Cosmetology
cosmetology

Cosmetology programs are popular for many reasons; and these FAQ’s will reveal many of them. If you are weighing your beauty school options, you should learn what cosmetology entails, and how to choose the right program. These questions will address those subjects, and tell you how long you might train. We’ll cover what requirements many beauty schools have. Of course, the cost of cosmetology school is on every students’ mind. Not to fear. You can get more information right here.

If you are considering a career in cosmetology, but have some questions before you take the next step, this page aims to give you the short and sweet answer to all your burning questions about jumping into the beauty industry. This is a great place to start to get all the cosmetology information you need to choose a school and start your education, then launch your career in the beauty business. This is a general overview to start your journey of learning all about cosmetology, and we will link you to more specific resources for each of these topics.

Cosmetology

01. About
Cosmetology School Information

Before becoming a professional hairstylist or other beauty pro, it is imperative that you attend cosmetology school to get the proper training required to get licensed. All 50 states plus Washington D.C. require you to meet a minimum number of training hours at a cosmetology school in order to take the licensing exam and get your license. So step one in that process is figuring out which license you need to practice your profession of choice, and finding the right cosmetology school for you to get the required training hours.

When choosing a school, there is certain information about cosmetology schools you should gather in order to make an educated decision. Here are just a few questions of the questions we recommend that you ask each school you contact before making a decision:

  • Do you offer a comprehensive cosmetology program?
  • Do you offer full-time or part-time cosmetology classes?
  • How long does it take to complete the cosmetology program?
  • Check out our How to Choose a Beauty School guide for a complete list of questions to ask cosmetology admissions representatives.

Collecting all the cosmetology school information you can up front will help you make an educated decision about which school is right for you. It may seem overwhelming at first, but ask all the questions you need to of the admissions people so that you feel confident and comfortable choosing the right school for you, and be sure you understand what is required of you to get your license of choice.

 

What is cosmetology?

Cosmetology is a field in the beauty industry that encompasses a wide range of hair, skin, and cosmetic services. Traditionally, cosmetologists are thought of as hair stylists, makeup artists or nail technicians. However, the growing areas of laser hair removal and permanent makeup are part of cosmetology too. Earning a cosmetologist’s license will generally qualify you for the foundational skills. To work in electrolysis or certain types of makeup artistry, for instance, you will need to take that specific type of training program.  

In the hair-focused courses, cosmetology students learn the basics and advanced styling techniques. You should seek programs that will help you understand the latest trends, coloring, and other services clients ask for. Men’s cuts will also come into play, since many cosmetologists serve male clients as well.

Makeup classes typically teach you how to apply bridal, special event, and other common techniques. You might learn some basic theatrical or special effects makeup. Most cosmetology makeup curriculum will prep you for salon and spa work. But you will also be able to pursue work in film and television, if that’s your thing. Why not prep news anchors, or actors, or all kinds of clients, in your makeup career?

Most likely, you have been in a nail salon, where manicures, pedicures, and other nail services are offered. While you can find standalone nail tech programs, cosmetology programs include these courses too. These are the core areas that make up the field of cosmetology.

 

Thinking about cosmetology school?

If you are considering a career in cosmetology, but have some questions before you take the next step, this page aims to give you the short and sweet answer to all your burning questions about jumping into the beauty industry. This is a great place to start to get all the cosmetology information you need to choose a school and start your education, then launch your career in the beauty business. This is a general overview to start your journey of learning all about cosmetology, and we will link you to more specific resources for each of these topics.

How should I find, compare, and contact cosmetology schools?

There are many things you need to consider when choosing the best beauty school program for you. After you review the quick items listed below, take a peek at our more complete “How to Choose a Beauty School” checklist. When you are ready to contact schools about their programs, keep the following questions and considerations in mind:

  • Which kind of cosmetology program meets your state’s license requirements for your preferred career?
  • Is the program approved by your state’s Board of Cosmetology?
  • Do the financial aid options meet your needs?
  • Does the class schedule fit your current personal and work schedule?
  • Is the curriculum aligned with your desired profession?

In addition to these considerations, we recommend speaking with 3-4 cosmetology schools to make sure you choose the right one.

Are you just starting to consider cosmetology career options? If so, let’s start with some basic information that you might want to know before contacting beauty schools…

When it comes to cosmetology education, is there a difference between beauty schools and cosmetology schools?

The terms "beauty school" and "cosmetology school" are often used in the same context and essentially mean the same thing regarding cosmetology education. It's similar to the way some institutions are called "cosmetology schools", while others may be referred to as "cosmetology colleges" or "cosmetology academies."

02. Courses | Course Length
What Do You Learn In Cosmetology School?

The American Heritage dictionary defines cosmetology as “the study or art of cosmetics and their use." When beauty schools say they offer full cosmetology programs it generally refers to the study of hair styling, skin care, nail care, and makeup in one comprehensive program.

Cosmetology students learn how to choose and apply these services for clients through a variety of learning styles, including:

  • In-class lectures
  • Textbooks
  • Hands-on training in student salons
  • Online tools for knowledge-based courses

The official cosmetology curriculum varies from state to state, but a beauty school student should graduate with a thorough knowledge of all aspects of the beauty industry. Most students are also permitted to specialize in a specific area or service.

If you are looking at the broad cosmetology school option, you may find some additional information by looking at the questions below. Or…if you are still wanting to know about your options, keep reading.

How long is cosmetologist training?

State beauty license requirements vary by state, so the length of the training program may also vary slightly by state. On average, it takes students 9 to 15 months to graduate from a cosmetology program. Many schools offer flexible scheduling that allows you to take night or weekend classes to accommodate work and family life, so part-time students may take longer to graduate than full-time students would. Click here for more information about the length of cosmetology school.

Our 2012 survey of all the licensing boards across the U.S. shows that most states require 1600 training hours on average to get licensed, but some states require as few as 1000 hours and other require as many as 2300 training hours. Take a look at our state cosmetology license requirements page to find out 2015 licensing information. We recommend you contact the licensing department in your state to check for changes to requirements or curriculum.

General Licensing Requirements for the Beauty Industry

03. Requirements
What are the requirements to enroll in cosmetology school?

Most beauty and cosmetology schools require a high school diploma or a GED equivalent to enroll, but check with the state in which you plan to enroll to be sure, and always contact the school directly to find out their unique regulations. The minimum age required to enroll in school varies from state to state.

Age Requirements for Cosmetology School Video

High School Diploma or GED for Cosmetology School Video

04. Cost
How much do cosmetologist training programs cost?

Cosmetology school tuition costs vary depending on the types of courses, hours of instruction needed, location of the school, as well as their facilities and equipment. The cost of cosmetology school can also be affected by what's included in the price of tuition, like books, supplies, cosmetology kits or smocks or aprons. Our 2012 survey of 55 cosmetology schools says that the cost of cosmetology averages between $10,000 and $20,000. Be sure to speak to the admissions representatives at the schools you're considering to get the official information from each campus. Click here for more information about the cost of cosmetology tuition.

Cost of Cosmetology School Video

OTHER PROGRAMS

Other frequently asked question topics