• Board for Barbers and Cosmetology

    The Board for Barbers and Cosmetology licenses individuals and businesses that perform barbering, cosmetology, nail care, waxing, tattooing, body piercing, and esthetics. The Board also regulates individuals who teach and schools that provide training in those areas. 

    Licensing Section   (804) 367-8509 | BCHOPLicensing@dpor.virginia.gov 
    Board Office  (804) 367-8590 | BarberCosmo@dpor.virginia.gov 
    FAX  (866) 245-9693
    • Barbering Scope of Practice FAQs 
  • Forms & Applications

    Barber | Cosmetologist | Nail Technician | Wax Technician | Esthetics | Body-Piercing | Tattooing| Other Forms (for all license types) 

    • Go to: Most Requested Forms (address change, criminal conviction reporting, certification request, etc.)  
    • Applicants must read and understand Board Regulations. Application fees are not refundable.  
    • DPOR Boards only accept the most recent versions of the applications provided. DPOR Boards are not responsible for processing delays associated with forms that do not conform to this requirement. 

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    Barber

     

    Cosmetologist

    Nail Technician

    Wax Technician

    Esthetics

    Body-Piercing

    Tattooing

    Other Forms (All Board License Types)

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    Laws & Regulations

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    Statutes

    Regulations

    Pending regulatory action (proposed changes, public hearings, etc.)
     

    Meetings & Minutes

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    The Virginia Regulatory Town Hall provides access to the board's meeting schedule, agendas, and past meeting minutes.

    Visit the Town Hall: http://www.townhall.virginia.gov/L/viewboard.cfm?boardid=134&display=meetings 

    EDUCATION & EXAMS

    Exam Application Process | Education Providers 


    NEW 2017 Exam Application Process

    1. Applicant/exam candidate creates account, completes exam application, and submits exam fees online with Professional Credential Services (PCS)
    2. PCS reviews complete application and all required eligibility materials.
    3. Upon approval from PCS, exam candidate schedules WRITTEN (theory) examination with Prometric and PRACTICAL examination with PCS
    4. After passing the required exam(s), PCS emails the applicant an official score report along with a License Fee Notice. It is not necessary to notify the Board that you have passed an examination. PCS provides the Board with candidate scores on a daily basis. 
    5. Applicant mails the License Fee Notice and the required license fee to the Virginia Board.
    6. Once you have met all license eligibility requirements, Board staff will process and mail your license. (*If you have a criminal history, the licensing process may take longer because state law requires the Board to evaluate each conviction and applicant on a case-by-case basis.*) Be sure to notify the Board and PCS of any mailing address changes.
    Exam Administrator  Professional Credential Services (PCS)
    (888) 822-3272 | cosandbar@pcshq.com 

    Exam Fees (payable to vendor) 

    Practical (Hands-on)   $93
    Written (Theory)        $92
    • Barber, Cosmetology, Esthetics, Master Esthetics, Nail Technician, and Wax Technician exams include two parts: practical and written.  
    • Tattooer, Permanent Cosmetic Tattooer, Master Permanent Cosmetic Tattooer, and Body Piercer exams consist only of the written exam. 
     

    Exam Dates and Locations 

    Prometric written (theory) testing sites are located in Bristol, Chesapeake, Falls Church, Lynchburg, Richmond, and Roanoke.
    Exam Languages  The written (theory) exam is offered in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Korean for the following:
    • Barber
    • Cosmetologist
    • Basic esthetician
    • Instructor
    • Nail technician
    However, the written exam is only offered in English for: Body Piercer, Master Esthetician, Master Permanent Cosmetic Tattooer, Permanent Cosmetic Tattooer, Tattooer, and Wax Technician.

    Also, please note that all practical exams (when required) are administered only in English.
    Other Questions?  DPOR Examinations Section
    (804) 367-8544 or exams@dpor.virginia.gov 

    To check on application status after you have submitted your license payment to DPOR, contact the Board's Licensing Section at (804) 367-8509 or BCHOPLicensing@dpor.virginia.gov.
    BOARD-APPROVED EDUCATION PROVIDERS 
    1. Barber Schools 
    2. Cosmetology Schools 
    3. Nail Technician Schools 
    4. Esthetics Schools 
    5. Permanent Cosmetic Tattooing Schools 
    6. Tattooing Schools 
    7. Wax Technician Schools 
    • Health Education Courses (updated 5/2017)Guidance Document listing certified providers for tattoo and body-piercer licensing 
    • Learn about school pass rates by exam type for board-approved schools.  

    News & Publications

    Sign up for email notification of regulatory action and meetings by registering here.

     

    Frequently Asked Questions

    1. How do I contact the Board office? Will I be able to speak directly with a Board member?  
    2. May I use my license from another state to practice in Virginia? What about applying for a temporary permit? 
    3. Do you accept scanned applications and supplemental documentation by e-mail? 
    4. What if I have a criminal conviction? 
    5. What is an Informal Fact-Finding Conference? 
    6. How do I obtain licensure in another state?   
    7. I need a letter of certification quickly. If I come into the office with the certification fee, can you process it the same day? 
    8. How do I transfer my license from another state to Virginia? 
    9. I need to renew my license, but I haven't received my renewal form. What do I need to do? 
    10. My renewal payment was one day late and I have always paid on time. Can you waive the late fee? 
    11. I did not renew on time because I didn't receive my renewal card. Do I still have to pay a late fee or reinstate my license? 
    12. Does the Board office use the date of receipt or the postmark date to determine whether an application or renewal was received on time? 
    13. My address and/or name has changed. What do I need to do to notify the Board? 
    14. Do I need a license to offer waxing services? 
    15. Can a nail technician provide waxing services? 
    16. Are electrologists licensed in Virginia? 
    17. Do tattoo parlors that offer body piercing services also need a body piercing salon license? 
    18. Do cosmetology salons that offer esthetic services need an esthetics spa license? 
    19. Do I need to be a licensed practitioner (barber, cosmetologist, etc.) to own a barber shop, cosmetology salon, nail salon, waxing salon, esthetics spa, tattoo parlor, or body piercing salon? 
    20. Can I provide cosmetology services in my home? 
    21. How do I become a tattooer or body piercing apprentice? 
    22. How do I become a cosmetology, barber, or nail technician apprentice?  

    How do I contact the Board office? Will I be able to speak directly with a Board member? 

    You may reach us by phone at 804-367-8509 (Licensing Section) or 804-367-8590 (Board Office), by FAX at (866) 245-9693, or by e-mail at BarberCosmo@dpor.virginia.gov. Additionally, if you have information that you would like to mail to the Board, please send it to:

    Board for Barbers and Cosmetology
    Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation
    9960 Mayland Drive, Suite 400
    Richmond, VA 23233

    The Board members do not work in the Board office. They come into the Board offices for Board meetings and hearings, but are not here on a daily basis. Board office staff members can answer your questions and are trained to process all information that comes into the Board office. Please do not contact Board members directly.

    May I use my license from another state to practice in Virginia? What about applying for a temporary permit?

    No. State law prohibits any person from practicing or offering to practice barbering, cosmetology, nail care, waxing, tattooing, body piercing, or esthetics in the Commonwealth without a Virginia license.

    A temporary permit to work under the supervision of a currently licensed practitioner may be issued to applicants for initial licensure who are eligible and scheduled for examination.

    • Cosmetologists, nail technicians, and barbers: please refer to Section 18 VAC 41-20-90 of the Board for Barbers and Cosmetology Regulations for information on temporary permits.
    • Wax technicians please refer to Section 18 VAC 41-40-80 of the Wax Technician Regulations for information on temporary permits.
    • Estheticians please refer to Section 18 VAC 41-70-70 of the Esthetics Regulations for information on temporary permits.

    Do you accept scanned applications and supplemental documentation by e-mail?

    Yes, we strive to make the application process as fast and convenient as possible. You may scan the application or document into a PDF (not password-protected) or take a clear photo in JPG or GIF format and e-mail to BCHOPLicensing@dpor.virginia.gov

    Make sure that the scans or photos are high quality and easy to read. We cannot accept scans or photos of poor quality that are are crooked, blurry, cut off, shadowed, etc. The resolution must be good enough to show clearly all text, images, markings, and seals visible on the original paper document. Essentially, when printed, the image must look like a photocopy of the original application or document. 

    Remember to include all pages of multi-page documents and both sides of double-sided documents. If a scanned document is not acceptable, we will request a new, higher quality image or ask you to send it to us in a different way (such as by fax or regular mail). 

    What if I have a criminal conviction?

    A prior conviction does not necessarily prevent you from obtaining a license; there are no “barrier crimes” that are an absolute prohibition to licensure. State law requires the Board to evaluate applicants with past convictions on a case-by-case basis to determine whether their criminal history is related to the profession. The Board must take into account the nine factors outlined in § 54.1-204.B of the Code of Virginia. Only the full Board, voting in public session at a regular meeting, can make the decision to deny an application for licensure.

    If you have a criminal conviction, you must submit the Criminal Conviction Reporting Form, along with a state police criminal history report for every state where you have convictions. Once the Board receives this information, the Board may request additional documents from you pertaining to the conviction, and you may be required to attend an Informal Fact-Finding conference. Learn more here. 

    What is an Informal Fact-Finding Conference?

    An Informal Fact-Finding Conference, or IFF, is a due process administrative proceeding required by state law, to allow the Board to obtain facts “on the record” about a specific matter. It is an opportunity for an applicant or licensee to present evidence and provide the Board with information relating to their case. If the IFF is required due to an applicant’s criminal convictions, the Board will be seeking information relating to the nine factors described in § 54.1-204.B of the Code of Virginia, to assist its deliberations about whether the criminal history is related to the profession and if a license should be issued.

    The IFF will be conducted by a presiding officer (a Board member, former Board member, or Department staff person); a court reporter will be present to transcribe the proceedings; and you may bring any witnesses you wish. You may also submit additional documents, including letters of reference. The IFF conference is your opportunity to provide your input to the Board. You do not need to have an attorney (although it is certainly your right to be represented by counsel if you choose).

    After the conference concludes, the presiding officer will make a recommendation to approve or deny the license application. This recommendation will be presented to the Board at its next regularly scheduled meeting, along with all of your documents, and a copy of the transcript from the IFF conference. You will receive a copy of the recommendation prior to the Board meeting. At the Board meeting, when your case is called, you are allowed five minutes maximum to address the Board on whether you agree or disagree with the recommendation, and why. You cannot present new evidence or information at the Board meeting. The Board will then consider all of the information and vote to approve or deny your application.

    Please note: The IFF process is lengthy and takes several months because it includes application review; drafting a referral memo; mailing the hearing notice and scheduling the IFF; conducting the IFF; writing the recommendation; and then waiting for the next scheduled Board meeting.

    How do I obtain licensure in another state?

    Contact the state or jurisdiction in which you are seeking licensure. That state might request proof of your Virginia license, which you can request from the Board using the Certification Request Form. 

    I need a letter of certification quickly. If I come into the office with the certification fee, can you process it the same day?

    No. Although Board staff makes every effort to send letters of certification out in five business days, our official turnaround time is 30 days. Certifications are processed in the order they are received.

    How do I transfer my license from another state to Virginia?

    To obtain a license in Virginia based on holding a current valid license in another state, you must submit an Endorsement Application. Examination requirements for licensure by endorsement are based on examinations previously completed in other states.

    To apply: (1) submit a completed Endorsement Application and application fee, and (2) request the licensing authority in the state where you are currently licensed to mail a Certification of Licensure to the Virginia Board for Barbers and Cosmetology. However, if you originally obtained licensure in a jurisdiction other than the state where you currently hold a license, the Certification of Licensure should come from the original jurisdiction where you completed your training and exams.

    Please refer to the Virginia regulations for the hours of instruction and training required to qualify for licensure. If you completed less than 80% of the required hours to qualify for your current license from another state, you are not eligible for licensure by endorsement. For more information, refer to the Board's guidance document on Endorsement Education Requirements.

    I need to renew my license, but I haven't received my renewal form. What do I need to do?

    Send in the renewal fee, make checks payable to the Treasurer of Virginia, and include your license number on your check. (If you have had a change of address, also complete, print, sign and submit an Address Change Form.) Mail this information to:
    Board for Barbers and Cosmetology
    Department of Professional & Occupational Regulation
    9960 Mayland Drive, Suite 400
    Richmond, VA 23233
    You CANNOT continue to practice in Virginia after your license has expired.

    My renewal payment was one day late and I have always paid on time. Can you waive the late fee?

    No. The Board's regulations allow a 30-day grace period in which a license may be renewed without penalty (therefore, your payment is actually 31 days late). Staff cannot waive the fee.

    I did not renew on time because I didn't receive my renewal card. Do I still have to pay a late fee or reinstate my license?

    Yes. Board regulations state that failure to receive the renewal notice does not relieve the licensee of the obligation to renew.

    Does the Board office use the date of receipt or the postmark date to determine whether an application or renewal was received on time?

    The date the application or renewal was received in the agency determines whether it is on time, not the postmark date. If the renewal fee is received after the due date, you will be required to pay the reinstatement fee. If the reinstatement fee is received after the due date, you will be required to apply as a new applicant, meeting all current requirements.

    My address and/or name has changed. What do I need to do to notify the Board?

    Many Boards allow you to update your ADDRESS using Online Services, so login to your personal profile to see if this is an option for your license type. The alternative is to complete, print, sign, and submit an Address Change Form to the Board office by mail. Unless updated online, all Address Change Forms must be received by the Board in writing. When providing a post office box as the mailing address, it must be accompanied by the physical address.

    To report a NAME CHANGE: complete, print, sign, and submit a Name Change Form to the Board office. All name changes must be received by the Board in writing. Individual name change requests must be accompanied by a copy of a marriage certificate, divorce decree, court order, or other official documentation that verifies the name change.

    Do I need a license to offer waxing services?

    Yes. Individuals performing waxing services must hold a wax technician license, cosmetologist license, or esthetician license.

    Can a nail technician provide waxing services?

    No. A nail technician license does not authorize the performance of waxing services. A nail technician must also be licensed as a wax technician in order to provide waxing services.

    Are electrologists licensed in Virginia?

    No. Electrolysis is an unregulated profession. Electrologists are not licensed in Virginia.

    Do tattoo parlors that offer body piercing services also need a body piercing salon license?

    Yes, tattoo parlors are not authorized to provide body piercing services. A body piercing salon license is required for businesses that provide body piercing services, and individuals properly licensed as body piercers much perform the work.

    Do cosmetology salons that offer esthetic services need an esthetics spa license?

    It depends. Cosmetology salons may offer esthetics services, but not master esthetics services (e.g., non-laser lymphatic drainage, chemical exfoliation, microdermabrasion, etc.). An esthetics spa license is required for businesses that offer master esthetics services provided by a licensed master esthetician.

    Do I need to be a licensed practitioner (barber, cosmetologist, etc.) to own a barber shop, cosmetology salon, nail salon, waxing salon, esthetics spa, tattoo parlor, or body piercing salon?

    No, facility ownership does not require a practitioner license. Provided you will not perform any services, you do not need an individual practitioner license to open a business.

    Can I provide cosmetology services in my home?

    Yes, provided you (1) hold both a current cosmetologist license and a current cosmetology salon license and (2) comply with Board regulations as well as all other federal, state, and local laws and ordinances (including Department of Health regulations).

    How do I become a tattooer or body piercing apprentice?

    Submit the appropriate Apprenticeship Certification Application and the Apprenticeship Agreement to the Board. The apprenticeship sponsor must be a licensed tattooer/body piercer designated as an apprenticeship sponsor, and the apprenticeship must be conducted in accordance with the Standards of Apprenticeship for Tattooers/body piercers in a licensed parlor.

    How do I become a cosmetology, barber, or nail technician apprentice?

    Apprenticeships are conducted through the Department of Labor and Industry. You must contact the Department of Labor and Industry directly to receive information regarding becoming an apprentice.

    Board for Barbers and Cosmetology

    Board Executive Director

    Demetrios J. Melis

    Licensing Operations Administrator

    Tamika Rodriguez

    Regulatory Operations Administrator

    Stephen Kirschner

    Board Member Roster

    Norma J. Dorey 
    Nail Technician Member
    First four-year term ends June 30, 2016 
    Robert D. Jones, II
    Barber Member
    First four-year term ends June 30, 2018 
    Lonnie Quesenberry | BOARD CHAIR
    Cosmetologist Member
    First four-year term ends June 30, 2018  
    Margaret B. LaPierre | BOARD VICE CHAIR
    Esthetician Member
    First four-year term ends June 30, 2017 
    Tony Williams
    Cosmetologist Member
    First four-year term ends June 30, 2018 
    Jonathan W. Minor
    Barber Member
    Second four-year term ends June 30, 2017 
    Marie Quinn
    Citizen Member
    First four-year term ends June 30, 2016 
    Anne R. McCaffrey
    Citizen Member
    First four-year term ends June 30, 2016 
    Thomas Daniel Jones
    Tattoo/Body-Piercer Member
    First four-year term ends June 30, 2018 
    Daniella Tsamouras 
    Esthetician Member
    Second four-year term ends June 30, 2019 

    Board members are appointed by the Governor. To learn more about the gubernatorial appointment process, visit the Secretary of the Commonwealth's website.  

    Military and Veterans Services

    DPOR stands ready to assist veterans and active-duty military personnel as they maintain or transition to civilian careers requiring professional credentials.

    Active-duty military personnel and their spouses having served outside the U.S., as well as certain diplomatic service members and veterans, may be eligible to receive up to a five-year extension for meeting license renewal requirements (pursuant to Section 54.1-117 of the Code of Virginia).

    Spouses of active-duty military personnel assigned to a duty station in Virginia are eligible for expedited processing using the Military Spouse Expedited License Application (PDF). A temporary, non-renewable 12-month license for certain military spouses licensed in another state who need more time to meet Virginia-specific requirements is also an option if necessary. [Section 54.1-119

    For honorably discharged veterans, “substantially equivalent” military training, education, or experience may be credited toward certain license requirements (pursuant to Section 54.1-118). In addition, the Virginia Department of Veterans Affairs may reimburse veterans for the cost of license or certification exams. See the VA Pamphlet 22-02-1 for more information.

    Available Online Services

    (Please check back periodically as we modify transactions in the future.)


    Address change

    ALL license types  

    • Except Apprentice Tattooer and Limited Term Tattooer


    Renew a license

    ALL license types 

    • Except Apprentice Body-Piercer and Apprentice Tattooer 

    NOTE: No online transactions available for temporary permits at this time.

    Go to Online Services