In order to become a cosmetologist, prospective students need to train and obtain a license from an accredited cosmetology school. This process can vary between states, but generally has basic age and education requirements, enabling anyone pursuing this career to be a working professional relatively quickly.

What Is a Cosmetologist?

According to the National Accrediting Commission of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences, "a cosmetologist is a licensed professional who provides personal services such as manicures, hair cuts, styling, shampooing, makeup and pedicures to clients." In order to work in the field, individuals must obtain a license at an accredited cosmetology school.

What Is a Cosmetology School?

At cosmetology school, students learn a variety of skills such as how to care for hair, skin, nails and makeup. Upon successful completion of a cosmetology program, students obtain a license where they can practice in the beauty field such as in a spa or beauty salon.

Age Requirements

Applicants interested in attending cosmetology school must be at least 16 years old.

Education Requirements

Educational requirements can vary from state-to-state and between schools, but in general applicants must have a high school diploma or an equivalency diploma such as GED. Education requirements are not only necessary to enter into a cosmetology school but are necessary to obtain a license to practice cosmetology.


Students who do not have a high school diploma may be able to study at a cosmetology school if they have life experience from an apprenticeship or internship experience in the beauty industry.


Beyond the basic requirements, students will need to pay for their cosmetology education in order to begin their studies. Tuition generally ranges from $10,000 to $15,000. Major cities such as New York and Los Angeles tend to have higher costs.

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