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How to Become a Licensed Esthetician in Illinois

Illinois is home to one of the most populous cities in the United States, the city of Chicago. This state has many industries that support the beauty industry such as fashion, politics, television, and movies. As such, there is no shortage of jobs for those working in beauty fields such as a licensed esthetician. Licensed estheticians in Illinois can work in:

  • Spas
  • Salons
  • Resorts and hotels
  • Medical spas
  • Dermatology and chiropractic offices
  • Film and fashion industries

Some even work for private clients and in political offices.

No matter where you work, this is an exciting and ever-evolving industry to be involved in. If you are interested in becoming a licensed esthetician in the state of Illinois, keep reading to find out exactly what you must do.

Esthetician License Requirements and Training Schools in Illinois

Step 1: Complete a State Approved Esthetics Program

The Illinois Board of Cosmetology is the regulating body that oversees estheticians. They require those wanting to become a licensed esthetician to be at least 16 years old and have completed a high school education or pass an Ability to Benefit Test.

Your first step to becoming an Illinois licensed esthetician is to attain 750 clock hours in esthetics training from a state-approved school with a period of study that is no less than 18 weeks and no more than 4 consecutive years.

Your esthetics education will cover a variety of esthetics topics and hands-on skills including:

  • Skin care products
  • Facials, exfoliates, and chemical peels
  • Nutrition
  • Waxing
  • Aromatherapy
  • Body and enzyme treatments
  • Microdermabrasion and injections
  • Retail and sales techniques
  • Makeup artistry, including runway and wedding makeup application
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Infection control, safety, and sanitation

Let Esthetician Schooling Connect You With a High Quality Esthetician School in Your Area!

Are you ready to take the next step and begin your career as a well-paid esthetician? Esthetician Schooling has partnered with some of the best esthetician schools in the nation.  Our huge network of nationally recognized esthetician schools will make it easy for you to find the right school and get started training immediately!

The beauty schools in our network contain one or more of the following high quality standards:

  • State Board Recognition
  • NACCAS Accreditation
  • Student Financial Aid
  • Job Placement Assistance for Those Who Qualify

To get started, simply fill out the quick 1-minute application below.

Step 2: Complete and Submit the Esthetician Application for Examination

Although the Illinois State Board of Cosmetology is the licensing authority for estheticians in the state, the exams are administered by Continental Testing Services (CTS). Continental Testing Services currently allows you to apply for the examination either by paper application or online.


To Apply by Paper Application

To apply for examination using the paper application, you must do the following:

  1. Complete and submit the Application for Licensure and/or Examination (be sure to indicate that your licensure method is “Examination”).
  2. Submit your official school transcript with the official school seal affixed.
  3. Submit a Certification of Licensure only if you have ever held a license as an esthetician before.
  4. Include a check or money order in the amount of $156.00 (subject to change) made payable to Continental Testing Services, Inc. to cover the non-refundable examination fee.

Mail your four-page application, supported documents, and payment to:

Continental Testing Services, Inc.
P.O. Box 100
LaGrange, Illinois 60525-0100

Once your application has been approved, you will receive a notice of admission from Continental Testing Services instructing you to register with PSI Services in order to take the Esthetician Examination.


To Apply Online

To apply for the exam online, simply do the following:

  1. Go to Continental Testing Services.
  2. Click the red “IDFPR – Illinois Division of Professional Regulation Exams” button.
  3. Click the “131 – Licensed Esthetician” link (about three-quarters of the way down the list).
  4. Scroll all the way down the page (past the STOP sign) and click Online Esthetician Application.
  5. Enter your Social Security Number, email address, select your Application Status, and click the Start button.
  6. Fill out the online application
  7. Upload a copy of your official school transcript with the official school seal affixed.
  8. Upload a copy of your Certification of Licensure only if you have ever held a license as an esthetician before.
  9. Pay the $156 fee (subject to change) using your credit card or debit card.

Once your application has been approved, you will receive a notice of admission from Continental Testing Services instructing you to register with PSI Services in order to take the Esthetician Examination.


Step 3: Take and Pass the Esthetician Examination

Registering for the Exam

Although the esthetician exam is contracted out to Continental Testing Services by the state of Illinois, the computer-based exams are actually adminsitered at PSI Test Centers located in Illinois and Evansville, Indiana.

Once Continental Testing Services has approved your application for examination, they will send you a notice instructing you to register for the Esthetician Examination through PSI Services. It is your responsibility to schedule your own exam.

You can schedule the exam online by going here and doing the following:

  1. Select “Government/State Licensing Agencies” from the Select Organization drop-down menu.
  2. Select “Illinois” from the Jurisdiction drop down menu.
  3. Select “IL Cosmetology” from the Select Account drop down menu.
  4. Click the “IL Esthetician Examination – English” link in the Classification menu.
  5. After the webpage loads, click the “Sign In or Create an Account” button and either sign in or create a new account.
  6. Follow the instructions that are given to you.

You also have the option of scheduling your exam over the phone by calling a PSI representative toll-free at 1-800-733-9267 (Monday through Friday from 7:30 AM to 8:00 PM EST and Saturday from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM EST).

You can also schedule your written exam using PSI’s Interactive Voice Response System during non business hours at 1-800-733-

If you must reschedule your written exam, you can do so without forfeiting your fee by contacting PSI at least 2 business days prior to your scheduled exam date by calling1-800-733-9267 and using the automated system.


Preparing for the Esthetician Examination

The National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC) recommends the following reference materials to help you prepare for and pass the esthetician examination, which can be purchased at discounted prices on Amazon:

We also recommend that you purchase and study the following books in preparation for your exams:


What to Bring to the Exam

You will need to ensure you bring the following items with you to your exam:

  • A valid form of identification (more information can be found on page 15 of the Candidate Information Bulletin)
  • Professional attire that can be layered to accommodate for varying temperatures in the testing room.


The Esthetician Examination

You will have 90 minutes to complete the NIC written portion of the Illinois esthetics licensing exam. You should arrive 30 minutes prior to your scheduled testing time for check-in. No late admissions will be allowed. If you arrive late or forget your required form of identification, you will need to reschedule your exam and pay additional fees.

The written exam questions will be 55 percent scientific concepts questions and 45 percent skin care and services questions. You must score a 75 percent or higher to pass the written exam.

The esthetics written exam will include topics such as:

  • Microbiology
  • Infection control and contagious diseases
  • Skin functions and analysis
  • Factors that impact the skin
  • Contraindications for services
  • Basic Chemistry
  • Color theory and makeup application
  • Hair removal procedures
  • Human anatomy and physiology

You will receive an unofficial score prior to leaving the testing site. Your official score will be mailed or emailed to you from CTS one to two weeks after the test. If you passed, you will also receive an application for licensure.


Step 4: Renew Your IL Esthetician License Every Two Years

Your esthetician license in Illinois will need to be renewed before September 30th of every odd-numbered year. In order to continue working as an esthetician in Illinois, you will need to complete your renewal.

In order to renew, you must have completed a minimum of 10 hours of continuing education during the previous two years. This education must be directly related to esthetics topics and your work in the field. Joining professional associations can help you find additional opportunities for education.

You will need to keep thorough documentation regarding your continuing education credits. This should include the courses, subject matter, the number of hours, and the dates, times, and locations of the courses.


Esthetician License Reciprocity in Illinois

If you have an active esthetician license in another state and need to become licensed in the state of Illinois, you might be able to apply for licensure by endorsement. To do so you will need the following:

  • A completed Endorsement for Licensure Application
  • Verification of Experience and Employment
  • Certification of your current licensure (this must be completed by your current licensing board)
  • Official transcripts from your esthetician school
  • A check or money order to cover the endorsement fee of $45

The application, supporting documents, and fee should all be mailed to the following address:

Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
ATTN: Division of Professional Regulation
P.O. Box 7007
Springfield, IL 62791


Illinois State Board of Cosmetology Contact Information

Illinois Dept. of Professional Regulation
Barber, Cosmetology, Esthetics, Hair Braiding, and Nail Technology Board
320 W. Washington Street
3rd Floor
Springfield, IL 62786
Phone Number: 1-888-473-4858
Professional Licensing: 1-800-560-6420
Contact via email


Illinois Dept. of Professional Regulation
Barber, Cosmetology, Esthetics, Hair Braiding, and Nail Technology Board
100 W. Randolph Street
9th Floor
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone Number: 1-888-473-4858
Professional Licensing: 1-800-560-6420
Contact via email


Illinois Written and Practical Exam Locations

Below is a map showing the locations of the esthetician written exams administered by PSI Services. Before you arrive at a PSI test center, please be sure to call PSI Services toll-free at 1-800-733-9267 to confirm the test center’s current address and inquire about their hours of operation.


Map of Written Exam Locations in Illinois

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How to Become a Licensed Esthetician in Illinois
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