Tennessee Licensing Overview for a Cosmetologist

Licensing for cosmetologist in Tennessee is controlled by the Tennessee Board of Cosmetology & Barber Examiners.

General Guidelines for a Cosmetologist in Tennessee

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?

Cosmetologist

General requirements for cosmetologist license required?

At least 16 years old; 10th grade education

What’s the state licensing site for cosmetologist?

Tennessee Board of Cosmetology & Barber 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 2 years before license expiration date

What are fees associated with licensing?

$50

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. With this being said, 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 Tennessee. 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 Tennessee Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners
  4. Maintain your knowledge base through regular education to keep your cosmetologist / esthetician license current.

Education

There are basic educational requirements needed before one can become a licensed cosmetologist and/or esthetician in the state of Tennessee. 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 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 undertake 750 hours of coursework at a registered school of estheticians.  

Tennessee does not currently offer cosmetology or esthetician apprenticeships as a career pathway. 

Licensing Exam

The state of Tennessee requires students who wish to become fully licensed as either a cosmetologist or an esthetician to successfully pass a licensing exam. Tennessee uses PSI for their cosmetology and esthetician examination. This exam consists of two parts: a theoretical exam, and a practical exam.

The cosmetology theory exam covers the following topics:

  • Scientific concepts
  •  Hair care and services
  • Skin care and services
  • Nail care and services

The esthetician theory exam will cover topics such as:

  • Microbiology
  • Infection Control
  • Safety Procedures
  • Cells and tissues
  • Systems and Functions
  • Skin care
  • Cleansing, steaming and exfoliation
  • Massage

The cosmetology practical exam requires professionals to bring their own equipment. The practical exam 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 requires professionals to bring their own equipment. The practical 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 Tennessee are required to submit an application for licensure. This license application must be submitted to Tennessee Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners for both a cosmetology license and an esthetician license. All educational transcripts, exams and documentation must be attached to the application, along with the application fee. At the time of this application, both cosmetologists and estheticians are required to complete a Tennessee State Law examination.

Continuing 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 license every year. This process is simple and can be done online through the Tennessee Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners. This involves a $50 fee.

In the state of Tennessee, there are no continuing 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.

Location(s):

Tennessee