Cosmetology Schools in New York State
Whether you're interested in becoming a cosmetologist in the hustle and bustle of New York City or working as one in one of the many other beautiful towns in the state, now may be the time to begin.
New York is the most beauty-obsessed state in the country, meaning your skills may be in high demand among both residents and visitors alike.
Browse our directory of cosmetology schools in New York, or skip ahead to learn about the state's cosmetology licensing requirements and job outlook.
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233 Spring Street
New York, NY 10013
251 West Route 59
Nanuet, NY 10954
39 North Plank Road
Newburgh, NY 12550
2384 86th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11214
2190 Walden Avenue
Cheektowaga, NY 14225
22 West 34th Street
New York, NY 10001
19 Bank Street
Peekskill, NY 10566
340 Elmridge Center Drive
Rochester, NY 14626
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 New York
- 1,000 education hours are required to become licensed.
- You must renew your license every 4 years.
- 0 continuing education hours are required to renew your license.
- The average salary for cosmetologists in New York is $34,080 ($16.38/hour). This is higher than the national average of $26,090 ($12.54/hour).
- There is a predicted 6% job increase between 2018–2026 for cosmetologists. This is lower than the expected national growth of 9%.
If you're considering a cosmetology career in New York, there are several requirements you need to meet before you can begin your new career.
Those requirements include:
You don't need to complete a background check or have a high school diploma to become a cosmetologist in the state of New York. A cosmetologist license doesn't permit you to run your own business or perform medical procedures. You need additional licenses for these jobs, which may require additional education.
Cosmetologist Salary and Projected Job Growth in New York
Average yearly salary for cosmetology in New York
Before going deeper into New York salaries: These numbers were calculated in 2019, but before minimum hourly wages were raised in NYC ($15 for large employers; $13.50 for small employers), Long Island and Westchester ($13), and the rest of the state ($11.80). We use the most recent data available at the time of creating these pieces.
As of 2019, before the minimum wage increases, cosmetologists in the state of New York earned an average salary of $34,080 or an hourly rate of $16.39. Pay ranged from $18,420 to $51,870.
The wide range of salaries is partially due to the large number of cosmetologists' services and the mix of high- and low-income areas. For example, a stylist providing high-end cuts and dye jobs at a Manhattan salon often earns far more than a stylist in a rural area offering basic services.
The job outlook for cosmetologists in the state of New York looks bright. The number of cosmetologist jobs is projected to increase by 6% between 2018 and 2028
According to O*Net (2021), the highest-paying metro areas for cosmetologists in New York are:
New York also has well-paying nonmetropolitan areas, including:
What to Expect From a Cosmetology Program in New York
Required to earn a cosmetology license
The first step to earning your cosmetologist license in New York is completing the required 1,000 hours of training through a state-approved beauty school. Your training teaches you a wide range of skills you're likely to use in your career, including hair cutting, styling, and coloring, manicures, pedicures, and facials. You may also learn business skills to help you build your clientele.
While the program you choose may vary slightly, most New York cosmetology programs include the following courses:
After completing the program, you should be well-prepared to maintain health and safety requirements, perform skills related to hair and skincare, provide good customer service, and understand the variety of jobs available to you as a licensed cosmetologist.
Can I Apprentice as a Cosmetologist in New York?
New York doesn't currently offer an apprenticeship path to cosmetology licensure.
The only exception within the New York beauty industry is for nail technicians, who may train under an experienced professional using a nail specialty trainee license.
New York Cosmetology Licensing Requirements
After you complete your 1,000 hours of cosmetology training, you can apply to take the written and practical cosmetology exams. To schedule the exams, you must sign up for an NY.gov ID account.
The written cosmetologist exam is a 2.5-hour, multiple-choice exam. On the day of the exam, you should bring a valid, government-issued ID, a copy of your exam confirmation, including your candidate number, and two sanitized #2 pencils. Food, drinks, large bags, or reference materials aren't permitted in the exam site.
The test is scored as pass or fail, and results are delivered via the MyNY.gov website. You'll receive an email when your test results are ready. If you fail the written test, you can reapply via the MYNy.gov website. If you require ADA accommodations, call 518-474-4429.
You may apply to take the practical cosmetologist exam before or after completing the written exam. Registration for the exam's practical portion is done through the same online portal and requires a $15 fee.
The practical exam requires you to demonstrate the skills you learned in beauty school, including:
On the day of the exam, bring a valid government ID and supplies, including a mannequin.
To pass, you must earn a score of at least 70%. Exam results are available online via the MYNY.gov website. If you fail the exam, you may request an analysis of your exam within 60 days.
After passing both the written and practical exam, you can apply for your license via the online portal, where you upload required documentation, including proof of a physical by a doctor, physician's assistant, or nurse practitioner and verification you've completed the domestic violence course. You also need to pay a $20 application fee by check, money order, MasterCard, or Visa.
New York Cosmetology Licensure Reciprocity
New York does allow cosmetologists moving from other states to transfer their license in certain situations, though it doesn't have specific reciprocity agreements with any states/
If you trained outside of New York, you may apply for a temporary license if you can prove you've completed similar education in another state. You must provide a school certificate, transcript listing the subjects and hours studied, and an original license from your current state. Note, this only allows you to skip the required 1,000 hours of education; you must still pay for and pass the written and practical exams.
If you have been a cosmetologist for five or more years outside of the state of New York, you may be eligible to apply for a permanent cosmetologist license. To apply, you need to provide an original certification from an official licensing agency, two statements from co-workers or clients attesting to your experience, and a copy of tax returns listing your occupation as a cosmetologist.
New York has an endorsement policy, which means it accepts licenses from other states with a higher educational standard than New York. Those states include New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Cosmetologists licensed in those states must show a current license and aren't required to have five years of experience.
The process to transfer your cosmetology license can be lengthy, which is why it's best to train in the state where you plan to practice whenever possible.
Cosmetology Specialties in New York
Another popular beauty field in New York, particularly in NYC, is creating looks for the performing arts. There are dozens of live theatres in the city, including Broadway, off-Broadway, and more. Plus, a ton of movies and TV shows are filmed there.
While you don't need a cosmetology license for this type of work, training is essential as it's highly specialized. It's worth taking classes in theatre makeup, prosthetics, and more. Some of these may be offered as standalone continuing education classes, but many who enter this field opt to earn a theatre or film degree.
Makeup artists for theatre and other performances earned a mean salary of $105,290 per year ($50.62 per hour) in 2019.
This is an exceptionally hard field to enter, despite anticipating 11% growth nationwide between 2019 and 2029. If this type of work is your passion, you need to be prepared for uncertainty and rejection—many people are going for relatively few jobs.
It wouldn't hurt to consider earning your cosmetology license so you can have relatively reliable paychecks, particularly as a self-employed or freelance cosmetologist. Being self-employed may allow you to control your working hours while building your portfolio and looking for jobs in this field.
License renewal period
Continuing education required
The state of New York requires cosmetologists to renew their licenses every four years. Renewal applications are available online, and you must pay a $40 license renewal fee. You're eligible to renew up to three months before your license expires. If you fail to renew your license within five years of expiration, you must retake the written exam.
There are no continuing education requirements for license renewal. However, taking additional courses can help expand your service offerings and increase your income.
Contact the New York State Board of Cosmetology
- 99 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12231
- Website: New York Dept. of State Division of Licensing Services
- Call: 518-474-4429
- Fax: 518-473-6648
New York State Beauty School Association
The NYSBSA is an association of beauty schools that monitors cosmetology education regulations in New York state. It also offers a list of state-approved beauty schools.
Salon & Spa Professionals of NYS
This is a statewide community of licensed beauty professionals, including cosmetologists, barbers, makeup artists, and more. The group provides members with access to benefits, industry events, and business management tools.
NY Hispanic Cosmetology & Beauty Chamber of Commerce
This non-profit organization is dedicated to fostering the growth and development of beauty professionals through education, counseling, networking, and job opportunities.