Cosmetology schools offer programs that allow you to become a practicing stylist, makeup artist, aesthetician, or other beauty expert. Arizona has dozens of such schools (see "Resources" attached to this article), most associated with a chain such as Empire Beauty School, Regency Beauty Institute, Avalon School of Cosmetology, or the International Academy of Beauty, as well as several independent schools. Each school has its own requirements, but some requirements are the same or similar for all the Arizona schools.

Academic Requirements

Most of the Arizona cosmetology schools require a high school or GED diploma, but if you don't have either, you still have options. Many of the schools--for example, the Skin and Makeup Institute of Arizona and the Avalon School of Cosmetology--will admit you as long as you are over the age of 23 or you have passed at least 10 high school courses (the equivalent of two years of high school), of which at least two courses were in English. If you do not have a high school or GED diploma, to qualify for federal financial aid, you might be required to take an exam called the Ability to Benefit (ATB) test, which establishes that you have basic skills in reading, writing, and arithmetic.

You can become an Arizona cosmetologist after two years of high school.
••• arizona desert image by John Keith from

School Visit

Most of the cosmetology schools in Arizona will open your application file only when you visit the school in person. Your visit will include a tour of the facilities and a meeting with a counselor to talk about your career goals and to establish whether you and the school are a good fit for each other. Once you have met with a counselor and provided proof of your academic credentials, all you have left to do is fill out an enrollment form and pay an enrollment fee (which varies by school). Some schools, such as the Marinello school of Beauty, ask you to provide three references on your enrollment form. If you want to apply for financial aid, you'll have forms to fill out for that, too.

Requirements for License

Most of the admissions requirements at the cosmetology schools reflect the requirements for getting a cosmetology license in the state of Arizona. To get your license, you need to have passed at least two years' of high school or be at least 23 years old, and you must pass a state examination at the end of your studies in cosmetology school. Also, depending on what type of license you seek, you must undergo a certain number of hours of training in cosmetology school (for example, 600 hours to become an aesthetician, or 1600 hours to become a cosmetologist). The schools can admit you to their programs only if you will be able to pass all these requirements for your state license.

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