Cosmetology Schools in Texas
If you’re hoping to become a beauty industry professional, Texas is an excellent state in which to earn a beauty license and begin a cosmetology career. Not only does Texas have the sixth-highest rate of cosmetology jobs growth in the U.S., but as of 2020, it was ranked the second most beauty-conscious state in the country.
If starting a beauty career in Texas interests you, read on to learn why cosmetology may be a great career, how to get your license, and the types of cosmetology programs available. We’ll also dig into school accreditation, what licensure entails, and the career forecast for cosmetologists in Texas.
Why Cosmetology for Your Career?
Cosmetology is more than “just beauty.” It’s about making people look and feel their best.
The good news is that people always need cosmetologists—all it takes is one attempt at cutting your own bangs to learn to leave that to the professionals! Because of this, cosmetology is a fairly recession-proof career. No matter what’s going on in the economy, there’s still a high demand for professionals who can care for people’s hair and skin needs.
Cosmetologists can perform a wide variety of services such as haircuts, makeup application, and manicures. However, cosmetologists cannot perform certain specialized services without additional licensure, such as performing shaves with straight razors, which requires barber training, or in-depth skin treatments, which fall to estheticians.
Working in the beauty field can also open the door to much more than you may realize. People who work with beauty products may decide to develop their own and run a successful business. Some cosmetologists become influencers, while others end up on theatre and film sets, creating looks for fantastical characters. Many others take the road less traveled to thrive in unusual beauty jobs that allow them to combine their passion for the beauty industry with other life goals and interests.
Inspirational Texas Cosmetologists
Ready for some beauty career inspiration? Check out these fabulous Instagram accounts to see how cosmetologists in Texas are using their training and skills to create amazing looks!
Ayesha is a balayage master with gorgeous IG images of her creations.
Olivia focuses on highlights and low maintenance color for women ages 35-60.
This talented beauty professional is a wig creator and sew-in specialist based in Dallas.
Getting Your Cosmetology License in Texas: FAQs
When planning for a cosmetology career, it’s natural to have questions about the field. Here are answers to a few commonly asked questions from aspiring Texas cosmetologists.
What Are Cosmetologists Called in Texas?
In Texas, cosmetologists are called “operators” or “cosmetology operators.”
What Does a Cosmetologist Do?
Cosmetologists are allowed to provide different services in different states. In Texas, those with operator licenses may perform hair, skin, and nail treatments like:
- Basic facials
- Safety razor shaves
Cosmetologists must also have excellent people and communication skills, as they work with members of the public day in and day out.
How Much Does Cosmetology School Cost?
Complete cosmetology programs cost an average of about $6,500 to $10,000 nationwide. A major determinant of the cost of cosmetology school is your state’s required training hours to qualify for licensure. In addition, the more expensive and urban your area, the more expensive your schooling is likely to be.
In Texas, you can drastically cut costs by attending a cosmetology program while still in high school. In general, vocational programs completed as part of a typical high school experience are considered courses just like English or math, so the classes themselves shouldn’t cost. However, you may have to pay for supplies.
For adults beyond high school age, community college-based cosmetology programs may be the most cost-effective programs, though there are different types of educational institutions offering cosmetology programs, with their pros and cons (more in the next section).
How Long Are Texas Cosmetology Programs?
Cosmetology programs in Texas take 1,000 credit hours. However, the amount of time cosmetology training takes depends on your specific needs and the program you attend.
Pursuing a cosmetology license alone or as part of an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) program at community college, and attending as part of a high school curriculum, part-time, or full-time all affect how long cosmetology school takes to complete.
Community College Cosmetology Programs
Several community colleges throughout Texas offer cosmetology operator programs; these are typically offered as part of an associate (A.A.S.) degree. Associate degree programs require that you fulfill some general education requirements outside of cosmetology, such as English or math. Such programs typically take 18 to 24 months if attending full time. Part-time study could take longer, but schools may have time limits on obtaining your degree.
Cosmetology Programs at Independent Schools
Cosmetology certificate programs without A.A.S. components take less time, as your study focuses strictly on cosmetology, though many programs also include coursework in closely related subjects such as hygiene, state law pertaining to the beauty industry, or business communications.
In general, students can complete a Texas cosmetology program in approximately one year. These programs are technically full-time, but they don’t typically expect you to be on campus for more than 30 hours per week.
Some cosmetology schools have accelerated programs during which it may be hard to hold a job, as you need to spend so much time on campus—more than 30 hours per week. Students can often complete these programs in seven to nine months. If this is the route you want to take, it’s wise to have money saved to live off during your program.
High School Cosmetology Programs
High school cosmetology students must complete 1,000 hours of training, just like their postsecondary counterparts. How long this takes in semesters or years depends on where you study and how many other classes you need to take.
You might be able to begin your cosmetology program in high school and complete it at an accredited private or public cosmetology school after graduation, but it depends on the beauty school.
What Are the Best Cosmetology Schools in Texas?
Many excellent cosmetology schools exist in Texas, but “best” and “best for you” are different. When deciding which cosmetology program to attend, it’s important to consider many factors, including:
- Ability to learn in your native language (if applicable—not all languages are available)
- Cost and financial aid availability
- Distance from home
- Post-graduation job placement assistance and rate
- School reputation and student reviews
- Whether you can maintain employment while attending
Below are three Texas cosmetology schools with great reputations. This is far from a comprehensive list—as of 2022, there are approximately 90 Texas community college cosmetology programs, 280 independent beauty schools offering cosmetology programs, and several hundred Texas high schools offering state-approved cosmetology programs in Texas!
Also, check out our list of Cosmetology Programs in Texas further down the page to find a program that fits your needs.
Editor’s Featured Texas Cosmetology Programs
ABC Beauty Academy (Richardson, Texas)
- Google Review Rating: 4 stars
- Cosmetology Program Cost: $9,967 without aid (using their net price calculator)
You can train to be a cosmetology operator, esthetician, manicurist, or instructor at ABC Beauty Academy. They’re proud to offer full- and part-time programs, with the cosmetology curriculum taking 25-50 weeks accordingly.
Texarkana College (Texarkana, Texas)
- Google Review Rating: 4 stars (for the school as a whole)
- Cosmetology Program Cost: $7,086 for in-county students
The cosmetology program at Texarkana College offers both associate degrees and certificates on a full-time and part-time basis, and students can take classes during the day or night. The school only offers classes in the spring and fall, with enrollment occurring both semesters. Cosmetology and cosmetology instructor programs are available.
The Salon Professional Academy Georgetown (Georgetown, Texas)
- Google Review Rating: 4.8 stars
- Cosmetology Program Cost: $15,000
With locations across the country, The Salon Professional Academy is a big brand cosmetology school with a solid reputation. The Georgetown location offers a 31-week, full-time cosmetology program for aspiring beauty industry professionals.
Types of Texas Cosmetology Schools
Aspiring cosmetologists can choose from several types of beauty schools in Texas. In addition to the high school vocational programs already mentioned, private cosmetology schools, community college programs, and big brand cosmetology institutions all offer the training you need to become a cosmetology operator.
Small Independent Cosmetology Schools
Small independent cosmetology schools are generally run by individuals or small groups of owners. They may have chains, but the chains aren’t large. More often, these are individual institutions.
Small, private programs may not have the name recognition of big brand programs, but this doesn’t mean they don’t have excellent reputations. As the owners may be established community members, particularly if they opened their school in a small town, you could benefit from those connections if you plan to stay in the general area of the school after graduation.
Small private cosmetology schools in Texas typically have lower enrollment and costs than big brand schools, but they may be more limited in their programs. For instance, if you want to simultaneously take a barber and cosmetology program, you may need to look at a larger institution. DuVall’s School of Cosmetology and the Total Transformation Institute of Cosmetology are examples of smaller private Texas cosmetology schools.
Community College Cosmetology Programs
Community colleges frequently offer A.A.S. degrees for cosmetology operators. Unlike Associate of Science or Arts (A.S. or A.A.) degrees, which prepare students for continuing education, A.A.S. degrees enable you to enter the workforce immediately.
As they require general education credits in addition to cosmetology hours, some credits may transfer to four-year programs. This could be a good option if you believe you may want to eventually become a nurse esthetician, business owner, or have other aspirations that require a bachelor’s degree, as you could get some time working in the field while you decide if it’s right for you. If you realize cosmetology isn’t a good fit, you have general education credits under your belt so you can return to school with some classes out of the way to pursue a new career.
On the other hand, if working as a cosmetologist makes you even more sure of your future as a beauty professional, you can return to school for another degree to advance in your career and already have credits completed. This could save you money in the long run, as community college courses are typically less expensive than four-year college courses. El Paso Community College and Houston Community College both offer cosmetology programs.
Big-Brand Cosmetology Schools
Brand name cosmetology schools have names you likely recognize, such as Aveda Arts & Sciences Institutes and Paul Mitchell. It can be tempting to jump toward those with name recognition, but there are pros and cons to consider:
- These schools often have more instructors than small, private schools, which means they likely have larger total student enrollment.
- Big brand cosmetology programs may have fewer opportunities for personalized attention, but they could have more professional connections within the community.
- Such programs are often (but not always) more expensive than smaller cosmetology schools. However, they may provide you with more supplies than smaller schools.
Financial Aid for Cosmetology Students
Though cosmetology school is generally less expensive than traditional degree programs, some students may want and need financial aid. Depending on the school you attend and your financial need, you could be eligible for federal or state aid, like subsidized and unsubsidized loans.
Cosmetology students can also consider grants and scholarships. The below options may be able to help you pay for cosmetology programs in Texas.
Grants and Scholarships for Cosmetology Students in Texas
Most scholarships come directly from cosmetology schools, so check with your school to see if they offer scholarship money. You may also be able to find some scholarships available at the national level, like those listed on the American Association of Cosmetology Schools (AACS) website.
As for Texas, there are a few options for students attending vocational, technical, or career preparation programs.
Career and Salary Outlook for Texas Cosmetology Graduates
Texas has the highest employment level for hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists in the country. This is particularly true in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington and Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land areas.
As of 2020, the mean salary for cosmetologists in Texas was $26,400 per year ($12.69 per hour). The highest-paid members of the beauty industry in the state were makeup artists for theatre and film (with average salaries of nearly $70,000 per year), but those jobs are often scarcer.
Texas’s number of cosmetology jobs is expected to grow by 15% between 2018 and 2028, much faster than average for all occupations. Though this is smaller than the projected employment growth for cosmetologists throughout the U.S. (19%), Texas alone makes up 10% of the nation’s annual expected job openings!
Texas cosmetology wages ranged from approximately $17,130 to $42,330 in 2020, compared to $18,840 to $53,410 nationwide. When looking at these amounts, it’s essential to remember that the U.S. figures encompass every state and city, many of which have higher costs of living than much of Texas—which often translates to higher wages.
Some median cosmetologist salaries in several metropolitan areas in Texas are:
|Area||2020 Median Salary|
|Austin-Round Rock, TX||$30,970|
|College Station-Bryan, TX||$25,910|
|Corpus Christi, TX||$24,530|
|San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX||$24,220|
Table information sourced from O*Net (2022).
As of spring 2022, the major job board Indeed listed more than 1,350 available cosmetologist jobs in Texas, with annual salaries advertised up to $172,927. Many positions list potential hourly wages as around $45, which is significantly higher than BLS data indicates.
Texas Cosmetology License Requirements
The Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation (TDLR) requires 1,000 hours of training to become a cosmetology operator. The state required 1,500 hours of training until 2020, so if it’s been a couple of years since you looked into getting your Texas cosmetology license and put it off because you didn’t have the time to devote to a program, now may be the time.
If you have another type of beauty certificate, you may be able to apply some of the hours from that program to your required 1,000. For instance, if you already have a Class A Barber Certificate, you only need to undergo 300 hours of cosmetology training (often called a crossover program) to get the additional license.
Your 1,000 hours of training must break down as follows:
- Hair Care: 800 hours
- Nail Care: 100 hours
- Skin Care: 100 hours
After finishing your cosmetology program training, you have to take two exams in preparation for licensure. One is a written test, while the other is practical. You can’t take the practical exam until after you’ve passed the written one and completed your entire program.
For both tests, you must bring a government-issued ID that 100% matches the information TDLR has on file. If you change your name or move before taking your test, you need to let TDLR know in writing well before the test.
Both exams have banned the following items and behaviors:
- Assisting or being assisted on the exam
- Bulky or overly loose clothing
- Disruptive behavior
- Electronic devices
- Nearly all personal items
- Non-religious headwear
- Reading questions aloud
- Reference materials
You won’t have a place to store items while taking a test, so bring as little as possible. If someone comes with you, they can’t stay in the building while you take the test.
Texas Cosmetology Written Exam
Once you have completed 90% of your credit hours (900 out of 1,000), you’re eligible to apply to take the written portion of your test. Then, TDLR reviews your application, and a third party, PSI, contacts you with scheduling information.
The written test comprises 100 scored questions and 10 non-scored questions taking 130 minutes. You need to score a minimum of 70% to pass. Questions break down as follows:
- Licensing and Regulation: 20 questions
- Infection Control: 28 questions
- Hair and Scalp Care: 40 questions
- Nail Care: 6 questions
- Skin Care: 6 questions
You may be permitted to take your exam from home, but most people take the test on-site at one of the following locations:
- Corpus Christi
- El Paso
- Fort Worth
- San Antonio
If you’re taking the exam remotely (i.e., from your computer), you must follow extremely strict expectations. These include, but aren’t limited to:
- Staying in view of the camera 100% of the time
- Not changing devices or locations
- Not fidgeting or taking hands off your desktop
- Keeping your hands away from your face
- Not looking away from the screen
- Covering your mouth
- Taking a break
For the fiscal year of 2021, only 46.17% of those who took the written operator exam in Texas passed, so it’s essential to take time to study outside of your regular class hours.
Texas Cosmetology Practical Exam
You must complete all 1,000 hours of your cosmetology training before applying to take the practical exam. Like the written exam, you schedule your day, time, and location ahead of time. This test is not available remotely.
Students can take practical exams in these locations:
- DFW Metroplex
- El Paso
- Greater Houston area
- San Antonio
The exam center supplies only brooms and dustpans, trash cans, a wall clock, and workstations. You must bring everything else with you, including trash bags. The exam application lists the 50+ items you must bring and includes which ones can and can’t be labeled. All labels need to be in English.
If you’ve applied for a temporary license, which you can do after being eligible for the written test but before taking it, you may begin practicing the day you pass your practical exam. Your temporary license will work for the following 21 days while you await your permanent license.
In 2021, 88.89% of students passed the practical exam in Texas. Because students can’t take the practical exam until after they’ve passed the written exam, it’s important to set aside study and practice time before taking either test.
Cosmetology License Exam Accommodations and Modifications
You may have read through some of the exam requirements and worried about your individual situation and how it’ll impact your ability to take the test. Perhaps you need an electronic device to assist with hearing, or maybe you can’t help but make unexpected noises due to a tic.
Fortunately, by law, TDLR accepts and reviews accommodation requests, and all sites are ADA compliant. You may request accommodation online or in writing. The default accommodations on the exam application are:
- Additional testing time
- Large-print test
- Out-of-state testing request
- Translated exam
You may be able to receive other accommodations or modifications. No matter what assistance you require, a medical professional or learning authority needs to send a letter on their letterhead. It must include:
- Your disability and its relevant limitations
- Accommodations or modifications you need
- Contact information
- Original signature
There’s no guarantee that the agency will grant all accommodation or modification requests. Still, it’s important to alert your medical or learning professional well in advance so they can prepare the letter and contact TDLR as soon as possible. Doing so may allow for extra time to negotiate any issues.
Accreditation and State Approval for Cosmetology Schools
Cosmetology schools, called “private beauty culture schools” under TDLR licensure rules, must be accredited in Texas. A few licensure requirements include:
- A permanent building split into an area for theory and a place for practical work
- 2,800+ square feet of space if in a county with 100,000+ residents, or 1,800 sq. ft. if in a county of fewer than 100,000 people
- Adequate restrooms and water access
- Equipment for a minimum of 10 students
- Passing regular inspections
- Applicant (owner) is capable of fulfilling all requirements for education and funding
Texas has over 670 accredited cosmetology schools, including high schools, private programs, and junior colleges. If you want further assurance, the American Association of Cosmetology Schools lists 48 AACS member schools on their site.
When you look at a cosmetology program, it’s essential to physically enter the building and talk to the staff, observe the students, and get a gut feeling for if this place is right for you—in addition to making sure it’s accredited and meets your practical needs.
Browse All Cosmetology Schools in Texas
For School Owners
Don't see your school listed? Want to discuss becoming a featured school in the directory? Contact us to learn more.
7001 I-40 West
Amarillo, TX 79106
2422 Airline Road
Corpus Christi, TX 78414
Houston, TX 77036
UCAS University of Cosmetology Arts & Sciences – Accredited
San Antonio, TX 78201
UCAS University of Cosmetology Arts & Sciences – Accredited
Harlingen, TX 78550
UCAS University of Cosmetology Arts & Sciences – Accredited
San Antonio, TX 78214
You must attend a school that is approved by your state to provide training in the discipline you want to practice. Check with the school and the state board to be sure that your program of study will prepare you for any applicable state licensure.
Find Cosmetology Schools Near Me
- Abilene / Sweetwater
- Beaumont / Port Arthur
- Corpus Christi
- El Paso / Las Cruces
- Harlingen / Weslaco / Brownsville / McAllen
- Odessa / Midland
- San Angelo
- San Antonio
- Sherman, TX / Ada
- Tyler / Longview / Lufkin / Nacogdoches
- Waco / Temple / Bryan
- Wichita Falls / Lawton, OK
Additional Texas Cosmetologist Education and Career Resources
Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation (TDLR)
This is the state licensing agency for cosmetologists in Texas. The website provides information on licensing requirements, renewals, continuing education, and more.
Milady Standard Cosmetology
TDLR recommends this book (the most recent edition) as a study guide for students getting ready to take the Texas cosmetology licensure exams.
Glam and Beyond
This YouTube channel provides information and resources for beauty industry students in Texas, including step-by-step videos on the practical exam.
Texas Cosmetology State Board Exam Kit
Aspiring cosmetologists can purchase this complete state board exam kit for the Texas cosmetology operator practical exam. All supplies are in compliance with TDLR and PSI Exams
College for All Texans
This site provides information about attending postsecondary school throughout the state
How to Become a Cosmetologist in Your State
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia