How Can I Become a Cosmetologist, Barber, Manicurist, or Aesthetician?

Learn what the requirements are to become a licensed professional in the cosmetology and barbering field.

The Cosmetology profession includes hairdressers, manicurists and aestheticians, who provide a variety of services including haircutting, hairstyling, manicuring, and aesthetics. Electrologists provide hair removal procedures through the application of an electrical current through a needle to the hair follicle. Barbers provide haircutting, hairstyling, facial shaving, permanent waving, hair coloring, and facial services to the general public.

All three professions work closely with the public and are regulated by the Board of Registration of Cosmetology and Barbering.

How long does it take to become licensed?

In order to become licensed, you will need to complete a program in a Board-approved school and then pass a written and practical exam. Minimum school programs for each profession are:

  • Cosmetologist
    • Complete a 1000 hour course in a licensed cosmetology school. 
  • Barber
    • Complete a 1000 hour course in a licensed barbering school. 
  • Manicurist
    • Complete a basic 100 hour course in an approved manicuring program.
  • Aesthetician
    • Complete a basic 600 hour course in an approved aesthetic program.

A list of Board-approved and licensed schools in Massachusetts can be found below.

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