When most people think of New York, they imagine the fashion capital, the glamour and the great theatre and night life. All great places to start a career as a makeup artist. If you’re passionate about beauty any one of New York’s schools can give you an edge and start your career as a makeup artist, whether you’re looking for work in a high-end salon or spa, or want to jump into New York’s fashion industry, it starts with getting the right education, especially if you want to learn theatrical makeup artistry, and getting your license.

Rochester, NY skyline
Rochester, NY skyline by Andreas F. Borchert [GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

What Are The Schooling Requirements For Makeup In NY?

Like many states including California, New York does not have a separate license for makeup artists. Instead, you will need to complete an esthetics program of at least 600 hours. Esthetics include classes in skin care, massage, facials, makeup application and color theory. They also include classes in safety and health, bacteriology, anatomy, and even help you build your business with courses in business practices, and salon management.

You must be 17 years old and pass the medical examination in order to apply for your exams. Use the app below to find schools close to you:

Your NY Esthetics License

Once you’ve completed your period of study, you can apply and pay the application fee to sit your exams. You must schedule the exams online. You’ll need to pass a written theory and a practical exam with at least 70% to qualify for a license.


New York has specific requirements for reciprocity. If you currently hold a license in another state, and are looking to work as a makeup artist in New York, contact the New York State Board of Cosmetology to find out if your state is eligible for reciprocity.

Renewing Your NY Beauty License

Once you have your license, it is valid for a 4 year period. Three months before your license expires, you will receive a notice via email, with instructions to renew. No continuing educations are required, but with New York’s many links to the fashion and beauty industry, continuing education and schooling will keep you highly sought after in a competitive industry.

Makeup Artist Employment Opportunities

Salon work, theatre work, movie production houses… there are plenty of job opportunities in New York, whether you’re in the urban centres or rural areas.

New York’s fashion industry can put you on the fast track to a glamorous job, or you can choose to start your career in a salon or high end department store, build a client base, and give yourself the flexibility to work toward starting your own business.

When you’re looking for that all-important first job, check with your school for placements and apprenticeship offers, and don’t forget to consider a New York based job bank.

Listings for Makeup Schools in New York

School of Permanent Makeup – 49 W. 33rd St., #301, New York, NY 10001

Makeup Forever Academy – 552 Broadway FL 3, New York, NY 10012

Aveda Institute – 233 Spring Street, New York, NY 10013

Arrojo Cosmetology School – 200 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10013

Austin’s School of Spa Technology – Albany, NY

Brittany Beauty Academy – 500 8th Avenue, New York, NY 10018

International School of Permanent Makeup – 49 West 33rd Street, Suite 301, New York, NY 10001

Empire Beauty School – 22 West 34th Street, New York, NY 10001

Other NY schools for nail technicians, estheticians, barbers and cosmetologists

Some School Websites:

Did we miss any Makeup Artist Institutes in New York? Please contact us to let us know.