Aspiring cosmetologists wishing to specialize in hair braiding must fulfill minimum licensure requirements. It can be helpful to find out about the curriculum and admissions requirements, as well as state-specific licensing information and continuing education requirements.
Hair braiding certification courses prepare students for state cosmetology licensing exams. Hair braiding can either be found as a topic in basic and advanced hair styling courses or in a course of its own. In such courses, students learn about weaving or intertwining the hair in a variety of styles, including cornrows, locks (or locs), twists, knots, and single braids. Other topics of study can include scalp care, sanitation and professional procedures.
Cosmetologists in the United States are required to be licensed. To enter a licensure program, aspiring cosmologists usually need to meet the following basic requirements: be at least 16 years old, hold a high school diploma or GED, graduate from a state-licensed cosmetology school.
Cosmetology licensure exam preparation programs typically consist of a mixture of classroom and hands on training. For cosmetologists focusing on hair braiding, licensure requirements vary by state. Here is some information for several states.
In Florida, hair braiders take a 2-day course consisting of 16 hours of training in sanitation, sterilization, scalp disorders, HIV/AIDS and hair braiding laws. After completing the 2-day course, hair braiders must then register with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation and pay an application fee. While waiting for their registration to be issued, hair braiders can begin working legally. Hair braiders must renew their licenses every two years by completing 16 hours of continuing education units.
The Minnesota Board of Barber and Cosmetologist Examiners requires hair braiders to complete 30 hours of training in the areas of health, sanitation and safety. Specific topics covered include virus and bacteria reproduction, sterilization, blood-borne pathogens, proper sanitation and decontamination. Students are supervised by an instructor and are assigned hands-on exercises in sanitation. License renewal for hair braiders in Minnesota is every three years.
Wisconsin, California and Mississippi
Some states don't license or regulate hair braiding. Wisconsin, for example, does not offer a hair braiding curriculum, and California does not regulate hair braiders. Up until 2004, hair braiding was not part of the cosmetology curriculum in Mississippi, and anyone wanting to work as a hair braider had to complete the cosmetology education required for licensing, even though hair braiding was not part of the curriculum, according to the Institute for Justice. In 2005, after a lawsuit was filed against the state, aspiring hair braiders became able to gain licenses by paying a licensing fee to the Board of Health and taking a test on sanitation and health guidelines.
In order to maintain licensure, cosmetologists must periodically fulfill continuing education requirements by completing courses and/or workshops. Some continuing education offerings are available in hair braiding. Alternatively, hair braiding specialists may chose to expand their expertise in other areas by taking courses such as pinning hair for special occasions, haircutting with compression techniques and hair coloring trends.
To recap, in order to become a professional cosmetologist focusing on hair braiding, certain licensure requirements must be met depending on the state.