Requirements for cosmetology school

cosmetology school


Are you looking to join cosmetology school but are not sure whether you meet all the requirements? You’ve come to the right place!

The requirements for cosmetology school vary from state to state. These requirements can broadly be categorized into age, education, and monetary requirements. Here is a closer look at them. 

Do cosmetology schools always require a high school diploma or GED?

First, we’ll take a look at the education requirements you’ll have to meet to attend cosmetology school. These never require continued education like college degrees. However, in some states, you will need to have completed high school.

Here are the states that require a high school diploma or GED:

  • Alaska
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • North Dakota
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Most states do have minimal education requirements, even if they don’t require a high school diploma or GED. Common requirements are an 8th grade or 10th-grade education.

What’s the minimum age to enroll in cosmetology school?

There is a pretty big range in minimum age requirements to enroll in cosmetology school. Here they are for every state:

  • Alabama – 17 years old
  • Alaska – 17 years old
  • Arizona – 23 years old
  • Arkansas – 16 years old
  • California – 16 years old
  • Colorado – 16 years old
  • Connecticut – 16 years old
  • Delaware – no age requirement
  • Florida – 16 years old
  • Georgia – 17 years old
  • Hawaii – 16 years old
  • Idaho – 16.5 years old
  • Illinois – 18 years old
  • Indiana – 18 years old
  • Iowa – 16 years old
  • Kansas – 17 years old
  • Kentucky – 17 years old
  • Louisiana – 16 years old
  • Maine – 17 years old
  • Maryland – 17 years old
  • Massachusetts – 17 years old
  • Michigan – 17 years old
  • Minnesota – no age requirement
  • Mississippi – 17 years old
  • Missouri – 17 years old
  • Montana – 18 years old
  • Nebraska – 17 years old
  • Nevada – 18 years old
  • New Hampshire – no age requirement
  • New Jersey – 17 years old
  • New Mexico – 17 years old
  • New York – 17 years old
  • North Carolina – no age requirement
  • North Dakota – no age requirement
  • Ohio – 16 years old
  • Oklahoma – 16 years old
  • Oregon – no age requirement
  • Pennsylvania – 16 years old
  • Rhode Island – 18 years old
  • South Carolina – 16 years old
  • South Dakota – 18 years old
  • Tennessee – 16 years old
  • Texas – 17 years old
  • Utah – 17 years old
  • Vermont – 18 years old
  • Virginia – no age requirement
  • Washington – 17 years old
  • West Virginia – 18 years old
  • Wisconsin – 18 years old
  • Wyoming – 16 years old

Be sure to check the education requirements for your state as well, because while some states don’t even have an age requirement, they may still have minimal education requirements.

For example, the only way you’re going to cosmetology school as a minor in New Hampshire is if you graduate high school early. Some of the requirements can be misleading in that way.

Can you attend cosmetology school if you’re still in high school?

In some states, you can attend cosmetology if you’re still in high school. This depends on your state’s laws and regulations.

If your state doesn’t require you to have a high school diploma or GED, and you meet the age requirement, you can attend high school and cosmetology school simultaneously.

Here are the states where you can attend cosmetology school as a high-schooler:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

How much does it cost to attend cosmetology school?

Cosmetology school can cost from $5,000-$20,000, depending on where you live and your school of choice.

Luckily, if you go to an accredited cosmetology school, you can access financial aid. This can be a huge help in affording the school you want to attend.

You can check whether a school is accredited or not by searching for it here.

What is the application process like?

The application process for cosmetology school is fairly straight-forward, thankfully!

When you’re looking to apply to beauty schools, you will first want to schedule tours with the schools you’re interested in.

There are many questions you’ll want to ask during these tours, including when the program you’re looking to attend will start and what your deadlines are to apply.

Once you know your deadline, you can fill in an application and submit it. Often, you’ll then schedule an interview with the school, and sometimes you’ll be given an entrance exam.

Once your payment is taken care of, you’ll sign an enrollment contract and begin school.

What do you learn in cosmetology school?

Cosmetology school offers hands-on learning that will teach you how to service a client’s hair, skin, and nails. Cosmetology programs focus mostly on styling and cutting hair.

You will likely also learn skills related to business and customer service.

Attending a school that offers a high-quality education is a must because the best schools prepare you for life after graduation. Not just passing your state board test, but beginning a flourishing career afterward!

How long does it take to complete cosmetology school?

This can vary widely, depending on your state’s laws. Each state has a set number of educational hours you must meet. In addition, some states require a time period you must be in school for.

Some people can complete their education in months, while others may take years.

What testing is required to obtain your license?

You will be required to take a written test and a practical test after graduating from cosmetology school. If you pass both of these, you’ll get your license!

If you need help with your Cosmetology Exam Prep, try our Ultimate Cosmetology Exam Cheat Sheet!

Will your cosmetology school help you find a job?

Some cosmetology schools will help you find a job, while others won’t. This is one of the questions you should ask a school before you enroll.

While there are plenty of fabulous beauty schools that don’t offer help with job placement, it is an added bonus that can really help you start off on the right foot in your career. This is especially true if you don’t have any connections in the industry already.


It can be overwhelming to look for information on cosmetology schools, especially when each state’s requirements vary so widely. We hope all your questions have been answered here to help you move forward in your education, whether you have to wait to do so or not!

Related Reads

Life After Cosmetology School: How To Start Your Career As A Newly Licensed Cosmetologist

What’s The Difference Between A Cosmetologist And An Esthetician?

Beauty Salon Services Every Cosmetologist Should Know About

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