Alabama Board of Cosmetology: Esthetician License Requirements
While the state of Alabama is widely known for its thriving lumber, steel, automotive, and apparel industries, the beauty industry is also growing here. As an esthetician in the state of Alabama, you can help both men and women look and feel their best by improving their skin.
There are a variety of options for esthetician jobs in Alabama. You can work in establishments such as dermatologist offices, spas salons, cruise ships, resorts, and wellness centers. Some estheticians specialize in paramedical esthetics, some market skin care products, and makeup and some choose to work as beauty consultants.
What do Estheticians do?
Estheticians are professionals who educate clients on proper care of their skin. They also assess the skin in order to apply the right treatments like a scrub, mask, or a peel to help clients achieve the look and feel they desire from their skin. Most estheticians only work with the areas of the face, neck, and chest. Estheticians can perform waxing for the purposes of hair removal and they can use lasers as a treatment modality.
Estheticians also commonly perform:
- Threading techniques
- Moisturizing body treatments
- Chemical depilatories
- Microdermabrasion sessions
- Application of makeup and other skin care products and instructing clients how to do so on their own
- Massage of the head, neck, and scalp
- Anti-aging treatments
- Extraction of blackheads
- Make recommendations regarding skin care products
- Refer to other skin specialists like a dermatologist when appropriate
Estheticians must also clean, sanitize, and restock equipment. Some estheticians choose to have their own business and also must take on managerial tasks.
Esthetician License Requirements and Training Schools in Alabama
In order to work as an esthetician in the state of Alabama, you must first become licensed by the Alabama Board of Cosmetology and Barbering. You will need to complete the following steps in order to receive licensure in Alabama.
- Step 1: Complete a State Approved Esthetics Program
- Step 2: Complete and Submit the Esthetician Application for Examination
- Step 3: Take and Pass the Written and Practical Licensing Exams
- Step 4: Renew Your AL Esthetician License Every Two Years
- Esthetician License Reciprocity in Alabama
- Alabama State Board Contact Information
- Alabama Written Exam Locations
Step 1: Complete a State Approved Esthetics Program
In order to become a licensed esthetician in Alabama, you must be at least 16 years old and have completed up to a 10th-grade education. The Alabama Board of Cosmetology and Barbering requires potential estheticians to complete 1,000 clock hours of education in an approved school prior to taking the esthetics board exam. You can select from a school dedicated only to the field of esthetics or complete an esthetics program at a school of cosmetology.
Esthetics schools teach students about safety and sanitation on the job, human anatomy, biology, and chemistry, waxing, makeup application, and even some business skills for those who may one day own their own esthetician business.
Esthetics Apprenticeship Option
In lieu of 1,000 esthetics education hours, Alabama allows applicants to complete a 2,000-hour apprenticeship with a licensed esthetician. This gives potential estheticians the ability to get their training hands-on outside of a classroom.
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Step 2: Complete and Submit the Esthetician Application for Examination
Once you have completed your education, you will need to pay a $40 fee and submit an application to take the esthetics board exam.
You will be notified by the Alabama Board of Cosmetology and Barbering if your application has been approved. Once your application has been approved you can schedule your written exam through PSI Services LLC.
If you have completed an apprenticeship instead you will need to submit an apprentice application and submit a $75 registration fee.
Step 3: Take and Pass the Written and Practical Licensing Exams
Preparing for the Written and Practical Exams
The Alabama Board of Cosmetology and Barbering uses the National Esthetics examination via the National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC).
The National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC) recommends the following reference materials to help you prepare for and pass the written (theory) and practical esthetics exams, which can be purchased at discounted prices on Amazon:
- Milady Standard Esthetics: Fundamentals (2013, 11th Edition)
- Salon Fundamentals: Esthetics Textbook (2007, 11th printing, 2nd Edition, August 2013)
We also recommend that you purchase and study the following books in preparation for your exams:
- Salon Fundamentals Esthetics Licensure Exam Prep Book (Spiral-bound – 2007)
- Modern Esthetics: A Scientific Source for Estheticians (Milady)
The Written Examination
PSI Services LLC administers the written exam on behalf of the National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology. Once your license application has been approved by the Alabama Cosmetology Board, you will be required to schedule your esthetics written exam using the PSI Services website. You MUST pass the written exam before applying for the practical exam.
The esthetics written exam will cover several portions of the field including human anatomy, skin analysis, microbiology, chemistry, safety procedures, massage techniques and their effects, documentation, hair removal procedures, and many other important topics.
There are several ways to study for this important exam. You can purchase books and online practice tests to help you identify any holes or weaknesses in your esthetics knowledge base. You can review your course notes and books or even study with friends.
The written exam requires a $75 fee. You can select from one of these Alabama cities for your testing site:
You must get at least a 70 percent on the written exam to pass. This portion of the exam usually takes about 90 minutes to complete. Important info about scheduling and taking this exam can be found here.
The Practical Examination
In order to schedule the practical portion of your exam, you must first pass the written one. The practical exam costs $120 and is administered by Professional Credential Services (PCS). This exam will test your hands-on skills in these areas:
Set up and client protection
- Setup and client protection
- Cleansing and steaming the face
- Massaging the face
- Manual extraction of the forehead
- Hair removal of the eyebrows
- Facial mask
- Facial makeup
The practical exam is offered in each of the following areas:
- North Alabama
You are required to bring your admission notice, a recent 2″ x 2″ passport photograph (head-and-shoulders, full frontal view, color photo), and two forms of identification that are not expired (student ID and employment ID are not acceptable forms of identification). It is your responsibility to bring all of your examination supplies with you to the exam.
Step 4: Renew Your AL Esthetician License Every Two Years
Every two years, you will be required to renew your Alabama esthetics license by paying an $80 fee to the Alabama Board of Cosmetology and Barbering.
You have two options when renewing your license. You can either renew your license online or by using the Personal Renewal Application. Your license must be renewed during your birth month in odd-numbered years.
Continuing education credits are not required for renewal, however, it is wise for all professionals in the field to keep up with new techniques and knowledge by going to classes, completing online courses, and going to seminars. To help advance the profession and to gain access to resources, estheticians can join professional associations.
Esthetician License Reciprocity in Alabama
If you are licensed in another state, Alabama will generally honor your esthetician license without additional testing. You will need to have certification from your current state board sent directly to the Alabama Board of Cosmetology and Barbering.
The Alabama board will not accept proof of certification unless it comes from the board of your current state. It may not come from you. Once they receive this proof, they will notify you of any paperwork that needs to be completed and you will be required to pay $100 for reciprocity.
Alabama State Board of Cosmetology Contact Information
Alabama Board of Cosmetology and Barbering
RSA Union Building
100 North Union Street
Montgomery, AL 36130
Phone: (334) 242-1918
Toll Free: 1-800-815-7453
Fax: (334) 242-1926
Alabama Written Exam Locations
Below is a map showing the locations of the written exams administered by PSI Services LLC. Before you arrive at a PSI test center, please be sure to call PSI Services toll-free at (800) 733-9267 to confirm the test center’s current address and inquire about their hours of operation.