Pennsylvania follows the common practice of requiring a state license for work as a cosmetologist. An aspiring cosmetology professional must first complete training at a PA cosmetology school. Applicants who complete their training can then get a license by passing written and practical portions of a Pennsylvania cosmetology exam.
Find a cosmetology school. If you have no particular school in your area or would just like a list of approved PA cosmetology schools, then contact the board with the following contact information:
State Board of Cosmetology
P.O. Box 2649
Harrisburg, PA 17105-2649
Select a school to attend and complete 1250 hours of training. There are also some approved apprentice programs, but you will have to complete 2000 hours as an apprentice. Also remember that you will generally need a quality instructor because you are going to have to pass both written and hands-on tests to get a license.
Keep in mind that a large portion of your hours are spent in actually performing student cosmetology work. You must complete the required hours over at least 8 months.
You must also complete at least the 10th grade, but a GED will suffice for this purpose.
Note on Reciprocity:
Those who have an existing cosmetologist license from out of state can apply to get a PA cosmetology license by reciprocity. To get the application form, go to the “Licensure Information” page in the Resources below and then look for the “Application for Licensure by Reciprocity” link to get the form. The fee is only $20, but you must also have two years of licensed cosmetology experience outside of Pennsylvania to get a license through this method.
Note on Apprenticeships:
There is a $70 fee to apply as an apprentice. You can get the application form from the “Licensing Information” page.
Prepare for your exam. You will be applying with Professional Credential Services, the exam administrator, and the fee for the license and both exams is $149, as of 2010. PCS has a page on its website with all of the relevant links for the PA cosmetology exam, including an application. Use that page (see Resources) to find out exam tips and how to apply for your Pennsylvania license and exam.
Pennsylvania State Board of Cosmetology Licensing Information
PCS Pennsylvania Cosmetology Page