How to Start a Beauty School

by Nancy Wagner; Updated September 26, 2017

An interest in educating others on how to be a cosmetologist is just the beginning when it comes to opening your own beauty school. You also must plan for and meet the regulatory requirements mandated by the state in which you open the school.

Get Licensed

The process for obtaining a license depends on the state. For example, in Pennsylvania, along with your application you must also include a detailed plan that shows the school's layout, classroom locations, where equipment will be located and information about restrooms and offices, according to the Pennsylvania State Board of Cosmetology. In addition, the application must include a description of the school supervisor's background and experience as a certified cosmetology teacher. You also must show proof that you're applying for national accreditation or approval by the Pennsylvania Department of Education if you're opening a secondary vocational school.

Some states require proof that you have students enrolled before you are given a license, so you may end up spending money to find a location and get students before you even know if you'll get the license. For instance, the Massachusetts Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation says a beauty school must show proof that at least 25 students are enrolled before you receive the license.

Other states require you to apply for approval to teach specific types of classes. For instance, in Illinois, if you want to teach nail technology, you must fill out and submit a Licensed Cosmetology School Application For Approval To Teach Nail Technology.

Choose a Location

Before you sign the lease for space for your school, find out what's required. For example, in Pennsylvania, you need a minimum of 2,750 square feet of space of which 750 square feet is dedicated to classrooms, for a maximum enrollment of 25 students, according to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Code. Look for a location that has plenty of parking for both teachers and students.

Obtain Equipment

Outfit your school with shampoo basins and styling stations complete with mirrors and chairs. You also need storage for tools, products and linens. Bring in tables and chairs for manicures, as well as chairs for giving facials and applying makeup. Set up the classrooms with a chalkboard, chairs and desks or tables. Provide a locker for each student's personal cosmetology tools and belongings.

Find Teachers

Find qualified teachers at accredited cosmetology schools that offer instructor programs, such as Paul Mitchell The Schools teacher training programs. Qualifications for teachers to obtain their instructor's license vary by state. For instance, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs says that teachers must have at least three years of experience providing hair, skin or nail care, and at least 500 hours of instructor training before taking and passing a written exam.

About the Author

Nancy Wagner is a marketing strategist and speaker who started writing in 1998. She writes business plans for startups and established companies and teaches marketing and promotional tactics at local workshops. Wagner's business and marketing articles have appeared in "Home Business Journal," "Nation’s Business," "Emerging Business" and "The Mortgage Press," among others. She holds a B.S. from Eastern Illinois University.