Today, I want to talk to you about online cosmetology school programs so you know what to look for, what is legal in your state, and what will help you succeed in this career. More and more degrees are available online. But what about cosmetology? Can you learn how to cut and color hair, perform a facial, or nail a manicure online and get licensed without stepping into a school? There are a lot of educational scams out there that prey on misinformation.
In order to get a cosmetology, esthetician, or nail technician license, you have to complete the minimum hours required by your state. That number is typically between 250 to 2000 hours – depending on the degree and the state.
Most states, in addition to the minimum hours requirement, also have standards if those hours be “in the physical presence of an instructor” or require a certain amount of hours participating in a student salon at the school.
However, education is changing faster than ever before. And there are some online cosmetology school learning options available for those looking to get a cosmetology license. But it is important to know what your state will accept and not accept for education before you hand over any tuition.
Online Learning Is Growing
Only a few years ago, there were no options for obtaining any of your hours online for a cosmetology degree. Everything was brick and mortar You learned everything about cosmetology in a physical classroom.
COVID changed education, even in the cosmetology field. People were learning how to cut their own hair via YouTube and cosmetology schools were frantically learning how to switch to online training and adapt to new requirements established by their state cosmetology board.
Some schools switched to 100% online education during the pandemic. Every school I have talked to is back to in-person learning- because in-person learning is incredibly important – especially in the cosmetology profession. Most of the executive orders allowing 100% online education for many cosmetology licenses have expired.
But there are some growing options for online learning or online cosmetology school. And I will get to those, but first, I want to talk about the importance of hands-on education.
Hands-on Education for a Hands-on Career
Cosmetology, esthetics, and nail technology are not something you can learn all on YouTube or entirely online. Most cosmetology programs focus are the hands-on experience. Most students start out working on each other and then clients in the student salon under the supervision of an instructor. It is the student salon experience that often sets one program apart from other programs.
Even if you could do all of your education online, you really need hands-on time in the salon. You need student salon clients to give you feedback and instructors to provide you with some constructive critiques, helpful tips, and support as you work in the student salon.
Hands-on education in any career is incredibly important. Sure, it isn’t as convenient as learning online, but the time spent honing your hands-on skills will benefit your career for years to come. Think about your career and what is best for it in the long run versus the temporary inconveniences of traveling to cosmetology school.
Can I get licensed if I go to an online cosmetology school?
I do not know of any state cosmetology boards that all a person to complete a program entirely online and obtain a cosmetology, esthetician, or nail tech license in their state.
But I clicked on this link and it said that I could become an esthetician if I enrolled in their online cosmetology school.
Yes, I have seen advertisements for online cosmetology schools too. I have clicked on them and have some advice… Always read the fine print. Most tell you to check with your state board to see if they accept 100% online education.
Any company can advertise on the internet -These companies make hundreds of dollars off people not understanding their state requirements. Some will say in tiny print somewhere on their website “this pr
Hybrid Learning Models- The Best of Both Worlds
What about hybrid education models?
Hybrid education models are where you learn some things online and others in person. For instance, you can learn many non-technical skills online.
Then when it comes to learning technical skills, such as mixing and applying 40 volume developer to your client’s hair, waxing your client’s eyebrows, or applying a new set of polygel nails, you go to the school to have some in-person training and in the physical presence of an experienced instructor.
Some of these hybrid programs, a growing number, are actually legitimate programs that will help you obtain your desired professional license.
Not every state accepts hybrid education programs either, so exercise caution if are wanting to go this route to get licensed.
How do I know a hybrid model is accepted in my state?
Check with your state board office. For instance, if a school is in Colorado, but you want to get licensed in Florida, you need to check with the Florida board. Hybrid models may be acceptable in Colorado, but not Florida.
Then talk to the school where you want to possibly attend. Ask if you can speak to other students that completed the program and are now licensed in your state. Ask all the questions you want about their hybrid program. You deserve to get the answers you need before committing to signing up and paying your tuition.
- How does your online cosmetology school or hybrid model work?
- Do I need a computer?
- Do I need to attend online classes at a certain time each day or is it self-paced?
- How many hours a day or week will I be at the school?
- Have any students had trouble obtaining a license in this state after attending the school?
Next Step: More Research!
Ready to learn more about choosing a school, or the specifics of your career as a hair stylist, nail technician, or esthetician? Read our insider tips for choosing a cosmetology school.
I hope this helped you learn more about online cosmetology school and the growing number of educational choices out there in the field. Always do the research. You and your career deserve it.