Renewing Your North Carolina Cosmetology License

North Carolina has specific requirements for renewal that differ depending on what type of license you hold. Cosmetologists have to renew their license every 3 years and the deadline for renewals occurs on 10/1 of the expiration year. Estheticians, manicurists, natural hair specialists and apprentices have to renew their license every year. The deadline for renewals occurs on 10/1.

Continuing Education Requirements

Each cosmetologist must complete 24 hours of continuing education over the 3-year period. Estheticians, manicurists, natural hair specialists and apprentices have to complete 8 hours of continuing education every year.

All license renewal applications must affirm to have completed the required continuing education. Anyone practicing with a license in cosmetology is subject to an audit by the cosmetology board. This audit may include proving a valid active license and continuing education certificates of completion.

Here are the license renewal forms:

Renewal Periods, Fees and Continuing Education Table
LicenseRenewal PeriodState FeesContinuing Education
Cosmetologist3 Years$23-$49*24 Hours
Manicurist (Nail Tech)1 Year$208 Hours
Esthetician1 Year$208 Hours
Teacher2 Years$2016 Hours
Natural Hair Specialist1 Year$208 Hours
Apprentice1 Year$20N/A

*The renewal period is October 1st to October 1st for every renewal cycle. Fees for Cosmetologists vary depending on expiration date.


There are exemptions from continuing education requirements if you can prove 20+ years of work experience or 10+ years of work experience at 60 years of age or older.


If you wish to transfer to North Carolina from out of state, there is a $15 transfer fee in addition to the state licensing fees. You must prove you hold a current license from another state that you have passed a state board exam or national cosmetology exam, and you have no disciplinary actions against your license.

For a list of requirements, approved license holders and states where reciprocity is not granted, visit the North Carolina Board of Cosmetic Art Examiners website.