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The Salon Professional Academy Blog

If you’re attending cosmetology school or thinking about a career in cosmetology, you’re probably thinking about the state board exam. This is one of the crucial steps you need to complete in order to receive your cosmetology license and start a career. At The Salon Professional Academy (TSPA), St. Louis, we want our students to walk into their exam with confidence. That’s why we care so much about exam prep! Here’s a basic overview of what you need to do to prepare for the Missouri state board exam.

Woman taking a written test.


Before you can take the exam, you need to make sure you meet the basic requirements. According to the Missouri Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners, the following is required before applying for the state board exam:

  • Be at least 17 years old
  • Proof of at least a 10th-grade education (copy of diploma, transcripts, or GED)
  • Successfully complete a 1,500-hour board-approved cosmetology program

Girl in a black sweater wearing glasses sits at a laptop.

What to Study

There are two portions to the Missouri state board: the theory (written) exam and the practical exam. Based on the National Cosmetology Theory Examination Candidate Information Bulletin (CIB), here is what you should study for each section:

Theory Exam

  • Scientific Concepts: Infection control, anatomy, physiology, basic chemistry of products
  • Hair Care and Services: Client consultation, documentation for hair care services, tools used in hair care services, hair care, hair design, chemical services
  • Skin Care and Services:Consultation, analysis and documentation for skin care services, tools for skin care services, facial skin care services
  • Nail Care and Services:Consultation and documentation for nail care services, tools used in nail care services, application of procedures and safety techniques for manicures, pedicures, nail tips and acrylics

Practical Exam

  • Work area/client preparation and set up of supplies
  • Thermal curling
  • Haircutting
  • Chemical waving
  • Predisposition test and strand test
  • Highlighting with foil, virgin application
  • Hair color retouch
  • Virgin hair relaxer application
  • Blood exposure procedure

What to Bring to Your Exam

On the day of your state board exam, you should arrive 30 minutes before your appointment. Make sure to bring two forms of identification. Examples of primary and secondary identification include:


  • State issued driver’s license
  • State issued identification card
  • US government issued passport
  • Click here for other options


  • Credit card
  • Social security card
  • US issued birth certificate with raised seal

Career Possibilities With a Cosmetology License

Once you pass the state board and receive your cosmetology license, an exciting variety of career possibilities could become available to you. The beauty industry is full of diverse, creative opportunities and passing your state board exam is the first step toward this type of future!

Beauty advisor helps a blonde client at a makeup counter.

Some careers you could have with a cosmetology license are:

  • Hairstylist
  • Hair colorist
  • Makeup artist
  • Salon Owner
  • Personal stylist
  • Bridal stylist
  • Beauty advisor

If you’ve been a cosmetologist for years, or your license has lapsed, it’s time to renew! Check out our handy renewal guide here!

Get Information About Our Cosmetology Program

Looking for a cosmetology program that can help you ace the state board exam? Choose TSPA St. Louis! Along with teaching cutting and styling techniques, we also offer education on resume writing and interview skills, and a mock state board exam. Our main goal is preparing students for a future in beauty. Contact us today to learn about cosmetology at TSPA St. Louis!