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high school student wants to train in cosmeticsWhile many people decide to take cosmetology classes as a mid-career switch, many cosmetology students have begun taking classes during high school, setting themselves up for a career early on. In addition, with high school cosmetology classes, you will be able to graduate with a license already in hand.

On this page:
• Cosmetology Schools for High School Students
• What to Expect from a High School Cosmetology Programs
• What Students Learn in Cosmetology High Schools

Cosmetology Classes

It’s wonderful that COVID-19 is on the wane here in fall 2022. Beauty training is now back to normal, so now is not a bad time to start searching for a school…

When you’re looking at beauty schools you’ll see that students as young as 16 years old can attend. This means that even upper-level students in high school can join in on cosmetology classes while simultaneously completing high school.

This is possible if the program doesn’t require a diploma or GED. Unfortunately, not every school will accept high school students. However, a few types are open to students if the requirements are met.

Vocational Schools

If you go to a vocational high school, you will likely be able to attend high school cosmetology. You can study cosmetology while earning a diploma and take practical classes to give you a head start on your career. You will also be able to intern to gain experience in hair design, skincare and nail treatments.

Dual Enrolment

Some students enroll in beauty school while still in high school. Moreover, they take some lecture courses during high school to lay the groundwork for cosmetology study. If you begin while you’re in your junior year of high school, it’s possible you can even start hands-on training in your senior year.
With enough training, you might even be able to try for certification following your graduation. But, of course, these dual enrolment programs aren’t available everywhere. That said, it is worth a try to check your state for such programs.

Extra Classes

Just because you’ve taken cosmetology courses in high school does not mean you can automatically begin your life as a cosmetologist. Most students still need to continue education at a post-secondary beauty college until they test for their cosmetology license.

Classes in high school don’t go to waste, though. Sometimes, those hours can be used for the hours needed to get a certification. So, in the end, taking high school classes provides you with experience and helps reduce the number of hours you need.

Non-beauty classes you can take that will help you after you graduate include:

  • creative courses like art and color theory
  • science classes in anatomy and chemistry
  • classes that help with communication, such as English composition

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Preparing for High School Cosmetology

If you already know you want to pursue cosmetology, you may want to prepare for your career while still in high school. Cosmetology classes for high school students may seem somewhat intimidating. Still, if you’re passionate about it, you’ll do fine, and they can get you ready for an interesting career right after you graduate.


To join a cosmetology program, you must already have a good academic record and be able to complete a full interview process with your teachers. You’ll also need a genuine enthusiasm for the program and a willingness to invest time, beginning in your junior year.

Fortunately, you won’t need as much money as you would after graduation, at which time you’ll likely need aid.

Depending on your state, you’ll need a different number of hours before you can sit for your exams. For instance, Washington needs 1600 hours, but some areas need as much as 1800 hours.
Be sure to check with the schools in your state about training while still in high school. Click on links to states in the table below…

Beauty Colleges & Schools State Listings

Canadian Provinces

Dist. of Columbia
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
West Virginia
British Columbia
New Brunswick
Nova Scotia
Prince Edward Island
Northwest Territories

What to Expect from High School Cosmetology Programs

student happily studyingAs a high school student, you’ll begin slowly since you must also complete your high school classes. Usually, this means you’ll start in your junior year and will work to acquire the needed hours for your eventual certification. Here’s an example of a high school program.

With a few hours a day, you’ll be able to advance to your second year.

You can then move up to hands-on work to get your hours more quickly. Then, after you’ve gotten more or less 1800 hours — which is usually after high school for most students — you will be able to take both the practicum and state exam to get your certification. The program can go at your own pace, so if you’re especially motivated, you might even be able to take your exams before you graduate.

As mentioned, remember that the number of hours and requirements are dependent on where you live.

Some schools only offer programs to upper-level students and may have a different curriculum. For the most part, though, classes will begin early and might partially be online.

Here is a list of courses available to high schools that can be taken at San Jacinto College:

First TermIntroduction to Hair-cutting and Related Theory

Fundamentals of Cosmetology
Second TermChemical Reformation and Related Theory

Artistry of Hair Design I
Third TermArtistry of Hair Design II

Principles of Hair Colour and Related Theory
Fourth TermPrep for State Licensing Written Examination

Prep for State Licensing Practical Examination

Advanced Haircutting & Related Theory

What Students Learn in Cosmetology High Schools

If you want to enroll in a cosmetology high school, search “cosmetology schools near me” to find one that’s easy to go to. As soon as you begin, you’ll notice that you learn the topics that every cosmetology student learns. This includes general information on:

You may even learn massage depending on the school.

As you get farther in the program, you can mix and match your interests to find something you’re genuinely passionate about. You’ll then be able to move on to practical classes meant to assist you in hands-on experience.

These types of experiences can allow you to move onto a post-secondary cosmetology school early after graduation. No matter what your cosmetology interest is, you will be able to gain a general understanding before you move forward into a more serious education.

Ask around at the high schools near you to see if there’s a cosmetology program that may work for you.

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High school students usually study math, English, science, and history, not nail care, skincare, makeup and hair styling. This doesn’t mean that you can’t, though; you shouldn’t let that stop you from pursuing your dreams. So, by all means, become a jack-of-all-trades in the beauty industry!

If you’re motivated enough, you can begin a cosmetology program while still in high school by learning about topics you’re interested in and getting the hours you need for an eventual license. So search schools to see if there’s one with a program you like and get started!