Minnesota Licensing Overview for a Cosmetologist

Licensing for cosmetologist in Minnesota is controlled by the Minnesota Board of Cosmetologist Examiners.

General Guidelines for a Cosmetologist in Minnesota

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?

High school diploma or GED

What’s the state licensing site for cosmetologist?

Minnesota Board of Cosmetologist Examiners

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 3 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.

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

  1. The successful completion of a cosmetology / esthetician course
  2. Submission of an application and apply for exams with Minnesota Board of Cosmetologist Examiners
  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 licensed cosmetologist and/or esthetician in the state of Minnesota. The minimum education requirement for this profession is a certificate or diploma in cosmetology / esthetician undertaken at a registered beauty school, through vocational training or through a junior college. To successfully complete this course, students are required to undertake a minimum of 1550 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.

For those wishing to become a state licensed esthetician in Minnesota, there is a minimum requirement of 600 hours of training and application before a license can be approved. 

Another popular method in which to become a standard cosmetologist in the state of Minnesota is through an apprenticeship. To gain an apprenticeship, a student must be over the age of 17 years and have successfully completed year 10 of 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 a specific number of supervised hours within the field.

Licensing Exam

The state of Minnesota requires students who wish to become fully licensed as either a cosmetologist or an esthetician to successfully pass a licensing exam. Minnesota examinations are conducted by PSI online. There are two theoretical cosmetology and esthetician examinations: The General Theory Exam and the Minnesota Law exam. There is a fee of $35 for each of the General theory exams, and $25 for the State exams.

The General Theory esthetician examination takes one and half hours and includes 85 questions that cover a range of topics including but not limited to:

  • Client interactions
  • Skin analysis
  • Esthetic science 
  • Hair removal
  • Facials
  • Make up types 

The State theory exam for both cosmetologists and estheticians takes one hour and covers 35 questions that cover a range of topics including but not limited to:

  • General Practitioner Information
  • Licensing
  • Sanitation Requirements
  • Enforcement
  • Minnesota Statute or Rules

Application for licensure

Upon the successful completion of a cosmetology / esthetician course or an apprenticeship and the successful pass of General and State exams students within the state of Minnesota are required to submit an application for licensure. This license application must be submitted to the Minnesota Board of Cosmetologist Examiners for both a cosmetology license and an esthetician license.  

Continuing Education

Following the successful completion of your state license to become either a cosmetology it is important to remember that you must renew this license every two years and professionals will be notified of this 60 days prior to the date. For cosmetologists, this fee is $25. For estheticians, the requirement is that professionals renew their license on the last day of your birth month after each three-year licensing period. 

The Minnesota Board requires that all beauty operators, salon managers, and instructors complete continuing education to renew their licenses. As a licensed cosmetologist and/or esthetician, you will need to complete four hours of continuing education every three-year renewal period in order to renew your license. The Minnesota Board requires three of the four credits to concern health, safety, and sanitation, and one of the four credits to focus on Minnesota laws and rules.