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Cosmetology Training FAQ


1. What is cosmetology?

Cosmetology is the education and practice of beautifying treatments. Hair, skin, nails, makeup, and hair removal are just a few of the areas of focus that a cosmetologist may specialize in.

Find training for YOUR specific cosmetology interest.

2. Why should I go to cosmetology school?

Most states require a license to practice cosmetology. Unlike other education options which can take up to four years or more to complete, a cosmetology diploma can be achieved in approximately 12 months or less! While your peers are entering their second year of school, you have the ability to start working as a stylist, building clientele and making good money.

3. How much will cosmetology school cost?

  • Cosmetology programs cost between about $15,000 and $21,500, including tuition and fees.
  • Barber programs are typically between $16,520- $19,684, depending on length.
  • Esthetics programs are usually between $9,000 and $11,500. Nail tech programs are about $4,800.

These costs are listed before any applicable financial aid and may not include any additional fees such as books, tools, program fees, etc.

4. Do cosmetology schools offer financial aid?

The federal government and state government provide financial aid opportunities for cosmetology students, as well as do many beauty schools themselves. Loans, grants, and scholarships are common forms of assistance.

  • Grants: Grants are the most popular type of financial aid, likely because they are a no-strings attached fund that does not need to be repaid. Pell grants and the Free Application For Federal School Aid (FAFSA) are two of the most popular types of grants that can be applied for.
  • Student loans: Private loans will likely pay for the majority of your education. However, you will have to pay them back, with interest. Two loans that normally offer low interest rates are the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program and the Sallie Mae Career Training Smart Option Loan.
  • Trade-Specific Scholarships: This kind of scholarship is vocational, meaning that it is dedicated to students in a specific area of education. Skilled trade-specific scholarships are available from both companies and organizations.
  • Merit Scholarships: These scholarships are generally awarded to students with excellence in a particular subject. These scholarships can vary from academic, athletic, or artistic scholarships.

5. What do courses look like in a cosmetology program?

Classes will include a variety of subjects including safety topics such as hygiene and sanitation requirements, and even biological sciences such as anatomy and physiology of the body.

The majority of coursework will be based on hair, including hair styling, hair coloring, and hair cutting techniques. Additionally, skin, nails, and makeup application will also be included in your education.

Examples of coursework:

  • training in tools and how to use them
  • chemical use and safety
  • skin diseases and conditions
  • electricity
  • salon management
  • bookkeeping
  • marketing and merchandising
  • state and local laws and rules
  • business and professional ethics
  • interpersonal communication

6. Is online training available?

Many schools offer partially online cosmetology training. As much of 50% of training can be completed online, depending on the state. Many students find online training to be helpful, especially if you work full time, have children, or just need a flexible school schedule.

7. What are the requirements for cosmetology school?

The requirements and application questions will vary between each school. Most applications will ask if you have a high school diploma or GED equivalent, and your age.

Many states require a set amount of educational hours for students, hands on training, and a passing score of an approved cosmetology board exam in order to obtain your license.

8. How long will cosmetology training take?

It generally takes 1,000 to 2,000 hours to complete the required cosmetology training in the U.S., depending on your state requirements and the material covered in the program.

  • A certificate of completion usually can be obtained in 9 months.
  • A diploma can be achieved in 12-18 months.
  • An associate degree can be achieved in 2 years.

Find local cosmetologist training programs.

9. How long will barber training take?

Barber training normally takes between 1,000-1,500 hours to complete. This translates into 6 months to 1 year of school, including both classroom and hands on training.

A 1,500 hour training course may look like this:

  • Hairdressing — 1,100 hours
  • Shaving — 200 hours
  • Health and Safety — 200 hours

10. How much do cosmetologists (barbers & stylists) earn?

Cosmetologists earned an average of $26,270 in 2019 (bls.gov). This before tips are factored in, a major portion of your earnings. Here is a sampling of positions and salaries across the U.S.

  • A cosmetologist in Michigan can earn $30,000-$60,000 a year.
  • Freelance makeup artists in California can earn up to $400 a day.
  • Hairstylists or makeup artists in Nevada can earn between $50-$200 an hour.
  • Nail technicians can earn anywhere between $29,000-$47,000 a year.
  • A barber in Wisconsin can earn up to $28 an hour.

11. How much does a license cost?

The best place to find licensing information is your state’s official website. Laws and regulations differ, so the best way to find credible information is directly from the source.

Requirements include:

  • Passing a practical test.
  • Passing a written exam.
  • Renewing your license regularly.

12. Do schools have accreditation?

All of our partner schools are accredited and have solid programs to set you up for long-term success.

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