How Long Is Cosmetology School?

Welcome to the world of style, flair, and all things fabulous! Are you ready to transform your passion for beauty into a blossoming career? If you’re wondering, “How long is cosmetology school?” you’ve come to the right place! From perfecting the art of hair styling to mastering makeup techniques that turn heads, cosmetology school is where dreams are realized, and creativity flourishes. So, grab your brushes, curlers, and scissors, and let’s embark on an exciting journey to discover just how long it takes to unlock the secrets of the beauty industry!

How Long Is Cosmetology School?

The duration of cosmetology school usually depends on the program’s curriculum, scheduling options, and the state’s licensing requirements. In general, cosmetology programs typically range from 9 months to 2 years in length. However, it’s important to note that the length of the program may also depend on whether you are attending on a full-time or part-time basis.

Here’s a breakdown of the typical durations for cosmetology programs:

Full-time Cosmetology Programs

Full-time cosmetology programs are usually designed to be completed in a shorter time frame and may range from 9 months to 1 year. These programs typically require students to attend classes and training sessions daily, usually Monday through Friday, for a set number of hours per week.

The program’s curriculum is usually intensive, covering various aspects of cosmetology. This includes hair care, skin care, nail care, makeup application, and salon management. Full-time programs often require a significant time commitment. It may be ideal for individuals who can dedicate their time to attending school on a full-time basis.

Part-time Cosmetology Programs

Part-time cosmetology programs are for individuals with other commitments, such as work or family responsibilities, and need a more flexible schedule. These programs may be completed longer, typically 1.5 to 2 years.

Part-time programs may schedule classes in the evenings or on weekends, allowing students to attend school while managing other responsibilities. It may be a good option for those who need more flexibility in their schedule but are still committed to pursuing a career in cosmetology.

It’s important to note that state licensing requirements may also influence the duration of cosmetology programs. Some states may have specific hour requirements that students must fulfil to be eligible for the licensing exam. For example, some states may require students to complete a minimum of 1,000 to 1,600 hours of training in a cosmetology program before they can sit for the licensing exam. The program duration may be longer to meet the state’s hour requirements in such cases.

Additionally, some cosmetology schools may offer additional advanced or specialized programs that could extend the program’s duration beyond the typical time frame. These programs may focus on specific areas of cosmetology, such as refined hair styling, esthetics, or nail technology, and may require additional training hours.

Researching and choosing a cosmetology school that meets your needs and fits your schedule is essential. Before enrolling in a program, carefully review the program’s curriculum, schedule options, and licensing requirements of the state where you plan to work as a cosmetologist. This will ensure that you can meet all the needs and complete the program within your desired time frame.

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What Is The Cost Of a Cosmetology School?

The cost of attending a cosmetology school can vary depending on several factors, such as the school’s location, the type of program, the length of the program, and additional expenses for supplies, textbooks, and licensing fees. Below are several factors that can affect the cost of a cosmetology school.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees are typically the main component of the cost of cosmetology school. The tuition fees can vary widely depending on the location and reputation of the school.

Cosmetology schools may charge tuition on a per-hour basis or have a flat fee for the entire program. The number of hours required to complete a cosmetology program varies by state, but it usually falls within the range of 1000 to 1600 hours. The tuition per hour can range from $6 to $25. And the total cost of education can vary from $6,000 to $25,000 or more for a complete program.

However, it’s important to note that tuition costs can vary significantly and researching multiple schools to compare tuition rates is crucial to make an informed decision.

Additional Expenses

In addition to tuition fees, other costs may be associated with attending cosmetology school. These can include expenses for textbooks, supplies, kits, uniforms, and licensing fees. Books and supplies can range from $200 to $1,500, depending on the school and program requirements. Some cosmetology schools may also require students to purchase a kit of tools and products ranging from $500 to $2,000 or more, depending on the kit’s contents. Uniforms or dress code requirements may also add to the additional expenses.

Additionally, licensing fees required to obtain a cosmetology license after completing the program vary by state and can range from $50 to $300 or more.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Many cosmetology schools offer financial aid options to help students manage the cost of tuition and other expenses. Financial aid options may include federal or state grants, scholarships, loans, or payment plans. It’s essential to research the financial aid options available at the cosmetology schools you are considering and understand the eligibility criteria, application process, and repayment terms, if applicable.

Some schools may also offer scholarships based on merit, need, or other criteria. Inquiring about scholarships or grants directly from the school’s financial aid office and exploring external scholarship opportunities is advisable.


The location of the cosmetology school can also impact the cost. Cosmetology schools in urban areas or regions with higher living costs may have higher tuition fees than schools in rural areas or regions with lower living costs. It’s essential to consider the cost of living, transportation, and other expenses associated with the school’s location when evaluating the overall cost of attending cosmetology school.

Type of Program

The type of cosmetology program can also affect the cost. Cosmetology programs can be full-time, part-time, or even online programs. Full-time programs may have higher tuition fees but can typically be completed in a shorter period, while part-time programs may have lower tuition fees but take longer.

Online programs may have different tuition structures and additional equipment, technology, and materials expenses. It’s essential to carefully research and compare different types of programs to understand the cost implications and choose the one that best fits your needs and budget.

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Steps To Attending A Cosmetology School

Attending cosmetology school is an exciting and rewarding journey for individuals who are passionate about the beauty industry and want to pursue a career as a cosmetologist. Here are the general steps to attending a cosmetology school:

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Step 1: Research and Choose a Cosmetology School

The first step in attending a cosmetology school is researching and choosing a school that meets your needs and aspirations. Consider location, reputation, program offerings, tuition fees, financial aid options, and accreditation.

It’s essential to research multiple schools, visit campuses thoroughly, talk to current students or alums, and gather information to make an informed decision.

Step 2: Meet the Admission Requirements

Each cosmetology school may have specific admission requirements that applicants need to meet. These requirements may include a high school diploma or GED, minimum age requirement, English language proficiency, and sometimes a personal interview or assessment.

It’s essential to review and understand the admission requirements of the chosen cosmetology school and ensure that you meet them before applying.

Step 3: Submit an Application

Once you have chosen a cosmetology school and confirmed that you meet the admission requirements, the next step is to apply. This may involve completing an online or paper application, providing personal information, submitting academic transcripts, and paying an application fee. Be sure to follow the school’s application instructions and deadlines.

Step 4: Explore Financial Aid Options

Exploring financial aid options is crucial if you need financial assistance to attend cosmetology school. This may include federal or state grants, scholarships, loans, or payment plans offered by the school. It’s essential to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine your eligibility for federal financial aid and follow the school’s financial aid application process.

Step 5: Complete the Enrollment Process

Once you have been accepted into a cosmetology school and have secured the necessary financial aid, the next step is to complete the enrollment process. This may involve signing an enrollment agreement, submitting additional documents, and paying a deposit or registration fee to secure your spot in the program.

Step 6: Attend Orientation and Training

After completing enrollment, you will typically attend an orientation session at the cosmetology school. This may involve familiarizing yourself with the school’s policies, procedures, and expectations, meeting faculty and staff, and getting an overview of the program.

Once the program starts, you will begin your cosmetology training, which may include classroom lectures, hands-on practical training, and salon experience under the supervision of licensed instructors.

Step 7: Complete the Cosmetology Program

The duration of a cosmetology program can vary depending on the school and state regulations, but it typically ranges from 9 months to 2 years. During the program, you will learn various aspects of cosmetology, including hair care, skin care, nail care, makeup application, and salon management. You will also have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience and practice your skills in a supervised environment.

Step 8: Prepare for Licensing Exam

Upon completing the cosmetology program, you will typically need to prepare for and pass a state licensing exam to become a licensed cosmetologist. The licensing exam may consist of a written test, a practical demonstration of skills, and sometimes an oral exam. Reviewing the state licensing requirements, studying and practising for the exam, and being prepared to meet the licensing standards are essential.

Step 9: Obtain a Cosmetology License

Once you have passed the licensing exam, you must apply for a cosmetology license from the state licensing board. This may involve submitting an application, paying a licensing fee, and providing proof of completing the cosmetology program and passing the licensing exam. Once you receive your license, you are officially a licensed cosmetologist.

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What are The Best Cosmetology Schools?

Choosing the right cosmetology school is crucial in pursuing a successful career in the beauty industry. Here, we will explore some factors to consider when evaluating cosmetology schools and provide a list of some of the best cosmetology schools.

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Factors to Consider When Evaluating Cosmetology Schools:


Accreditation ensures that the school meets specific education and training standards and is recognized by employers and licensing boards. Accredited schools often have a rigorous curriculum, experienced instructors, and modern facilities.


Evaluate the curriculum of the cosmetology school to ensure that it covers all the essential aspects of cosmetology, including hair care, skin care, nail care, makeup application, salon management, and relevant laws and regulations. A well-rounded curriculum combining theory and practical training is essential for gaining the knowledge and skills to succeed in the beauty industry.


The quality and experience of the instructors play a significant role in the education and training you will receive at a cosmetology school. Look for schools with experienced instructors with industry experts who can provide hands-on training, guidance, and mentorship to help you excel in your cosmetology career.

Facilities and Resources

Check the facilities and resources offered by the cosmetology school. Look for schools that have modern classrooms, well-equipped labs, salon-like settings for hands-on practice, and access to industry-standard tools, products, and technologies. Additionally, consider the school’s library, career services, and other resources that can support your learning and career development.

Location and Convenience

Consider the location of the cosmetology school and whether it’s convenient for you regarding commuting, housing options, and accessibility to public transportation. Also, check the school’s schedule options, such as full-time, part-time, or evening classes, to see if they align with your availability and lifestyle.

Cost and Financial Aid

Evaluate the cost of tuition, fees, and other expenses associated with the cosmetology program, and consider the financial aid options available, such as scholarships, grants, and loans. It’s essential to clearly understand the total cost of attendance and your financial obligations before committing to a cosmetology school.

Top Cosmetology Schools in the United States:

Paul Mitchell Schools

With over 100 locations in the United States, Paul Mitchell Schools are known for its innovative curriculum, experienced instructors, and hands-on training. They offer comprehensive cosmetology programs that cover all aspects of beauty and provide students with access to advanced tools and techniques.

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Aveda Institutes

Aveda Institutes offer cosmetology programs focusing on holistic beauty, sustainability, and wellness. They train students in hair care, skincare, makeup, and spa services using Aveda’s natural and eco-friendly products.

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Empire Beauty School

 Empire Beauty Schools have over 80 locations in the United States and offer cosmetology programs emphasizing creativity, technique, and business skills. They provide students with hands-on training, modern facilities, and access to industry experts.

Pivot Point Academy

Pivot Point Academy is a globally recognized cosmetology school offering comprehensive hair, skin, and nail care programs. They are known for their Pivot Point curriculum, which focuses on fundamental principles and hands-on practice.

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Toni & Guy Hairdressing Academy

Toni & Guy Hairdressing Academy offers cosmetology programs focusing on advanced haircutting, colouring, and styling techniques.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the prerequisites to enrolling in cosmetology school?

Most cosmetology schools do not require any specific prerequisites to enrol. However, applicants must typically be at least 16-18, have a high school diploma or GED, and meet other state-specific requirements.

What subjects are covered in a typical cosmetology program?

Cosmetology programs typically cover a wide range of subjects, including hair care (cutting, styling, colouring), skin care (facials, makeup, waxing), nail care (manicures, pedicures), salon management, sanitation and safety, customer service, and laws and regulations related to the beauty industry.

Can I attend cosmetology school part-time while working or attending other commitments?

Yes, many cosmetology schools offer part-time programs that allow students to attend classes while working or attending other commitments. However, the program’s duration may be longer than full-time programs.

Do cosmetology schools provide financial aid or scholarships?

Yes, many cosmetology schools offer financial aid options, such as scholarships, grants, and loans, to eligible students. It’s best to inquire with the school directly to learn about their financial aid options and application process.

What are the career opportunities after completing cosmetology school?

Completing cosmetology school can open doors to career opportunities in the beauty industry, such as working as a hairstylist, colourist, makeup artist, nail technician, esthetician, salon owner, or beauty consultant, or pursuing further education and specialization in specific areas of beauty.


Cosmetology schools can provide aspiring beauty professionals with the knowledge, skills, and training needed to embark on a rewarding career in the beauty industry. With many programs and schools available, it’s essential to carefully research and choose the best cosmetology school that meets your needs, budget, and career goals.

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