Cosmetology Licensing Requirements

Licensing Requirements For Cosmetology, Esthiology, & Nail Technology as They Pertain to the State of Iowa

Before they can practice certain occupations, people must obtain a relevant license.  This allows the state or other governing body to control and monitor who practices in the fields under their realm of authority. In order to be a cosmetologist, esthiologist, or nail technician within Iowa, individuals must receive state licensing.  Completion of a relevant educational program at an Iowa school for cosmetology ensures proper training.

Someone who attended a school for cosmetology in another state is required to meet the educational guidelines established by the Iowa State Board of Cosmetology.  After students complete their training at an out of state or Iowa school for cosmetology, they must take a state licensing exam issued by the Board.  A passing score on the exam enables the individual to apply for an Iowa cosmetology license.


To receive an Iowa cosmetology license, an individual must have completed 2,100 hours of training at an Iowa school for cosmetology.  Those who went to an out of state school for cosmetology must have their training reviewed and approved by the Iowa State Board of Cosmetology.  They must also submit an original letter of Verification of Licensure containing a raised state seal and reflecting current licensure status in their field of specialization.  The letter must be sent in an envelope that features a state-printed return address.


To receive Iowa esthiology licensing, 600 hours of training at an Iowa school for cosmetology are required.  Those obtaining their esthiology education out of state are subject to a different review and approval process, which mirrors that of the cosmetology license.  Separate esthiology licensing may not be offered in all states, but the individual must be able to provide official proof of licensure to practice within this discipline.

Nail Technology

Nail technician licensing in the state of Iowa requires the completion of 325 hours of training at an Iowa school for cosmetology.  The guidelines that apply to education at an out of state school for cosmetology as listed above also apply to Iowa nail technology licensing. Applicants should be aware that methyl methacrylate (MMA), a compound used in some nail bonding compounds and artificial nails, is prohibited in Iowa.

Additional Information

In addition to the educational hour requirements above and passing the state licensing examination, the individual must be able to provide proof of a high school diploma or GED and proof of graduating from a school for cosmetology.  Iowa does not have reciprocity with any other states.  An individual with a cosmetology license from another state may only apply for an Iowa cosmetology license by endorsement if he or she has taken a national-level exam. Some states only use a state-level exam, which is not the same.

An application for licensure must be completed and submitted with the initial license fee and an official transcript or diploma from a board-approved school for cosmetology.  State licensing for cosmetology is granted for a two-year period and must be renewed in order to remain active.  The initial license fee is $60 and the biennial license renewal fee is $60.

At any time, members of the public can verify and print the Iowa nail technician, esthiology, or cosmetology license of an individual.  Once the Iowa cosmetology license is received, the individual is authorized to work within the relevant field in the state of Iowa.  To get the most from their licensure, some individuals pursue continuing education.  The Iowa Board for Cosmetology offers additional information.