Getting Started with Beauty School: A Complete Primer

Do you want to be a beautician? Well, we have good news for you. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the years 2010 to 2020, there is an expected growth rate of 16% for jobs in cosmetology. This means that now is the best time to invest in an education to become a beautician.

This is a great opportunity for those who are interested in enrolling in beauty schools. However, some are quite intimidated by the fact that they know next to nothing regarding beauty schools. Questions like “Is beauty school hard?” and “What is beauty school like?” hinder some from pursuing their dream of becoming a beautician when left unanswered.

Fortunately, you have come to the right place. Here are the basic things you will have to know before deciding whether you want to study the various fields available to beauty industry professionals or something else.

What is Beauty School?

Beauty schools offer a wide array of cosmetology programs that will help you get acquainted with the study of hair styling, skin care, nail technology, massage and makeup. They basically teach you how to master the art of beautification so you can develop the skills necessary to beautify other people, and yourself as well.

Most beauty school graduates often build their own salons or spas where they can practice their art, and spread beauty all around them. Some choose to study for the sake of being more efficient in taking care of their face, hair, and skin.

These are some of the important things to remember on how to get into beauty school:

Beauty School Requirements for Enrollment

Age Requirement

The very common question aspirants always ask when getting into beauty schools is, “Am I too young to get into beauty school?”

Well, the answer to that depends greatly upon the specific state on where you want to enrol.

Different states have different age requirements, but the average age that you must be in, or you must exceed, is 18 years of age. If you are still younger than that, do not worry too much.

Instead, ask around to see if there are any beauty schools that will accept candidates younger than 18 years old. Some schools allow beauty curriculums to be part of your vocational training.

Usually, schools that accept candidates younger than 18 will ask for a parent’s consent.

Educational Certifications

Another common question is, “Do you need a diploma to go to beauty school?” The answer yet again is, it depends on the state you live in.

Some states may require a high school diploma, while others will accept applicants with no high school diplomas on the condition that there must be a passed General Educational Development (GED) Exam.

The GED contains tests for five subjects, which you have to pass. Therefore, GED is a credible alternative to a high school diploma.

If you have neither high school diploma, nor a GED, some schools may ask you to show your high school transcripts as proof that you did undergo high school education.

Other Documents

Beauty schools often require you to produce a driver’s license, or any other identification issued by the state. Some schools will ask for letters of recommendation, which you can get from your previous school, together with your beauty school application.

It is good to be forewarned that in some beauty school applications you will be required to write essays, answer questions, or take aptitude tests.

How Long is Beauty School?

The required length of beauty school hours you must complete differs depending on the state’s required hours for the specific program you enrolled in, and whether you are enrolled in your beauty school part-time or full-time.

Applying for a full cosmetology curriculum is the most inclusive that will consequently require the most number of training hours, which on average is approximately 1500 to 2100 training hours.

The average training hours for various programs are different from each other. For example, for nail care and makeup artist programs, it will take at least 300 hours to 600 hours. For electrology an average of 500 hours is required, whereas for skin care and esthetics, the range of hours necessary is from 300 to 1500 hours.

Usually, the state licensing board determines the required training hours of each individual state, making the total number of hours different from one state to another. For instance, a full cosmetology program in Tennessee will require you to complete 1,500 hours of training while the same program in New York will require only 1,000 hours.

What Do You Do in Beauty School?

There are two very important things that beauty school students always do: learn and practice. There are several cosmetology courses offered in beauty schools, namely:

Basic Sanitation and Safety

A Sanitation and Safety program is considered to be the fundamental course from which other courses can build their foundations on. Students need to know the proper techniques on how to clean and to safely use beauty tools, and how to maintain their work stations so as to give their future clients the best service.

Moreover, they have to be familiar with specific laws and regulations the licensing state has with regards to sanitation.

Aesthetics and Hair Removal

This particular course will help the students develop the skills necessary for proper hair removal and makeup application, such as: waxing, plucking, threading, applying eye shadow, shaping eyebrows, tinting eyebrows, laser hair removal, and general skin care.

Hair Care

Hair care is mainly concerned with cutting services, hair styling, and hair treatments. These treatments may include, hair coloring, hair straightening, scalp massaging, shampooing, and such.

You’ll have to learn which chemicals are better for certain hair types and which tones are great for which skin type. The newest hair trends are also discussed--you should keep your ears peeled for the next hair style trend.

Facial Care

A facial is basically the process of caring for the face, especially for the flawlessness and elasticity of the skin. This course will train students on how to use the tools necessary in giving facial services, such as face masks, skin conditioning, radiofrequency, microdermabrasion, dermabrasion, laser facials, and face massage. The students can also learn how to perform skin analysis.

Some schools combine facial courses with aesthetics because makeup application also focuses on the face.


Some students can simply learn how to apply makeup for traditional use like weddings, events and shows. Others can go further and learn special effects makeup and how to create wounds, new surfaces and other specialized makeup techniques.

Keep in mind that makeup can also mean learning how to apply product to the whole body, and making the human body your canvas.

Nail Care

Nail care classes will teach and train the students on the basics of manicures and pedicures. Therefore, the students will have a hands-on experience on how to shape the client’s toenails and fingernails, how to clean the toes and fingers, how to properly apply nail polish, and on how to massage the hands and feet.

This course is often divided into two parts, with one focusing on the feet and the other concentrating on the hands.

Salon Management

Many beauticians will end up running their own business salons once they gain enough know-how and experience. This course will teach the students operational skills on how to run a business and maintain good business relations. Additional topics may cover state licensing protocols, and hiring personnel.

You can tell that you’ve enrolled in a good school if your learning institute offers short business courses to students who want to start their own brand or business.

Moreover, the course will help them develop skills necessary to be a good business manager, including leadership, communication, and organization. This course may be required for all cosmetology students in some schools, while others make it an option.

The decision of taking up a full cosmetology program, or simply taking a few, selected courses, lies in your hands. Indulge yourself in what you are passionate about.

Should I go to Beauty School?

The most important question yet remains, “Is going to beauty school my cup of tea?”

Here is a checklist that will help you make up your mind in this matter.

Are you artistically inclined?

Is your artistic side itching to release itself? Indeed, there are many forms of art. There is music, painting, sculpting, and such. However, there is a specific kind of art that helps to bring out the beauty that exists in everyone, including yourself.

If you have always been interested with the complexities of hair styling that can instantly make anyone look stunning, if you have always been fascinated with makeup that can make any woman look so much lovelier, if you have always believed that even the mostly hidden toenails must be taken care of, then a beauty school is exactly the right place for you to allow your artistic self to spread those folded wings and soar high!

Are you a passionate believer of beauty and aesthetics?

Beauty school is all about its namesake: beauty. Its main objective is to help bring out the beauty that is already present with just the precise shade of eye color, to further improve it with the right cut of the hair, to give it a flourish with perfectly shaped nails, and to keep it there with the proper skin care.

Therefore, if you are to be a student of a beauty school, you have to believe in beauty. You have to believe that everyone has it, that it simply needs the touch of your skillful hands to bring it to fruition.

The thing is, if you have biased perceptions of what beauty is – that a person needs to have a set of favored features in order for him or her to be considered beautiful – then how can you ever help to bring out the beauty of those who “fall short” of being beautiful?

Do you have an entrepreneurial spirit?

Beauty school ultimately wants to produce entrepreneurs; once you become a certified beautician with the proper credentials and with adequate showmanship of your newly earned skills, you can start working for a living.

Being an entrepreneur entails that you be your own boss. You manage your own appointments, you choose where to set up your enterprise, and you decide what specific type of business you want to run.

The spirit of freedom in being an entrepreneur is truly appealing. However, with this freedom comes the weight of responsibility. Everything about your business relies on you. Therefore, any credits of success or failures will be attributed to you.

Do you love to interact with people?

Being a beautician means it is your job to beautify other people. You must be at ease in dealing with them while you arrange their hair and apply their makeup. This means that you will always have to interact with people of different shapes and sizes, often on a one-on-one basis.

More often than not, friendliness becomes the deciding factor of many customers when choosing a beautician. They will always want to be handled by someone who is easy to talk with rather than with someone who always has a frown constantly plastered on his or her face.

Therefore, make smiling a habit as you go about your daily life. Your smile will definitely attract clients to you.

More importantly, you must be comfortable in being politely honest to your clients in telling them that this sort of haircut will not suit the shape of their face, or that the hair color they chose will not suit their complexion.

As a beautician it is your responsibility to help them decide in matters where they know little, and you know a lot. Just remember to voice out your opinions in such a way that will not discourage them from wanting to look beautiful. Instead, encourage them to be confident and to look their very best.

Are you good with tools?

Being enrolled in beauty schools will require you to undergo extensive training on how to handle beauty tools of different functions. If you observe keenly, any program in cosmetology requires you to use a tool.

You need a pair of scissors to cut hair, a pencil to highlight eyelids, a spatula for waxing. Therefore, you need to be aware that you will have to practice using these tools again and again until you can master them, because a great part of being a beautician is having a critical eye for detail. You simply cannot leave one eye full of eye color, while the other is only halfway through.

Therefore, it is important that you must be able to skillfully wield your tools to create a picture of balance and symmetry in your clients.

These are some of the important things you should take note of before enrolling in beauty schools. Remember, being a beautician means more than being good with tools and having an eye for detail. You have to have the passion for beauty, so much so that you spread it all around you like wildfire.


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