The State Board of Cosmetology under the Pennsylvania Department of State offers a list of guidelines for getting various kinds of cosmetology licenses. It regulates the practice and licensing process for nail technicians, estheticians, cosmetologists, cosmetology salons, teachers of cosmetology and cosmetology schools in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The board is responsible for streamlining the process for licensing, including the relevant exams and regulations enforcement.

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If you intend to become a cosmetologist in Pennsylvania, you will need to remain updated with the latest requirements set forth by The State Board of Cosmetology.
The following guide will shed some light on the process to become a cosmetologist in Pennsylvania, along with providing insight into the career outlook and salary expectations for this occupation.

Pennsylvania Cosmetology Licensing Requirements

To get into this field, aspiring cosmetologists will have to follow a series of steps. These include:

  1. Complete the Educational Requirements

To be eligible for licensure, cosmetologists in Pennsylvania must complete 1,250 hours of study in a licensed school. These hours have to be earned in at least 8 months. In addition to this, candidates must have 10th grade education or equivalent.

  1. Clear the Pennsylvania State Board of Cosmetology Exam

Candidates will have to clear the State Board examination, which consists of a theoretical exam. They will have to complete an application for a test with Pearson VUE. If the application is approved, you will receive a notification. You may appear for the exam in one of the four testing locations – Harrisburg, Scranton, Allentown or Plymouth Meeting.

  1. Apply for a Cosmetology License in Pennsylvania

If you clear your tests, your application will be forwarded for approval to the Pennsylvania Board of Cosmetology, along with your scores. Once you have received your license, you will be qualified to perform any of the functions of a cosmetologist, natural hair braider, mail technician or esthetician, without additional licensure.

  1. Maintain Your Pennsylvania Cosmetology License

Cosmetology license in Pennsylvania expires after two years. You will have to maintain your license by consistently renewing it.

How Much Does a Cosmetologist Earn in Pennsylvania?

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics lists cosmetologists as a part of a broader category – hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists. According to 2018 data on the bureau’ website, this category made an annual mean income of $26,990 in Pennsylvania. The following table lists the salaries for this category for the past two years as well, offering a comparative understanding of the changing dynamics for cosmetologists.

2016 2017 2018
Annual Mean Salary (MA) $28,010 $26,570 $26,990
Annual Mean Salary (US) $29,590 $30,490 $30,190

What Is the Job Outlook for Cosmetologists?

Pennsylvania happens to be the fourth highest employer of hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists in the country, in 2018, with 24,460 jobs. It follows California, Texas and Florida. Even though the job market for this occupational category is expected to be relatively stable, aspiring cosmetologists should expect strong competition for jobs.