4-6-16 COSWhat is Cosmetology?
The Cosmetology program at CPAVTS gives students a great head start to a lucrative career. Our curriculum is rigid; however, by the time the student leaves, they will have skills desirable to employers in the Cosmetology industry. Students in the program learn all aspects of haircare, skin care, and nail care, and not only do they practice on mannequins but they practice on each other as well. Once the student earns 300 hours they are ready to apply skills to customers in the Cosmetology clinic.  Instruction also includes resume writing, interviewing, marketing and retailing so students are prepared to start the job search process. As a first year, students will focus on learning the basic foundations of what we do on the clinic floor. Second years learn advanced techniques that build upon what they learned their first year. Seniors prepare for the State Board Exam (a written exam on all information learned through the text book, which focused on hands-on skills, applying what students have learned on the classroom floor). This test must be passed in order to be a licensed Cosmetologist. Cosmetology does have a strict dress code, uniforms and a kit are purchased before the beginning of the year. Kits include all tools necessary to perform skills on the clinic floor, and provide most of the tools necessary to start in the industry. More importantly, the State Board of Cosmetology requires all potential applicants to finish 1250 hours of training. Once a student has completed their hours they will apply to take their state board exam to be licensed to practice in the state of PA. For registration information, click here.
Level 3 Students, please note: 

The Pennsylvania BOARD OF COSMETOLOGY requires all candidates (for Cosmetologist, Esthetician, Nail Technician, Natural Hair Braider, Cosmetology Teacher, Esthetics Teacher, Nail Technology Teacher and Natural Hair Braiding Teacher) to submit an official Criminal History Record Information check with their applications for licensure examinations, reactivation, and reciprocity beginning September 1, 2016.

Applicants will need to supply an official Criminal History Record Information check from the State Police or other state agency for every state in which the candidate has resided during the past five years. The reports must be dated within six (6) months of the date of the application.

For more information on the opportunities available through this program, please refer to the "College Credits" and "Industry Certifications" links to the left. Watch this video to find out what a CPAVTS education means for you! 

Program Objectives 

  1. Complete NOCTI Competencies 
  2. Obtain Industry Certifications (Beginners' First Aid, Brazillian Blowout, Airbrush Makeup, Hair Extensions)
  3. Industry Visit/CosmoProf Hair Show (Levels 1 & 2)
  4. Industry Visit/IBS New York (Level 3)
  5. Post-Secondary Visit (Empire Beauty School, Level 2)
  6. Complete Job Shadow (Level 3)
  7. Pass State Board Exam                                                                                                                                                                           

Level 1 

Certification: Beginners' First Aid

  • Professional Development: Body and Mind, Communication, and Human Relations
  • Salon Ecology: Microbiology, Infection Control, and First Aid
  • Anatomy and Physiology: Building Blocks of the Human Body and Basic Body Systems                                          
  • Hair Services: Hair Theory, Hair Care, and Scalp Massage
  • Design Decisions: Design Considerations, Client Consultation, and Design Composition
  • Hairstyling: Hairstyling Theory, Thermal Styling, West Styling, Long Hair Styling
  • Hair Coloring: Color Theory, Identifying Existing Hair Color, and Changing Existing Hair Color
  • Study of Skin: Skin Theory, Skin Care, Hair Removal, and Makeup


  • 100s: Perform Shampoo, Scalp Treatment, and Recondition Treatment Consults and Procedures
  • 200s: Perform Hairstyle Consults and Styles
  • 300s: Perform Perm Procedures
  • 400s: Perform Hair Color Consults and Procedures
  • 500s: Perform Haircut Consults and Procedures
  • 600s: Perform Manicure Consults and Procedures
  • 700s: Perform Facial/Makeup Consults and Procedures

Level 2

Certifications: Brazillian Blowout, Hair Extension, Airbrush Makeup

  • Professional Relationships
  • Interviewing
  • Salon Ownership
  • Salon Retailing
  • Haircutting
  • Permanent Waving
  • Makeup
  • Nail Structure and Growth
  • Manicuring/Pedicuring
  • Color Theory


  • 200s: Perform Hairstyle Consults and Styles
  • 300s: Perform Perm Procedures
  • 500s: Perform Haircut Consults and Procedures
  • 600s: Perform Manicure Consults and Procedures

Level 3 

Certifications: Cosmetology License

  • Wiggery
  • Hair Extensions
  • Chemical Hair Texture Services
  • Electricity
  • Chemistry
  • History of Cosmetology
  • Portfolio
  • Mock Interview
  • Job Shadowing 


  • 200s: Perform Hairstyle Consults and Services
  • 400s: Perform Hair Color Consults and Procedures
  • 700s: Perform Facial/Makeup Consults and Procedures
  • 800s: Professional Skill Building

OPTION: Cooperative Education



Is it for You?


Successful cosmetologists like meeting and interacting with people on a daily basis, and they also enjoy being creative. Those who prefer to see the physical results of their work will likely enjoy this field as well. However, most careers exist in a high-paced, highly-competitive atmosphere. Most cosmetologists work an 8-10 hour day, 40+ hours a week that includes weekend and evening work, and overtime work may be mandatory during peak periods and holiday seasons. Cosmetologists' work can be physically demanding because they must be on their feet for hours at a time and work with their hands at shoulder level. Continued education is expected at all salon levels. To truly succeed in this field, professionals must possess the following skills:
  • Good physical stamina
  • Good eye and hand coordination.
  • Good eyesight, including color vision.
  • The ability to get along with others.
  • A neat appearance and pleasant personality.
  • Good communication/people skills
  • Self-learner



What's Next?


Post-Secondary Studies

*Many employment options in this field require additional study.

Empire Beauty School: Cosmetology, Cosmetology Educator, Esthetics

Divine Crown Academy: Cosmetology Teacher, Esthetics and Skin Care, Nail Technology, Cosmetology and Hairstyling

DeRielle Cosmetology: Cosmetology, Nail Technology, Esthetics, Cosmetology Teacher

Shears Cosmetology School: Cosmetology, Nail Technician, Esthetician, Cosmetology Teacher

Potential Career Pathways

* Salaries listed are PA state averages taken from www.onetonline.com and are accurate as of 2020.


Hairdressers, Hairstylists, & Cosmetologists ($27,290)

Nail Technicians ($25,770)

Skincare Specialists/Esthetician ($34,090)

Makeup Artists (Theatrical & Performance) ($45,350)

Cosmetology Instructor ($48,880)

Spa Manager ($110,630)

...and many more