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​Applying To Cosmetology School: Requirements

There are a few requirements you will need to meet before you can submit an admission application and enroll in cosmetology school. By law, each state is responsible for setting its own cosmetology school admission requirements. For most U.S. states, there are age requirements and minimum educational requirements that need to be met. These requirements are set by each state's cosmetology board, and they are listed out for you below.

Cosmetology School Requirements: Education

Whether or not you need a high school diploma or GED will depend on the state in which you're planning to attend school. More often than not, states do require a high school diploma or GED.

Cosmetology School Requirements: Age

Many schools and states require that you be either 17 or 18 years old to attend. Some states—such as Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Louisiana—allow you to enroll when you're 16 years old. There are other schools yet that don't require a minimum age, and will only take your highest level of high school education completed into consideration: Connecticut and Michigan only require a 8th or 9th grade education, and California, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, and New Jersey require you to have finished 10th grade.

Also, if you're wondering if you're too old to enroll in cosmetology school and start taking classes, the answer is "no!" It's never too late to pursue a career you've always dreamed about.

Cosmetology School Requirements: Residency

Many cosmetology schools and states require you to be a U.S. citizen before you can attend. The International Beauty School in West Virginia, for example, states that all students must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Some schools will accept non-permanent residents or alien students, but require that they provide proof that they can earn income in the U.S. in order to receive cosmetology training and/or licensure.

Cosmetology School Requirements: Admission Application

The admission application questions will, of course, vary by school. An application must be completed before you can attend.

Here are some sample questions pulled from actual online admission applications:

  • Why would you be a great student for our school?
  • What personal traits will help you succeed in the cosmetology industry?
  • What obstacles might stand in your way from achieving academic excellence?
  • Have you ever been convicted of a felony?
  • Have you ever been dismissed from a cosmetology school? If yes, explain.

Cosmetology School Requirements: Forms

In addition to the admission application form, you will need to fill out an application for Federal Student Aid if you plan on taking out grants and/or loans to attend school. Be sure to have copies of your (or your parents’) Federal Income Tax Return on hand when applying.

Financial aid reference: How to Get Financial Aid for Trade School

Other Information: Licensing Requirements

As of 2015, most states require that all students attend an approved school for a minimum number of hours, receive hands-on training in the student salon, and take the approved cosmetology board exams set by the state to receive a license.

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