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Frequent Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


How do I find beauty schools and cosmetology schools?

That’s easy. Beauty schools and cosmetology schools are everywhere. You just need to think about the location and the school. After all, this is your dream, so make sure you apply to a cosmetology school in an area that interests you. If you think you might transfer from one beauty school to another in the future, you might want to look into a school with multiple educational sites.

Start by clicking Find a School. Then consider which location would work best for you. We’ve included a description of each school’s area. You’ll want to know what you can do when you’re not in class. The maps section will help you figure out where your beauty school is located and the local area. We want to help you find the right fit, so be sure to Contact Us with any questions


How is beauty school like a four-year college?

Beauty school is designed for specific areas of study: hair and body services. A four-year college curriculum often includes general studies as well as major concentrations. If you want to cut hair, though, you don’t necessarily need a class in philosophy or art appreciation. Nor would Biology 101 help you decide the best hair color shade for Mrs. Jones. Beauty school is focused on teaching you the skill set you need to perform hair and body services. You get all the education you need, but don’t pay for college-type courses you don’t need.

Bear in mind that each state requires certifications. You must pass an exam to be licensed as a cosmetologist. Beauty school prepares you to tackle the required testing and pass with flying colors.

Also, instead of attending school for four years and then often not finding a job in one’s field, beauty school typically takes about a year, costs far less and beauty professionals are always in demand.


Is a four-year college harder than beauty school?

When you attend a four-year college, you typically study both general studies and a focused major curriculum. In beauty school, we focus only on the skill set you need to become a licensed cosmetologist, specializing in hair and body services. College is probably harder than beauty school because, in a four-year college, you need to study subjects completely unrelated to your field of interest. Also you are earning a cosmetology license as opposed to a college degree and that license qualifies you for fun and rewarding positions.


Am I too old to change my career and attend cosmetology school?

With many baby boomers working beyond traditional retirement age and people switching careers more than ever before, is anyone too old to make a change that could make them happy?

A better question might be: is it ever too late to attend cosmetology school? If you’ve always dreamed of cutting, coloring or styling hair, we can get you started. If you’ve decided you need a flexible schedule in a creative field, cosmetology is a great choice.

You can complete a cosmetology program and get your license in about a year. Also, most programs are hands-on so you get an immediate feel for exactly what you’ll be doing on a daily basis.Contact Us to get started.


How should I choose a beauty school?

Once you know what are you most passionate about, you’ll be able to decide what you want to learn in beauty school. Different curricula involve different class offerings, areas of expertise and core beauty courses. Do you see yourself as a salon owner? An expert hair colorist? Maybe a bridal stylist. Make sure the school’s courses will prepare you for the future you envision.

Beauty school location might also be very important to you. If you plan to live at home while attending school, you’ll want to look only within a reasonable geographical area. To help you choose a location, click on our Find a School link. You’ll see what each school’s area has to offer.

Finally, how do you plan to pay for beauty school? If you’ve been saving since you were six, great. In any case, look for an accredited school because that’s the only type that offers financial aid.


What makes for a top cosmetology school?

A top beauty school can provide you with the proper guidance, support and technical skills you need to achieve immediate success in your beauty career. Look for these factors in a top cosmetology school:

  • Course Curriculum – The cosmetology school that’s best for you will offer what you want to learn. That might mean hair coloring, hair cutting and hair styling. Make sure these courses are offered at the cosmetology schools you’re considering. If hair cutting or salon work is your goal, pick a school that focuses on hair, such as The Hair Design School.
  • Practical Business Skills – If your dream job will provide flexibility and creativity, you might not be as interested in owning a salon. However, you’ll need to have some business skills to be successful in any beauty career. A top cosmetology school will offer at least a few courses on practical business training. Look for these as part of the curriculum.
  • Exam Preparation – Be sure that the cosmetology school program you choose is designed to help you pass the exam required to get your cosmetology license.
  • Industry Involvement – Who are the instructors and are they still active in their field? Does the school compete in national hair competitions? Top cosmetology schools will employ instructors who are leaders in the industry. They will share valuable tips and tricks to help you be the best cosmetologist you can be.
  • Hands-On Student Salon – This might be the most important factor that distinguishes a top cosmetology school. You want to be certain that you can practice what you learn on clients in a real salon setting. Plastic dummies are great, but they don’t move, speak or complain the way a real person will. A salon environment is the best preparation for the real thing.

Do I need to visit the cosmetology school before deciding?

You don’t have to visit, but it’s a good idea. You want to attend a school where you’ll feel comfortable—with the staff, educators and your fellow students. A visit can give you a good feel for the school and whether you’ll be happy there. You’ll also be able to check out the area and what you can do when you’re not in class, such as grabbing a bite with friends.

Cosmetology school requires a commitment, so commit a few hours to visit the school where you could be spending a year or more pursuing your dream.

For descriptions of each Hair Design School area, visit the Find a Hair Design School page.


Should I only go to cosmetology school near where I live?

If you’ve always dreamed of being a celebrity stylist but you live in Memphis, TN, a nearby school might not be the best choice. You can learn to cut, color and style hair at virtually every beauty school. But you may wish to consider where you will get the most exposure to the career you want to pursue. If you are considering a move, check out Find a School to see where The Hair Design Schools are located.


What’s the difference between beauty school and cosmetology school?

Beauty school and cosmetology school are basically synonymous. But hair design school is different. The Hair Design School specializes in cosmetology related to hair—hair design, cutting, coloring and styling. Beauty and cosmetology schools may include additional programs for other esthetician-related fields, like body waxing or nail techniques. If you are primarily interested in a career focused in hair, The Hair Design School could be the best fit for you.


What’s the difference between a beauty school, beauty college and beauty academy?

Mainly it’s all about how a school chooses to brand itself. But this is less important than factors that can make a real difference. Is the school accredited, enabling you to obtain financial aid? Is the curriculum approved by the Department of Education? At the end of the day, your decision should also be based on course curriculum, location, affordability and who offers the best education for the career you want to pursue.


How does beauty school compare to barber school?

Traditionally, barbering has been for men and many men still prefer to go to barbers. In beauty school, you will learn to cut hair for children and men and women of all ages and ethnicities.


How are beauty schools and make-up schools different?

Make-up school is solely focused on the application of make-up, typically to the face. If you attend a beauty school or cosmetology school, you may have the option to take esthetic courses that may include make-up, body waxing and nail techniques. When you think about your career goal, do you plan to specialize in make-up, provide a wider array of services or at least have the training you’ll need if you decide to change course. At The Hair Design School, we focus on hair styling, hair coloring and hair cutting.


Can I go to beauty school online?

Can you cut hair online? Can you ask an instructor online how to hold scissors or learn a technique for an unusual type of hair? The hands-on nature of this industry requires you to be in a classroom and salon where you can gain knowledge and experience. You will need to become a licensed cosmetologist to cut hair, which requires passing an exam. While you might get help studying for the exam online, it’s almost impossible to prepare for a hands-on career in your pajamas at home.

The Hair Design School offers a physical location where you will attend classes with an instructor. Keep in mind that funding is only available for accredited schools. So, if you look into online courses, you’ll want to see, specifically, what they offer. Is it a certificate or the cosmetology license you really need?


What kind of training does a beauty school offer?

Beauty schools may teach you to be a nail technician, makeup artist or waxer. The Hair Design School specializes in hair styling, cutting and coloring. If you’re looking for a career in a hair salon, or as a hair salon owner, we’re the place. You’ll learn first hand all the things you need to become a licensed cosmetologist. You’ll have a specialized degree in everything about hair.


How long will it take for me to go through beauty school?

You will complete your beauty school training in about a year, far less time than it takes to get a college degree. Many schools including The Hair Design School offer hands-on training, and you can begin working at the student salon after completing just a few classes.


What will I learn in beauty school and cosmetology school?

Cosmetology school will teach you all about hair coloring, cutting and styling and, typically, salon business management. You’ll prepare for the cosmetology license you need to launch your beauty career. You may also learn to be a nail technician, make-up artist, esthetician and image consultant. At The Hair Design School, we focus on the hair cutting, hair styling and hair coloring, as well as beauty business concepts and salon management.


Can I take advanced beauty courses? Should my school offer them?

Before you can consider advanced beauty school programs, you’ll want to complete a program and obtain your cosmetology license. Advanced beauty courses will expand on a topic you’ve already covered and practiced, such as hair coloring techniques. If you’re sure you want to be a hair colorist, then, yes, you should make sure that your school offers these advanced courses. But they are not required to obtain your cosmetology license.

Another point: The Hair Design School is part of the Empire Beauty Schools family. Empire offers many advanced programs including Masters of Beauty where you can learn directly from celebrated hairdressers including Nick Arrojo. Empire also hosts an annual Future Professionals Expo where you can gain exposure to top beauty professionals, products, trends and techniques.


Is aesthetics the same as esthetics?

Esthetics is from the word aesthetics. An esthetician deals with topical treatments on the skin, such as facemasks or chemical peels. Estheticians may also treat skin for acne or recommend topical skin treatments. The field includes permanent make-up, too. If you want to pursue a career in skin care, this would be the job title.


What about cosmetology vs. cosmotology?

Cosmotolgoy is just a misspelling of the correct cosmetology. (Yes, even popular glamour magazines sometimes misspell words.)


How much does beauty school cost?

Beauty school costs vary depending on the school, location and courses. Small or private beauty schools typically cost more. Schools in certain areas, like New York City, may cost more as well. Beauty school almost always costs far less than a four-year or even a community college. Also, before exploring costs, you should have an idea of what you want to study. You can learn just a piece of cosmetology, such as make-up application, for much less than a full program. You’ll want to ask about these options when you consider applying to any beauty school. Financial aid is available at any accredited school. Ask our Career Planning Specialist about the costs of attending The Hair Design School.


Can I get financial aid for beauty school?

Yes, but only if the school is accredited. If you need or want financial aid, only look at accredited schools like The Hair Design School. Accredited schools are regulated by the Department of Education (DOE.) The DOE monitors the curriculum of an accredited school, making sure that the school meets certain standards. They ensure that the programs include what you need to know to get your cosmetology license.


Why should I attend an accredited beauty school?

Accredited means that the school is regulated by the Department of Education (DOE.) The DOE assures that certain standards are met. An accredited school will help you pass the test for your cosmetology license. Only accredited schools can make financial aid available. The Hair Design School is accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Arts and Sciences (NACAS).


How do I find an accredited beauty school?

If a school is accredited, this information should be found easily on the school’s web site. You might look under financial aid or similar sections of the web site. Only accredited schools can offer financial aid. The Hair Design School is accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences, Inc. (NACCAS).


What agencies accredit cosmetology and beauty schools?

The Hair Design School is accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Cosmetology Arts & Sciences, Inc. (NACCAS). They are the largest provider of accreditation for beauty schools. You can visit their website for more information. Others agencies that accredit schools:

  • Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT)
  • Accrediting Council for Continued Education & Training (ACCET)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
  • American Association of Cosmetology Schools (AACS)
  • Cosmetology Advancement Foundation (CAF)
  • Beauty and Barber Supply Institute (BBSI)

Can I attend beauty school if I don’t have my high school diploma or GED?

Yes, depending on your state, you may not need a high school diploma or GED for some beauty schools. The Hair Design School, however, requires a high school diploma or GED.


What can I do after beauty school with my license?

After graduating from The Hair Design School, you can do hair styling, haircuts and hair coloring. You should qualify for any job requiring those skills. So, if you’ve always wanted to work on a cruise ship or do elegant bridal hair, you can. You can be a color specialist, or pursue a career as a celebrity stylist. Some find their path as a salon owner. The choice is yours. We help you obtain the cosmetology license you need, and the rest is up to you. You can use our affiliations to help find a job.


Should my beauty school help me get a job after I graduate?

Many do, including The Hair Design School. We help every student to find a position that meets their goals. Once you get your cosmetology license, we will use our affiliations and connections to help you find a job in your field. Your teachers and instructors want to see you succeed. We consider it part of our job to help students get a job after they graduate.


How can you find a beauty school’s graduation rate?

There are two ways:

  • 1. Ask. The Hair Design School is happy to share this information. Above all, we want you to complete the program. We’ll help you get fully prepared for the cosmetology licensing exam and then get the job you want soon after graduation. At The Hair Design School, you can complete the program in about a year. While all your friends are still studying, you will be trained for a fun and rewarding career in hair. It’s a fairly short-term commitment and an investment in your future.
  • 2. Check with the cosmetology licensing board of your state. They will be able to tell you how many cosmetology licenses have been issued recently. You may be able to ask more in depth questions as well, depending on your state.

What can I use to help me find a job when I graduate?

You should ask the school how well they place students. The Hair Design School has a connection with Empire Beauty Schools and the Regis Corporation, providing access to jobs at places like Mastercuts and Supercuts. With over 12,000 Regis locations, you have a good chance of being referred to jobs as soon as you’re ready to launch your beauty career. Our instructors have worked with many students to help them find jobs. You will have hands-on experience when you graduate. We will help you find that first job in beauty.


Where can I find a school’s job placement rate?

You’ll want to ask your instructors for the resources to guide you through job hunting. The Hair Design School is associated with the Regis Corporation which has over 12,000 salon locations. Each school also has a hands-on student salon where you gain real client experience. We will help you understand what salons are looking for and help you create an effective resume. You may also want to explore online resources.


How much can a cosmetologist earn?

The average salary for a cosmetologist is $30,000 to $48,000. This salary is for an average of only 26.8 hours of work per week (a standard work week in corporate jobs is about 40 hours). Keep in mind that you also get cash tips and may receive benefits. As a cosmetologist, you may have plenty of flexibility in choosing your hours. Your compensation might also depend on where you work. You’ll probably make more in tips at a private salon where haircuts cost more, but it will take you longer to build a client base. In a franchise location, prices for services may be lower, so you may earn less per client but serve more customers. With a career in cosmetology, you decide what works for you.


What jobs are most in demand in the beauty field?

Hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists dramatically outnumber all other beauty professionals. And the number of people in this field is expected to grow by 20% by 2018.* If you choose a career in cutting hair, you can rest assured that that there will be demand for your talents. The Hair Design School prepares you to cut, style and color hair. And most people, particularly women, use some type of beauty (or barber) service. Whether it’s haircuts, manicures or waxing, the billion dollar beauty industry keeps going strong. Decide what you want to do, and The Hair Design School will help you get there. In a beauty career, you can expect to be in demand, regardless of the state of the economy.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Barbers, Cosmetologists, and Other Personal Appearance Workers.


How can I determine which areas of beauty are in demand?

In 2008, there were 630,700 hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists. This number is expected to grow to 757,700 by 2018. In 2008, the second highest category of beauty professionals was manicurists/pedicurists with 76,000, significantly less than hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists.* To gauge demand in your area, you might call local salons, ask if they are hiring and for what jobs. In any case, hair is where most of the jobs are.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Barbers, Cosmetologists, and Other Personal Appearance Workers


What professional associations are affiliated with the beauty industry?

While there are many others, the American Association of Cosmetology Schools (AACS) is one of the most widely recognized. This non-profit organization hosts conferences, conventions and seminars to update members about innovative teaching methods and industry issues and events.


What does reciprocity for my cosmetology license mean?

You need a cosmetology license to cut hair and perform beauty services. If you attend The Hair Design School, we’ll prepare you to pass the licensing exam in your state. But what if you move to or work in another state? Reciprocity means that other states will accept your license. We can help you determine whether you will have reciprocity when working in or moving to another state.


When I finish my beauty school classes, do I get my cosmetology license?

You do not automatically get a cosmetology license upon graduation. You need to pass a cosmetology licensing exam. The Hair Design School provides the classes and knowledge you’ll need to pass this exam. With your license, you can go right to work.


What do I need to do to get a cosmetology license in my state?

Each state has different requirements, so there is no one answer to this question. Once you have decided on a beauty school, you’ll want to check with them. We’ll be happy to give you an idea of what you’ll need to obtain your cosmetology license. You can also check with the state cosmetology board in your state.


Where can I find cosmetology licensing information?

It’s best that you ask your Career Planning Specialist to guide you. The answer will depend on where you are attending school. Different states have different requirements. A top beauty school will prepare you to take your state cosmetology exam. For example, if you are attending beauty school in New York, they will prepare you for the cosmetology licensing exam according to New York requirements. Feel free to ask us any questions. We’re here to guide you through the process.


What is Pivot Point?

Pivot Point is the name of an art and design program that has been used since 1962, and you may use this curriculum in beauty school. The idea is that you will be equipped with both the how and why of all aspects of beauty. It’s not enough to know how to layer hair. You also need to know why you might recommend layers to a client.


What’s Milady?

Milady is a publisher of textbooks most commonly used in beauty schools. If you are a beauty instructor—or aspire to be one—Milady offers lesson plans to make your job easier. They detail your curriculum for you.


What’s the CLiC Certification Program?

Basically, CLiC is a program designed to assess different skill levels. CLiC is designed to prepare students for what they’ll do and experience in a salon. When an employer sees CLiC on your resume, they know that you are truly prepared to perform in a salon with real clients.


What is a cosmetology student kit?

Typically, this is a kit of cosmetology supplies that will get you started in beauty school. It often includes mannequin heads, a major component of your student education. Your kit might also provide shears, clippers or brushes. At The Hair Design School, we’ll let you know before you start classes which tools of the trade you’ll need. You may have to purchase additional items along the way. If you want to be a hair colorist, for example, you’ll probably want a few extra items not in a standard kit. Beauty is a creative field, and you will develop your own ways of executing certain techniques. Your instructors will let you know what you need to master your skills.


Where do I get a cosmetology student kit?

Be sure to ask your Hair Design School Career Planning Specialist about which items you’ll need before your first class and what you might need to purchase, including your cosmetology student kit.