Esthetician Exam Review

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation develops
and maintains this exam for all those seeking to be licensed estheticians or
cosmetologists. It consists of two separate exams: Written exam and the
Practical exam. You must pass the written exam before you can schedule and take
the Practical exam.

Who is Eligible?

All candidates seeking to take their esthetician or cosmetology operator license exam need specific approval from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation or TDLR. To get that approval you must simply send in a completed application and the correct supporting documentation.

Once you have received your approval to test, you will be sent an email inviting you to register, pay for, and schedule your exam. Your email will include instructions on how to do this, as well as a unique ID number that you will need to complete the process. You must schedule and take your exam within five years of your approval notice before your eligibility expires.

However, once you pay for the exam, you will only have one year to take the exam before another fee is required for your eligibility to continue. 

There is a fee of $50 for the written exam and a $72 fee for the practical exam. This must be paid during the registration process.

When and Where is it Taken?

Scheduling of both exams can take place online or over the phone through PSI, a professional testing firm. PSI administers the written exam using computer testing, while the practical exam is a hand’s on experience that allows you to prove your skills using a model and mannequin. 

PSI has testing locations all throughout the state of Texas and nationwide. A complete list will be made available to you for scheduling. Once you have chosen a location, you will be presented with dates and times that are available at that site.

Choose a date, time, and location that is convenient for you. However, it is recommended that you register as soon as possible for your specific location. Space and seating are limited and filled on a first come, first served basis.

If you should need to reschedule or cancel your exam appointment for any reason, you may do by contacting PSI at least two days before your original session. Changes cannot be made any later and will ensure that you forfeit your exam fee and will have to reschedule.

Accommodations are available to those with disabilities or may not be able to test under normal conditions. This includes non-English speaking candidates. This request must be made during registration and supporting documentation must be provided.

What Should I Bring?

It is important that you arrive at the testing site at least 30 minutes before your exam is to begin. This will allow enough time for you to complete a sign-in and verification process, as well as be ready for the exam. Those who arrive late will not be allowed to test that day and will have to reschedule, forfeiting their exam fee.

You will need to provide at least one form of personal identification such as a driver’s license, passport, state ID, or military ID. This must contain your signature, full name as it appears on your application, a recent photo, date of birth, and expiration date. If your ID has missing or incorrect information, you will be asked to present another one or will not be allowed to test.

No personal belongings are allowed in the testing area. These must be kept in a designated locker for the duration of the exam. these items include but are not limited to:

  • Bulky or loose clothing and outerwear
  • Cell phones/electric devices
  • Hats or headgear
  • Bags or purses
  • Food and drinks
  • Pencils, paper, or study materials

Possession of these items in the testing room will ensure your immediate dismissal and the voiding of your scores.

The Practical exam will require that you wear close-toed shoes and bring the supplies and equipment needed to perform the tested activities. You will also need to bring a model and a mannequin.

What is Covered?

Written exam

It consists of 120 multiple choice questions. 20 of those are pretest items and will not count towards your score. You will have 120 minutes to complete them all. Below is a brief outline of the written exam.

Licensing and regulation – 20 questions

Infection Control – 28 questions

Hair and scalp care – 40 questions

Nail care – 6 questions

Skincare – 6 questions

Practical Exam

It has 142 possible points, divided into several sections. You will have a total of three hours and 20 minutes, with each section timed separately.  Below is a list of those sections.

Pre-exam set and disinfection – 10 minutes/7 points possible

Manicure service with model – 20 minutes/19 points

Facial service with model – 15 minutes/18 points

Chemical services – 40 minutes/25 points

Shampoo service – 10 minutes/1 point

Hair shaping service – 40 minutes/17 points

Permanent waving service – 20 minutes/20 points

Curl demonstration and roller placement – 15 minutes/13 points

Blow drying and thermal curling service – 20 minutes/16 points

End of exam disinfection – 10 minutes/6 points

How is it Scored?

For the written exam, your scores will appear on screen immediately after you have finished. You will also receive an official paper score report as well. Your score is indicated by a passing status only, or for those who fail, a failing status and a diagnostic report of your performance. you will need a score of 70% to pass.

If you pass the written exam, you will be allowed to schedule and take the Practical exam. You must receive at least 70% or a score of 100 to pass the practical exam. You will receive your official paper score for this exam after you have finished as well.

There is no limit to the number of times you can take this exam. However, a new fee must be paid for each attempt.

How Can I Prepare for the Esthetician Test?

That’s a great question.  We’ve broken down the answer into three parts.

  1. Do yourself a favor and study.  Do not walk in unprepared. We have recommended prep materials below, but that only helps if you actually try.  Plus, studying is actually proven to be the best antidote to test anxiety.
  2. Take care of yourself.  Make sure you’re eating well, exercising, and sleeping.  All of these things are scientifically linked to brain performance.  If you take care of your body, you’ll be helping your grades.
  3. Get a study guide or set of flashcards.  Some people study better a certain way. Find your study strengths and make the most of them.  We’ve tried to make it easy for you by tracking down the best study guide and flashcard set for your exam.  Below you’ll see links to both!

Study Guide



Last Updated: November 9, 2023