Q&A About Cosmetology School

If you enjoy hair, makeup, skin care, or are just generally into fashion and beauty, cosmetology may be the perfect career track for you. Before embarking on your education, read through these common questions and answers so you will be prepared to make the most of your educational experience.

Question: What types of careers do cosmetology schools train you for?

Answer: This depends greatly on the school. Some schools offer training in a range of beauty fields, while others focus on a specific subset, such as hairdressing. Potential fields can include:

  • Hair

  • Nails

  • Make-up artist

  • Esthetician (Skin care, including facials and waxing)

A school that offers a full cosmetology program will include all of the above. You will have the option of completing a full cosmetology course or specializing in a single option. Some schools may even have expanded options available, such as massage tech training, studio management courses, or fashion design offerings.

Question: Is cosmetology school necessary to work in a beauty field?

Answer: Generally, yes. Most states have licensing requirements for salon workers, whether you are doing nails, hair, or performing massage. These requirements usually set down a requirement for a certain amount of training hours, along with passing requisite tests. Not all states require licensing for all beauty fields. For example, a makeup artist may not require a license, while a nail tech may need one. Cosmetology training is still a good idea, even if licensing isn't required. Your training will help you stand apart from those trying to break into the field without any previous experience.

Question: Are there prerequisites to attending a beauty school?

Answer: Once again, this varies by state and school, but generally a high school diploma or GED is all that you need to attend. There may also be minimum age requirements, which is set by your state's cosmetology board. Some states require that all students be over the age of 18, while others allow high school students as young as 16 to begin taking vocational classes at a cosmetology school. Your best option is to contact a school and ask directly, since these requirements can change.

Question: Is financial aid available?

Answer: Accredited schools are eligible for federal financial aid options. There are also private financial aid and student loans available for both accredited and non-accredited schools. Your admissions counselor can help you put together a financial aid package, including loans, grants, and even scholarships, if there are any available for the school you are going to attend.