Cosmetology Schools in South Carolina
With a thriving beauty community and a low cost of living compared to much of the U.S., South Carolina may be a the perfect place to start your career in cosmetology. Browse our directory of cosmetology schools in South Carolina, or skip ahead to learn about the state's cosmetology licensing requirements and job outlook.
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581 Columbia Mall Road
Columbia, SC 29223
Kenneth Shuler School of Cosmetology – Accredited
Greenville, SC 29611
Kenneth Shuler School of Cosmetology – Accredited
Spartanburg, SC 29301
Paul Mitchell The School Charleston – Accredited
North Charleston, SC 29418
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.
Cosmetology Schools Near Me
Check out the Cosmetology schools these cities in South Carolina have to offer.
- 1,500 education hours are required to become licensed.
- You must renew your license every 2 years.
- 4 continuing education hours are required to renew your license.
- The average salary for cosmetologists in South Carolina is $29,570.
- There is a predicted 20% job increase between 2020–2030 for cosmetologists.
The first step to beginning a career in cosmetology in South Carolina is to obtain the relevant license. There are several requirements you need to meet before you can apply for licensure, such as:
Cosmetologist Salary and Projected Job Growth in South Carolina
Average yearly salary for cosmetology in South Carolina
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2021, licensed cosmetologists in South Carolina earned an average salary of $29,570 annually or $14.21 per hour. This is below the national average of $35,990, but with the cost of living in South Carolina being 11.5% more affordable than other parts of the U.S., you may end up better off overall. The top ten percent of cosmetologists in South Carolina made $55,880 or more in 2020.
Job growth is also looking positive, with roles for cosmetologists expected to increase by 20% between 2020-2030.
Salaries vary depending on factors such as your level of experience, the services you offer, and the area you work in. For example, someone working from a small local beauty parlor in a rural community will likely earn less than a specialized stylist in a high-end city salon.
Median salaries for cosmetologists in some metropolitan areas in South Carolina are:
|Metropolitan Area||2021 Median Salary|
|Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort, SC||$30,040|
|Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC||$24,680|
|Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC||$23,650|
Table information sourced from O*Net (2022)
What to Expect From a Cosmetology Program in South Carolina
Required to earn a cosmetology license
Before you can earn a cosmetology license in South Carolina, you need to accrue at least 1,500 training hours as part of a cosmetology program approved by the South Carolina Board of Cosmetology.
The specific content of the programs will vary slightly from school to school, but there are certain subjects that all cosmetology programs in South Carolina must cover, such as:
Science of Cosmetology:
Practice of Cosmetology:
Can I Apprentice as a Cosmetologist in South Carolina?
It is not currently possible to earn your cosmetology license in South Carolina through an apprenticeship program.
South Carolina Cosmetology Licensing Requirements
Once you've completed the required 1,500 training hours, it's time to take (and pass) your examinations and apply for your license. You must complete two exams to be eligible for licensure—a written exam and a practical exam. PSI Services LLC administers both, and they cost $66 each. The passing score for each exam is 75%, and you'll get your results as soon as you finish. If you fail, you may retake the test unlimited times until you pass.
The written exam takes 90 minutes to complete on a computer. You can take the test at several locations, including Beaufort/Hilton Head, Charleston, Columbia, Greenville/Spartanburg, and Myrtle Beach. Test questions are split across the following subjects:
- Domain 1: Scientific Concepts (30%)
- Domain 2: Hair Care and Services (40%)
- Domain 3: Skin Care and Services (15%)
- Domain 4: Nail Care and Services (15%)
Applicants must take the practical exam in Columbia and arrive at the site at least 30 minutes before the start of the exam. The exam content breaks down as follows:
- Work Area and First Client Prep: 15 minutes
- Thermal Curling: 10 minutes
- Hair cutting: 30 minutes
- Work Area and New Client Prep: 15 minutes
- Chemical Waving: 20 minutes
- Predisposition Test and Strand Test: 10 minutes
- Highlighting with Foil, Virgin Application: 15 minutes
- Hair Color Retouch: 10 minutes
- Virgin Hair Relaxer Application: Untimed
- Blood Exposure Procedure: 10 minutes
In accordance with ADA requirements, applicants with disabilities or those who would otherwise have difficulty taking the examination may request alternative arrangements in advance.
South Carolina Cosmetology Licensure Reciprocity
If you're already licensed as a cosmetologist in another state, you may be able to transfer your license to South Carolina via endorsement. To do so, you need to submit an online application and pay $60.
Military spouses with cosmetology licenses from other states are eligible for expedited reciprocal licenses via the Armed Services Members and Spouses Professional and Occupational Licensing Act.
License renewal period
Continuing education required
In South Carolina, cosmetologists must renew their licenses every two years and pay a renewal fee of $52. Licensees need to complete at least four hours of continuing education to be eligible for renewal and can take classes in-person or online.
The continuing education hours must be specific to client safety, board laws and regulations, or infection control, and cosmetologists have to complete them via a board-approved class.
If your license has lapsed for less than three years, you will need to complete six hours of in-person or online reinstatement classes before you can get it reissued and pay a reinstatement fee of $152. If it's been longer than three years since your license expired, you'll need to retake your exams and start the licensing process again from the beginning.
Contact the South Carolina State Board of Cosmetology
Cosmetology in South Carolina allows for many to have a definitive career path that is fruitful and empowering. Supported by a solid infrastructure of schools and salons, budding cosmetologists gain insight by consulting these organizations.
South Carolina Board of Cosmetology
The state board is responsible for issuing and renewing cosmetology licenses and education within the state. The website provides comprehensive information about testing and licenses.
PSI Candidate Information Bulletin
PSI administers cosmetology exams in South Carolina, and their candidate information bulletin provides extensive information on exam content and instructions.
Association of Cosmetology Salon Professionals
This South Carolina-based organization nurtures, supports, and assists licensed cosmetologists in the area.
South Carolina Association of Cosmetology Schools
SCACS is a non-profit association dedicated to providing the best education possible to cosmetology, nail technology, and esthetics students.