Information Regarding the Examination

Effective January 1, 2022, the practical exam is no longer required for all license types. Candidates only need to pass the written exam to become licensed. Once an examination application is approved by the Board, a PSI handbook will be sent to the candidate. The candidate will schedule the written exam at a time and PSI location of their choice.

The exam is available in English, Korean, Spanish, and Vietnamese. Please note: the exam is translated into the most universal or neutral version of each language to be acceptable to the widest possible audience. If a candidate cannot read, speak, or write in English at a 10th grade-level and the examination is not available in their native language, the candidate may request approval to use an interpreter for one or both parts of the examination. Please refer to Interpreter or Interpreter/Model instructions at:

The written examinations, excluding barbers, have 100 questions and candidates are allowed 120 minutes to complete; the barber written examination has 50 questions and candidates are allowed 90 minutes to complete. Note: The written examinations for all license types may contain 10 additional pretest items. These items are placed randomly throughout the examination and will not count towards or against the candidate’s score.

California Candidate Information Bulletins (CIB)

These Bulletins include the content outline covered by the written examination, sample questions and answers.

Effective July 1, 2022

The California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology is happy to announce that effective July 1, 2022, we will be offering the national examinations developed by PSI Services for all license types. The processes used to develop these examinations have been reviewed by the Department of Consumer Affairs, Office of Professional Examination Services and the examinations have been deemed valid for use in California.

Under the direction of PSI psychometricians, the examinations have been developed by licensed professionals who are subject matter experts in Cosmetology, Barbering, Manicuring, Esthetics and Electrology. Each examination content outline identifies practice areas of importance to licensees critical for providing services to the public in a safe and competent manner.

The Board will hold two virtual meetings to provide our schools with an overview of the new examinations. These meetings will be held on May 2, 2022, and May 23, 2022. A link on how to access these meetings will be emailed directly to Board-approved schools.
Please note: these meetings are for school personnel and not for students or the general public.

Provided in the links below are the examination bulletins which include the content outline for each examination as well as the reference materials used for examination development:

Additional Resources