Get Schooled

Things to Know Before Attending Cosmetology School

Last updated March 11, 2024

There are many career paths you can choose from to tap into your creativity, passions, and interests. Lots of them also might not need a four-year college degree to reach! A vocational trade school is a great option if you want to explore a certain career path while cutting down on the cost of a traditional four-year degree! If you are interested in serving others and have a passion for wellness and beauty, you might be a great candidate for working in the cosmetology field! Here are some important things to keep in mind if you’re considering attending a cosmetology school.

A woman applies eyeshadow to another woman's eyes - Things to Know Before Attending Cosmetology School

Who goes to cosmetology school?

Cosmetology is a broad term for services including hairdressing, makeup artistry, skin care, barbering, and manicuring. If you find yourself interested in any of those professions, enrolling in a cosmetology program may be right for you! Cosmetologists are creative, entrepreneurial, enjoy having a flexible schedule, and love to work with and serve people.

What does a cosmetology program entail?

There are three main types of cosmetology programs you might find: programs attached to community colleges, dedicated cosmetology schools, and apprenticeship programs. These programs will vary in the length of time they take to complete depending on their scope and focus. For example, while some programs will be part-time and specialize in a specific area of cosmetology, like hairdressing, others may take a more holistic approach. These types of programs may require students to study multiple different areas of cosmetology for completion, resulting in a longer amount of time spent in school. Community college programs might be shorter-term (six months to a year), while dedicated cosmetology schools like Sasoon Academy or Empire Beauty Schools may take a bit longer (1-2 years). There are also 21 states that have official apprenticeship programs for cosmetology that give students the opportunity to work in a salon and learn their trade from a mentor.

What kinds of classes are offered?

No matter what program you choose, you can expect to receive an education directly tied to jobs in the beauty and wellness industry. In addition to learning about core cosmetology skills and practices, these programs will likely also include classes about health and safety, customer service, and relationship building. These are important practical skills to have, especially if you plan to work in a public-facing business or dream to own a business after finishing your program!

The most important end goal for any program, no matter what career you choose to pursue within the wider cosmetology field, is that you feel prepared to take your state’s licensing exam– an exam you will need to pass in order to work. When researching programs, be sure to ask about how they'll prepare you for this exam!

Each program will tailor your course of study to the requirements that your state has in place to receive a cosmetology license. You’ll likely take classes in facials, hairdressing for different types of hair, nail care, skin care, and makeup. If you want to open your own salon someday, you might also get to take classes in business management and entrepreneurship. No matter what program you end up choosing, your education will be hands-on, experimental, and tied directly to a job once you complete it!

A man cuts another man's hair - Things to Know Before Attending Cosmetology School

How can I pay for cosmetology school?

Generally, cosmetology schools and programs are more affordable than most four-year colleges and universities. When deciding which cosmetology school or program to enroll in, it's essential to ensure that it's accredited. Only accredited schools and programs in the U.S. are eligible for federal financial aid. This means that if you attend an accredited school, you are able to complete the FAFSA and receive any federal aid you're eligible for, such as scholarships, grants, and loans. Receiving federal aid can significantly reduce the money you spend attending school. You should be able to find out whether a school is accredited directly on their website or by checking out the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences.

Have any questions about attending cosmetology school or exploring trade programs? Text #Jobs to 33-55-77. If you're using a mobile device, click here to have the text message set up for you!

Explore your goals

Get to College

Let Get Schooled help you achieve your goals

Sign UpLog In


What is a Trade School? Everything You Need to Know

What is a trade school? Vocational schools are a great alternative to a four-year college education! We break down everything you need to know.

Things to Know Before Attending Culinary School

We have important things to know before attending culinary school.

Top 10 Trade Jobs Right Now

Learn about in-demand trade jobs! Check out the top 10 trade school jobs right now.

Five Trade Jobs That Affect Your Everyday Life

Here are five trade jobs that affect your everyday life!

Get Schooled helps young people get to college, find first jobs, and succeed in both.

About UsOur TeamBoard of DirectorsFAQ

Pursue Your Goal

©2024 Get Schooled