Montana Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists


This board does not regulate tattooing, body/ear piercing, permanent makeup, microblading, etc. For information on these regulations visit the Department of Public Health and Human Services 

Mission Statement: The mission of the Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists is to protect the health, safety and well-being of Montana citizens through the regulation and oversight of barbering, barbering nonchemical, cosmetology, electrology, esthetics, and manicuring. The board makes every effort to include relevant and current information pertaining to licensing and regulation on our website.  Please contact us if you need additional information, or to provide comments on how we can improve the website.

Welcome to the Montana Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists

  • House Bill 353 passed by the 2023 Legislature took effect on 10/1/23. Individuals engaging in natural hair braiding as defined in the statute will not need to be licensed nor practice in a licensed shop or salon. This does not change what licensees under this board area allowed to do under your scope(s). It just means that people who only engage in natural hair braiding do not need a license. 


    You can click on this link to view a copy of the bill language and how the Legislature has defined natural hair braiding.

  • Be aware that there are scams that specifically target licensees.

    Fraudsters may pretend to be government employees, claiming that there is a problem with your professional license or that they have questions about your practice.

    In some cases they find publicly available license information, such as your name, and then call your place of business pretending to be licensing board staff, attempting to elicit personally identifiable information.

    Department of Labor and Industry employees will never threaten you for information or promise a benefit in exchange for personal information or money.

    We may call you in some situations, but will never do the following over the phone:

    • Threaten suspension or revocation of your license
    • Demand immediate payment from you
    • Require payment by cash, gift card, pre-paid debit card, internet currency, or wire transfer
    • Ask for personal details or banking information

    The following scenarios should raise suspicion:

    • A caller saying there is a problem with your professional or occupational license (licensing boards send renewal notices by mail and email)
    • Any call asking you to pay a fine or debt with retail gift cards, wire transfers, pre-paid debit cards, internet currency, or by mailing cash
    • A request to verify your social security number in its entirety over the phone

    Learn more about fraud prevention and reporting at

  • On 12/11/21 changes the board proposed to its administrative rules in July will take effect following the completion of the public comment process, board response to comments, and publication of the notice of adoption. The changes include:

    • New regulations that will allow individuals to apply for licenses to operate mobile salons and shops. Once these rules take effect individuals who wish to apply for licenses for mobile salons and shops can begin submitting applications through the normal application process.
    • Updating the continuing education rule for instructors so that the board no longer approves sponsors or courses. Instead, licensees are responsible for choosing CE that contributes to their ongoing competence under their scope of practice. The number of CE required is not changing.
    • Minor updates to make the rules more readable and easier to follow for licensees, the public, and staff.
  • On 8/30/21 the board met to consider whether or not to once again allow for distance learning at Montana licensed schools as it did between 3/23/20 and 6/30/21. The board ultimately voted to enact a policy that will allow 100 percent of an individual’s theory and classroom practical education for licensure to be obtained through distance learning. All practical distance learning must be two-way, interactive, and real time. All floor work on the general public must still occur 100 percent in-person. This policy has no expiration date and will be in place until the board either enacts rules regarding distance learning through the rulemaking process or meets to re-evaluate the policy.

  • Have a Question about Medical Spas and Cosmetic Medical Procedures that Exceed Your Scope...

    Have a Question about Medical Spas and Cosmetic Medical Procedures that Exceed Your Scope of Practice?

    • Many of the most common questions and links to useful information can be found on this FAQ



    • Visit the FAQ page to view the General FAQ and other topic specific FAQs.
    • Even in normal years, graduation season is busy time for license application processing staff. The board recognizes that the current COVID-19 pandemic has created discord in the normal application, examination, and licensure process. We are striving to address these concerns and potential roadblocks as quickly as possible; however, please understand that this will not occur overnight. The board must continue its public safety mission while adapting to daily changes occurring from the pandemic. This will take time.
    • Applicants are encouraged to begin their application for licensure and to complete as much of the required information as possible.
    • Applications remain valid for one year under normal circumstances. If you submit your application and an item is missing, our licensing specialist will work with you to complete the application. We do not deny applicants for submitting an incomplete application. By completing the application’s remaining parts, exempting exams, etc., you can get ahead on the licensure process.
    • Online applications are the most efficient application method and allow you to upload your own supplemental forms directly into your application at any time.  Click here to go to our online system to create an account and begin your application.
    • Paying the fee triggers the beginning of the staff review process. Be aware that to verify authenticity, some documents such as exam results, and transcripts must be sent to the department directly from the source and cannot be uploaded by the applicant
    • Make sure your address and e-mail information are up-to-date. You can update your information at any time by logging into your online account.
    • E-mail is the board's primary form of communication so a current e-mail helps ensure you stay current on board information. 

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