Education and Training

You must have a high school diploma or equivalency to apply for a Texas cosmetology license.

If you do not have a diploma or equivalency, you may also take an “ability-to-benefit” test administered by a certified testing agency that measures a person’s ability to benefit from training. Exploring the Challenge of Cosmetology Education, this test can open doors for individuals passionate about pursuing a career in cosmetology. Consult your local community college for information on ability-to-benefit testing.

Beauty School Training

To apply for a Texas esthetician and/or manicurist license, you must first enroll in a beauty school licensed in Texas. Beauty school students will be issued a student permit while in training.

To qualify for a license, you must complete the following beauty school training requirements:

  • Esthetician – Complete 750 hours of instruction in a beauty school
  • Manicurist – Complete 600 hours of instruction in a beauty school
  • Esthetician/Manicurist – Meet one of the requirements below:
    • Complete 1,200 hours of esthetician/manicure specialty instruction
    • Complete 750 hours of esthetician instruction and 600 hours of manicure instruction


If you did not receive your training in Texas, please see the Transferring Your Cosmetology License From Another State page.

Upgrade to Esthetician/Manicurist

If you currently hold both an active esthetician license and an active manicurist license, you may upgrade to an esthetician/manicurist specialty license by submitting a completed application form (Apply Online, or Apply by Mail) and paying the non-refundable application fee of $50.


You must pass written and practical licensing exams to obtain a Texas cosmetology license.

After completing all training requirements, you will become eligible to take the written and practical exams. Our third-party vendor (PSI) will send you an email confirmation with instructions for scheduling an appointment to take the examination.

Please see the exam information page for complete details.

Application and Fee

Once you have passed both the written and practical exams, you may apply for your cosmetology license (Apply Online or Apply by Mail). Please include the non-refundable application fee of $50.

You must be at least 17 years old to apply.

Esthetician and manicurist licenses are valid for two years from the date of issue.

Applicants with Criminal Convictions

If you have ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor (other than a minor traffic violation) or pleaded guilty or no contest (resulting in a deferred adjudication) to any in-state, out-of-state or federal criminal offense, you must provide a completed Criminal History Questionnaire (PDF) along with your texas continuing education application materials.

The department will conduct a criminal history background check on all persons who apply for a license. Criminal convictions are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Licenses may be denied based on the nature of the conviction and how long prior to the application the conviction occurred. Depending on your criminal history, a review can take from one to six weeks to complete.

Individuals may request TDLR review their criminal background before actually applying for a license. TDLR uses the same process for this pre-application evaluation as the process described below. See the Criminal History Evaluation Letter page for more information.

Please see the Guidelines for License Applicants with Criminal Convictions, which describe the process that TDLR uses to determine whether a criminal conviction renders an applicant an unsuitable candidate for the license, or whether a conviction warrants revocation or suspension of a license previously granted, If you have any questions or need further assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.