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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We researched all the cosmetology schools that Pennsylvania has to offer and found the cream of the crop. View our list of the best cosmetology schools in Pennsylvania.

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130 7th Street
Monessen, PA 15062

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

1522 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Cosmetology, Barbering

1000 Carlisle Street
Hanover, PA 17331

(223) 244-5869
Cosmetology, Nail Technology, Cosmetology Teacher Training

3941 Jonestown Road
Harrisburg, PA 17109

(223) 303-4233
Cosmetology, Nail Technology, Cosmetology Teacher Training

1801 Columbia Avenue
Lancaster, PA 17603

(223) 229-3014
Cosmetology, Nail Technology, Cosmetology Teacher Training

1776 Quentin Road
Lebanon, PA 17042

(223) 225-7183
Cosmetology, Nail Technology

320 Mall Boulevard
Monroeville, PA 15146

(412) 710-9021
Cosmetology, Nail Technology, Cosmetology Teacher Training

3370 Birney Avenue
Moosic, PA 18507

Cosmetology, Cosmetology Teacher Training, Nail Technology

4026 Woodhaven Road
Philadelphia, PA 19154

(267) 627-6641
Cosmetology, Nail Technology, Cosmetology Teacher Training

4768 Mcknight Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15237

(412) 516-9889
Cosmetology, Nail Technology, Cosmetology Teacher Training

396 Pottsville St. Clair Highway
Pottsville, PA 17901

Cosmetology, Cosmetology Teacher Training, Nail Technology

2302 North 5th Street Highway
Reading, PA 19605

Cosmetology, Barbering

30 Baldwin Boulevard
Shamokin Dam, PA 17876

Cosmetology, Cosmetology Teacher Training, Nail Technology

799 West Sproul Road
Springfield, PA 19064

Cosmetology, Barbering

2394 Mountain View Drive
West Mifflin, PA 15122

(223) 848-8177
Cosmetology, Nail Technology, Cosmetology Teacher Training

1634 Macarthur Road
Whitehall, PA 18052

Cosmetology, Nail Technology, Cosmetology Teacher Training

1000 Easton Road
Wyncote, PA 19095


2592 Eastern Boulevard
York, PA 17402

Cosmetology, Nail Technology, Cosmetology Teacher Training

5100 Peach Street
Erie, PA 16509

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

50 Ranck Avenue
Lancaster, PA 17602

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

215 West Main Street
Lansdale, PA 19446

Cosmetology, Barbering
The Beauty Institute – Accredited

9902 East Roosevelt Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19115

Cosmetology, Cosmetology Teacher Training, Esthetics, Nail Technology, Makeup Artistry, Barbering
The Beauty Institute – Accredited

344 Stroud Mall Road
Stroudsburg, PA 18360

Cosmetology, Esthetics, Nail Technology, Cosmetology Teacher Training
The Beauty Institute – Accredited

153 Lehigh Valley Mall
Whitehall, PA 18052

Cosmetology, Cosmetology Teacher Training, Esthetics, Nail Technology

369 Schoonmaker Avenue
Monessen, PA 15062

Cosmetology, Cosmetology Teacher Training, Esthetics, Nail Technology

415 D Orchard Avenue
Altoona, PA 16601

Cosmetology, Esthetics, Nail Technology, Cosmetology Teacher Training

130 West Main Street
Collegeville, PA 19426

Cosmetology, Esthetics, Nail Technology, Cosmetology Teacher Training

1980 Edinboro Road
Erie, PA 16509

Cosmetology, Cosmetology Teacher Training, Esthetics, Nail Technology
Venus Beauty Academy – Accredited

600 Turner Industrial Way
Aston, PA 19014

Cosmetology, Cosmetology Teacher Training, Esthetics, Nail Technology
Venus Beauty Academy – Accredited

1033 Chester Pke
Sharon Hill, PA 19079

Cosmetology, Cosmetology Teacher Training, Nail Technology

Find Cosmetology Schools Near You

Altoona Beauty School

1528 Valley View Boulevard
Altoona, PA 16602

American Barber Academy – Accredited

110 Morgantown Road
Reading, PA 19611

Barber and Beauty Academy of Pennsylvania

3849 -C Union Deposit Road
Harrisburg, PA 17110

BBC Beauty Academy

6790 Market Street
Upper Darby, PA 19082

Beaver Falls Beauty Academy – Accredited

720 13Th Street
Beaver Falls, PA 15010

Bella Capelli Academy – Accredited

151 Wyngate Drive
Monroeville, PA 15146

Bella Capelli Academy – Accredited

2 Robinson Plaza
Pittsburgh, PA 15205

Belle Institute

6534 Castor Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19149

Berks Career & Technology Center

1057 County Road
Leesport, PA 19533

Bucks County School of Beauty Culture Inc – Accredited

1761 Bustleton Pike
Feasterville, PA 19053

Butler Beauty Academy – Accredited

233 South Main Street
Butler, PA 16001

Butler County Community College

107 College Drive
Butler, PA 16002

Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science & Technology – Accredited

540 North Harrison Road
Pleasant Gap, PA 16823

Chrome Institute of Cosmetology – Accredited

1 Chelsea Parkway
Boothwyn, PA 19061

Clearfield County Career and Technology Center

1620 River Road
Clearfield, PA 16830

Color Vanity Training

620 William Penn Place
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

DeRielle Cosmetology Academy

11-19 Railroad Avenue
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055

Forbes Road Career and Technology Center

607 Beatty Road
Monroeville, PA 15146

Fountain of Youth Academy of Cosmetology – Accredited

108 Scharberry Lane
Mars, PA 16046

Fountain of Youth Academy of Cosmetology – Accredited

5824 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15217

Greater Johnstown Career and Technology Center

445 Schoolhouse Road
Johnstown, PA 15904

Indiana County Technology Center

441 Hamill Road
Indiana, PA 15701

Jean Madeline Aveda Institute – Accredited

528 Neshaminy Mall
Bensalem, PA 19020

Jean Madeline Aveda Institute – Accredited

3943-45 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

KAT Beauty School – Accredited

2522 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19132

Kittanning Beauty Academy – Accredited

120 Market Street
Kittanning, PA 16201

Lackawanna College

501 Vine Street
Scranton, PA 18510

Lancaster County Career and Technology Center

1730 Hans Herr Drive
Willow Street, PA 17584

Laurel Business Institute – Accredited

11 East Penn Street
Uniontown, PA 15401

Laurel Technical Institute – Accredited

2370 Broadway Avenue
Hermitage, PA 16159

Lebanon County Area Vocational Technical School

833 Metro Drive
Lebanon, PA 17042

Metro Beauty Academy

4977 Medical Center Circle
Allentown, PA 18106

New Castle Beauty Academy – Accredited

314 East Washington Street
New Castle, PA 16101

Noe Noonan School of Cosmetology

5739 West Ridge Road Building B
Erie, PA 16506

North Hills Beauty Academy Inc – Accredited

813 West View Park Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15229

Penn Commercial Business/Technical School – Accredited

242 Oak Spring Road
Washington, PA 15301

Pittsburgh Multicultural Cosmetology Academy – Accredited

415 Smithfield Street Floor 3
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Pittsburgh Technical College

1111 McKee Road
Oakdale, PA 15071

Professional Academy of Cosmetology – Accredited

516 East Marshall Street
Norristown, PA 19401

Queen Beauty Academy

6133 Colgate Street
Philadelphia, PA 19111

Reading Muhlenberg Career & Technology Center

2615 Warren Road
Reading, PA 19604

Shears Cosmetology School – Accredited

50 Alexander Spring Road
Carlisle, PA 17015

Somerset County Technology Center

281 Technology Drive
Somerset, PA 15501

South Hills Beauty Academy Inc – Accredited

3269 West Liberty Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15216

Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center – Accredited

2380 Elk Lake School Road
Springville, PA 18844

The Beauty Institute – Accredited

50 East Butler Pike
Ambler, PA 19002

Toni & Guy Hairdressing Academy

230 Oak Spring Road
Washington, PA 15301

Walk with Scissors

135 East Emaus Street
Middletown, PA 17057

York County School of Technology

2179 South Queen Street
York, PA 17402
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.

Find a Cosmetology School Near You

Check out the Cosmetology schools these cities in Pennsylvania have to offer.

Best Cosmetology Schools in Pennsylvania Metro Areas

We've ranked the top cosmetology schools in metro areas within or near Pennsylvania to help you find your perfect fit.

How to Become a Cosmetologist in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Cosmetology Careers At A Glance
  • 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:

  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Have completed 10th grade or can waive the 10th-grade education requirement if you're 35 years old or above
  • Have completed 1,250 hours of training at a licensed cosmetology school or 2,000 hours as an apprentice in a licensed salon
  • Pass the State Board theory examination
  • Apply for licensure and pay a $10 application fee along with the $93 exam fee
  • Have been examined by a physician and declared free of all contagious and infectious diseases
  • Submit a criminal background check for every state you've lived in over the last five years
    • Some crimes may be overridden if you provide sufficient evidence of rehabilitation.
    • If you've been convicted of a violent crime or a crime classified as "directly related" to the cosmetology profession, then you may be denied a license. However, you may be able to receive licensure if you meet certain criteria or prove you don't pose a public safety or health risk.
    • Cosmetologists can apply for a restricted license if their criminal history may bar them from obtaining licensure.

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:

  • Lebanon, Pennsylvania: $36,330
  • New York, Newark, Jersey City, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania: $30,240
  • Williamsport, Pennsylvania: $29,190
  • Bloomsburg-Berwick, Pennsylvania: $28,580
  • Chambersburg-Waynesboro, Pennsylvania: $28,370

The nonmetropolitan areas reporting salaries were:

  • Southern Pennsylvania nonmetropolitan area: $23,110
  • Northern Pennsylvania nonmetropolitan area: $19,840
  • Western Pennsylvania nonmetropolitan area: $19,670

Data from O*Net (2021)

What to Expect From a Cosmetology Program in Pennsylvania

1,200 Education Hours

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):

  • Bacteriology, disinfection, and sanitation
  • Business practices
  • Pennsylvania cosmetology law
  • Professional attitude

2. Sciences (200 recommended hours):

  • Chemistry
  • Cosmetic dermatology
  • Electricity
  • Histology
  • Physiology
  • Trichology

3. Cosmetology Skills—Cognitive and Manipulative (1,000 recommended hours):

For a cosmetology school to remain licensed in Pennsylvania, it must:

  1. Only enroll students with an 8th-grade education or equivalent, and who are of good moral character and free of contagious and infectious diseases
  2. Maintain a sufficient number of registered teachers
  3. Possess an adequate amount of proper equipment necessary for training
  4. Maintain student attendance records
  5. Provide State Board reports on student hours
  6. Hold regular instruction hours
  7. Include day training lasting at least eight months or night training of at least 15 months
  8. Have a grading system and hold exams
  9. Be managed by a designated school supervisor
  10. Have a minimum ratio of one teacher to every 25 students
  11. Maintain a curriculum consisting of practical demonstrations and theoretical studies and education in antiseptics, cosmetics, sanitation, sterilization, and electrical appliances related to cosmetology
  12. Maintain a separate curriculum of 500 hours for prospective teachers
  13. 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?

2,000 Hours

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:

  • Government-issued ID
  • Military ID
  • Driver's license or learner's permit
  • Permanent residency card
  • Passport

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:

  1. Rules, regulations, and safety
  2. Trichology
  3. Shampoo/scalp analysis
  4. Styling
  5. Haircutting
  6. Hair color and lightening
  7. Permanent waving
  8. Chemical straightening and relaxing
  9. Esthetics
  10. Nails

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:

  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah

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

2 Years

License renewal period

0 Hours

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

Pennsylvania Department of State

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.

Pennsylvania Barber & Cosmetology Association
Professional Beauty Association


How to Become a Cosmetologist in Your State