Cosmetology School Resource Hub

Welcome to the Beauty Schools Directory’s resource hub for getting started in cosmetology. Here, you can find an overview of what cosmetology is, what to expect from cosmetology school, the basic requirements to get into school, along with helpful links to dive deeper into your chosen career path.

Enrollment requirements vary by school, program, and state. The primary requirements focus on age and education. You’ll have to be at least 16 years old, 18 in some places. Some states require a high school diploma or a GED, but others do not. In some cases, however, you might have to take supplementary courses or exams if you’re not a high school graduate.

What Is Cosmetology School?

Cosmetology school is an educational institution or program that provides training and education in various aspects of beauty and personal care services. These schools offer courses and hands-on training to individuals who are interested in pursuing careers in the beauty industry.

The curriculum typically covers a wide range of subjects related to beauty, skincare, hair care, makeup, nail care, and sometimes even salon management.

Depending on the specific program and the requirements of the state or country in which the school is located, students may need to complete a certain number of training hours and pass a licensing exam to legally practice in their chosen field.

Start Your Journey! Find a Cosmetology School Near You

What Is Cosmetology School Like?

Until now, you may have experienced only some form of traditional education—that is, one that focuses on academics over hard and soft skills for the workforce. Traditional community and four-year college degrees such as an associate or bachelor's degree may focus on a well-rounded education.

Cosmetology school, on the other hand, focuses more on skills and knowledge that will relate directly to your future career. Your education will include both "book learning" and hands-on training. In most cases you will learn all aspects of cosmetology—skin, nails, makeup, etc. If you attend cosmetology school as a full-time student, you'll likely be in class or doing training hours six to eight hours every day.

READ MORE: How long does cosmetology school take?

What Am I Going to Learn in Cosmetology School?

Cosmetology programs vary, but all provide both class time and hands-on training. Most curriculums include education about hair, skin, and nails. Some provide more specialized training, such as electrolysis, hair braiding, barbering, or permanent makeup.

Specific topics you might study include:

  • Sanitation procedures: Learn how to clean tools, keep a hygienic workstation, and discard waste from services like haircuts and manicures.
  • Human physiology and anatomy: Learn how human skin, hair, nails, and all their associated systems function.
  • Chemistry: Learn how products and solutions interact with the human body.
  • Esthetician procedures: Learn about waxing, peels, masks, microdermabrasion, skin conditioning, and other hair-removal techniques.
  • Hair treatments: Learn all about shampooing, styling, coloring, cutting, and shaping hair.
  • Nails: Learn how to perform manicures, pedicures, paraffin dips, and hand and foot wraps.
  • Management theory: Learn about communication, organizational, and computer skills that are necessary to the trade.

How Do I Know Which Cosmetology School Is Right for Me?

The first step in choosing a cosmetology school is to look at the requirements in your state. That last thing you want to do is complete a cosmetology program that doesn’t meet the requirements for licensing. Then, do your research. Look for schools with:

  • State approval to allow for licensure after graduation
  • Strong, specific reviews from both current and former students
  • A concentration in the specialty that interests you as a career goal
  • High graduation rates
  • A strong career-assistance program
  • Strong local ties to the surrounding community and its salons, spas, medical facilities, and other businesses where your services will be needed

It’s important to note that while some cosmetology schools may allow you to satisfy portions of your academic requirements with online learning, much of the training is hands-on and must be done in person to pass the practical portion of the board exams.

For those hoping to attend significant portions of schooling online, you can rest assured that your online training portions will be comparable to that of on-campus schools. Nonetheless, check with your state to ensure that online training fulfills their requirements.

Transitioning Between Cosmetology and Related Careers

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