Can You Get a Cosmetology License if Convicted of a Felony or Misdemeanor?


In California, to be a cosmetologist, you will have to meet several licensing requirements. The California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology is the state licensing board that determines which individuals get their licenses and which individuals don’t. If you are licensed by the state board, then you will be authorized to work as a hairstylist, nail technician, salon or spa manager, beautician, wedding and event stylist, makeup artist, or esthetician. To be certified by the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, a candidate must:

  • Be at least 17 years of age,
  • Have completed the 10th grade,


  • Complete a state-approved cosmetology course that has a minimum of 1,600 required hours, or
  • Complete a state-approved apprenticeship that lasts at least two years.

Once you have completed the above requirements, you will then have to submit an application for licensure and pass the state exam. There is no requirement that you must have a clean criminal record to be granted a cosmetology license. Still, the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology has the authority to deny a candidate if the candidate has a prior criminal conviction.

If you have a criminal conviction and are curious about what effects it may have on your ability to be granted a cosmetology license, then you should seek the advice of an experienced California license defense attorney. No two convictions are the same, and it is your responsibility to present the best case to help you earn your license if you have to face the board.


The California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology has the power to deny your application due to a prior criminal conviction however, they are not required to do so. When you apply to sit for the state exam, you will be required to make disclosures about any prior convictions. These disclosures are your first opportunity to properly frame any issues in your case and advocate for your inclusion as a licensed cosmetologist. 

The board will review and evaluate license applications on a case-by-case basis. The board will look into the nature of the offense, how much time has passed since the offense, and what you have done since then to determine your eligibility for licensing. 

Any evidence you can show relating to your rehabilitation or progress since your conviction is paramount to helping you earn the board’s trust, and in turn, your cosmetology license. To best understand your potential for being granted a cosmetology license after being convicted of a crime, call us at the S.J. Harris Law Office to help.


The S.J. Harris Law Office is proud to offer FREE 30-minute consultations to anyone with state licensing questions. We realize that individuals facing criminal charges also have the added responsibility of understanding what indirect and lasting consequences a criminal conviction may have on them. 

The attorney-client privilege will fully protect all discussions during any consultation with us. At S.J. Harris Law, we will give you clear answers and help you devise the most effective strategy to help you with your licensing issue. Call us at (310) 361-8585 or contact us online for a free consultation.

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This blog is meant to be informational. It is not meant to be all-encompassing legal advice. If you are facing a situation involving your professional license, seek counsel from a licensed attorney.