New York – Cosmetologist

New York Division of Licensing Services Cosmetology exams: Free practice test, and everything you need to know

New York is a global powerhouse for fashion, and that includes the field of Cosmetology.

From fashion shows to award ceremonies, and from hotshot lawyers to movie stars, New York is filled with clients ready to set trends that will rock the world.

And who styles these trendsetters? Well, Cosmetologists of course!

So, whether you’re about to graduate Cosmetology school in the Big Apple itself, or in one of New York State’s other cities or towns, you can be sure that your career will be exciting and filled with opportunity.

Just think, instead of following the latest fashion, work hard enough and you might be the one setting them!

Exciting, right?

But before you can really make a start on your new career, you’ll need a Cosmetology license. And that means you need to pass the New York Division of Licencing Services Cosmetology exams.

Now, don’t worry if the thought of scheduling exams fills you with dread. On this page, you’ll find everything you need to know about scheduling and preparing for your exam, answers to all the most common questions, and a free practice test to check you’re prepared!

Go straight to the practice test

Table of Contents:

The process of registering for (and passing!) your New York Division of Licencing Services Cosmetology exams

Congratulations, you did it! You’ve completed all 1,000 hours of Cosmetology school. And this means that you’re SO close to your dream career in Cosmetology!

It’s exciting, but before you can concentrate on making sure your clients look red carpet ready, you’ll need to take your Cosmetology exams…

And if you’re anything like the students we speak to every day, you might be feeling a little confused or overwhelmed right about now.

But, don’t worry: we’ll walk you through the process step by step. Starting with…

Step 1: Check you’re eligible to take the New York Division of Licencing Services Cosmetology exams

In New York, you are required to take two ‘Appearance Enhancement’ exams in order to get your Cosmetology license.

And, in order to be eligible to sit these exams, you must:

  • Be at least 17 years old AND
  • Have completed a 1,000-hour approved course of study in Cosmetology AND
  • Have the Affirmation of New York State Approved Schooling section of the application completed by your school director

Or, if you have studied outside of New York State, you must:

  • Be at least 17 years old AND
  • Provide the following documentation:
    • A school certificate
    • A school transcript listing subjects and hours completed
    • A current, original Certification of Licensure from your state board or, if not licensed, a current certification from your state’s board verifying the hours claimed.

OK, so you’ve checked that you’re eligible. So, what’s next?

Step 2: Submit a Cosmetology License application with the New York Division of Licensing Services.

Before you can take your exams, you’ll need to apply for your license. And to do that, you’ll create an NY.gov account.

You can create your account here and a step by step guide for applying for your license can be found here.

As part of the application process, you will be required to pay a fee of $40. However, most new Cosmetologists opt to pay an additional $10 for a temporary license (these fees can be paid together in one $50 sum).

You see, in New York, you don’t need to wait until you’ve passed your exams to begin working on clients; if you apply for a temporary license, you can get started as soon as you finish school!

Temporary licenses last for 6 months, and if needed, you can apply for a second temporary license once you have passed your first exam (an additional fee of $10 will be required).

Step 3: Schedule your written exam

Once your application has been processed by the New York Division of Licensing Services, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions for scheduling your exams.

It doesn’t matter which exam you choose to sit first, but for the sake of this guide, we’re going to assume you’re taking your written exam first.

So, to book your written exam, you’ll need to:

  1. Log into your NY.gov account
  2. Click on ‘Records’ (your status should read ‘Eligible for exam’ once you have received your confirmation email)
  3. Click the ‘Record Number’ link to open the record details
  4. Scroll down until you see ‘Examinations’ and click the triangle to select
  5. Select the ‘Cosmetology Written Exam’ in your language of choice ’
  6. Choose your exam slot and center then click ‘continue’
  7. Pay your exam fee of $15

You will receive a confirmation email. Keep this safe as you will need it later.

Once you have booked your exam, be sure to make a note of the time and date so that you don’t miss your slot!

Step 4: Arrive at the exam center on exam day

You should arrive at the test center in good time to allow time to sign in and familiarize yourself with the exam process.

Once there, you’ll need to sign in using a current ID from the following list:

  • driver’s license
  • state-issued identification (ex. non-driver ID)
  • IDNYC Card (NYC Identification Card)
  • military ID
  • United States Passport
  • Employment Authorization Card (issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services)
  • United States INS issued ID
  • Certificate of US citizenship
  • Foreign Passport
  • Brazilian, Mexican, Honduran, and Ecuadorian Consular ID

You will also need to show a copy of your examination confirmation, which should include all of your examination information, including your candidate number.

During your exam, you must ensure that all electronic devices are switched off (including your cell phone). And you must not bring any of the following items into the test with you:

  • Large bags
  • Books (including dictionaries)
  • Other reference material
  • Food or drink

Bear in mind that there are no lockers or storage facilities at the test centers, and if you are found to have any of these banned items with you during the exam, you will be asked to leave. So, it’s best to leave these supplies at home.

Step 5: Take the written exam

The written exam is comprised of multiple-choice questions covering all the topics you learned at Beauty School – so make sure you revise!

When it is time to begin your written test, a representative from the exam center will issue instructions and will show you to your seat.

You will have 2 ½  hours to complete your test, and your allotted time starts as soon as you’ve received your instructions.

Step 6: Get your results

Once your time is up, you will be informed of whether you have passed or failed your exam. However, you will not be able to see your score straight away.

Instead, you will receive an email when your numerical score is available to view. Then, you will need to log into your NY.gov account to view your score.

If you have failed your written examination, you’ll need to schedule a new test.

But try not to be discouraged if you do fail. With the help of our Cosmetology Exam Preparation Package, you can ensure that you are fully prepared to try again. 

Step 7: Schedule your practical exam

To schedule your practical exam, you will need to follow the instructions set out in Step 3.

So, to book your written exam, you’ll need to:

  1. Log into your NY.gov account
  2. Click on ‘Records’ (your status should read ‘Eligible for exam’ once you have received your confirmation email)
  3. Click the ‘Record Number’ link to open the record details
  4. Scroll down until you see ‘Examinations’ and click the triangle to select
  5. Select the ‘Cosmetology Written Exam’ in your language of choice ’
  6. Choose your exam slot and center then click ‘continue’
  7. Pay your exam fee of $15

Be sure to make a note of the time and date of your exam so that you don’t miss your slot!

Step 8: Arrive at the test center

On the day of your practical exam, you should arrive at the test center early. This will ensure you have enough time to sign in and familiarize yourself with the exam process.

Once there, you’ll need to sign in using a current ID from the following list:

  • driver’s license
  • state-issued identification (ex. non-driver ID)
  • IDNYC Card (NYC Identification Card)
  • military ID
  • United States Passport
  • Employment Authorization Card (issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services)
  • United States INS issued ID
  • Certificate of US citizenship
  • Foreign Passport
  • Brazilian, Mexican, Honduran, and Ecuadorian Consular ID

You will also need to show a copy of your examination confirmation, which should include all of your examination information, including your candidate number.

When you take the practical exam, you are expected to be professional and dress in clothing which is appropriate for practicing cosmetology. According to the New York Division of Licensing Services guidelines, this means:

  •  A clean, washable outer garment
  •  Closed-toe and closed-heel shoes that cover the top of the foot (no canvas)
  •  Avoid bulky or dangling jewelry
  •  NO gum chewing or cell phone use is permitted
  •  Hands washed with soap and water prior to your arrival

And you are expected to bring your own supplies along with you (a full list of the supplies you’ll need can be found here).

Then, it’s time to take your exam!

Step 9: Take your practical exam

The Cosmetology practical examination consists of a series of different tasks, all designed to test your skills as a Cosmetologist.

The full exam will last for 3 ½ hours, and the procedures you will be scored on are:

  • Professional Appearance, Preparation of Work Area & Client Preparation Hair Cutting Techniques (50 minutes)
  • Blow Dry Styling Techniques (15 minutes)
  • Thermal Curling Iron Techniques – Using Electric Marcel Iron (15 minutes)
  • Demonstration of Techniques: Roller Placement – Top of Head (10 minutes)
  • Permanent Waving – Left Side (10 minutes)
  • Diagonal Pin Curl Wave/C-Shaping – Right Side (10 minutes)
  • Finger Waving – Back of Head (10 minutes)
  • Chemical Services: Foiling Simulation – Right Front (15 minutes)
  • Hair coloring Simulation (Retouch) – Right Back (10 minutes)
  • Chemical Restructuring – (Virgin) – Left Front / (Retouch) – Left Back (25 minutes)

A more detailed break down of what each task entails can be found here.

Step 10: Get your results

You need a score of at least 70 % to pass your practical exam. But, unfortunately, you will not find out whether you passed or failed your practical exam at the test center.

Instead, you will receive an email informing you when your results are available via your NY.gov account.

If you have failed your practical exam, you will need to schedule a re-sit. But if you’ve passed, you are ready to get your license.

Step 11: Get your New York Division of Licensing Services Cosmetology license!

Congratulations! Now you’ve passed both your Cosmetology exams, it’s time to get your license.

And that means waiting for the post to arrive…

But don’t worry, as long as you paid for a temporary license, there’s no need to wait for your license to arrive to treat clients.

So, go ahead and celebrate… You’ve earned it!

Don’t forget, the most common reason for not getting your license is failing your written exams: However, students who use our Cosmetology Exam Preparation Package has a pass rate of 98.5%!

Frequently asked questions about the New York Cosmetology exams

How do I apply for the New York Division of Licensing Services Cosmetlogy examinations?

Before you can take your exams, you’ll need to apply for your license. And to do that, you’ll create an NY.gov account.

You can create your account here and a step by step guide for applying for your license can be found here.

Once your application has been processed, you will receive an email instructing you on how to schedule your exams.

I can’t make the date/time of my examination. What should I do?

If you need to reschedule your examination, you must give at least 6 days’ notice. If you don’t give a minimum of 6 days’ notice, you may forfeit your exam fees.

How much does it cost to take the New York Cosmetology exams?

  • Written Test – $15
  • Practical Test – $15

Where do the New York Cosmetology examinations take place?

The written exam may be taken at test centers that can be found in the following locations:

  • Albany
  • Binghamton
  • Buffalo
  • Franklin Square
  • Hauppauge
  • New York City
  • Newburgh
  • Rochester
  • Syracuse
  • Utica
  • Plattsburgh

The practical exam can be taken in:

  • Albany
  • Binghamton
  • Brooklyn
  • Cheektowaga
  • Fairport
  • Goshen
  • Manhattan
  • Oakdale
  • Olean
  • Plattsburgh
  • Sanborn
  • Syracuse
  • Watertown
  • Westbury
  • Yonkers

How many hours of practical work do I need to qualify for the New York Division of Licensing Services examinations?

You must complete 1,000 hours of training before taking your cosmetology examinations.

Can I complete my hours through an apprenticeship instead of attending Cosmetology school in New York?

No, you must complete your training hours through an approved Cosmetology School.

Do I need a physical to get my New York Cosmetology License?

Yes. You need to be examined by a physician, physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner to apply for your New York Cosmetology License.

Can I take the New York Division of Licensing Services Cosmetology examinations before I’ve completed the required hours?

No, you must complete all 1,000 hours before taking your Cosmetology exams.

How long is the Cosmetology written examination in New York?

You will have 2 ½ hours to complete your written examination.

What’s the format of the written examination?

Your written exam will be comprised of multiple-choice questions.

If you want to familiarize yourself with the testing format, try out our practice test here.

How long is the Cosmetology practical examination?

The Cosmetology practical examination lasts for 3 ½ hours.

What’s the format of the practical examination?

You will be given a set amount of time to demonstrate a range of different Cosmetology techniques.

A full breakdown of what the exam includes can be found here.

What scores do I need to pass both portions of the Cosmetology exam in New York?

  • Written Exam – 70%
  • Practical Exam -70%

Check if you’re on track to pass your exam by taking our free cosmetology practice test.

Can I take my Cosmetology examinations again if I fail?

Yes, but you will need to pay for each resit separately ($15).

How long does Cosmetology school take in New York?

The time it takes to complete Cosmetology school varies depending on your school. However, it is possible to graduate in 7-9 months on a full-time program.

Can I transfer my Cosmetology license to New York?

If you meet certain requirements, you will be able to transfer your cosmetology license to New York through an application for endorsement or reciprocity (this means that you won’t need to retake any exams).

A list of the states eligible for endorsement can be found here.

And a list of the states with reciprocity agreements can be found here.

How do I get my Cosmetology license in New York?

To get your Cosmetology license in New York, you need to graduate from Cosmetology school having completed 1,000 hours of practical experience and pass two examinations (written and practical),

Once you have met all of these requirements, you will be issued with a license.

How do I renew my Cosmetology license in New York?

You must renew your Cosmetology license every 4 years.

3 months before your license renewal is due, you will receive an email that will lead you step-by-step through the application process for renewal.

How should I study for the New York Cosmetology written exam?

The most common reason for not getting your license is failing your written exam. So, it’s a good idea to use our Cosmetology Exam Preparation Package to learn everything you need to pass the written exam.

  • Our package includes a study guide that’s structured to help you learn the RIGHT information rather than ALL the information, which can help you cut your preparation/revision time in half.
  • Then use our simulated exams to practice for the written exam under test conditions. This part is really important: it’s the key to helping you succeed!

New York cosmetology state board exam practice test

  • Get your results!

  • You must enter this in order to see which questions you got right and wrong