The Cosmetology Licensure Compact Wants to Grant License Mobility to Stylists Everywhere—Here’s What This Means


What if we told you that there was a way for your professional beauty license to easily transfer from state to state—just like a drivers’ license. Sounds intriguing, right? Yeah, we think so, too! Which is exactly why our ears perked up big time when we heard about a fairly recent piece of legislation called the Cosmetology Licensure Compact and how it’s working to make increased mobility for pro beauty licenses a reality for hairstylists everywhere. 

Now, you likely have a ton of questions about the Cosmetology Licensure Compact, starting with what it is and how exactly it impacts your career. That’s why we’ve broken down absolutely everything you need to know about this important legislation impacting the salon pro industry. Keep scrolling to learn more about the Cosmetology Compact.

What is the Cosmetology Compact?

Supported by the Council of State Governments (CSG) in partnership with the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Future of the Beauty Industry Coalition, the Cosmetology Compact is an interstate occupational licensure compact. For those who don’t know, interstate compacts are constitutionally authorized, legislatively enacted, legally binding agreements among states. Put simply, the Cosmetology Compact grants licensed stylists the ability to practice in all states that join the compact, rather than having to get an individual license in every state in which they want to practice. Much like the compact for a driver’s license, each compact member state agrees to mutually recognize the cosmetologist’s licenses issued by every other member state.

How does the Cosmetology Compact work?

As stated earlier, the Cosmetology Compact allows stylists to practice with their current license in any state, so long as the state is a part of the interstate compact. This means that if you are a fully licensed stylist with a clean background check and no disciplinary action against you, the compact will enable you to move and work freely from one compact state to another. No longer will stylists have to deal with pesky application forms and fees, long wait times to receive a new state license—or even worse, have to take a long hiatus from styling hair and impact their income.

Image Courtesy: The National Center for Interstate Compacts

Of course, it should be noted that the compact will only go into effect once at least seven or more states have approved the proposed bill. Once the compact goes into effect, a multistate licensing board will be created, and rules will be drafted. Only then will stylists from those seven or more states be able to obtain a multistate license and move to any of the compact states without having to notify the new state. 

What kind of examination, education, or training does the Cosmetology Compact require?

In this regard, the requirements for any stylists wishing to participate in the compact are fairly simple. So long as they live in a compact member state, stylists simply need to meet the requirements for an initial single-state license in their home state.

For a state to be eligible to join the Cosmetology Compact, they must require a competency exam and completion of an education or training program. The compact preserves each compact member state’s power by allowing each state to determine the number of education or training hours and competency exam(s) required for licensure.

Who can use the Cosmetology Compact?

Any cosmetologist who holds an active, unencumbered license in a compact member state is eligible to apply for a multistate license. For any cosmetologist intending to use the Cosmetology Compact to practice in another compact member state, they will have to abide by that state’s laws and regulations related to the practice of cosmetology.

As it stands, the Cosmetology Compact is only for licensed stylists and is not available for licensed barbers or licensed estheticians. But, don’t worry—compacts for these professions may become available in the future. 

How does the Cosmetology Compact benefit stylists?

The Cosmetology Compact has the ability to set a new standard in the salon pro industry—one that grants stylists the opportunity to move to any state in the U.S. and be able to cut hair right away, without any barriers. With the compact in place, stylists will no longer have to worry about getting licensed again when they cross state lines. This means that newly relocated stylists can get back into the workforce sooner and start making money much faster. Removing the limitations placed on licenses also expands the employment opportunities for stylists in newer markets. And, for salon owners who have jobs waiting, the license mobility granted by the Cosmetology Compact helps to fill in those open positions.

What’s the current status of the Cosmetology Compact?

Currently, the Cosmetology Compact is not yet active. For the activation process to begin, at least seven states need to enact the compact. At the moment, only two states have enacted the compact: Kentucky and Arizona

As interstate compacts take time to implement, stylists can expect the Cosmetology Compact’s activation to be a slow process, taking anywhere from 18-24 months. Once the compact has been activated and compact member states are ready to issue multi state licenses, the instructions on applying for a multistate license will be posted online.

How can I advocate for my state to join the Cosmetology Compact?

If you believe that the Cosmetology Compact would be beneficial to stylists, there are some ways that you can get involved in the process. To start, you can educate yourself about the compact by reviewing these educational resources on the Cosmetology Compact’s website. You can also reach via email to for more information about how to advocate for your state to join the compact. In order for your state to become a compact member state, the Cosmetology Compact must be passed by your state’s legislature and signed into law by the Governor. 

For more information about the Cosmetology Compact, be sure to visit

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Camille Nzengung

Camille Nzengung is a Features Editor at The Tease, where she covers all things hair. You can find her writing about the best hair products, the coolest hair trends, and all the exciting new hair launches. Send her a pitch:

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