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High School Diploma to Start Cosmetology School

Home > Ask the Guidance Counselor > Cosmetologist > Do I Need a High School Diploma to Start Cosmetology School?

Question:
Do you have to earn your high school diploma in order to become a cosmetologist? I'm a single mom who wasn't able to finish high school, but I love working with hair and makeup. Is it possible for me to jump right into beauty school?

Answer:
Yes! Jump right in, the water's warm. Many students who know they have a connection to hair and makeup don't want to wait until they have finished high school to begin pursuing their dreams. Cosmetology schools are aware of this and certainly don't want to ignore passionate students just because they are young. In states like California and Illinois, it's only necessary that you are 16 years of age or have finished the tenth grade when you apply to cosmetology school. Equivalency tests will ensure that you are capable of completing the coursework.
Students with their GED are also welcome in cosmetology school. What's most important to your instructors in beauty school is that you want to learn the art, not that you passed every test in high school. Trade schools work differently than mainstream high schools; they prepare you for a specific career. Your interest in building your skills and preparing yourself to be the best hairdresser, esthetician, makeup artist or all around cosmetologist you can be will determine your success in cosmetology school, not those old report cards from high school.

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