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Makeup Schools in Pennsylvania

It’s no secret that the makeup industry is booming. In fact, it’s one of the few industries that continues to grow year after year. And if you’re looking for a career change, or you’re simply interested in learning more about makeup, then a makeup school may be the perfect place for you.

But with so many schools to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you? And more importantly, how do you know which ones are actually legitimate?

That’s where we come in. We’ve put together a list of the best makeup schools located in Pennsylvania. So whether you’re just starting out, or you’re a seasoned pro looking to expand your skill set, we have something for everyone.

State Requirements for Makeup Artist Licensing in Pennsylvania

  • At least 16 years of age
  • Has obtained an esthetician license with 300 hours of schooling


  • Has obtained a cosmetology license with 1,250 of schooling or has completed 200 hours of apprenticeship

How Much Do Pennsylvania Makeup Schools Cost?

Depending on the license one chooses to pursue, the costs of becoming a makeup artist can vary quite a bit. An esthetician school will be shorter in duration and also cost less, with average total costs coming in at around $6,000. On the other hand, a cosmetology course in Pennsylvania will be closer to $18,000. Keep in mind, however, that higher costs also come with greater job opportunities, as cosmetologists have a broader, more marketable skillset.

Required Skills and Classes

The curriculum for both esthetician and cosmetology programs are as follows.

  • Esthetician – according to the Pennsylvania State Board of Cosmetology, practitioners of this program must invest a minimum of three hundred (300) hours in the following subjects:
    • Professional Practices (40 hours)
      • Bacteriology
      • Business practices
      • Disinfection
      • Pennsylvania cosmetology law
      • Professional attitude
      • Sanitation
    • Sciences (100 hours)
      • Chemistry
      • Cosmetic dermatology
      • Electricity
      • Histology
      • Physiology
      • Trichology
    • Facial Treatments (100 hours)
    • Temporary Hair Removal (10 hours)
    • Makeup (50 hours)
  • Cosmetology – being more involved than the previous program, the number of hours required for this program is coincidentally more which takes up to 1,250 hours and covers the following areas:
    • Professional Practices (50 hours):
      • Bacteriology, disinfection, and sanitation
      • Business practices
      • Pennsylvania cosmetology law
      • Professional attitude
    • Sciences (200 hours):
      • Chemistry
      • Cosmetic dermatology
      • Electricity
      • Histology
      • Physiology
      • Trichology
    • Cosmetology Skills – Cognitive and Manipulative (1,000 hours):
      • Care of all hair types and textures
      • Chemical texturizing
      • Hair coloring, shaping, straightening, styling, and finger waving
      • Makeup
      • Nail technology
      • Permanent waving
      • Scalp treatments
      • Shampooing and conditioning
      • Skincare
      • Temporary hair removal

State Licensing Exams

The following details pertain to either esthetics or cosmetology graduates.

  • Esthetics – as of March 2006, the Board of Pennsylvania has contracted Pearson VUE to proctor the licensure exams. The theoretical exam covers the following subject areas:
    • Rules, Regulations, and Safety (30-40%)
    • Esthetic Science and Skin Analysis (15-20%)
    • Facials (20-25%)
    • Hair Removal (16-20%)
    • Makeup (10-15%)
    • Electricity and Electrotherapy (5-10%)

As of November 14, 2014; the Pennsylvania Board will not require incoming estheticians to take the practical exams to obtain the license

  • Cosmetology – incoming cosmetologists must pass both theory and practical tests to acquire the license and must register with Pearson VUE to be eligible.
    • Practical Exam – participants must bring their mannequin (must not have pre-sectioned or pre-parted hair) to perform the following procedures they will be evaluated on:
      • Thermal styling with a curling iron
      • Thermal styling with a flat iron or pressing comb
      • Chemical relaxing
      • Eyebrow tweezing
      • Basic facial
      • Facial skin cleansing
      • Male facial
      • Hair color highlighting
      • Hair color retouching
      • Tapered haircut with clippers
      • Tapered haircut with scissors over a comb
      • Layered haircut with a razor
      • Layered haircut with shears
      • Natural hair braiding
      • Permanent wave
      • Hair removal from eyebrow, upper lip, or chin
      • Basic manicure
      • Nail polish application
      • Nail tip application
      • Acrylic nail painting
      • Face, neck, and shoulder manipulations
      • Masque application
      • Makeup application
      • Face and neck shaving
      • Skin analysis
    • Theory Exam – this test will be composed of 110 questions based on the following subjects:
      • Safety, rules, and regulations (25% to 35%)
      • Hair bleaching, coloring, tinting, and lightening (13% to 17%)
      • Permanent waving (13% to 17%)
      • Chemical relaxing and straightening (13% to 17%)
      • Haircutting (8% to 12%)
      • Trichology (4% to 10%)
      • Shampooing and scalp analysis (4% to 8%)
      • Styling (4% to 10%)
      • Esthetics (4% to 8%)
      • Nails (4% to 8%)

Apprenticeship Program – to qualify for this program, would-be cosmetologist must first meet the following criteria:

  • The chosen cosmetology instructor must have a minimum of 5 years of experience as a licensed cosmetologist in Pennsylvania
  • The chosen salon must have at least 2 licensed cosmetologists that work at least 25 hours per week and must be present at all times during the applicant’s internship
  • Has completed the internship consisting of 2,000 hours lasting at least 8 months

How Much Do Makeup Artists Get Paid in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania currently offers its makeup artists a healthy average pay rate of $22,319 per year according to The top 10% of earners in Pennsylvania make about $29,000 or more per year.

Does Pennsylvania Have Continuing Education Requirements for Makeup Artists?

No continuing education is required for estheticians and makeup artists working in Pennsylvania. To maintain a valid license, every two years a license must be renewed and associated fees must also be paid.

Contact Information for Licensing Board

Pennsylvania Department of State
Address: 2601 North 3rd Street PO Box 2649 Harrisburg, PA 17110
Email: [email protected]
Call: 717-783-7130
Fax: 717-705-5540