Welcome to the Ultimate Guide to Iowa Cosmetology Schools!
Cosmetology Schools in Iowa & Getting Your Iowa Cosmetology License

Iowa Cosmetology Schools

Do you enjoy the finer points of a french braid? Would the newest hairstyles genuinely interest you as a topic of conversation? Have you loved beautifying both yourself and your friends’ hair, skin, and nails? Are you up to date on the latest chemical peels and skin care products? If you answered yes to even one of these questions, that is a strong sign that beauty school is where you belong!

Overview: Top Beauty Colleges in IA

  • What is Cosmetology?
  • How to Find the Best Iowa Cosmetology Schools for You
  • The Iowa State Board of Cosmetology License Requirements
  • How Much Do Cosmetologists Make in Iowa?
  • Alternative Beauty School Licenses in Iowa
  • Editor’s Choice: Top Beauty Schools in Iowa
  • What You Must Do (You’ll Regret It If You Don’t)

Top Beauty Schools in IA

What Is Cosmetology?

First of all, skip this section if you’re already familiar with cosmetology and know that you just want to find the right school to attend. However, if you want to learn more about this beauty career, then here’s a quick summary!

As a cosmetology student, you learn a huge variety of techniques and skills. To summarize, cosmetology is the beautification and care of hair, skin, and nails.

However, this is an oversimplification. That’s because there are many different subsections of this specialty. Accordingly, accredited cosmetology training programs prepare students for a truly wide range of tasks.

The best beauty schools in Iowa will include these topics in their cosmetology programs:

  • Hairstyling, cutting, and coloring
  • Manicures, pedicures, and all Nail Technician Responsibilities
  • Makeup Artistry
  • Hair removal via electrolysis, sugaring, waxing, and intense pulsed light
  • Esthetics and skin care procedures (including light massage techniques)
  • Ethics & Business Skills
  • Which Beauty Topics to Use in Different Situations

Obviously, cosmetology is a very broad field of study. Therefore, it makes sense that a cosmetology license is the single beauty license that requires the most training hours. According to the Iowa State Board of Cosmetology, students must complete 2,100 training hours training hours before taking the cosmetology board exam. 

If you want a shorter beauty school program, check out “How to Choose the Right Beauty Specialty for You

How to Find the Best Cosmetology Schools in Iowa for You

In order to find the best beauty schools in Iowa for your situation, we suggest using the handy toolbar below. Campus Explorer is a free service that helps students find colleges and vocational schools. It is unique because it provides a no-strings-attached, personalized approach to searching for the right school.

Campus Explorer is a free service that helps all types of students find the schools which best match their higher education needs. Campus Explorer provides pricing transparency, scholarship information, college rankings as well as numerous other key details on over 8,500 US colleges, universities and trade schools. We help students personalize their searches and connect directly to schools online. Campus Explorer serves more than 30 million high school, college and adult students every year with college planning and college search. (From Campus Explorer’s Website)

We love Campus Explorer because:

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  • Finally, the real selling point: Campus Explorer provides you with insider tips on scholarship information. As a result, you have an advantage in funding your education.

The first step is to enter your information into the safe toolbar below. Next, expect to receive some extremely helpful tips and a personalized cosmetology schools in Iowa list delivered right to your inbox!

The Iowa Board of Cosmetology License Requirements
How to Get Your Iowa Cosmetology License

In order to become a licensed cosmetologist in Iowa, you must meet the requirements of the Iowa Board of Cosmetology Arts and Education.

Before we go any further, it’s essential to understand that, according to Iowa Cosmetology Law, you have to have a GED or high school diploma to become a cosmetologist. Additionally, you must fulfill the following five requirements.

Step One: Go to One of the Accredited Beauty Schools in Iowa

First, you’ll need to attend an accredited cosmetology school and complete 2,100 training hours. As discussed above, cosmetology programs include classes about a variety of topics.

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Step Two: Pass the Iowa NIC Exam

After you graduate, you must pass the Iowa State Board of Cosmetology Exam. Put simply, this is a two-part test. The first part is called the “practical exam” and involves your hands-on demonstration of the skills you acquired in beauty school. In Iowa, this portion takes about three hours. The second part is called the “theory exam” and involves multiple choice questions. In Iowa, you have 90 minutes to complete the written test.

In Iowa, the state board uses the National-Interstate Council cosmetology exam (NIC exam). This is a popular exam used by many states. In order to qualify for licensure, you need a score of at least 75%.

Step Three: Obtain Your Iowa Cosmetology License

In order to obtain your Iowa cosmetology license, you need to register for the NIC exam by applying online. This step includes a fee of $60. Before the Iowa Board of Cosmetology will consider your application, they must have two important documents from you.

  1. The first is proof, such as your transcripts, that you graduated from an accredited beauty school in Iowa.
  2. The second requirement is official verification that you scored 75% or higher on the NIC exam.
Step Four: Find a Cosmetology Job

Finally, the part you’ve worked so hard for! After all of your hard work and training, you’ll love being able to receive the respect and payment you deserve.

In order to discover work in Iowa’s Beauty Industry, it may help to join the Cosmetologists and Barbers of Iowa Professional Association. This is beneficial for networking with other cosmetologists in Iowa, and it can help you network. As always, networking boosts your chances of being hired! If you’re interested, then fill out this online application form.

Step Five: Renew Your Iowa Cosmetology License Every Two Years

The last step is renewing your license every two years. In Iowa, the deadline is March 31st. One helpful tidbit is that the Iowa State Board of Cosmetology will send you a reminder two months before your renewal is due.

In order to successfully renew your Iowa cosmetology license, you must:

  • Provide proof that you have completed eight hours of continuing education. At least four of these hours must fall under the “cosmetology” category. Another minimum requirement is at least two credit hours of cosmetology classes about safety and Iowa cosmetology law.
  • Pay a $60 fee.

Now, the Iowa cosmetology requirements are quite specific, and it is your responsibility to  make sure your continuing education classes meet the requirements. Otherwise, the board can reject your application. Obviously, this will cost you extra time and money, so it’s important to do everything you can to avoid this!

Because we want to see you succeed, we’ve created a free, downloadable PDF with a checklist of the Iowa Continuing Education Requirements.

Download Now

If you want to make this process as easy as possible, simply:

  • Login to your Iowa Cosmetology Board Account here
  • Under the “Go to My Licenses” Tab, click on the “Renew” button
  • Next, answer the renewal questions and submit
  • Finally, you must use a debit/credit card to pay the $60 at the this time

Alternatively, you can fill out and mail the 2019 Renewal Application to the board headquarters:

Iowa Department of Public Health
Professional Licensure
Attn: Renewal Department
Lucas State Office Building, 5th Floor
321 E. 12th St.
Des Moines, IA 50319-0075

Iowa Cosmetology License Endorsement (Transferral)

Are you interested in transferring your cosmetology license from another state? That’s great! In order to receive approval from the Iowa State Board of Cosmetology, you must provide them with certain documents. Also, you only qualify for endorsement if you have been an active cosmetologist for a minimum of 12 months out of the most recent two years.

These include:

  • The letter of verification from your initial licensing in your home state
  • Proof that you passed the national theory exam (and this must be notarized)

Cosmetology Jobs & Employment Outlook:
How Much Do Cosmetologists Make in Iowa?

First, let’s consider the national averages for cosmetologists in Iowa. In order to do so the most accurately, we’ll examine statistics from the US Board of Labor Statistics. As of May 2018, the average salary for cosmetologists in the United States was $30,190. For cosmetologists in the top 10% of their industry, the average salary was $50,110.

Next, let’s look at Iowa’s averages:

  • The mean average salary per year is $28,360. In other words, that’s $13.63 an hour.
  • In contrast, “superstars” in the 90th percentile have a mean average wage of $47,020 per year.

One thing to remember is that many beauty specialists do not report all of their tips. Notably, tips are a big part of most cosmetologists’ incomes. In other words, the averages may be higher than represented by “official” statistics.

Want to Make the Most Money As a Cosmetologist in Iowa? Do These Things

Take classes that prepare you to work in one of the top five highest paying industries. That is, look for a job in:

  • Performing Arts Companies
  • Health Practitioner Offices
  • Scientific, Professional, and Technical Services
  • Company and Enterprise Management
  • Death Care Services

Similar Beauty Licenses in Iowa
Consider One of These Iowa Cosmetology School Programs

Since cosmetology is a long program, some beauticians prefer to choose licenses with shorter programs. Another benefit of these alternative licenses is that they tend to cost less. (That is, with the exception of an Iowa barbering license, which also requires 2,100 training hours.)

For example, here are some shorter programs offered by beauty schools in Iowa:

  • Electrologist: 450 training hours
  • Esthetician: 600 training hours
  • Nail Technologist: 325 training hours
  • Massage Therapist: 500 training hours

As you can see, these programs are much shorter. However, they still empower you to find a fulfilling job in the beauty industry.

Editor’s Choice: List of Best Cosmetology Schools in Iowa

  1. First, the Aveda Cosmetology School in Des Moines is renowned for its success. One of the many benefits is the variety of programs: cosmetology, esthetics, and massage therapy. Another benefit is the availability of financial aid and scholarships. Visit www.avedainstitutedesmoines.com for more info!
  2. Another one of the best Iowa cosmetology schools is the Iowa School of Beauty. It has both a Sioux City location and a Ottumwa location. One reason we love this beauty school is the options. For example, you can choose from this array of accredited programs: cosmetology, esthetics, nail technology, and massage therapy. Also, the Iowa School of Beauty makes it easy to afford tuition by offering financial aid and scholarships. Visit https://iowaschoolofbeauty.com/ for more information.

Of course, these are just a few examples. In order to provide a personalized for you, don’t miss out on the custom-made information Campus Explorer has waiting for you! Why not take advantage of the free toolbar below?

Don’t Make This #1 Mistake
(You Have the Power to Make Your Dream a Reality!)
Don’t Put off Searching for Cosmetology Schools in Iowa Near You

All to often, we hear people complaining about their jobs. Often, they “settled” for whatever was easiest. Or, they pursued a career that they thought would make other people happy. But you are too important to make decisions based on pleasing others!

If you know in your heart that you’re ready to try working in the beauty industry in Iowa, don’t make the mistake of thinking things like “I’ll look into it later” or “I’ll work at my current job just a little longer.

How to Become a Cosmetologist in Iowa

In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “Do one thing every day that scares you.” So, we dare you to take that first step: start searching Iowa Cosmetology Schools near you!

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