North Carolina Exam Requirements & Procedures for Cosmetology License

Hair stylists have to train for at least 1,200 hours.
... Hemera Technologies/ Images

A cosmetology license is required in the state of North Carolina for anyone who wishes to cut, color or style hair, provide facials, give manicures and pedicures and apply professional makeup. Applicants for a cosmetology license have to complete either an approved training course or an apprenticeship, along with live demonstrations and an examination.

1 Educational Requirements

Before you can take the exam to become licensed as a cosmetologist, you must complete 1,500 hours of training in an approved cosmetology program. These programs include 300 hours in beginner techniques, such as shampooing, blowdrying, brush control, pin curls, manicures and pedicures. The remaining 1,200 hours are spent on advanced theory and techniques, such as cutting techniques and implements, singeing, bleaching, waving and esthetics. Business management is also included in the advanced course work. Students must also perform a number of procedures on mannequins and live models, including pin curls, hair cuts, styling, color application and nail care.

2 Apprenticeship Program

Students can complete an apprenticeship program instead of a training program, if they prefer. The apprenticeship program must include 1,200 hours of supervised training with a licensed cosmetologist, must be at least six months long, and must include live performances of key techniques on mannequins or models. Apprentices must complete the same live performances requirements for the exam and license, which can be performed on a mannequin or model. Certification that you have completed these demonstrations must be submitted before you can be eligible to take the licensing exam.

3 Examination Time

The final stage in licensing is completing a two-part exam that includes a written and a practical portion. The written portion tests an applicant's knowledge of scientific concepts, such as the chemical reactions involved in the coloring process, infection control and principles of hair design, such as heat setting, pin curling and highlighting. The practical portion is performed on live models, and it tests an applicant's actual skills with hair design, styling, nail care and other techniques. Students are also tested on the way they handle their instruments, as well as their setup and cleanup of their station. Students must achieve at least a 75 percent on the exam in order to pass and to receive their license.

4 Continuing Education Requirements

North Carolina issues cosmetology licenses for three years, then they must be renewed. Continuing education must be completed in order to renew the license. A total of 24 hours, or eight hours for each year, of approved continuing education classes, workshops or seminars is required to renew the license. Twelve of those hours can be completed online. Once documentation of the continuing education is submitted with the license fee, the license can be renewed for another three years.

Maria Magher has been working as a professional writer since 2001. She has worked as an ESL teacher, a freshman composition teacher and an education reporter, writing for regional newspapers and online publications. She has written about parenting for Pampers and other websites. She has a Master's degree in English and creative writing.