Do Cosmetology Schools Require a Diploma or GED?

Each state sets the requirements for eligibility to enroll and complete a cosmetology program. Virtually all cosmetology schools require that incoming students have a high school diploma or its equivalent, the general educational development (GED) certificate. You must be a certain age to apply for a cosmetology program, and the age varies for every state. In New York, you have to be at least 17 years old. In Washington, you must be at least 16 years old. 

Cosmetology school doesn’t require students to study general education courses. However, most states require students to obtain at least a GED to qualify for enrollment, as well as successfully complete the program before they can make a living as a cosmetologist

GED for Beauty School

In most states and beauty schools, a high school diploma or its equivalent is required to gain admission. The GED tests students in the following subjects:

  • Reasoning through language arts (reading and writing)
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social Studies

For example, in Washington State students as young as 16 years old can take the GED. However, anyone younger than 19 must submit an “approval to test” form that is completed and submitted by a Washington State high school. 

Each test is $30. The official term is General Educational Development tests, but over time, common usage has made GED stand for General Equivalency Degree or General Equivalency Diploma. No matter what it is called, people who did not receive a high school diploma can take the five simple tests and receive the GED certificate that allows them to gain admission to beauty school under the equivalency requirement.

Gaining Entrance to a Beauty School Without a GED

in class applying makeup

Pixel-Shot- stock.adobe.com

Some schools are willing to make an exception to qualifying students and to enroll students without a GED on a provisional basis, so long as the student is working towards completion of their GED. Of course, with these schools, not completing the GED for beauty school means no diploma from beauty school either, so students need to make sure they are committed to achieving these twin educational goals.

Check with the admissions and financial aid office if you must obtain your GED before applying for financial aid. 

GED for Beauty School and a Beautician’s License

As a general recommendation, the high school diploma or GED is preferred. If you are ready to start making plans to explore your cosmetology options and obtain your GED, consult your high school advisor if you are under 19 years of age. Research your state’s GED testing and transcripts locations, costs, and test preparatory material. Are you interested in attending beauty school? Contact us to find out more about our admissions requirements!

Evergreen offers financial aid to those that qualify.

Update: Ability to Benefit tests used to be available for students and are no longer available for nationally accredited schools like Evergreen.

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jovanda dobson
jovanda dobson
9 years ago

So what’s the schools name where do I find the school that let go to school for hair in also go for there ged

Dawn M Trigg
Dawn M Trigg
2 years ago
Reply to  Joe

Can you take this on line

Brooklyn
Brooklyn
8 years ago

Could I attend Cosmetology classes while i’m still attending GED classes?

Frank - Beauty College Ambassador
Admin
Frank - Beauty College Ambassador
3 years ago
Reply to  Brooklyn

I really depends on the school. Many schools will require that you have prior to entering, but there are schools that have a little more flexibility. I would call and check with the schools in your area.

Frank meraz jr
Frank meraz jr
3 years ago

I don’t have high school diploma or ged can anyone help me find a school for barbare school

Frank - Beauty College Ambassador
Admin
Frank - Beauty College Ambassador
3 years ago
Reply to  Frank meraz jr

Frank, have you just started to google barber schools? There are some great ones out there.

Tessy
Tessy
3 years ago

Am from south Africa and i don’t have a GED and thinking of stuying in the U.S but i have not find any school that can accept me because i don’t have a GED
Do you know of any beauty school that accept students with of a GED?

Tessy
Tessy
3 years ago

Am from south Africa but i dont have a GED and thinking of studying in the U.S
Do u think i can get a school that can accept me?

Frank - Beauty College Ambassador
Admin
Frank - Beauty College Ambassador
3 years ago
Reply to  Tessy

You would need to apply for a student visa to be able to study in the USA.

Monica
Monica
2 years ago

I graduated from Mexico then came to America. After a few years I lost my diploma when I was moving. Can I still attend to beauty school without it?

Frank - Beauty College Ambassador
Admin
Frank - Beauty College Ambassador
2 years ago
Reply to  Monica

Depending on the school and state, you may be able to. You will want to check with the school that you are considering.

Hayat
Hayat
2 years ago

I do not have a high school diploma and I want to enter a camel school. What do I do in this case? Are there schools that accept you to teach me without a high school diploma ?? If someone knows his school, he accepts without a certificate, and he tells me her name please

Monet
Monet
2 years ago

If i am in highschool and 16 in the summer can i go to nail school

Frank - Beauty College Ambassador
Admin
Frank - Beauty College Ambassador
2 years ago
Reply to  Monet

Monet, if you are referring to Washington State, then the requirement is that you must be 17 by the time you apply for licensure. Going to school will depend on the school you are applying to and their admission requirements.

Cat2007
Cat2007
2 years ago

Hello I’m very interested in learning how to do makeup also I was wondering I live in California do they have any schools near me R are they just online classes

Melia pinter
Melia pinter
2 years ago

What are some schools in Arizona that will accept me in while I’m doing the ged test because I am almost done with the test’s I was hoping for chandler area if not I can go thru the schools and just see which locations are around me ! Please and ThankYou !

Frank - Beauty College Ambassador
Admin
Frank - Beauty College Ambassador
2 years ago
Reply to  Melia pinter

Melia, if you are looking at Chandler, I have heard of a great school called The Studio Academy (thestudioacademyofbeauty.com/locations/chandler-campus/)

Frank - Beauty College Ambassador
Admin
Frank - Beauty College Ambassador
2 years ago
Reply to  Melia pinter

Melia, if you are looking at Chandler, I have heard of a really good school called The Studio Academy (thestudioacademyofbeauty.com/locations/chandler-campus/)

Chris Pederson
Chris Pederson
2 years ago

I didn’t know that some beauty schools will enroll people without GEDs. My daughter has gone through a lot and wasn’t able to get hers. I’ll talk to her about getting a career in beauty school so she can make more money than working at where she currently is.
hawaiimassageacademy.net/

Joe
Joe
2 years ago

Where is this School located

Frank - Beauty College Ambassador
Admin
Frank - Beauty College Ambassador
2 years ago
Reply to  Joe

If you are referring to Evergreen Beauty College, we have five locations in Washington State. Just click on our website at evergreenbeauty.edu

Shirley m Inman
Shirley m Inman
2 years ago

Is there any beauty schools in Alabama that would except me with out a ged or high school diploma. I have done some research and it lead me here to this website. I want to go to school to be a eyelash technician in the state of Alabama u don’t have to have license but I can’t find a program to except me with out having any beauty school experience. I need some help here.

Ainsley
Ainsley
2 years ago

It’s just ridiculous the fact that you need a High School Diploma or GED to enter a Beauty School…unbelievable!

Frank - Beauty College Ambassador
Admin
Frank - Beauty College Ambassador
1 year ago
Reply to  Ainsley

Ainsley, it typically isn’t a state requirement to have a HSD or GED, but rather an accreditation requirement. There should be a number of optins for students to attend a non-accredited school. There are some really strong non-accredited programs in most markets as well.

Iris I. Lima
Iris I. Lima
1 year ago

Hi I am in my 40s; I want to attend to a cosmetology school, but I don’t have my high school diploma, so I want to know if I still need to get my GED to be able to attend cosmetology school??
I live in Soledad california do you guys have something near me??

Frank - Beauty College Ambassador
Admin
Frank - Beauty College Ambassador
1 year ago
Reply to  Iris I. Lima

Iris, unfortunately we are only located in Washington State. However, there are a number of great schools in California that can assist you. In terms of your HS Diploma or GED, most accredited schools will require that type of attainment, however not all schools do. The best thing to do is to reach out schools in your area and ask! Good luck … it is a phenomenal industry to be part of!

Heather Burns
Heather Burns
1 year ago

I would love to start school but I need to also take my GED so I can do cosmetology and I’m wondering can I do both and receive financial aid

Frank - Beauty College Ambassador
Admin
Frank - Beauty College Ambassador
1 year ago
Reply to  Heather Burns

Heather, typically a qualification of receiving Federal Financial Aid, you would need to have completed your secondary degree (HS or GED). I would definitely secure your GED or HS Diploma to allow you more options.

anika fournier
anika fournier
1 year ago

Hi! so I didn’t graduate college and don’t have a GED and im 23, are you saying in order to get into a school for a esthetician license I have to get enrolled into GED classes first? or would some schools except without either?

Frank - Beauty College Ambassador
Admin
Frank - Beauty College Ambassador
1 year ago
Reply to  anika fournier

Anika, it really depends on the school. For most accredited schools, they will require a a HS Diploma, GED or equivalent. However, there are schools that don’t have the requirement. YOu may want to just call around.

Lucy
Lucy
1 year ago

I live in Michigan and are they saying I have to have my GED I’m 37 and I’ve always really had a passion for doing hair

Thomas Gooding
Thomas Gooding
1 year ago

I’m interested in becoming a barber

Frank - Beauty College Ambassador
Admin
Frank - Beauty College Ambassador
1 year ago
Reply to  Thomas Gooding

Thomas, are you located in Washington State?

Fernande Fernande Tiba
Fernande Fernande Tiba
1 year ago

Please can you help me to find a makeup school in carrolton? Who accept students without GED?

Damih
Damih
7 months ago

Hello is there any school here in USA that offers GED in French??

Raul
Raul
7 months ago

I’m already 28 yrs old how can I do this while doing GED courses

Frank - Beauty College Ambassador
Admin
Frank - Beauty College Ambassador
7 months ago
Reply to  Raul

It depends a number of factors including the state in which you reside in, the school and/or accrediting agency the school holds its certification.

Drea graham
Drea graham
24 days ago

Can they call and verify ged or diploma of I don’t have paper on hand?

Frank - Beauty College Ambassador
Admin
Frank - Beauty College Ambassador
21 days ago
Reply to  Drea graham

Drea, most, if not all, institutions will need it documented in some capacity, and typically in written form.

Jayona vegas
Jayona vegas
2 days ago

If I have a Federal Charge can I still be a Cosmetologist. If I droped out of High school can I still Be on too.