Makeup Artist Schools in Pennsylvania

If you live in the Keystone State and you love makeup, you'll be happy to learn that there are a wide variety of makeup artist schools in Pennsylvania.

On this page, we'll go over each type of makeup school (and find which one is right for you), have a quick discussion about beauty careers and licenses, and then list all of the makeup schools available to people in Pennsylvania.

Find the Right Type of Training

If you're a person who wants to become a well-paid, full-time makeup artist--or if you just want to learn more about makeup--there are a couple of different types of schools where you can go to receive training. They include:

Full-Time Fashion Makeup Schools.

These are a tremendous learning opportunity, and they offer a top-tier makeup education. As a student, you'll get detailed instruction on the art of makeup, and learn how to:​

  • Use color theory when working with different clients for different types of jobs;
  • Work with photographers and models at photo shoots;
  • Apply different styles of makeup (ie, avant garde, bridal, clean, etc);
  • Use makeup in different lighting scenarios (ie, natural light, flash photography, theatre lighting, and so on);
  • Run a freelance makeup company and book new clients.

There's a lot of else you'll learn, but that's a good summary.

Why It Can Be A Great Opportunity: The training you will get a fashion makeup school is unparalleled. The instructions are usually working or retired makeup artists, and they know the business; the equipment you use will be top-notch; and the professional network you can create is probably worth the price of admission.

What You Need to Keep in Mind: Training can get costly: some schools cost around $10,000 per program, but it's not uncommon for prices to climb higher than that (to be around $15,000+). Also, when you graduate from a makeup school, you won't be able to apply for any kind of beauty license, and that will limit your job prospects a little bit; basically, it means that you won't be able to work in a Pennsylvania beauty salon or Pennsylvania spa/day spa. We'll talk more about that in a minute.

Full-Time Special Effects Makeup Schools.

If you're interested in SFX makeup and you live in Pennsylvania, you're in luck: whereas most states have ZERO special effects, Pennsylvania has two: Tom Savini's Special Effects Makeup Program in Monessen, PA and The Philadelphia Academy for Make-up and Special Effects in Philadelphia. Both of these schools are well-known on the national level (Tom Savini's might be a little better known, actually).

Why It Can Be A Great Opportunity: Both schools are fantastic!

What You Need to Keep in Mind: Both schools are pricey. But what schools aren't, these days.

We've included the contact info for both schools in one of the sections below, so be sure to check that out.

Cosmetology Schools.

Believe it or not, many makeup artists get their start at cosmetology schools. Here's why: cosmetology schools introduce you to a "beauty principles" that are difficult to learn on your own. As a student, you'll learn how to:

  • Cut and style hair, as well as color it and change the straightness/curliness of hair;
  • Develop different types of skin care routines for different clients;
  • Give a variety of types of manicures, using different processes and tools;
  • Apply makeup to people who have different skin tones, different facial structures, and different skin imperfections; and
  • Help run a salon and do the books.

Again, there's a lot else you'll learn, but that's the gist of it.

Why It Can Be A Great Opportunity: There are actually a couple of reasons why beauty school can be a great option: 1) By and large, cosmetology schools are pretty affordable. There are some programs (at private schools or schools with "big names") that cost $10,000 or more, but many community colleges have a cosmetology program that will only couple a few thousand dollars; 2) Having a degree from a cosmetology program can help you stand out among other local makeup artists, because instead of just being able to do makeup, you'll also be able to do hair, nails, and skin care; 3) when you graduate, you'll be able to take a test and get a Pennsylvania cosmetology license, and that will enable you to work in any beauty salon in the state. That's a kind of "career security" that can be very valuable.

What You Need to Keep in Mind: The makeup education you'll receive at a cosmetology school is not as good as the one you'd get from a specialty makeup school. Basically, it's like an introductory course. It helps, but it's not really in-depth.

Intensive Makeup Classes and Workshops.

These are classes that last only a couple of hours or a couple of days. They tend to be one-time classes that take place in urban areas, like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, and Allentown (although there are probably plenty more in other areas). The topics that are covered may be pretty basic (for example, "general application of makeup") or a little more advanced (for example, "how to start your own bridal makeup company").

Why It Can Be A Great Opportunity: They're usually pretty affordable! You can sign up for a class for anywhere from $50 to $1,500. And, they can be a fun excuse to take a day-trip to your nearest city.

What You Need to Keep in Mind: They don't roll through town all the time, and while it's a great way to build some of your skills, you'll probably need to supplement intensives with another form of training.

If you'd like to learn about intensives coming to your area, check sites like,,, and​

Makeup Classes with a Professional Artist.

Such a great option. Instead of waiting for intensives to come to town, reach out to a makeup artist in your community (or a nearby community, if there's none near you) and set up some private lessons.

Why It Can Be A Great Opportunity: Not only will you make a professional connection who knows the local makeup business, you'll be able to cater the lessons to teach you exactly what you need to know. If you want to learn more about a particular style of makeup, just ask!

What You Need to Keep in Mind: It's not a substitute for formal training, and a bunch of sessions can add up! Nonetheless, it's a great way to learn, and we'd recommend it to anyone who want to learn more about makeup. Plus, if you invite friends along, it can be a ton of fun.

Makeup Artist Schools in Pennsylvania

Do Makeup Artists Need A License?​

If you know anyone who currently works in the beauty industry, you know that cosmetologists, esthetician, and nail techs all need a license to work in the state of Pennsylvania. But what about makeup artists?

We've checked with the website of the Pennsylvania Board of Cosmetology, and could not find any licensing information that relates to makeup artistry. Like most states, Pennsylvania does not offer a makeup artist license.

So what does that mean, really? In practice, here's what happens:​

  • People who do freelance makeup artistry--that is, artists who work for themselves and apply makeup to brides on their wedding day, provide makeup services to actors in film/TV/commercials, and prepare models for fashion shoots--typically do not have a license (although many actually have a cosmetology license or an esthetician license). We weren't able to find any laws stating that makeup artists doing freelance work needed a makeup license.
  • People who work in any kind of beauty salon ARE required by law to have a professional license. If the person is doing hair, they'll need a cosmetology license; if they're doing esthetics, they'll need an esthetician license, and if they're doing nails, they'll need a nail tech license.

If you have questions or concerns about licensing or what steps you should take in your beauty career, we'd recommend you call the Board at (717) 783-7130. Laws related to the beauty industry change all the time, and it's good to be certain that you're doing everything correctly!

Pennsylvania Makeup Institutes

There are some world-class makeup artist schools in Pennsylvania. The schools below all teach beauty makeup, and we've made note of the schools that include special effects makeup: ​

Metro Beauty
4977 Medical Center
Allentown, PA
(610) 398-6227

Tom Savini’s Special Effects Makeup Program at the Douglas Education Center
130 Seventh Street
Monessen, PA 15062
(724) 684-7463
(800) 413-6013

Jean Madeline Aveda Institute
315A Bainbridge Street
Philadelphia, PA
(215) 574-9670

The Philadelphia Academy for Make-up and Special Effects
Diamond Studio
1518 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 985-1700

Stroudsburg School of Cosmetology
100 North 8th Street
Stroudsburg, PA 18360
(570) 421-3387

Tom Savini’s course is perhaps the best-known, but all the schools offer a fantastic makeup education.

With that in mind, please remember that MANY makeup pros got their start at a cosmetology school. They’re often a lower-cost option, and one that will provide a broad range of skills. We’ve put together the list below of beauty schools that you can visit:

A W Beattie Career Center
9600 Babcock Boulevard
Allison Park, PA 15101
(412) 366-2800

Salon Professional Academy
705 12th Street
Altoona, PA 16602
(814) 944-4494

TONI & GUY Hairdressing Academy
50 East Butler Avenue
Ambler, PA 19002
(215) 643-5994

Butler County Area Vocational Technical School — Adult Education
210 Campus Lane
Butler, PA 16001
(724) 282-0735

Franklin County Career and Technology Center
2463 Loop Road
Chambersburg, PA 17202
(717) 263-9033

Chambersburg Beauty School
171 Cedar Street
Chambersburg, PA 17201
(717) 267-0041

Clearfield County Career & Technology Center
1620 River Road
Clearfield, PA 16830
(814) 765-5308

Pulse Beauty Academy
150 East Pennsylvania Avenue
Downingtown, PA 19335
(610) 873-8600

Trendz Beauty Academy
355 Spring Garden Street
Easton, PA 18042
(610) 252-9000

Admiral Peary Area Vocational/Technical School — Adult Education
948 Ben Franklin Highway
Ebensburg, PA 15931
(814) 472-6490

Fortis Institute in Erie — Cosmetology Program
5757 West 26th Street
Erie, PA 16506
(814) 838-7673

TONI & GUY Hairdressing Academy
930 Peach Street
Erie, PA 16501
(814) 452-1900

Empire Beauty School
454 West Lincoln Highway
Exton, PA 19341
(610) 365-7990

Empire Beauty School
Clearview Shopping Center
1000 Carlisle Street
Hanover, PA 17331
(717) 524-1899

Empire Beauty School
3941 Jonestown Road
Harrisburg, PA 17109
(717) 303-5683

Indiana County Technology Center
441 Hamill Road
Indiana, PA 15701
(724) 349-6700

Empire Beauty School
1801 Columbia Avenue
Lancaster, PA 17603
(717) 207-8360

North Montco Tech Career Center — Adult Education
1265 Sumneytown Pike
Lansdale, PA 19446
(215) 368-1177

Lebanon County Career & Technology Center — Adult Education
833 Metro Drive
Lebanon, PA 17042
(717) 273-8551

Empire Beauty School
1776 Quentin Road
Lebanon, PA 17042
(717) 769-1758

Berks Career & Technology Center
1057 County Welfare Road
Leesport, PA 19533
(610) 374-1273

Levittown Beauty Academy
8919 New Falls Road
Levittown, PA 19054
(215) 943-0298

Cumberland Perry Vocational — Adult Education
110 Old Willow Mill Road
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050
(717) 795-9641

Hungtindon County Career and Technology Center — Adult Education
11893 Technology Drive
Mill Creek, PA 17060
(814) 643-0951

Forbes Road Career and Technology Center — Adult Education
607 Beatty Road
Monroeville, PA 15146
(412) 373-8100

Bella Capelli Academy Monroeville
151 Wyngate Drive
Monroeville, PA 15146
(412) 626-5894

Empire Beauty School
320 Mall Plaza Boulevard
Monroeville, PA 15146
(412) 373-7727

Empire Beauty School
3370 Birney Avenue
Moosic, PA 18507
(570) 343-4730

Venango County Vocational Tech School — Adult Education
1 Vo-Tech Drive
Oil City, PA 16301
(814) 677-3097

Berks Career & Technology Center
3307 Friedensburg Road
Oley, PA 19547
(610) 987-6201

Upper Bucks County Area Vocational Technical School
3115 Ridge Road
Perkasie, PA 18944
(215) 795-2911

Empire Beauty School
1522 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 253-4621

Empire Beauty School
Knights Road Shopping Center
4026 Woodhaven Road
Philadelphia, PA  19154
(215) 240-6059

Star Career Academy
Northeast Shopping Center
9173 Roosevelt Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19114
(800) 659-7827

Bella Capelli Academy Robinson — A Paul Mitchell Partner School
2 Robinson Plaza #100
Pittsburgh, PA 15205
(412) 424-0379

Empire Beauty School
4768 McKnight Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15237
(412) 499-3752

Empire Beauty School
396 Pottsville / St Clair Highway
Pottsville, PA 17901
(570) 998-4149

Empire Beauty School
2302 North 5th Street Highway
Reading, PA 19605
(610) 298-1344

Empire Beauty School
30 Baldwin Boulevard
Shamokin Dam, PA 17876
(570) 486-4368

Empire Beauty School
Springfield Shopping Center
799 West Sproul Road
Springfield, PA 19064
(610) 616-2188

Empire Beauty School
206 West Hamilton Avenue
State College, PA 16801
(814) 753-4734

Barone Beauty Academy
514-516 Market Street
Sunbury, PA 17801
(570) 495-4149

McCann School of Business & Technology
1147 North 4th Street
Sunbury, PA 17801
(570) 286-3058

Northern Tier Career Center
120 Career Center Lane
Towanda, PA 18848
(570) 265-8111

Empire Beauty School
435 York Road
Warminster, PA 18974
(215) 253-4609

Penn Commercial Business and Technical Schools
242 Oak Spring Road
Washington, PA 15301
(888) 309-7484

Greene County Career & Technology Center
60 Zimmerman Drive
Waynesburg, PA 15370
(724) 627-3106

Empire Beauty School
2394 Mountain View Drive
West Mifflin, PA 15122
(412) 927-4781

Empire Beauty School
1634 MacArthur Road
Whitehall, PA 18052
(610) 628-3136

Empire Beauty School
1808 East 3rd Street
Williamsport, PA 17701
(570) 279-4395

Barone Beauty Academy
501 East 3rd Street
Williamsport, PA 17701
(570) 326-7534

Empire Beauty School
1000 Easton Road — Cedarbrook Plaza
Wyncote, PA 19095
(610) 616-2182

Empire Beauty School
2592 Eastern Boulevard
York, PA 17402
(717) 781-2695

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