What is Cosmetology School?

by Empire Beauty School

Cosmetology School Definition 

Cosmetology school—more commonly known as “beauty school”—teaches cosmetology students how to perform cosmetology services on Guests.  Cosmetology is about more than just hair.  Cosmetology is the study and application of beauty treatment to the hair, skin and nails.  A licensed cosmetologist can perform services on skin and nails, as well.


Thinking About Attending Cosmetology School?

You’re considering becoming a cosmetologist but you’re not exactly sure how to do it. You’ve heard about cosmetology school, but you don’t know anything about it. How long does it take? Is it fun? Are there different kinds of cosmetology schools? How do you know if the school is a good fit? If you’ve been asking yourself any of these questions, you’ve come to the right place.

Here we will define what cosmetology school is, how it works, and what will be expected of you as a cosmetology student.


Cosmetology offers a wide range of possibilities and endless opportunities based upon your interests.  As a licensed cosmetologist, you could pursue one of many occupations:  

Cosmetologist Barber Hairstylist Hair Color Specialist Perm Specialist Nail Care Artists Manicurist

Esthetician Salon Owner Salon Coordinator Salon Manager Salon Sales Consultant Cosmetology Instructor

Photo and Movie Stylist Manufacturer Sales Representative Makeup Artist Beauty Magazine Writer Beauty Magazine Editor Beauty Product Designer

Cosmetology School Owner Salon Computer Expert Salon Franchisee Salon Chain Management Beauty Care Distributor Beauty Care Marketing

Beauty Care Public Relations Specialist Research Chemist Beauty Business Consultant Trade Show Director Beauty School Owner

What You Will Learn

Before you touch a mannequin or someone’s head, hands, feet or skin, you first need to learn basic theory and technique. So for example, you’ll learn about nail health or hair straightening in a classroom – with the help and guidance of your Educator.  

A really good school will also teach you all aspects of the Beauty Industry.  For instance, understanding how to communicate with your Guest. Or, learning how products containing certain chemicals will interact with each other when you mix them.  A clear understanding on the industry will be equally as important to your success as how well you can cut hair or perform a facial.

After you learn your theory to understand the “what” and “why”, you learn how to perform specific skills. This is where cosmetology school will really become hands-on. You will likely learn these skills step-by-step, then practice on mannequins and often your classmates. Your Educator will be with you every step of the way, providing encouragement and tips as you learn your new skills. Each time you perform a service with your instructor, you will become better and more skilled. Eventually you will be ready to perform on your own—a proud milestone for all cosmetology students!

Specific Cosmetology Skills

  • Cut, style, formulate and color, re-texture, change, manipulate, and reshape hair.
  • Apply natural, dramatic, special FX, and trendy makeup.
  • Remove, shape, sculpt, and groom facial hair.
  • File, buff, shape, polish, clean and care for natural and artificial nails.
  • Massage, manipulate, diagnose, and treat scalp and skin.
  • Communicate with Guests and Coworkers.
  • Recommend products that will help your Guest maintain their style outside of the salon.

Choosing A Cosmetology School

Cosmetology schools can differ in instruction methods and teaching styles. You will also want to know what the school teaches that will make you successful after you graduate. Different schools may have different priorities.  Requirements will also vary state to state, as states have different rules. You want to be sure the school you attend is approved by your State Board of Cosmetology or other State Licensing Agency. Learn more about getting started in cosmetology on our comprehensive guide to getting started in cosmetology.

Empire Beauty Schools will give you a strong foundation in hair, skin, and nail services. Empire Beauty School offers several Beauty Programs, including Cosmetology, Esthetics, Educator Training, and Nail Technology. We also believe that understanding the Beauty Industry is essential to creating a lifelong career. We are proud that every school is licensed by the state in which they are located. Schedule a tour today and meet with a Career Planning Specialist to see if Empire is the perfect fit for you. Visit us at http://www.empire.edu or call 1-800-964-3635.

October 5, 2023

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