Can I Get a Cosmetology License in California if I Have a Felony or Misdemeanor?

Cosmetology teacher instructing student on hair cutting.
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A cosmetologist who is licensed by the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology is permitted to prep, style, cut and color a client's hair. She may tint eyelashes, perform hair removal by such techniques as waxing or tweezing and perform facial treatments. The California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology may deny an application for a cosmetology license to a person who has been convicted of a crime.


Licensure Requirements

The California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology requires a candidate for a cosmetologist license to be at least 17 and complete at least the 10th grade. You must complete a course of instruction in cosmetology of at least 1,600 hours from a school that is approved by the board or complete an approved two-year apprenticeship. You must also submit an application, pay the required fee and pass the state's cosmetologist examination.


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License Denial

The board can deny your application for a cosmetology license if you have been convicted of a crime. For the purposes of denying an application, the term conviction means you entered a plea of guilty or a verdict of guilty was returned. The term conviction also applies if you entered a plea of nolo contendere.



The board's Application for Examination requires you to disclose whether you have ever been convicted of a violation of any law, with the exception of traffic violations with a fine of less than $500. This includes violations where you plead no contest, misdemeanors and felonies, regardless of your age at the time of the violation.



The board will not deny a cosmetologist license application solely on the basis of a felony or misdemeanor conviction if you can show evidence of rehabilitation. The board is required to review and evaluate license applications from candidates who have been convicted of a crime on a case-by-case basis. Factors that the board takes into consideration may include the amount of time that has passed since your conviction, the nature of the crime, whether it is related to your duties or qualifications as a cosmetologist and evidence of your rehabilitation.