Cosmetology Schools in Massachusetts
With licensed cosmetologists earning more in Massachusetts than anywhere else in the U.S., the Bay State might be the perfect place to launch your cosmetology career. Browse our directory of cosmetology schools in Massachusetts, or skip ahead to learn about the state's cosmetology licensing requirements and job outlook.
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30 West Street
Boston, MA 02111
347 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148
100 West Street
Pittsfield, MA 1201
Charlton, MA 01507
Franklin, MA 02038
You must attend school in the state you want to practice in. Most states require that you graduate from an accredited school. Learn more about the requirements in your state.
Cosmetology Schools Near Me
- 1,000 education hours or 1,200 apprentice hours are required to become licensed.
- You must renew your license every 2 years.
- 0 continuing education hours are required to renew your license.
- The average salary for cosmetologists in Massachusetts is $44,240.
- There is a predicted 6% job increase between 2018–2028 for cosmetologists.
To qualify for a cosmetologist license in the state of Massachusetts, you must meet certain requirements, including:
A criminal record does not automatically disqualify you from being eligible for a cosmetology license, but it may lead to additional checks. Some factors, such as a recent conviction or one that involves aggravating circumstances, may lead to disqualification.
Obtaining your cosmetology license in Massachusetts doesn't automatically permit you to run your own business; perform manicures, aesthetics, or electrolysis; or work as a mobile practitioner or cosmetology instructor. To perform these services, you'll need to earn additional licenses.
Cosmetologist Salary and Projected Job Growth in Massachusetts
Average yearly salary for cosmetology in Massachusetts
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, cosmetologists in Massachusetts earned an average annual wage of $44,240 ($21.27 per hour) in 2021, much higher than the national average of $35,990 ($17.30 per hour). In fact, Massachusetts is the highest-paying state for cosmetology across the country.
The job market for cosmetologists in Massachusetts is also looking up, with a projected job growth of 6% between 2018 and 2028. An estimated 2,540 positions will open up across the state each year.
Salaries can vary, with annual wages of between about $30,000 and $75,000. This difference is largely due to the level of experience a cosmetologist has, the services they offer, and the area they're based in.
The highest-paying metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas for cosmetologists in Massachusetts are:
|Metro Area||2021 Median Salary|
|Barnstable Town, MA||$57,750|
|Massachusetts nonmetropolitan area||$40,400|
|New Bedford, MA||$35,840|
Table information sourced from O*Net (2022)
What to Expect From a Cosmetology Program in Massachusetts
Required to earn a cosmetology license
The first step to earning your cosmetologist license in Massachusetts is registering to participate in a state-approved cosmetology program and completing the required 1,000 hours of training. During your education, you'll learn about a wide range of topics relevant to the job, such as hair cutting, hair coloring, hairstyling, manicuring, facials, and more. You may also cover business-related topics, such as running your own salon, marketing, and finance. The Massachusetts Board of Registration of Cosmetology and Barbering requires that schools offer a curriculum that includes the following:
Like individual practitioners, cosmetology schools must also be licensed. The state board closely monitors them to make sure they maintain a high standard of education and clean, safe facilities for staff, students, and clients.
Can I Apprentice as a Cosmetologist in Massachusetts?
It is possible to gain licensure as a cosmetologist in Massachusetts by completing an apprenticeship. Between formal schooling and the apprenticeship program, a total of 1,200 hours must be completed.
You need to complete at least 200 school hours and pass a background before beginning your official apprenticeship.
Once enrolled, you need to complete 1,000 or more education hours, consisting of:
Your apprenticeship registration will expire after 12 months and cannot be renewed. The apprenticeship will also automatically terminate if you graduate or leave the program, though you may be able to apply for reinstatement if the interruption was for a good reason.
Massachusetts Cosmetology Licensing Requirements
Once you complete the required 1,000 hours of training, you can apply for your cosmetology license. To do this, you first need to register with the state board's testing vendor, Pearson VUE, and pass both the practical and written exams.
You must register for your exams at least three business days before you wish to take them. Applicants can take their exams at the following Pearson VUE locations on specific days of the week:
The first time you take your cosmetology exam, it costs $150. If you need to retake it, you'll pay a fee of $120. Once you pass, you need to pay a license fee of $68.
You have three hours to pass the practical portion of the test and two hours for the written part, and you will receive your results as soon as you're finished. You need to score at least 80 on the practical exam and 70 on the written exam to pass. You can take the tests on different dates, though you must pass both within 24 months of each other.
The practical exam is only available in English, though you can bring in a translation dictionary if needed. All supplies brought into the exam must be labeled in English. The written portion of the test is available in English, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, or Vietnamese.
On the day of your practical exam, arrive 30 minutes before the start of the test and meet with the manager or proctor, who will check that you've brought the right materials and photograph you for your score report. You need to bring the following:
After completing the practical exam, you can take the written test. There are 100 questions (plus 20 pre-test questions), each of which is in a four-option, multiple-choice format, covering the following topics:
- Rules, Regulations, and Safety (27%-32%)
- Trichology (5%-8%)
- Shampoo/Scalp Analysis (4%-6%)
- Styling (5%-8%)
- Hair Cutting (9%-11%)
- Hair Color & Lightening (13%-15%)
- Permanent Waving (12%-14%)
- Chemical Straightening and Relaxing (12%-14%)
- Aesthetics (5%-7%)
- Nails (5%-7%)
Pearson VUE complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provisions, and extra accommodations can be made during your test if needed. If so, you must provide appropriate documentation of your condition and how you expect it to affect your ability to take the test under standard conditions.
Massachusetts Cosmetology Licensure Reciprocity
If you've previously trained as a licensed cosmetologist in another state (or even another country), you may be eligible for license reciprocity in Massachusetts.
If you are licensed in another state, you need to provide the following to the Massachusetts state board:
Veterans and their spouses may also be eligible for reciprocity, with military training and service counting toward Massachusetts licensure. In addition, the state board will expedite the licensure process for active-duty service members and spouses who are licensed in other states but moved to Massachusetts due to military transfer.
License renewal period
Continuing education required
Cosmetologists in Massachusetts must renew their licenses every two years. Renewal costs $68 and is due on your birthday. If you forget, you'll need to pay an additional late fee of $57, so it's important not to miss the deadline.
There are no continuing education requirements for cosmetologists in Massachusetts, though professionals should brush up on skills frequently to stay on top of the latest industry trends and techniques.
Contact the Massachusetts State Board of Cosmetology
- 1000 Washington Street 7th Floor, Boston, MA 02118
- Website: Board of Registration of Cosmetology and Barbering
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call: 617-701-8792
Being part of the cosmetology industry in Massachusetts means being part of an expanding workforce and fueling the rise of small businesses. The state in turn has encouraged more towards personal grooming as a career. With that future in mind, many take advantage of these resources to get started.
As the state's testing vendor, Pearson VUE gives applicants information on testing, candidate handbooks, and licensing.
Massachusetts Cosmetology Advocacy Forum
This group for licensed cosmetologists in Massachusetts shares safety protocols, licensing requirements, industry news, and more.