If you’re looking for a job where you can help people feel their best by enhancing their appearance, then you may want to consider a cosmetology career.
Besides the rewards of working one-on-one with clients, employment in the field is in demand. Cosmetology jobs are predicted to grow by 8% through 2028—faster than the average for all occupations.
Just like any vocation, you’ll need to meet cosmetology school requirements in order to be accepted. Here are the steps to take.
Earn Your High School Diploma or GED
You’ll need to be a high school graduate to apply to cosmetology school. You also need to be 16 years of age or older.
If you never earned your high school diploma, you can still obtain a GED (General Educational Development). You’ll need to register to take classes through your state, study the test materials, register online to take the test, and complete it. The actual exam takes just over seven hours to get through all sections.
Some states do have exceptions. In Illinois, for example, you may not need a high school degree but you may be required to take a test. Your best bet is to check with your state’s specific requirements to find out if you need a diploma or GED.
Research and Tour Schools
Research local cosmetology schools that offer the programs you’re interested in. You’ll need to consider if the course schedule interferes with your job, if you have one, or your personal schedule. You may also want to choose a school that is within your state so you don’t have to deal with different state license requirements if you plan on practicing your vocation in a state other than the other the school is located in.
Schedule a tour with beauty schools on your short list and come prepared with a list of questions. If you need financial aid, ask about options that are available to you.
Gather Needed Documents
Once you’ve decided on the right cosmetology school for your needs, gather the following important documents before applying:
- Your driver’s license or other state-issued identification
- Your high school diploma or GED (or copies of high school transcripts if neither of these are available)
- Your social security number, which is usually needed if you’re applying to financial aid
- Parental consent form, if you’re under 18 years of age
- Letters of recommendation if requested by the beauty school
Some beauty schools may also require you to submit a written or video essay, so be prepared for that possibility when you apply to cosmetology school.
Complete Your Classes
Waiting periods to begin cosmetology classes are usually short because you can apply to and enter cosmetology school at any time during the year. The length of your program depends upon your chosen field of study. Aspiring hairstylists invest between 1,500 and 2,000 hours into courses and training.
Most cosmetology programs take one or two years to complete. You’ll be required to complete several hours of hands-on training so you can put your skills into practice and begin applying them to clients.
After you’ve completed your cosmetology program and required hours of training, it’s time to obtain your state license and celebrate that you can now begin your chosen career.
Know These Cosmetology School Requirements
Being prepared by knowing cosmetology school requirements will make the process of applying to school a lot less stressful and set you up for success.
For more great job advice, check out our latest career tips posts.