Cosmetology Certification Programs

See what you can learn in a cosmetology certificate program. Get an overview of state licensing requirements, as well as the salary and job outlook for cosmetologists. Schools offering Culinary Arts degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Will I Learn in a Cosmetology Certification Program?

Certification programs in cosmetology are rare. However, a certificate program in cosmetology may give you the tools needed to apply for a cosmetology license. Programs can provide you with a wide variety of knowledge about hairstyling, makeup application, nail technologies and skin care. Along with traditional coursework, you'll participate in a series of hands-on clinical sessions. Additional topics might include entrepreneurship, facials and hair coloring.

You may be expected to purchase your own skin care or makeup materials for each class. Because you'll be in close contact with clients on a daily basis, programs often recommend that you have good interpersonal skills. A certificate program in cosmetology typically takes two semesters to complete.

Key Program SkillsMakeup application, nail technologies, entrepreneurship, facials, hair coloring
Online Class AvailabilityGenerally, programs are not online, though some CE class may be offered
LicensureLicensure requirements vary from state to state, though generally you'll have to attend a state-approved cosmetology program and pass written and practical exams
Job Outlook10% (for barbers, hairdressers and cosmetologists between 2014 and 2024)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Can I Take Classes Online?

Cosmetology certificate programs are generally not offered online, since you must complete practical training sessions under the supervision of an instructor. You can, however, take some of the continuing education classes that you need to renew your cosmetology license online.

Online classes are usually focused on cosmetology safety, sanitation and laws. To participate in these classes, you may need software programs like Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat Reader. A headset and a microphone may be required for online continuing education courses that require Web conferencing.

How Do I Become Licensed?

Each state has different licensing requirements for cosmetologists. You'll generally need to possess a high school diploma and graduate from a state-approved cosmetology program. You'll be expected to pass a written exam as well as a practical exam; you may need to renew your license by taking continuing education classes.

What Is the Job Outlook?

Earning your cosmetology certificate and license could lead to work as a cosmetologist, hairdresser or hairstylist. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of barbers, hairdressers and cosmetologists was predicted to grow by 21% from 2014-2024 ( According to the BLS, barbers, hairdressers and cosmetologists earned a median annual salary of $23,200 as of May 2014.

A cosmetology certificate in combination with state licensure could also prepare you for work as a manicurist, pedicurist or esthetician. The BLS stated that manicurists and pedicurists earned a mean yearly wage of $19,620 as of May 2014, while skin care specialists earned a median annual wage of $29,050 during the same year.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Virginia College

    Virginia College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Virginia College:

    • Certificates

    Campus-Based Programs Available:

    View All Locations
    • Georgia: Augusta, Columbus, Macon
    • South Carolina: Augusta, Columbus, Macon, Columbia, Florence
  • Steiner Education Group

    Steiner Education Group responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Steiner Education Group:

    • Certificates

    Campus Locations:

    • Maryland: Linthicum
  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • Northern Michigan University

    Campus Locations:

    • Michigan: Marquette
  • Milwaukee Area Technical College

    Campus Locations:

    • Wisconsin: Milwaukee
  • Yuba College

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Marysville
  • World A Cuts Barber Institute

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: York
  • Woodward Beauty College

    Campus Locations:

    • Oklahoma: Woodward
  • Pearl River Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Mississippi: Poplarville
  • Withlacoochee Technical Institute

    Campus Locations:

    • Florida: Inverness