submit an application for licensure. This license application must be submitted to the State of Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation for both a cosmetology license and an esthetician license. Professionals are able to apply for their license for a fee of $25 once they have completed their examinations.

Ongoing education

You must renew this license every two years. Professionals are required to complete 16 hours of study during this two-year period in order for their licence to be renewed.