Cosmetology Schools in Pennsylvania
If you hope to become a cosmetologist in Pennsylvania, now may be the time to jump on the opportunity. The state employs the fifth-highest number of cosmetologists in the country, and the number of available jobs is expected to grow rapidly over the next several years.
Browse our directory of cosmetology schools in Pennsylvania, or skip ahead to learn about the state's cosmetology licensing requirements and job outlook.
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1000 Carlisle Street
Hanover, PA 17331
3941 Jonestown Road
Harrisburg, PA 17109
1801 Columbia Avenue
Lancaster, PA 17603
1716 Quentin Road
Lebanon, PA 17042
320 Mall Boulevard
Monroeville, PA 15146
3370 Birney Avenue
Moosic, PA 18507
4026 Woodhaven Road
Philadelphia, PA 19154
4768 Mcknight Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15237
396 Pottsville St. Clair Highway
Pottsville, PA 17901
2302 North 5th Street Highway
Reading, PA 19605
30 Baldwin Boulevard Suite 50
Shamokin Dam, PA 17876
799 West Sproul Road
Springfield, PA 19064
2394 Mountain View Drive
West Mifflin, PA 15122
1634 Macarthur Road
Whitehall, PA 18052
1000 Easton Road
Wyncote, PA 19095
2592 Eastern Boulevard
York, PA 17402
5100 Peach Street
Erie, PA 16509
50 Ranck Avenue
Lancaster, PA 17602
215 West Main Street
Lansdale, PA 19446
1921 Union Boulevard
Allentown, PA 18109
344 Stroud Mall Road Suite 308
Stroudsburg, PA 18360
9902 East Roosevelt Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19115
369 Schoonmaker Avenue
Monessen, PA 15062
1980 Edinboro Road
Erie, PA 16509
600 Turner Industrial Way
Aston, PA 19014
1033 Chester Pke
Sharon Hill, PA 19079
Pleasant Gap, PA 16823
Altoona, PA 16601
Pittsburgh Multicultural Cosmetology Academy – Accredited
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center – Accredited
Springville, PA 18844
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.
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How to Become a Cosmetologist in Pennsylvania
- 1,200 education hours or 2,000 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 Pennsylvania is $29,060 ($13.97/hour). This is lower than the national average of $32,740 ($15.74/hour).
- There is a predicted 9% job increase between 2018–2028 for cosmetologists. This is higher than the expected national decline of 2%.
To become a cosmetologist in Pennsylvania, you must fulfill the following requirements:
Cosmetologist Salary and Projected Job Growth in Pennsylvania
Average yearly salary for cosmetology in Pennsylvania
On average, cosmetologists in Pennsylvania earn $29,060 annually ($13.97 per hour) as of 2020. Wages vary across the state based on factors like geographic location, workplace, hours worked, and years of experience, with earnings ranging from $16,930 to $45,990 annually.
The cosmetology profession is growing quickly in Pennsylvania, with an expected job growth rate of 9% by 2028. By comparison, the field is expected to shrink by 2% nationally.
The highest-paying metro areas for cosmetologists in Pennsylvania as of 2019 were:
The nonmetropolitan areas reporting salaries were:
Data from O*Net (2021)
What to Expect From a Cosmetology Program in Pennsylvania
Required to earn a cosmetology license
Cosmetology students in Pennsylvania must complete 1,250 hours of education at a licensed cosmetology school. Due to the coronavirus emergency, 250 training hours may be completed online.
The cosmetology curriculum must include:
1. Professional Practices (50 recommended hours):
2. Sciences (200 recommended hours):
3. Cosmetology Skills—Cognitive and Manipulative (1,000 recommended hours):
For a cosmetology school to remain licensed in Pennsylvania, it must:
- Only enroll students with an 8th-grade education or equivalent, and who are of good moral character and free of contagious and infectious diseases
- Maintain a sufficient number of registered teachers
- Possess an adequate amount of proper equipment necessary for training
- Maintain student attendance records
- Provide State Board reports on student hours
- Hold regular instruction hours
- Include day training lasting at least eight months or night training of at least 15 months
- Have a grading system and hold exams
- Be managed by a designated school supervisor
- Have a minimum ratio of one teacher to every 25 students
- Maintain a curriculum consisting of practical demonstrations and theoretical studies and education in antiseptics, cosmetics, sanitation, sterilization, and electrical appliances related to cosmetology
- Maintain a separate curriculum of 500 hours for prospective teachers
- Supply a written affidavit stating compliance with Pennsylvania's cosmetology law upon license renewal
While students can practice their skills on members of the public, customers may only be charged for the cost of the materials used and not the students' work.
Licensed cosmetologists in Pennsylvania can perform the same services as nail technicians, natural hair braiders, and estheticians without additional licenses.
Can I Apprentice as a Cosmetologist in Pennsylvania?
Required to complete a cosmetology apprenticeship
Individuals wishing to pursue their training through an apprenticeship program must file an application for an apprentice permit with the State Board. Applicants must be considered of good moral character by the board, have completed 10th-grade education or the equivalent, and be free of contagious or infectious diseases. The apprentice permit lasts for 21 months, and apprentices are required to take the state exam—though they can get a temporary license to practice between finishing their apprenticeship and taking the test.
The apprenticeship must be overseen by a licensed cosmetologist approved by the board and cover the same materials as the school curriculum. Reports from the cosmetologist in charge of the salon using apprentices must provide quarterly reports about their apprentices' hours to the board, provide the student's equipment (including a mannequin), and require them to work for a minimum of 25 hours per week.
Can I Complete a Pennsylvania Cosmetology Program in High School?
Pennsylvania allows high school students attending approved schools to undergo a career and technical education (CTE) program in cosmetology, generally over the three-year period of grades 10 through 12. The educational requirements are the same as they are for traditional cosmetology programs.
Can I Complete a Pennsylvania Cosmetology Program While Incarcerated?
Pennsylvania allows incarcerated people ages 21 and over to complete cosmetology and barbering programs, providing they meet all qualifications as determined by the state’s Department of Corrections. The cosmetology program is offered at all correctional institutions except Quehanna Boot Camp.
Pennsylvania Cosmetology Licensing Requirements
You need to take the State Board examination to become a licensed cosmetologist in Pennsylvania. Before you can take the exam, you must complete 1,250 hours of training at a licensed cosmetology school or 2,000 hours at an approved apprenticeship program.
You must pass the theory/procedural skills exam, which costs $93 to take. As of Nov. 25, 2014, Pennsylvania doesn't require cosmetology candidates to take a practical exam for licensure.
After submitting a completed application along with the relevant documents and fees, you'll receive an approval to test notice via email. Once you receive your notice, you can schedule your exam date online through the Pearson VUE web reservations site. You must schedule your exam at least 48 hours in advance.
Testing sites are located in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Allentown, Erie, Plymouth Meeting, and Scranton. Testing frequency varies based on the site, but the exams are usually offered a few days each week.
You can also take the test outside of Pennsylvania in Newark, Delaware; Cumberland, Maryland; or Morgantown, West Virginia.
The test is offered in English, Korean, Spanish, and Vietnamese. You will be allotted 2 hours and 15 minutes to take the test.
The exam consists of 110 scored multiple-choice questions and 25 pretest questions. Pretest questions aren't graded and are used as insight for future tests. You cannot take the test online. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, testing center capacity is limited, and social distancing guidelines are in place. Candidates won't be allowed to enter the test center without a face mask.
On the day of the test, check in with the test center administrator. You should arrive 30 minutes before your exam. Late arrivals won't be permitted to take the test.
You need to bring two forms of signed identification with you. The first form of identification must include a photo. Accepted forms of photo identification are:
The second form of identification must include a signature. A Social Security card, debit card, or photo-bearing school ID are acceptable.
You can apply for Americans with Disabilities Act accommodations by submitting documentation regarding your condition and how it impacts your test-taking abilities.
The exam includes the following sections:
- Rules, regulations, and safety
- Shampoo/scalp analysis
- Hair color and lightening
- Permanent waving
- Chemical straightening and relaxing
A passing score is 75. You'll receive your exam results on the day of testing. After passing the exam, you can expect to receive your license in the mail within 10-15 business days.
If you don't pass, you can apply to retake the exam online at the web reservations site 24 hours after the failed exam. You must pay the $93 exam fee each time you take the test.
Pennsylvania Cosmetology Licensure Reciprocity
Licensure reciprocity is available in Pennsylvania. If you hold a current license from another state with which Pennsylvania has a reciprocal agreement, you can bypass the exam if you've been licensed and working for at least two years.
If you're moving to Pennsylvania and want to practice cosmetology there, you must submit a cosmetology application with the relevant documents. The State Board may take three to four weeks to respond to an application, so it's best to apply as early as possible.
Pennsylvania has reciprocal agreements with every state except:
If you're from one of those states, you must take and pass the Pennsylvania cosmetology exam.
Military veterans can waive the 10th-grade education requirement for the cosmetology exam.
Cosmetology Specialties in Pennsylvania
Cosmetologists in Pennsylvania can specialize in several different areas, including nail technology, esthetics, natural hair braiding, waxing, skincare, hairstyling, and haircutting. Once you earn your cosmetology license, you can practice any of these specialties without acquiring additional training or licensure.
You can also pursue continuing education in other areas not requiring licensure, so you can expand your skillset and perhaps attract additional clients. Research what's popular in your area to help you decide what types of courses and certifications you should pursue.
License renewal period
Continuing education required
Cosmetologist licenses in Pennsylvania expire on Jan. 31 of either an odd-numbered or even-numbered year, so expect to renew your license every two years. The renewal fee is $67. Licenses are typically renewed within three business days.
If your license expires, you may reactivate it if it's been fewer than five years since it was active. If it's been more than five years, you must retake the test.
There are no continuing education requirements for cosmetologists in Pennsylvania.
Contact the Pennsylvania State Board of Cosmetology
The Board of Cosmetology is responsible for regulating the practice of cosmetology in Pennsylvania. The organization's duties include issuing licenses and apprentice permits and enforcing rules and laws.
Pennsylvania is notable across the nation for keeping to valued traditions. Over time cosmetology has become one of them. Aspiring professionals get started by checking out the following information.