Frequently Asked Questions

Click on the heading below to view the question listed, or scroll through the entire document. If you do not find the answer to your question here, please contact the Board at (800) 952-5210 or E-mail. The hearing impaired may call TDD (800) 326-2297 or TDD (916) 322-1700

APPLICANTS EDUCATION

  1. How many hours are needed to qualify to take the State Board examinations?
  2. Can the State Board examination be taken if the required hours have not been completed?
  3. What schools have been approved by the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology?
  4. I have completed my training. Do I need to take the examination in order to provide services in California?
  5. Are continuing education credits needed to maintain a license?
  6. I would like to obtain my training through the apprentice program. Who do I contact?
  7. I finished part of my training in school; can I make up the remaining hours in the apprentice program?

LICENSURE OUT-OF-STATE / OUT OF COUNTRY

  1. I am licensed in California and plan to apply to another state for licensure. How do I get a certificate of licensure and a copy of my school transcripts sent to that state?
  2. How do I apply for licensure in California if I received my training in another state, but have not received a license?
  3. Does my out-of-state license automatically qualify me for a California license?
  4. How do I apply for licensure in California if I am licensed in another state, but have not had one for more than three years?
  5. How do I apply for licensure in California if I am licensed in another country?

EXAMINATIONS

  1. How do I obtain an application for the examination?
  2. How do I apply or reapply for an examination?
  3. What does the examination consist of?
  4. I have been convicted of a crime; can I still apply to take the examination?
  5. How long does it take to be scheduled for an examination after sending in the application for examination?
  6. Does the Board offer the National Examination? What does this mean?
  7. I am waiting for my examination date; can I work while I am waiting for my date?
  8. I just took my examination but was told I do not have my Proof of Training on file. What do I do and how long will it take to get my license?
  9. I missed my examination date. Can I reschedule?
  10. I failed one part of my examination. How many times can I take the examination in a year? Do I have to pay the whole fee again?

GENERAL

  1. How can I change the address on my license?
  2. How can I change my name on my license?
  3. Board Members & Board Meetings
  4. Fee Schedule

LICENSEES LICENSE & RENEWAL ISSUES

  1. I lost my license. How do I obtain a duplicate?
  2. What does the "status" of a license mean on your web site?
  3. This is my first time renewing my license online, and I did not see it when I registered. What do I do?
  4. What happens if a license is delinquent for five years?
  5. I need to verify a license to see if it has been renewed.
  6. I sent a payment for license renewal and I have not received my license.
  7. My license is going to or has expired and I did not receive a renewal notice. What should I do?

ESTABLISHMENT

  1. I just bought a salon, what forms do I need to fill out? Do I have to schedule an inspection?
  2. I am a booth renter or independent contractor; do I need to apply for my own establishment license?
  3. I have been convicted of a crime; can I still apply for an establishment license?
  4. I moved to a new location; can I still use my establishment license from the previous location?
  5. Can any type of establishment use a barber pole in or on the outside of the premises?
  6. What type of license is needed for a mobile spa business?
  7. I would like to offer spa/bridal parties in the consumers' home; is this legal?
  8. I would like to hire a person for the sole purpose of shampooing or preparing consumers for services; can I do this?
  9. I would like to offer "Fish Pedicures". Are these legal in California?
  10. Can I have a salon in my home?
  11. How long do logs for each foot spa chair or basin need to be kept in the salon?
  12. What are the most common violations cited during an inspection?

ENFORCEMENT COMPLAINTS

  1. How do I file a complaint? Will you disclose my name if I put it on the complaint form? What happens if I file the complaint anonymously?
  2. What types of complaints does the Board investigate?
  3. What types of complaints are not within the Boards jurisdiction?
  4. How does the Board investigate the complaints it receives?

INSPECTIONS

  1. How are inspections performed? Can I schedule my own inspection?
  2. An inspector just inspected my salon; what happens now?
  3. What are the most common violations cited during an inspection?
  4. I have fines due and need to renew my license; how do I do this?
  5. Can I pay my fines online?
  6. I am the owner of the salon. My salon was cited for violations by an independent contractor, booth renter, or employee. Who is responsible to pay the fine?
  7. I just received a Request for Payment notice in the mail. What does this mean?

DISCIPLINARY REVIEW COMMITTEE HEARINGS

  1. I received a citation and I do not agree; what should I do?
  2. How much time do I have to appeal my citation?
  3. How and when will I be notified of my hearing?
  4. What can I do if I am unable to attend in person?
  5. Can I submit a written statement instead of appearing in person?
  6. If I fail to show up at my hearing, can I reschedule?
  7. What can I expect during the informal appeal hearing?
  8. If I need an interpreter, will there be one present?
  9. When will I be informed of the results of my appeal?
  10. Can I contest the committee's decision?

CONSUMERS PUBLIC INFORMATION

  1. I want to look up and verify licenses for an establishment or person working in a salon, how do I do this?
  2. How can I look up licensees with past disciplinary actions against their licenses?
  3. How can I look up citations for licensees or establishments?
  4. How do I purchase a mailing list and labels of current licensees/applicants?
  5. What licensee information is considered "public"?

COSMETIC SERVICES

  1. What services can be provided in a salon? Who can perform these services?
  2. Are laser treatments regulated by the Board?
  3. Is Botox regulated by the Board?
  4. Is teeth-whitening regulated by the Board?
  5. Who can provide waxing services?
  6. Are spa/bridal parties in a home, office or church legal in California?
  7. Can a cosmetologist, esthetician, or manicurist work in a doctor's office? What types of services can they provide?
  8. Is threading, hair braiding, wig-styling or wig-making regulated by the Board?
  9. Is permanent make-up regulated by the Board?
  10. Do employees who only shampoo the hair of consumers need to be licensed by the Board?
  11. Are "Fish Pedicures" legal in California?
  12. Are certified massage therapists, acupuncturists or reflexologists regulated by the Board?
  13. Are tanning salons regulated by the Board?

SCHOOLS

  1. How do I open a barbering, cosmetology, or electrology school?
  2. Can I open a school prior to obtaining approval from the Board?
  3. Can I open a school for skin care and/or nail care only?
  4. How do I change the name, address, or ownership of an approved school?
  5. How do I add a course to my current curriculum at an approved school?

STUDENTS

  1. How do I know if my school or a school I am interested in attending is approved?
  2. Does the Board recommend schools?
  3. How do I know what courses a school teaches?
  4. Can I check a schools examination results (pass/fail rates)?
  5. I have a complaint about my school, what do I do?

EXTERNSHIP QUESTIONS

  1. What is the Externship Program?
  2. What is the difference between an extern and an apprentice?
  3. Can students attending public cosmetology schools be externs?
  4. How does a student become an extern?
  5. How many school hours must a student complete to qualify as an extern?
  6. Will the extern be paid when working in an establishment?
  7. How many externs can an establishment have?
  8. Can an establishment with only space/booth renters participate in the Externship Program?
  9. How is an extern identified in an establishment?
  10. Can barbering students participate in the Externship Program?
  11. Are there any fees associated with the Externship Program?

If you do not find the answer to your question here, please contact the Board at (800) 952-5210 or E-mail. The hearing impaired may call TDD (800) 326-2297 or TDD (916) 322-1700.

APPLICANTS EDUCATION

1. How many hours are needed to qualify to take the State Board examinations?
Cosmetologist = 1600 hours, Barber = 1500 hours, Esthetician = 600 hours, Electrologist = 600 hours, Manicurist = 400 hours.

2. Can the State Board examination be taken if the required hours have not been completed?
No. No one is allowed entry to the examination until they have completed all the required hours for their field of study.

3. What schools have been approved by the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology?
A list of all the schools that have been approved by the Board are available online and can be viewed by going to the schools link located on the left hand side of the home page. A search can be performed by holding the CTRL and F key and typing in the city's name or ZIP code.

4. I have completed my training. Do I need to take the examination in order to provide services in California?
Yes. You will need to take and pass a written and practical examination in order to perform barbering and cosmetology services for a fee.

5. Are continuing education credits needed to maintain a license?
No. The Board does not require continuing education credits to maintain a license.

6. I would like to obtain my training through the apprentice program. Who do I contact?
For more information on the apprentice program contact a program sponsor in your area listed in the Apprenticeship Information.

7. I finished part of my training in school; can I make up the remaining hours in the apprentice program?
No. Training from a school does not transfer to the apprentice program and vice versa.

OUT-OF-STATE LICENSURE

1. I am licensed in California and plan to apply to another state for licensure. How do I get a certificate of licensure and a copy of my school transcripts sent to that state?
Please fill out the Certification Request form and mail this with the required fee to the Board. The Board will send one certification of licensure to the state you indicate on the form. This certification will indicate the required hours needed to take the examination in California for the license you hold, the examination was passed, the license number, and the issue and expiration date of the license. Transcripts of your school hours will not be on file. You will need to obtain those from the school you attended.

2. How do I apply for licensure in California if I received my training in another state, but have not received a license?
If you are from out-of-state and have not received your license, the California Board will determine your eligibility when you submit your Examination and Initial License Fee Application and Out of State Applicant School Training Form B. If the required amount of hours needed to take the examination has not been met a letter will be sent to you with the number of hours still needed to be eligible to take the examination. This letter will need to be taken to an approved school in California or to a school in the state you are coming from so the required hours can be completed. A Proof of Training or 2nd Form B must be submitted to the California Board once the hours are completed.

3. Does my out-of-state license automatically qualify me for a California license?
No. But you may qualify for what we call "reciprocity", if you meet the following criteria:

(a) A completed "reciprocity" application form and all fees required by the California Board.
(b) Proof of a current license issued by another state to practice that meets all of the following requirements:

(1) It is not revoked, suspended, or otherwise restricted.
(2) It is in good standing.
(3) It has been active for three of the last five years, during which time the applicant has not been subject to disciplinary action or a criminal conviction.

Please fill out the application for Reciprocity and contact the state that issued your license for a letter certifying your status as a licensee. This license certification will be sent to the California Board from the state you are coming from and will be matched up with your application by name. After the California Board has reviewed your application and license certification, and is satisfied you meet the criteria, you will be sent a letter of approval with information on how to obtain your license at a PSI examination site located in California.

4. How do I apply for licensure in California if I am licensed in another state, but have not had one for more than three years?
You will have to apply to take the California examination by filling out the Examination and Initial License Fee Application and you must also obtain a Certificate of Licensure from the state you are licensed in, which may require a fee to send one. The Certificate of Licensure will be sent directly from the state you are coming from to the Board, and will be matched up by name with your application.

If your state requires fewer hours than California, you will also be required to fill out the Out of State Applicant Affidavit of Experience Form C. Please read over the forms to determine what information you need to send.

5. How do I apply for licensure in California if I am licensed in another country?
Please contact the Licensing Unit at 916-574-7570.

EXAMINATIONS

1. How do I obtain an application for the examination?
The applications for examination are located under the Forms/Publications tab on the Board's web site. You can also call (800) 952-5210. The hearing impaired may call TDD (800) 326-2297 or TDD (916) 322-1700.

2. How do I apply or reapply for an examination?
If this is the first time you are applying for the examination you will need to complete the Examination and Initial License Fee Application. If you are re-applying for the examination please fill out the Re-Examination Application.

3. What does the examination consist of?
The examination consists of two parts, a written and practical. The written portion of the examination is made up of 100 multiple-choice questions. Two hours are given to complete this portion. More information about the written examination can be found here www.nictesting.org

During the practical examination, the applicant will be asked to perform procedures relevant to the license they are seeking. For each procedure, the examiner will be grading for

  • Demonstration of proper disinfection and sanitation techniques, consumer protection and safety
  • Set-up of necessary equipment, materials and supplies
  • Preparation of model
  • Ability to perform basic skills

The scope for the examination in each license category - what you need to know or demonstrate in order to pass -- are located on the Forms/Publications page

4. I have been convicted of a crime; can I still apply to take the examination?
Individuals who have been convicted of a crime can still apply to take the examination. The Board will request documents relating to your conviction be included with your Examination and Initial License Fee Application. These are reviewed and evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Some of the factors that are considered consist of the following.

  • The length of time since the conviction
  • The nature of the conviction
  • Evidence of rehabilitation since the conviction
  • Whether the crime (or act) is substantially related to the qualification, functions, or duties of the licensee

If you have any further questions please call the Enforcement Unit at (916) 574-7574.

5. How long does it take to be scheduled for an examination after sending in the application for examination?
The normal time frame for receiving a test date for both the written and practical examination is 8-12 weeks. For the practical examination only, it is 8-12 weeks. For the written examination only, it is 4 weeks.

6. Does the Board offer the National Examination? What does this mean?
Effective May 1, 2009, the Board began administrating the national examination for the written portion of the test. The national examination allows the Board to offer the examination in English, Spanish and Vietnamese. There will be an on-going review and analysis to ensure the examination's content is valid, reliable, and conforms to industry standards. In addition, the Board has updated the barbering and cosmetology text and reference book used in schools to incorporate the national examination criteria. This information is on the Web site. Just click Approved Text and Reference Books.

Taking the National Examination does not mean your California License will be valid in other states. If you are planning on applying for licensure with another state, contact that state for their requirements.

7. I am waiting for my examination date; can I work while I am waiting for my date?
No. You will be cited for unlicensed activity, subject to a $1,000 fine if you are working without a valid license.

8. I just took my examination but was told I do not have my Proof of Training on file. What do I do and how long will it take to get my license?
Please have your school email your Proof of Training document to us at barbercosmo@dca.ca.gov or fax the document to us at 916-575-7281 or 916-575-7282. Once the board has received your information, the license will be issued and mailed to you. Please allow the Board 4-5 days to enter your information into the system.

9. I missed my examination date. Can I reschedule?
No. The Board does not reschedule examination dates. You will have to submit a Re-Examination Application with a new fee to be scheduled for a new date.

10. I failed one part of my examination. How many times can I take the examination in a year? Do I have to pay the whole fee again?
For the cosmetology, manicurist, esthetician and electrology examination the passing score for both the practical and written portions of the exam are good for one year. There is no limit on how many times you can retake a portion of the examination within that year. If you have not passed both portions within one year you will be required to complete both the written and practical sections again. For the fees on re-examinations please refer to the Re-Examination Application.

Applicants for a barbering license will have to re-take both parts of the examination if either the written or practical is failed. Both parts of the examination must be passed at the same time in order to receive a barber's license.

GENERAL

1. How can I change the address on my license?
You can change the address on your license online at the Online Licensing page and also request a duplicate of the license with the new address. Your address will be updated within 48 hours. If you requested a duplicate license it will be sent to you within 15-20 business days.

You can also change your address by printing and mailing the Change of Address form. The normal processing time is 4-6 weeks if submitted by mail. If you would like to update the address by email please send the request to barbercosmo@dca.ca.gov or by fax by sending the form to (916) 575-7281 or (916) 575-7282.

2. How can I change my name on my license?
A Request for Change of Name form will need to be filled out and returned with copies of your government issued ID with your new name and marriage certificate, naturalization documents or other legal documents that changed your name to the address on the top of the form. The documents can also be scanned and sent via email to barbercosmo@dca.ca.gov or faxed to (916) 575-7281 or (916) 575-7282. Please attach a cover letter if you are faxing the documents. Allow for 4-5 days to process this request.

If you would like a duplicate license with your new name, you will also have to submit a $10 fee with the form via mail. This fee can also be paid online at Online Licensing, if you have submitted your information by email or fax, once the name change has been completed.

3. Board Members & Board Meetings
All information regarding Board Members and Meetings is located here.

4. Fee Schedule
The licensing fees are located on the Fees page. You may also want to review the Administrative Fine Schedule associated with inspections and citations.

LICENSEES LICENSE & RENEWAL ISSUES

1. I lost my license. How do I obtain a duplicate?
You may only request a duplicate of your license if you have lost the original. The Board does not allow licensees to have two licenses in their possession. The fee for a duplicate license is $10.

Duplicate licenses can be requested online at the Online licensing page. It can take 15-20 business days to receive it by mail. You can also obtain a duplicate license using the Replacement License form. You will need to print and mail this form along with the fee of $10. The normal time frame to receive a license by mail is 4-6 weeks.

2. What does the "status" of a license mean on your web site?
A license can be:

  • Clear - License is current
  • Delinquent - License has not been renewed
  • Denied - License can have a family support hold
  • Fines Due - License has fines due from an inspection(s)
  • Cancelled - License has been cancelled and is no longer valid
  • Probation - License is on probation due to a disciplinary action by the Board
  • Revoked - License is revoked due to disciplinary action by the Board

3. This is my first time renewing my license online, and I did not see it when I registered. What do I do?
If you are having problems registering your license online for the first time, contact the Technical Support team at (916) 574-8020.

4. What happens if a license is delinquent for five years?
After 5 years without renewing the license, the Board will cancel it. If you would like to be licensed again, you will have to apply for and pass the examination. Please fill out the Examination and Initial License Fee Application and use the cancelled license number as your qualification to apply for the examination.

5. I need to verify a license to see if it has been renewed.
Please go to the Verify Licensee page on the Web site. You can search for the licensee by name or license number to verify the status. Or you can call the Board at (800) 952-5210. The hearing impaired may call TDD (800) 326-2297 or TDD (916) 322-1700.

6. I sent a payment for license renewal and I have not received my license.
It will take 6 to 8 weeks to process a renewal payment if you submitted the payment through the mail without the renewal form. If you send in your payment with the renewal form it should take 2 to 4 weeks to receive the license in the mail.

Please check with your bank to see if the Board cashed your check. If the Board cashed your check and your renewal is taking long than the above time frames call the Board at (800) 952-5210. The hearing impaired may call TDD (800) 326-2297or TDD (916) 322-1700.

7. My license is going to or has expired and I did not receive a renewal notice. What should I do?
You may not receive a renewal notice if you have outstanding fines or you changed your address and did not notify the Board timely. To verify you have no outstanding fines, search for your personal license number at our Verify Licensee page. If you owe fines your status will be 15, please contact the Board at (916) 574-7575. If there are no fines due the fastest way to renew your personal license is on-line at BBC Online licensing page. Address changes can also be done by using this link. To check on the current amounts for renewing your license, refer to the Fees page.

Establishment licenses can only be renewed by mail. Verify you have no outstanding fines for your establishment license at our Verify Establishment page. If you owe fines your status will be 15, please contact the Board at (916) 574-7575. If no fines are due, you can send payment for your establishment license or personal license by sending the renewal payment to the following address. Allow 4 to 6 weeks to process the payment and receive your license in the mail.

Board of Barbering and Cosmetology
ATTN: Cashiers
PO BOX 944226
Sacramento, CA 94244-2260

Include the license number on the check and write "Renewal" on the memo line. If you have outstanding fines and are including payment for these fines, be sure to include the citation number on your check.

ESTABLISHMENT

1. I just bought a salon, what forms do I need to fill out? Do I have to schedule an inspection?
If you have purchased the salon from a previous owner, added an owner to a partnership or deleted an owner in a partnership, you will need to have the previous owner fill out an Establishment Closure form and you will need to fill out a new Establishment Application.

The establishment license is only valid for the location and owner(s) it is issued to. The Board does not schedule inspections. They are performed randomly by inspectors in your area. You may want to review the Self Inspection Worksheet (Spanish) (Vietnamese) to verify your salon is in compliance with California Laws and Regulations.

The establishment license is only valid for the location and owner(s) it is issued to. The Board does not schedule inspections. They are performed randomly by inspectors in your area.

2. I am a booth renter or independent contractor; do I need to apply for my own establishment license?
No, only the owner of the establishment may apply for a establishment license. Only one establishment license may be issued per address.

3. I have been convicted of a crime; can I still apply for an establishment license?
People who have had convictions can still apply for an establishment license. The Board will request documents relating to your conviction be included with your Establishment Application. These are reviewed and evaluated on a case- by-case basis. The factors that are considered include:

  • The length of time since the conviction
  • The nature of the conviction
  • Evidence of rehabilitation since the conviction
  • Whether the crime (or act) is substantially related to the qualification, functions, or duties of the licensee

If you have further questions, call the Enforcement Unit at (916) 574-7574.

4. I moved to a new location; can I still use my establishment license from the previous location?
No. The license is only valid for the location and owner it is issued to. If you have moved, you will need to apply for a new Establishment Application.

Operating an unlicensed establishment is a violation of Business and Profession Code 7317. Practice of Barbering, Cosmetology, or Electrolysis for Compensation Without License which carries a $1,000 fine.

5. Can any type of establishment use a barber pole in or on the outside of the premises?
Only an establishment that employs a barber can have a barber pole in or on the outside of the establishment.

6. What type of license is needed for a mobile spa business?
If you are planning to provide services inside of a mobile unit you would need to apply for the Mobile Unit Application. The requirements for this license are listed on our web site under Business and Professions Code sections 7354-7361 and California Code Regulations section 937.

7. I would like to offer spa/bridal parties in the consumers' home; is this legal?
No. Any type of service that is regulated by the Board needs to be performed by a licensee in a licensed establishment. Licensee's providing spa / bridal parties at an unlicensed location may be cited for Business and Profession Code 7317. Practice of Barbering, Cosmetology, or Electrolysis for Compensation Without License which carries a $1,000 fine.

8. I would like to hire a person for the sole purpose of shampooing or preparing consumers services; can I do this?
No, only a licensed barber, cosmetologist or apprentice can wash a consumer's hair or prepare a consumer for services.

9. I would like to offer "Fish Pedicures". Are these legal in California?
No. After researching "Fish Pedicures", the Board determined that disinfection methods were not consistent with the Board's regulations. You may view the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology Statement on "Fish Pedicures".

10. Can I have a salon in my home?
Yes. As long as you have completed the Establishment Application and your home salon meets all the requirements listed on the application for your home salon. You will also have to contact your city and county regarding additional permits or licenses.

11. How long do logs for each foot spa chair or basin need be kept in the salon?
It is recommended the required logs for each chair be kept for one year. Not having a current log available for the inspector to view can result in a $500 fine per chair/basin pursuant to CCR Article 12 Sections 980.1-980.3.

12. What are the most common violations cited during an inspection?
Please refer to the 10 Most Common Violations Cited During Inspections.

ENFORCEMENT COMPLAINTS

1. How do I file a complaint? Will you disclose my name if I put it on the complaint form? What happens if I file the complaint anonymously?
You may file a complaint online, through the mail or by sending a fax to 916-575-7280. The Board requests all complaints be made in writing. You can print out the Consumer Complaint Form and mail the form to the address listed on the top or request one by calling (800) 952-5210. You can also submit a complaint online by using the Online Complaint Form.

The Board will not disclose any of your personal information unless you file a consumer harm complaint. For general complaints the Board will not disclose your name but may notify the licensee of the complaint and what they need to do to correct the violation.

If you filed the complaint anonymously, and the Board cannot contact you for additional information, the case may be closed due to insufficient evidence. In addition when filing a complaint anonymously you cannot inquire about the status of the complaint, nor will you be notified of the outcome.

To investigate a consumer harm compliant, your name will be given to the licensee so that they may respond to the allegations. The Board will not be able to conduct an investigation, unless the licensee is aware of the complaint.

2. What types of complaints does the Board investigate?
The Board investigates complaints related to violations of the Boards rules and regulations. The Board also investigates complaints where the consumer has been harmed by one of our licensee's.

3. What types of complaints are not within the Boards jurisdiction?
The Board does not investigate complaints on services received; the Board will not request a refund for dissatisfaction with services. There are many services that are not within the jurisdiction of the Board that may be performed in a licensed establishment, (examples: permanent make-up, massage, threading, medical services, and acupuncture.)

4. How does the Board investigate the complaints it receives?
Complaints are received by the complaint intake unit. The complaint is reviewed to see if it is within the Board's jurisdiction, if it is within the Board's jurisdiction a case is opened and a complaint acknowledgment letter is sent to the complainant. It is then assigned to an analyst to investigate the complaint. If there is not enough information in the complaint to conduct an investigation, the analyst will contact the complainant for additional information. To investigate the complaint the analyst will look at the prior history of the licensee, including any additional complaints the licensee has received and any prior inspections that have occurred. The analyst may send a letter to the licensee letting them know a complaint has been received against them, and ask them to respond to the complaint, or the analyst may request an inspection of the establishment depending on how long ago the establishment was inspected and what their violations were.

The complainant's personal information is kept confidential and not released to the subject of the complaint. In cases alleging consumer harm, only the complainant's name is released. If you would like to request a status update on the case, you must leave contact information so the Board can send you the case number. Without this number, the Board cannot identify you as the individual who initiated the case and will not share any information with you if you inquire about the case unless disciplinary action is taken. No one views this information except the case worker and it is not shared with anyone unless you have the case number and can identify yourself.

Complaints can take a minimum of three months to investigate. Once your case is closed, you will be notified by mail or email if you left your contact information on the complaint form.

INSPECTIONS

1. How are inspections performed? Can I schedule my own inspection?
Inspectors are assigned to specific territories throughout California and perform inspections randomly. You cannot schedule an inspection. When an inspector arrives at the salon, they will have proper identification and announce they are from the State Board and are there to conduct an inspection. You may continue working on your clients while the inspection is being performed. They will ask to see a valid picture ID to verify the licensees working and ask the licensee in charge to unlock any cupboards, doors or drawers within the salon to inspect. At the end of the inspection they will go over the inspection report issued to the establishment with the licensee in charge and with each individual licensee who was also issued an inspection report during the inspection.

If you would like to perform a self-inspection of your salon you may refer to the Self Inspection Worksheet (Spanish) (Vietnamese).

If you would like to perform a self-inspection of your salon you may refer to the Self Inspection Worksheet.

2. An inspector just inspected my salon; what happens now?
After the inspection is complete, the inspector will leave a yellow copy of the inspection report with each individual present. This is not a citation. This information, as well as any photographs taken during the inspection will be forwarded to headquarters where the Cite and Fine Unit will determine what violations warrant a citation and fine. A citation will be mailed to the address on record within 45-60 days of the inspection.

The citation will be sent with information regarding the appeal process and the due date of any fines owed. Please read over all the information that is sent in the mail. If you are appealing the citation, you will have to mail the appeal request by the due date indicated on the citation. Only the person who received the citation can appeal the citation.

3. What are the most common violations cited during an inspection?
Please refer to the 10 Most Common Violations Cited During Inspections.

4. I have fines due and need to renew my license, how do I do this?
If you have been issued a citation, you are required to pay the citation in full before the Board will issue a renewal on your license(s). If you have paid your renewal fee and have fines due, the Board will hold the payment until all fines have been paid. Once the fines have been paid, the Board will release your license.

If you have questions regarding your citations or need to verify if you have any outstanding fines, please call the Board at (916) 574-7575.

5. Can I pay my fines online?
Yes. The BBC’s BreEZe system can process online payments for fines. You will need to register as a new user if you haven’t already. BreEZe accepts American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa. If you would like to learn more about BreEZe please visit: https://www.breeze.ca.gov/.

6. I am the owner of the salon. My salon was cited for violations by an independent contractor, booth renter, or employee. Who is responsible for paying the fine?
The Board does not differentiate between independent contractors, booth renters, or employees. The owner of the salon is responsible for the activities of all of the people working in the salon. If an inspector finds a violation by an individual working at the shop, he or she will issue a citation to both the individual and the salon. If the independent contractor, booth renter, employee is not present during the inspection and has violations at his or her station, the owner of the salon will still be issued a citation for these violations.

7. I just received a Request for Payment notice in the mail. What does this mean?
The Inspections Unit will issue Request for Payment notices to individuals who have not paid their citations. The Board will make three attempts to collect the amount due. After three attempts are made, the Board can refer the information to a collection agency or Franchise Tax Board to collect any fines due.

DISCIPLINARY REVIEW COMMITTEE HEARINGS

1. I received a citation and I do not agree; what should I do?
After receiving the citation in the mail, the citation is due and payable. You have the option of appealing the citation if you do not agree with it.

In order to request an appeal, make sure to mark the box "Yes" and list all violations you're appealing. After the Board receives the citation appeal request, an acknowledgment letter will be sent to you, if the request is made by the deadline indicated on the citation. An informal appeal hearing will then be scheduled with the Board's Disciplinary Review Committee.

2. How much time do I have to appeal my citation?
All appeals must be submitted by the due date indicated on the citation. The due date must be within 30 days of the date of notice, violation or citation was issued. Appeals that are not submitted in a timely manner will be rejected. Only the individual who received the citation can appeal it.

3. How and when will I be notified of my hearing?
Approximately 30 days before the date of your hearing, you will be notified by mail of the date, time and location of your hearing. To ensure that the Notices of Hearing are delivered, the Board will send two Notices to your address of record - the address on your license - one via regular mail and the other via certified mail. If you have recently moved or have cancelled your establishment license, you must notify the Board within 30 days of your new address.

4. What can I do if I am unable to attend in person?
You may send an authorized representative to speak on your behalf. You must provide a signed authorization letter allowing the representative to appear in your absence. If you are an employee of an establishment, the owner of the establishment cannot represent you at the hearing.

You may also choose to withdraw your request for a hearing by sending in a written request prior to the hearing and subsequently pay the full amount of the fine. A "withdraw request" form is included on the second page of your Notice of Hearing.

5. Can I submit a written statement instead of appearing in person?
Yes. You may choose to waive your right to appeal in person and provide the Board with written testimony or evidence, such as photos, proof of licensure, or cleaning logs, detailing the facts and circumstances relating to the citation. You will be offered that option in the acknowledgment letter you receive from the Board when it accepts your citation appeal request.

6. If I fail to show up at my hearing, can I reschedule?
You must show "good cause" in order to reschedule your hearing. "Good Cause" is defined by the Board as personal illness, auto accident, death or severe illness in the immediate family or other severe physical or emotional hardship. For any condition to be considered good cause, it must be verified in writing.

7. What can I expect during the informal appeal hearing?
During the appeal hearing, you will have the opportunity to discuss your case with the Disciplinary Review Committee, which consists of a panel of two-to-three Board members. You will have 15 minutes to state your case and explain why you are appealing. You are allowed, but are not required, to bring appropriate legal representation, witnesses, written documentation or photos to support your case.

8. If I need an interpreter, will there be one present?
No. You must bring an interpreter with you and the interpreter cannot have a pending appeal hearing for a citation issued to him or her at the same location.

9. When will I be informed of the results of my appeal?
You will be notified by mail of the Committee's decision 30 days after your hearing date. The Decision Document mailed to you will state whether your violations are upheld, modified, or dismissed. It will also state the total amount owed on the citation.

10. Can I contest the committee's decision?
Yes. If you do not agree with the committee's decision, you may appeal by sending the Board a written request to be heard before an Administrative Law Judge. Your request must be submitted before the effective date of the decision, or 59 days after your hearing date. Your appeal will then be forwarded to the Office of the Attorney General.

CONSUMERS PUBLIC INFORMATION

1. I want to look up and verify licenses for an establishment or person working in a salon; how do I do this?
You can do this by visiting the Consumers page. You can perform a search for the licensee or the establishment.

2. How can I look up licensees with past disciplinary actions against their licenses?
Once the Board has disciplined a licensee, the disciplinary action will be published online on the Enforcement page. The disciplinary actions are listed by last name of the individual and by the name of the establishment.

3. How can I look up citations for licensees or establishments?
The Board does not currently publish this information online. A Request for Public Records will have to be submitted in writing. Please include the following information.

  • Name of the person
  • License number
  • What information you are requesting
  • Your name, contact number and address

And send it to:

Board of Barbering and Cosmetology
Public Records
PO BOX 944226
Sacramento, CA 94244-2260

4. How do I purchase a mailing list and labels of current licensees/applicants?
You will have to contact our Public Sales Office at 916-574-8150 or email them at PublicInformation@dca.ca.gov to purchase mailing lists.

5. What licensee information is considered "public"?
Licenses are printed with the address of record as well as the name of the licensee. If you are requesting additional information, you will have to submit a Request of Public Record. This type of request is required in writing. Please include the following information.

  • Name of the person
  • License number
  • What information you are requesting
  • Your name, contact number and address

And send it to:

Board of Barbering and Cosmetology
Public Records
PO BOX 944226
Sacramento, CA 94244-2260

COSMETIC SERVICES

1. What services can be provided in a salon? Who can perform these services?
Our licensees are able to perform services for beautification only. They may not perform procedures that penetrate the skin or affect any living tissue (with the exception of the electrologist who may penetrate the skin with the appropriate tools in the scope of their license).

  • Cosmetologist can prep, style, cut, color hair on the body including tinting eyelashes. They may also perform facials and remove hair by waxing or tweezing. Their license also allows them to provide the services of a manicurist and esthetician.
  • Barbers can prep, style, cut and color hair. They may also apply cosmetic preparations, antiseptics, powders or lotions to the scalp, face or neck. Barbers are the only licensees who can perform a shave on a consumer.
  • Estheticians can perform facials; remove hair by tweezing or waxing. They may also apply makeup and false eyelashes.
  • Manicurists can give manicures and pedicures and apply, false nails (using gel, acrylic or silk). Their licenses limit their contact to the hand and foot area only.
  • Electrologists perform their services with a needle or probe to remove the hair on the body of a person using electric currents. This is the only license that allows a licensee to use a needle.

For further information of the scope of practice for our licensees you may view sections 950.1 - 950.5 in our regulations.

2. Are laser treatments regulated by the Board?
No. Our licensees are not allowed to penetrate the skin of a consumer or do any invasive procedure. It is against the law for a Board licensee to operate a laser unless they also have a medical license. Please refer to the Medical Board to inquire about the regulations on this type of treatment.

3. Is Botox regulated by the Board?
No. Our licensees are not allowed to penetrate the skin of a consumer or do any invasive procedure. It is against the law for a Board licensee to operate a laser unless they also have a medical license. Please refer to the Medical Board to inquire about the regulations on this type of treatment.

4. Is teeth whitening regulated by the Board?
No. Our licensees have not been trained to perform this type of service under their license. Contact the Dental Board for more information about the regulations on this type of activity.

5. Who can provide waxing services?
Cosmetologists and estheticians can perform waxing on the entire body.

6. Are spa/bridal parties in a home office or church legal in California?
Not if a licensee is providing the services. Any type of service that is regulated by the Board needs to be performed by a licensee in a licensed establishment. The Board must be able to inspect the tools and the location where services are being provided for the safety of the consumers of California. At this time, individuals providing spa/bridal parties at an unlicensed location can be cited for a violation of Business and Profession Code Section 7317. Practice of Barbering, Cosmetology, or Electrolysis for Compensation Without License which carries a $1,000 fine.

7. Can a cosmetologist, esthetician, or manicurist work in a doctor's office? What types of services can they provide?
Only if the doctor's office has an establishment license issued from the Board. And they may only perform services within their scope of practice. They may not penetrate the skin or perform any services that would affect living tissue. Please refer to the Medical Board for additional restrictions.

8. Is threading, hair braiding, wig-styling or wig-making regulated by the Board?
These services are not regulated by the Board and do not need to be performed by a licensee.

9. Is permanent make-up regulated by the Board?
The Board does not regulate permanent make-up. This is considered an invasive procedure. You may contact your city or county for more information regarding permanent make-up and tattooing services and requirements.

Licensees who would like to perform this service cannot practice this service under the scope of their license or lead the public to believe the service is included in the scope of their license. The Board recommends licensees who provide the service do so in a separate room designated for this practice alone.

10. Do employees who only shampoo the hair of consumers need to be licensed by the Board?
Only a licensed barber, cosmetologist or apprentice can wash a consumer's hair. The Board does not have a shampoo person's license. Unless the employee has one of the above mentioned licenses, he or she cannot perform this service on a customer.

11. Are "Fish Pedicures" legal in California?
No. After researching "Fish Pedicures" the Board determined that disinfection methods were not consistent with Board regulations. You may view the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology Statement on "Fish Pedicures".

12. Are certified massage therapists, acupuncturists or reflexologists regulated by the Board?
No. The Board does not regulated massage therapists, acupuncturists or reflexologists.

13. Are tanning salons regulated by the Board?
No. The Board does not regulate tanning salons. However, if the tanning salon offers services regulated by the Board, the salon will be subject to Board inspections.

SCHOOLS:

1. How do I open a barbering, cosmetology, or electrology school?
The following information sheets can be on the Board's website at:

To Open a New School of Barbering
www.barbercosmo.ca.gov/schools/info_newbarbersch.shtml

To Open a New School of Cosmetology
www.barbercosmo.ca.gov/schools/info_newcosmosch.shtml

To Open a New School of Electrology
www.barbercosmo.ca.gov/schools/info_newelectsch.shtml

2. Can I open a school prior to obtaining approval from the Board?
No, any hours a student completes before a school is approved and issued a School Code will not be accepted.

3. Can I open a school for skin care and/or nail care only?
No, the Board does not recognize stand alone schools for skin care or nail care. Skin care and nail care are branches of cosmetology and must be taught in a school of cosmetology.

4. How do I change the name, address, or ownership of an approved school?
You must submit one of the following applications to the Board to change the name, address, or ownership of an approved school:

Application for Barbering School Approval
www.barbercosmo.ca.gov/schools/barbersch_app.pdf

Application for Cosmetology School Approval
www.barbercosmo.ca.gov/schools/cosmosch_app.pdf

Application for Electrology School Approval
www.barbercosmo.ca.gov/schools/electsch_app.pdf

5. How do I add a course to my current curriculum at an approved school?
You must submit an Application to Add Course to Approved School of Barbering, Cosmetology, or Electrology:
www.barbercosmo.ca.gov/schools/addcourse_app.pdf

STUDENTS:

1. How do I know if my school or a school I am interested in attending is approved?
A list of approved schools can be found on the Board's website at: www.barbercosmo.ca.gov/schools/approved_schools.pdf

2. Does the Board recommend schools?
No, the Board does not recommend schools. A list of approved schools can be found on the Board's website at:
www.barbercosmo.ca.gov/schools/approved_schools.pdf

3. How do I know what courses a school teaches?
You must contact the school for a list of approved courses. A list of approved schools can be found on the Board's website at: www.barbercosmo.ca.gov/schools/approved_schools.pdf

4. Can I check a schools examination results (pass/fail rates)?
Yes, examination results can be found on the Board's website at: www.barbercosmo.ca.gov/schools/schls_rslts.shtml

5. I have a complaint about my school, what do I do?
The Board of Barbering and Cosmetology (Board) has jurisdiction over violations of the Barbering and Cosmetology Act and Regulations regarding health and safety issues, missing and/or broken equipment, school curriculum, making sure the school meets the California Building Code requirements for a school, and/or operating without approval from the Board. If your complaint falls under the Board's jurisdiction, you may file a complaint online at www.barbercosmo.ca.gov/enforcement/complaint.shtml or send your complaint in writing to P.O. Box 944226, Sacramento, CA 94244.

For private postsecondary schools, the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) has jurisdiction if the school has a presence in California, is offering postsecondary education to the public for a charge, and doesn't fall under a category of exempt institutions. Schools approved by the BPPE must comply with the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 and Regulations. The BPPE has jurisdiction over complaints regarding fraud, contractual issues (enrollment agreement not followed), unqualified faculty, operating without BPPE approval, and disciplinary actions taken by another state or state agency. If you are unsure whether your complaint falls under BPPE's jurisdiction, you may contact the BPPE at (888) 370-7389 or bppe@dca.ca.gov. Complaint forms are located on the BPPE's website at www.bppe.ca.gov.

For complaints you are unable to resolve with the school that are not within the Board or the BPPE's jurisdiction you may need to seek the assistance of an attorney.

EXTERNSHIP QUESTIONS:

1. What is the Externship Program?
The externship program is a program that allows a student enrolled in a private school of cosmetology to work (unpaid) in a licensed salon under the direct and immediate supervision of a designated licensee.

2. What is the difference between an extern and an apprentice?
An extern attends a private school of cosmetology and works in a licensed salon in an assisting capacity under the direct and immediate supervision of a designated licensee. An extern is not paid for their services.

An apprentice attends a two year program which allows the apprentice to work in a licensed salon under the guidance and supervision of a designated licensee (trainer) instead of attending a public or private school of barbering, cosmetology, or electrology. An apprentice receives on-the-job training, and is paid for their services.

3. Can students attending public cosmetology schools be externs?
No, students attending public cosmetology schools such as community colleges cannot become student externs.

4. How does a student become an extern?
A student should speak with someone at the school they attend. It is the responsibility of each participating school to submit a Notification of Participation in the Cosmetology Externship Program form to the Board and ensure the establishments and licensees participating in the program are in good standing with the Board.

5. How many school hours must a student complete to qualify as an extern?
A student must complete a minimum of 60% of the total clock hours required for graduation in the course to be eligible to participate in the program.

6. Will the extern be paid when working in an establishment?
No, a person working as an extern shall receive clock hour credit toward graduation, but that credit shall not exceed eight hours per week and shall not exceed 10 percent of the total clock hours required for completion of the course.

7. How many externs can an establishment have?
One extern per four licensed employees is permitted.

8. Can an establishment with only space/booth renters participate in the Externship Program?
No, only establishments with licensees that work for salaries or commissions (not space renters) can participate in the program.

9. How is an extern identified in an establishment?
While working in an approved establishment, all students participating in the externship program shall have in their possession a school laminated photographic identification card.

10. Can barbering students participate in the Externship Program?
No, only cosmetology, manicuring, esthetician, and cosmetology cross-over students who attend a private school of cosmetology can participate in the program.

11. Are there any fees associated with the Externship Program?
No, there are no Board related fees to participate in the program.

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