How to Become a Cosmetologist in New York

How to Become a Cosmetologist in New York

Nowadays, young generations are highly influenced by beautiful and perfect-looking rich people and more and more interested in reaching that level of attractiveness and perfection.

For them, the physical appearance is perceived as a crucial characteristic and it is far more important than it used to be.

That is why numerous people become eager to help others reach the beauty standards and at the same time, earning for a living.

It is a relaxing career that they like doing and at the same time a fun and rewarding profession where they can put their creativity and skills into practice.

Popular Programs

Job Description

Cosmetologists include barbers, hairstylists, nail stylists, and skin care professionals who have to possess not only a talent for the job but a quality education as well.

Even though they are devoted to beauty and fashion trends and dream about presenting their work in magazines or fashion shows, the road to that stadium is not an easy one.

Originality and imagination, motivation and patience while fulfilling clients’ wishes are their main characteristics.

Cosmetologist’s job is to advise clients what would be ideal for them to do with their hairstyle or face, but not to force them to accept the advice.

A relation of trust is often built with the cosmetologist, so customers will rely on cosmetologist’s knowledge and skills and entrust him/her their appearance.

Cosmetology Programs in New York

Each US state has determined regulations related to the licensure of the future cosmetologists.

In New York, the educational process starts with the Cosmetology Division of Licensing Services, the organization which regulates the licensing standards for cosmetologists.

The New York Cosmetology Division of Licensing Service has Appearance Enhancement Law according to which cosmetology entails personal services focused on the hair, head, face, neck, and/or scalp with the usage of products such as powders, oils, clays, lotions, tonics, dyes, and chemicals.

To become a cosmetologist, you are required to finish 1000 hours of education and training in a Board-approved cosmetology school.

Some of the most popular and appreciated schools in New York are:

  • The Academy NYC of Cosmetology & Esthetics – New York
  • American Beauty School – New York
  • Arrojo Cosmetology School – New York
  • Aveda Institute – New York
  • Beauty School of Middletown – Middletown
  • Capri Cosmetology Learning Centers – Nanuet.

The curriculum includes classroom learning and training that prepares students for their future vocation, so they get acquainted with:

  • Safety and Health
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Hair Analysis
  • Hair and Scalp Disorders and Diseases
  • Chemistry as Applied to Cosmetology
  • Shampoos, Rinses, Conditioners, and Treatments
  • Hair Cutting and Shaping
  • Hair Styling
  • Chemical Restructuring
  • Hair Coloring and Lightening
  • Nail Care
  • Elements, Compounds, and Mixtures
  • FDA Laws


The people who are applying for the license for the first time need to provide the $40 application fee, they need to create an online account and submit an Application through the NYS License Center and make sure that the Affirmation of New York State Approved Schooling section is completed by the director of their school.

You are not allowed to schedule exams until your application is approved by the Board.

The exam is then scheduled through an online account.

While you are waiting to take the exam, you can have a six-month temporary license which allows you to work legally.

The application fee for a temporary license is $10.

It can be renewed only once, but after you have passed either the written or practical part of the exam.

Another way of getting the license is via Application for Licensure by Endorsement or Reciprocity.

This is for those people who already possess a license in another jurisdiction, and can apply for a reciprocal license in New York by submitting the original certification issued by your original licensing jurisdiction.

The Application for Licensure by Education and Experience is for those who have accrued five years of legal, licensed cosmetology work experience outside of New York.

They are allowed to apply for a license based on a combination of education and experience and, to get it, should provide:

  • Original certification from your original licensing agency
  • Two experience statements filled out by former employers, co-workers, or clients
  • Copy of tax returns showing cosmetology as your profession

Cosmetology Exams in New York

The way of getting the license involves the written and practical examinations.

The Written Exam can be scheduled through the online e-Licensing system which you can access through your account.

This exam will cover the things that you have learned during your cosmetology education and you are given two-and-a-half hours to answer the questions correctly.

It can be done at test centers in:

  • Albany
  • Binghamton
  • Buffalo
  • Franklin Square
  • Hauppauge
  • New York City
  • Newburgh
  • Rochester
  • Syracuse
  • Utica
  • Plattsburgh

The Practical Exam can also be scheduled through your online account and the fee is $15.

It lasts three-and-a-half hours and you need to bring your equipment, supplies, and model

You will be supposed to present your skills related to the following tasks:

  • Professional Appearance
  • Hair Cutting Techniques
  • BlowDrying Styling Techniques
  • Thermal Curling Iron Techniques
  • Chemical Services
  • Clean up of Work Area

The practical exam can be done in many cities throughout New York, such as:

  • Albany
  • Binghamton
  • Brooklyn
  • Cheektowaga
  • Fairport
  • Goshen
  • Manhattan
  • Oakdale
  • Olean
  • Plattsburgh
  • Sanborn
  • Syracuse
  • Watertown
  • Westbury
  • Yonkers

To get the license, you need to pass both parts with scores higher than 70%.

Keeping Your License Current 

The license does not last forever as you will need to renew it.

Your cosmetology license in New York expires at the end of each four-year licensing cycle.

The Board will send you information about it at your NYS License Center account email and a step-by-step application process for renewal.

The state of New York does not oblige cosmetologists to achieve continuing education for renewal.

Average Annual Cosmetologist Salary and Job Prospects in New York

If you are already licensed, you will be in search of the satisfying job that suits you best.

You can look for a job in one of New York’s top salons, like:

  • Edris Salon
  • John Barrett Salon
  • Marie Robinson Salon
  • Mirror the Hair Salon at Carol’s Daughter
  • Oscar Blandi
  • Rita Hazan

Besides the chance of working with the world’s best stylists, you will get the opportunity to open a salon of your own.

How big your salary would depend on many factors, and, surely, you will earn more if you are self-employed.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Albany,NY $26,677
Binghamton,NY $25,150
Brentwood,NY $28,201
Bronx,NY $31,575
Brooklyn,NY $31,575
Buffalo,NY $24,956
Clay,NY $25,834
Hempstead,NY $28,220
Henrietta,NY $25,894
Huntington,NY $29,764
Jamestown,NY $24,584
Levittown,NY $28,220
Mount Vernon,NY $30,066
Nassau,NY $28,220
New Rochelle,NY $29,813
New York,NY $31,575
Niagara Falls,NY $24,903
Poughkeepsie,NY $28,105
Queens Village,NY $31,054
Rochester,NY $25,894
Schenectady,NY $26,417
Staten Island,NY $29,279
Syracuse,NY $25,834
Troy,NY $26,523
Utica,NY $24,989
White Plains,NY $30,073
Yonkers,NY $30,079

Regional Salary in New York

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY690$44,950$21.61$68,160$28,970
Binghamton, NY170$38,810$18.66$57,760$27,460
Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY1,160$39,040$18.77$58,860$27,620
Ithaca, NY40$44,660$21.47$72,910$28,100
Kingston, NY170$38,520$18.52$61,630$28,250
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA25,180$43,370$20.85$60,930$28,350
Rochester, NY810$40,400$19.42$58,740$27,460
Syracuse, NY380$42,200$20.29$59,910$28,140
Utica-Rome, NY70$37,930$18.23$57,760$27,460
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists, OCC Code 39-5012, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

USA Cosmetology by State

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