Cosmetology Schools in Iowa

Before beginning cosmetology education in Iowa, it's important to know what to expect from your schooling and future careers. Here, you can find the vital details you need to help you prepare for your Iowa cosmetology career!

Browse our directory of cosmetology schools in Iowa, or skip ahead to learn about the state's cosmetology licensing requirements and job outlook.

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304 South Iris
Mt. Pleasant, IA 52641


4444 1st Avenue Northeast 12
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402

Cosmetology, Esthetics, Nail Technology, Massage Therapy, Teacher Training

6322 University Avenue
Cedar Falls, IA 50613

Cosmetology, Esthetics, Nail Technology, Massage Therapy, Teacher Training

5205 North Brady Street
Davenport, IA 52806

Cosmetology, Esthetics, Massage Therapy, Nail Technology, Teacher Training

2419 5th Avenue South
Fort Dodge, IA 50501

Cosmetology, Esthetics, Nail Technology, Massage Therapy, Teacher Training

8805 Chambery Boulevard
Johnston, IA 50131

Cosmetology, Esthetics, Nail Technology, Massage Therapy, Teacher Training

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Aveda Institute Des Moines – Accredited

6905 Mills Civic Parkway 120
West Des Moines, IA 50266

Capri College – Accredited

2323 Crossroads Boulevard
Waterloo, IA 50702

Capri College - Cedar Rapids – Accredited

2945 Williams Parkway Southwest
Cedar Rapids, IA 52401

Capri College - Davenport – Accredited

2540 East 53rd Street
Davenport, IA 52807

Capri College - Dubuque – Accredited

395 Main Street
Dubuque, IA 52004

Faust Institute of Cosmetology – Accredited

1543 18th Street Suite 15
Spirit Lake, IA 51360

Iowa Lakes Community College – Accredited

3200 College Drive
Emmetsburg, IA 50536

Iowa School of Beauty - Sioux City – Accredited

3320 Line Drive
Sioux City, IA 51106

Iowa School of Beauty - Urbandale – Accredited

3305 70th Street
Urbandale, IA 50322

La James College of Hairstyling – Accredited

24 Second Street Northeast
Mason City, IA 50401

La James College of Hairstyling – Accredited

24 Second Street Northeast
Mason City, IA 50401

Northeast Iowa Community College

1625 Highway 150
Calmar, IA 52132

PCI Academy - Ames – Accredited

309 Kitty Hawk Drive
Ames, IA 50010

PCI Academy - Iowa City – Accredited

1550 South 1st Avenue
Iowa City, IA 52240

SOHO Hair Academy – Accredited

2600 South 9th Street
Council Bluffs, IA 51501

The Nail Tech Institute of Iowa – Accredited

1321 East Euclid Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50316

World of Beauty Academy - Des Moines – Accredited

3409 Southeast 14th Street
Des Moines, IA 50320
Accredited School

You must attend a school that meets any licensure requirements as defined by your state. Most states require that you graduate from an accredited or state-approved school.

Cosmetology Schools Near Me

How to Become a Cosmetologist in Iowa

Iowa Cosmetology Careers At a Glance
  • 2,100 education hours are required to become licensed.
  • You must renew your license every 2 years.
  • 6 continuing education hours are required to renew your license.
  • The average salary for cosmetologists in Iowa is $32,850.
  • There is a predicted 19% job increase between 2020-2030 for cosmetologists.

A cosmetologist in Iowa is licensed to perform hair services, such as coloring, cutting, curling, etc. Like other states, cosmetologists also learn basic skin and nail care, makeup application, and hair removal. However, some more advanced techniques, like laser hair removal, may require additional certification or licensing.

These are the general requirements to become a cosmetologist in Iowa:

  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Complete 2,100 training hours at an approved school
  • Pass the written and practical exams
  • Apply for a license and pay the $60 fee

The board typically reviews and responds to applications within five business days. Expect an email with an attached letter if additional information is needed to approve your license.

Cosmetologist Salary and Projected Job Growth in Iowa


Average yearly salary for cosmetology in Iowa

The outlook for Iowa hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists is positive, with a 19% projected employment growth through 2030.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that cosmetologists earned an average (mean) salary of $32,850 or $15.79 per hour in 2021, which is close to the mean annual wage of $35,990 or $17.30 per hour that cosmetologists earned nationwide.

However, salaries vary based on industry and location. For example, cosmetologists in health and personal care stores earn among the lowest wages, while those in the motion picture and video industries earn the highest salaries. Large cities also typically pay higher wages.

Cosmetologist salaries in several metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas in Iowa are:

Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Areas 2021 Median Salary
Omaha-Council Bluffs, IA $35,840
Southeast Iowa nonmetropolitan area $30,290
Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA $29,370
Northwest Iowa nonmetropolitan area $29,220
Iowa City, IA $29,120
Ames, IA $29,080
Cedar Rapids, IA $28,590
Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA $28,450
Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA $28,070

Table information sourced from O*Net (2022)

What to Expect From a Cosmetology Program in Iowa

2,100 Education Hours

Required to earn a cosmetology license

Aspiring cosmetologists in Iowa have to complete 2,100 training hours from a licensed, state-approved school to gain licensure.

Approved cosmetology programs must comply with the following curriculum requirements:

  • Core life sciences: 150 hours
  • Cosmetology theory: 615 hours
  • Applied practical instruction: 1,335 hours

Core life sciences include anatomy and physiology, bacteriology, basic chemistry, sanitation and safety, and state and federal law. The cosmetology theory portion of training includes business and management practices.

Can I Apprentice as a Cosmetologist in Iowa?

Iowa doesn't currently have a cosmetology apprenticeship path to licensure. You must attend a cosmetology school in Iowa.

Iowa Cosmetology Licensing Requirements

After completing 2,100 training hours from a board-approved school in Iowa, you can register for your examinations. The written and practical exams, provided by the National Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC), are administered through PSI, and the fee is $58 per exam.

You don't need to wait for board approval to schedule the exams. Head to PSI's website to register and pay the exam fees.

On the test day, arrive at the testing location you selected at least 30 minutes early with two forms of identification, like a driver's license and Social Security card. You can't take any electronics or personal items into the examination room. If you arrive late or fail to reschedule your appointment at least two days prior, you must reapply and pay the examination fee(s) again.

The written test takes place on a computer, while the practical is hands-on. All testing centers are equipped for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodations, and applicants must request any exam accommodations in advance by filling out and submitting a form to PSI.

You must pass all exams with a score of 75% or higher. You can expect to receive your unofficial scores immediately after the exam.

Iowa Cosmetology Licensure Reciprocity

If you have an active license to practice cosmetology in another state, you may obtain a license in Iowa by sending your official transcript and verification of active licensure to the board. You still need to meet the education requirements set by the state. You can print verification from your state licensing board's website to send to the Iowa board. It must include the issue date, expiration date, and any pending or past disciplinary actions.

If you were licensed before 2000, you also need to submit proof of passing the written and practical exams with 75% or higher. A cosmetologist licensed in another state after January 1, 2000, must provide proof of passing a national theory exam.

Cosmetology Specialties in Iowa

In Iowa, you can pursue additional cosmetology specialties to perform advanced techniques. As a licensed cosmetologist, you may perform microdermabrasion and chemical peels if you undergo additional training and earn a certificate from the board.

Cosmetology License Renewal in Iowa

2 Years

License renewal period

6 Hours

Continuing education required

Every two years, you must renew your license to continue practicing cosmetology in Iowa. To renew your license online, complete a minimum of six continuing education hours and submit your renewal to the board up to 60 days before your license expires with your $60 renewal fee. The expiration date is on your wallet card, and you'll receive a new wallet card by email after renewal.

You can begin earning your six continuing education hours between April 1 of year one and March 31 of the second year. Continuing education can come from attending workshops, conferences, symposiums, or online training.

For the best results, look for continuing education programs associated with:

  • Cosmetology schools, universities, or colleges
  • National, state, or local cosmetology associations
  • Barber schools, institutes, or associations
  • Laser technology institutes

However, keep in mind that the continuing education requirements are very specific. You must complete four of the six hours in cosmetology-related training, while the remaining two hours focus on state laws and sanitation. An hour of continuing education includes at least 50 minutes spent at a live, virtual, or online activity where the instructor provides proof of completion.

The program you select must also meet certain criteria. For each continuing education activity, expect to submit general information like:

  • The program's goals, objectives, or both
  • Proof of attendance
  • Date, location, the course title, presenter(s), and any sponsors
  • Number of program contact hours
  • Certificate of completion or other evidence of successful course completion

Contact the Iowa State Board of Cosmetology

Iowa Department of Public Health

Cosmetology has gradually become another way of life for those looking for unique careers in Iowa. State projections foretell a slight increase in those looking to become professionals over the next six years. Eager applicants take guidance from these listed groups.

PSI Exams Online
The Iowa state board uses PSI to administer the NIC examinations. Use their website to register, schedule, and pay for your exams. Also, check out the candidate information bulletin for specific test and application instructions.

NIC Testing
Head to the NIC Testing website for more information and resources to help you prepare for your examinations.

Cosmetologists and Barbers of Iowa (CBI)
As the largest non-profit association of salon professionals in Iowa, CBI offers information on events, continuing education, and more.


How to Become a Cosmetologist in Your State

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