Texas – Cosmetology

Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations Cosmetology (TDLR) exams: Free practice test, and everything you need to know

As your time at Cosmetology school draws to a close, you’re probably feeling a mix of emotions.

You’re proud, of course. After all, you’ve achieved so much already. And you might feel a little sad. It’ll be weird not seeing your classmates every day.

But most of all, we bet you’re excited to finally graduate and start your new career.

You’ve studied hard and now you’re finally ready to get to work. Cosmetology is an amazing career. And before you know it, you’ll be spending your days making sure your clients look and feel amazing.

But before you rock up at your first job, you’ll need a Cosmetology license. And that means you need to pass the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations Cosmetology exams.

Now, if you’re anything like the students we speak to, you might be feeling a little worried about taking your Cosmetology exams. And the whole process can feel overwhelming, there’s so much to think about!

Well, don’t worry, 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 Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations exams

Congratulations, you’ve nearly through with Cosmetology school. And this means that you’re SO close to your dream career in cosmetology!

It’s exciting, but before you can begin your career, you’ll need to take your Cosmetology exams…

But, where do you even start?

Don’t worry if you’re feeling a little confused: we’ll walk you through the process step by step. Starting with…

Step 1: Check you’re eligible to take the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations exams in Cosmetology

In Texas, the full Cosmetology license is called ‘the Cosmetology Operator License’. And in order to get your Texas Cosmetology Operator license, you must:

  • Pass a written and practical examination
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent qualification OR
  • Have taken an ‘ability-to-benefit’ test administered by a certified testing agency AND Be at least 17 years old AND

  • Have Completed 1,500 hours of instruction in a beauty school OR
  • Have completed 1,000 hours of instruction in a beauty school and 500 hours of related high-school courses as part of a vocational cosmetology program in a public school OR
  • Hold a Class A Barber Certificate and have completed 300 hours of instruction in cosmetology through an approved training program in a beauty school

However, you do not need to meet all of these requirements before you take your written test.

So, what do you need to do pre-exam? Well, in order to be eligible to take the written exam set by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations, you must have:

  • Have Completed 1,000 hours of instruction in a beauty school OR
  • Have completed 900 hours of instruction in a beauty school and 500 hours of related high-school courses as part of a vocational cosmetology program in a public school

Once you meet this threshold, your school will contact the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation on your behalf.

Now, you can’t take your practical exam just yet, but you can move on to the next step:

Step 2: Apply for your temporary license

In the state of Texas, you don’t need to wait for your license to arrive in the mail to start working in a salon.

However, you do need a temporary license.

Your temporary license will not be issued before you’ve passed both your written and practical exams… But you need to apply for it now.

So, to apply to get a temporary license the day you pass your practical exam, head over to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations to start your application.

Step 3: Schedule your written exam

Once you have completed your minimum 1,000 hours of study (or 900 on a 1,000-hour program), you will receive an email for the Department of Licensing and Regulations, with instructions on how to schedule your written exam.

All exams take place at PSI centers, and the easiest way to schedule your exam is via the PSI website.

To do this you will need to:

  1. Log onto the PSI website and create an account (making sure your name and email address match those on file with the Department of Licensing and Regulations)
  2. Select your exam
  3. Enter the ID number (this can be found in the email the TDLR sent, instructing you on how to schedule your exam)
  4. Enter your zip code and select your examination center
  5. Choose from the available dates
  6. And finally, make a payment of $50 using a credit or debit card

A walkthrough of this process, including pictures, can be found here.

Alternatively, you can schedule your exam:

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 at least 30 minutes before your scheduled examination time to allow time to sign in and familiarize yourself with the exam process.

It is important to note that PSI does not allow candidates to speak to one another in the test center.

And if you arrive late, you will not be allowed to sit your exam and your fees will be forfeited.

You will then need to reschedule your exam and will have to pay again.

When signing in at your test center, you must produce 1 form of ID:

The identification must be a VALID form of government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license, state ID, or passport book. The identification must contain the following biographical information:

(1) printed name

(2) photograph

(3) signature

(4) date of birth

(5) expiration date

Temporary licenses or IDs will be accepted only if they are accompanied by either the expired/invalid license or another form of photo ID.

Current public high school IDs are also valid when accompanied by a photocopy of the TDLR student permit. However, if you have graduated from high school, your ID is only valid until August 31 of that year.

Current community college and junior college IDs are also valid government-issued IDs and require only your printed name, photograph, and date of birth.

The following forms of ID are not accepted:

  • Passport cards (although Passport books are accepted, cards do not hold enough information on their own)

In the interest of security, and to prevent cheating, you will not be allowed to bring any of the following items into your test with you:

  • Electronic devices
  • Bulky or loose clothing
  • Hats or headgear (except those worn for religious reasons)
  • Bags or purses
  • Notebooks or reference books
  • Food and drink
  • Writing implements
  • Good luck charms

When you arrive at the examination center, you will be told where to leave your bags and other personal items. Then, before you enter the examination room, you will be asked if you have any prohibited items and may be asked to empty your pockets.

Then, it’s time to take your exam!

Step 5: Take the written exam

The Texas written Cosmetology is completed entirely via a computer.

Once you have been directed to your seat, you will be prompted to confirm:

  • Your name
  • Identification number
  • And the examination you are sitting

Then, you will be given 15 minutes to complete an introductory tutorial. This tutorial includes sample questions, but they don’t count towards your score and the time you take on this task doesn’t impact the amount of time you’ll have to complete your test.

When your test begins, you will have 120 minutes to answer 100 questions on:

  • Licensing and Regulation (20 questions)
  • Infection Control (28 questions)
  • Hair and Scalp Care (40 questions)
  • Nail Care (6 questions)
  • Skin Care (6 questions)

A full breakdown of the topics included can be found here.

You will also be given 10 minutes to answer 10 questions that do not count towards your final grade and are instead used to improve the exam for future students.

Step 6: Get your results

As soon as you complete your first exam, your results will appear on the screen. And an official score sheet will be printed on-site, for you to take away with you.

In order to pass your written exam, you must score at least 70%. And if you fail, you will need to book your test again.

However, try not to be disheartened. If you fail your exam, a diagnostic showing which questions you struggled with will show on screen, allowing you to concentrate your revision on your weaker subjects.

(Although if you used our Cosmetology Study Guide, you won’t fail anyway!)

Step 7: Schedule your practical exam

Once you have passed your written exam and completed 1,500 hours of beauty school (or 1,000 hours of beauty school, and 500 hours of related high-school courses as part of a vocational cosmetology program in a public school), you are ready to take your practical test!

As with your written exam, eligibility for the practical exam will be sent to the TDLR by your school. You will then receive an email prompting you to book your test.

All exams take place at PSI centers, and the easiest way to schedule your exam is via the PSI website.

To do this you will need to:

  1. Log onto the PSI website
  2. Select your exam
  3. Enter your  ID number
  4. Enter your zip code and select your examination center
  5. Choose from the available dates
  6. And finally, make a payment of $72 using a credit or debit card

A walkthrough of this process, including pictures, can be found here.

Alternatively, you can schedule your exam:

Then, once you have booked your exam, make a note of the time and date so that you don’t miss your slot!

Step 8: Arrive at the test center

The process for arriving at your test center for your practical exam is very similar to what you experienced when sitting your written exam.

You should arrive 30 minutes early and will be asked to show your ID (don’t forget, if you’re late, you won’t be allowed to sit your exam and will forfeit your fee!).

However, there are some differences you should be aware of:

  • Students taking practice exams are expected to wear closed-toe shoes. If you don’t meet this requirement, you will not be allowed to sit your exam and your fee will be forfeited.
  • You will be expected to bring some supplies with you.

The supplies you’ll need for your practical exam are split into two groups depending on whether they need to be labeled.

The following equipment should not be labeled:

  •  Abrasive/nail files and buffers
  •  Application brush
  •  Blow dryer
  •  Bowl for water (optional)
  •  Clips
  •  Combs
  •  Cotton/cotton pads/sponges/facial tissue
  •  Cuticle pusher
  •  Dappen dish
  •  Disposable applicators
  •  Drape(s)
  •  Electric curling iron
  •  Endpapers
  •  Eyelash strip
  •  Fabric strip
  •  Foils
  •  Gloves
  •  Hairbrush
  •  Haircutting shears
  •  Head draping
  •  Mannequin hand/finger (prepped with tips to represent the natural nail), mannequin head (prepped with eyelash strip to represent natural lashes), and mannequin stand or tripod
  •  Nail tips and neck strips
  •  Orangewood stick
  •  Paper towels
  •  Permanent wave rods
  •  Protective cotton
  •  Razor with guard
  •  Small scissors
  •  Tint brush, bowl or bottle
  •  Tip cutter/large nail clipper
  •  Towels
  •  Tweezers

The following supplies should be clearly labeled in English:

  • 30×30 kit labeled as “Pre-sanitized, Clean or Disinfected”
  • Antiseptic/soothing lotion
  • Astringent, freshener, or toner
  • Blood exposure kit / first aid kit
  • Cleansing product
  • Cuticle Oil
  • EPA approved disinfectant or simulated product
  • Eye makeup remover
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Lash adhesive
  • Massage product
  • Moisturizer
  • Nail adhesive
  • Nail dehydrator/cleanser
  • Odorless monomer and low odor primer for one nail To maintain a safe environment, only odorless nail liquids may be used on practical examinations. Only bottles clearly marked “odorless” by the manufacturer’s label will be allowed.
  • Polymer powder
  • Simulated product for permanent wave service (e.g., water)
  • Protective cream
  • Simulated product for chemical services (e.g., gel, cholesterol)
  • Spray bottle with water
  • Simulated soft wax product for waxing service (e.g., -petroleum jelly or honey)
  • Trash bag(s)

Be sure to label your products properly, as failure to do so may result in the loss of points.

And finally, the following equipment will be provided for you:

  • Brooms and dustpans
  • Covered trash cans
  • Mounted wall clock
  • Work stations/ manicure table with chairs

Step 9: Take your practical exam

After you have signed in and put away any prohibited items (like your purse etc.), it’s time to take your practical exam!

The examination will last for 3 hours and 45 minutes, and you will be given verbal instructions before your test begins.

At the start of your exam, you will be given 10 minutes to set-up and disinfect your workspace. Then, you will be asked to demonstrate the following:

  • Monomer and Polymer Over Tip — Time Allowed: 32 minutes
  • Blood Exposure Incident – Time Allowed: 12 minutes
  • Eyelash Strip Application – Time Allowed: 14 minutes
  • Facial – Time Allowed: 17 minutes
  • Waxing with Soft Wax – Time Allowed: 14 minutes
  • Haircut – Time Allowed: 42 minutes
  • Permanent Wave – Time Allowed: 22 minutes
  • BlowDrying and Thermal Curling – Time Allowed: 22 minutes
  • Mannequin Preparation – Time Allowed: 10 minutes
  • Foil Highlights – Time Allowed: Not timed
  • Hydroxide Virgin Relaxer – Time Allowed: 10 minutes
  • Hydroxide Relaxer Retouch – Time Allowed: 10 minutes
  • End of Examination Disinfection – Time Allowed: 10 minutes

Your examiner will read detailed instructions before each stage of the exam begins, and they will let you know when your time for each task is running out.

If you would like to read about each task in more detail, a full breakdown can be found here.

Once your exam is finished, you’ll be directed to take a seat to wait for your results. This should only take 5-10 minutes.

Step 10: Get your results

After 5-10 minutes, you will be given a printed score report. The passing grade for your practical exam is 70% (or 91 points out of 130).

If you have passed your practical exam, you are now a qualified Cosmetologist- congratulations!

However, if you didn’t score 70% or higher, you’ll need to book your test again.

Step 11: Get your Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations Cosmetology license!

Now that you’ve passed both your written and practical exams, the only thing left to do is to get your license!

In the state of Texas, you don’t need to wait for your license to arrive in the post. You can start working straight away with your temporary license.

But, remember, you must apply for your temporary license before you sit your exams.

Your temporary license is valid for 21 days. And your permanent license should arrive within this timeframe.

The most common reason for not getting your license is failing your written exams: the pass rate in Florida is only 78% for the theory exam and 66% for the clinical exam! However, students who use our Cosmetology Exam Preparation Package has a pass rate of 98.5%!

Frequently asked questions about the Texas cosmetology exams

How do I apply for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations examinations?

When you have reached the required number of study hours, your school will contact the TDLR. The TDLR will then send you instructions for booking your exams via PSI.

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 2 days’ notice. If you don’t give a minimum of 2 days notice, you may forfeit your exam fees.

How much does it cost to take the Texas Cosmetology exams?

  • Written Test – $50
  • Practical Test – $72

Where do the examinations take place?

The Texas Cosmetology exams take place in PSI test centers.

How many hours of practical work do I need to qualify for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations examinations?

To take their written exam, Cosmetologists in Texas must have completed:

  • 1,000 hours of instruction in a beauty school OR
  • 900 hours of instruction in a beauty school and 500 hours of related high-school courses as part of a vocational cosmetology program in a public school

And to take their practical exam, Cosmetologists in Texas must have completed:

  • 1,500 hours of instruction in a beauty school OR
  • 1,000 hours of instruction in a beauty school and 500 hours of related high-school courses as part of a vocational cosmetology program in a public school

Can I complete my hours through an apprenticeship instead of attending cosmetology school in Texas?

No, the state of Texas does not currently recognize apprenticeships in Cosmetology.

Can I take the State Board examinations before I’ve completed the required hours?

You can take the written exam after completing 1,000 hours (or 900 if you studied 500 hours of related high-school courses as part of a vocational cosmetology program in a public school).

However, you are not eligible to sit the practical examination until all of your required hours are complete.

How long is the Cosmetology written examination?

When you arrive at your exam center, you will have 15 minutes to complete a tutorial explaining how to sit your exam.

You will then have 120 minutes to answer 100 graded questions, and 10 minutes to answer 10 non-graded questions.

What’s the format of the written examination?

Your written exam will take place on a computer. And a breakdown of what each test includes can be found here.

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 hours and 45 minutes.

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?

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

What’s the pass rate for Texas Cosmetology exams?

The pass rate for Texas Cosmetology exams are:

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 must pass your written examination before you progress to your practical.

How long does Cosmetology school take in Texas?

In Texas, the time it takes to complete Cosmetology school varies. However, if you are studying full time, you can expect to graduate in around 10-12 months.

How do I transfer my Cosmetology license to Texas?

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

To find out if you’re eligible for a Cosmetology license in Texas, based on your existing qualifications, you first need to head over to the TDLR website.

You will then be asked to answer questions about your existing license and will be advised on your next steps.

How do I get my Cosmetology license in Texas?

To get your Cosmetology license in Texas, you need to graduate from Cosmetology school having completed 1500 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 Texas?

In Texas, you must renew your Cosmetology license every other year.

But, in order to renew your license, you must complete 4 hours of training. These short courses are known as ‘continuing education’ and are provided by many schools and organizations.

Once you have completed your mandatory training, you can apply to renew your license here. 

The cost of renewing your license is currently $53.

How should I study for the Texas Cosmetology written exam?

As we’ve seen, the pass rates for the TDLR Cosmetology written test are far lower than for the practical. 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!

Texas cosmetology state board exam practice test

  • Get your results!

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