How to Open a Hair Teaching School

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A cosmetology school teaches students to style hair.
A cosmetology school teaches students to style hair. (Image: the hairstylist image by Frenk_Danielle Kaufmann from Fotolia.com)

The U.S. Department of Labor reports that barbers and hairstylists held 684,200 jobs in 2008 and this field is expected to grow by 20 percent over the course of the next 10 years. Following this trend, entrepreneurs who start schools to train students to style and cut hair will have many people who are passionate about the beauty industry enrolled in their classes to learn how to enter this growing field. All states require cosmetology schools have a permit to operate as a training facility and every instructor must be licensed.

Things You'll Need

  • Cosmetology school permit
  • Licensed cosmetology instructors

Get a state license and permit to operate a cosmetology school. Every state requirement is different and you should contact your local cosmetology board for instructions on how to complete the application process. For example, in Michigan a school must show they have licensed instructors who have a least three years of professional experience, provide a surety bond of $10,000, and have a curriculum that is in accordance with prelicensure training outlined by the state. Most states will also inspect the school premises before a license is granted.

Prepare a curriculum. Your primary goal is to provide students with sufficient skills to pass the state board exam. Your curriculum must be approved by the cosmetology board within your state. Ensure the curriculum includes the minimum number of training hours a student must have to fulfill requirements for their license. For example, in Michigan, cosmetology students must have at least 1,500 hours of course study.

Establish a tuition rate for students to attend your school. The price for cosmetology schools range from $3,000 to $10,000 depending on its size and location. Provide financial aid assistance and grant opportunities for students pursuing a cosmetology career.

Obtain Errors and Omissions insurance (E&O) to protect your business against lawsuits from customers and students.

Design a spacious classroom with hairstyling equipment and tools. Most states have guidelines for how a cosmetology classroom must be set up. For example, in Michigan, your application for a cosmetology school permit must include a diagram of your class structure. The state board will inspect the premises to ensure compliance. Purchase the necessary equipment and styling tools to give students a hands-on experience. Items such as synthetic hair for students to practice with, shampoo bowls, hair dryers, curlers, and styling stations should be included.

Hire instructors. Find hair stylists who have a cosmetology instructor's license to train your students. Ensure you have enough trainers to give each student adequate attention. Supervise your instructors to make sure they are teaching students in accordance with the curriculum.

Recruit students for your school. Go to local high schools to speak with students on career day about the benefits of entering the cosmetology industry. Hang posters on job boards at local universities and community colleges. Also, place an advertisement in the local newspaper announcing your school. Most states require that students are at least 17 years old and have completed at least the ninth grade before they can obtain a cosmetology license.

Find customers for students to practice on and style their hair for free. Even though students will have wigs to practice with, the best training is hands-on with real people. Place ads in the local newspapers announcing that your school will style hair free of charge. Make sure to inform customers that stylists are unlicensed students.

Tips & Warnings

  • Remember you are responsible for all activity within your school, and you should carefully supervise students while they are styling clients.

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