Your dream can become a reality — turn your passion into a profession. Cosmetology is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States, with the need for barbers, hair dressers, manicurists, pedicurists, and skin care specialists expected to increase by more than 15 % between 2010 and 2020 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to Cosmetologist of America, Inc., there are more than 200,000 full-service beauty salons in the United States, with more than half of those salons being located in the southern region of the U.S. Central Piedmont's Cosmetology program teaches you the skills you need to be a highly competent professional and a leader in the beauty industry.

What You Will Learn

Learn the knowledge and skills needed to become a licensed cosmetologist.

The coursework develops knowledge and skills in hair cutting, hair color and design, safety and sanitation, bacteriology, product knowledge, salon management and salesmanship, wigs, hair removal, lash and brow tinting, manicures, and much more. Simulated salon settings and serving the general public provide experiential learning with supervision provided by a trained and licensed instructor. Managing and operating a salon are enhanced by critical thinking skills, business writing, public speaking, math aptitude, and computer applications. These skills will lead to additional knowledge, resources, and longevity in the cosmetology industry.

Highly skilled and personable professionals are in high demand and have many employment opportunities in beauty salons, department stores, barbershops, hospitals, hotels, spas, and resorts.

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Why Choose Central Piedmont

We have high standards of excellence for our cosmetology students. You will learn from experienced instructors using Pivot Point® curriculum, will gain valuable hands-on experience before you graduate, all while completing your degree in a fraction of the cost as compared to a private school. Successful students are able to channel their passion for the beauty industry into developing knowledge and skills needed to earn a degree and sit for the North Carolina State Board of Cosmetic Arts Licensing Exam. Our state board pass rate is currently at 100%. You will also have the opportunity to participate in the Cosmetic Arts and Sciences Association and get hands-on practice in our cosmetology salon, open to the public.

Real World Education

At Central Piedmont, your education goes beyond what you learn in class. We offer numerous opportunities for you to enhance your learning  — and to make friends, network, and pursue your passions — through clubs and organizations, sports, events and activities, leadership opportunities, job experience, volunteer experiences, visual and performing arts, and even international experiences.

I love the supportive atmosphere. Everyone is so eager to help and I feel genuinely supported in everything I’ve done here. Adam Lewis '20 Read Adam's story

Cosmetology Careers and Average Salaries

Cosmetology careers are always in demand. Increasingly, there are numerous specialty fields in the cosmetology Industry. Cosmetologists may work behind the chair in a salon or spa as a stylist offering various hair care services such as hair coloring, texture services, chemical hair relaxer/straightening, hair extensions, and hair cutting. Other opportunities and specializations may include: makeup application, hair braiding, platform work, and television, movie, and theatre cosmetic art services. These careers are offered in various industry-related businesses locally, nationally, and internationally. Entrepreneurial careers include salon ownership, beauty product creation, and freelance cosmetic artistry for movie sets and magazine photo shoots. You may even decide to merge marketing, beauty, and fashion career trends. Visit Central Piedmont’s Career Coach for detailed cosmetology career opportunities, salary information, and job openings.

Career Coach

Cosmetology Degrees Suggested Course Sequence

The cosmetology associate degree is a 69-credit-hour program which must be completed on a full-time basis in five semesters (two years). The completion of this degree requires that 21 credit hours of related coursework be completed at Central Piedmont. If you are already licensed, chances are that you may be eligible to complete your associate degree in as little as two semesters.

Suggested course sequence

The Details

  • Program Options

    Earn an Associate in Applied Science, a diploma, or a specialized certificate in cosmetology. If you are already licensed, the benefits of earning an associate degree are that you will master professional education requirements and professional growth, be eligible to teach in an accredited post-secondary institution, and achieve and maintain high standards in the cosmetic arts field by attaining a mark of education distinction that will enhance your professional portfolio and credentials specific to the beauty industry. The Associate in Applied Science in cosmetology will also offer a level of general education courses that will transfer to a university for any student seeking credentials toward a bachelor’s degree. If you would like information on opportunities to transfer associate degree credit to a four-year institution, please visit the Transfer Resource Center.

    We also offer a cosmetology instructor certificate for licensed cosmetologists in the state of North Carolina who are interested in completing their teacher certification. The college catalog lists the cosmetology program options, courses, eligibility, and requirements currently available at Central Piedmont.

    Explorer's Program

    Cosmetology also participates in the Explorer's program. Exploring is a career education program operated by the Boy Scouts of America. High school students in the community that are interested in a particular career field would join an Explorer 'Post' that has a program for them to learn and experience that field. Participants are expected to provide their own transportation; transportation is not provided. Students should attend regularly and be active during meetings. Those under 18 require parental permission to join, and the registration for each student is $30, paid by them. That fee is a membership fee as well as becoming part of our general liability insurance. If you have any more questions about Exploring, please contact Brian Sweeney at 980.333.1511 or at

    Visiting Students

    If you wish to transfer cosmetology course credit back to your home institution, explore how to enroll at Central Piedmont as a visiting student.

    Continuing Education

    Central Piedmont's continuing education provides non-degree courses and programs, including job skills, industry-focused career training, certificates, certifications, professional licensure, and personal enrichment. Day, evening, weekend, and online opportunities are available.

    College and Career Readiness

    If you are looking for programs to gain the knowledge or skills necessary to finish a high school degree or to get a job, visit Central Piedmont's College and Career Readiness.

    College Credit for High School Students

    Visit Career and College Promise to learn about opportunities for high school students to earn college credit at Central Piedmont.

  • Cosmetology Program Requirements and Suggested Course Sequence

    Licensed individuals may receive credits toward the cosmetology associate degree for some or all of COS 111, COS 112, COS 113, COS 114, COS 115, COS 116, COS 117, and COS 118. You must be eligible to register for ENG 111 and MAT 110 based on your placement tests for consideration for the program. Students who have successfully completed these courses will receive admission points on their program application. For detailed information on cosmetology program options, courses, eligibility, and requirements, visit the Central Piedmont Community College catalog. Students who are not admitted into the program are encouraged to take related program courses such as ENG 111, MAT 110, CIS 110, PSY 150 while waiting to apply again.

    Cosmetology is a clock-hour program, which means that you accumulate hours daily throughout each semester in the program. Superior attendance and punctuality is expected and helps to ensure your success. Cosmetology students are required to purchase a set of uniform scrubs, a student kit, and cosmetology textbooks before the start of their first semester. You will be required to be in the appropriate assigned uniform scrubs daily. The kit consists of tools needed for training and hands-on practices including hair cutting implements, electrical tools for hair styling, combs, brushes, and other required items. The textbooks are required for each course. The textbooks and student kits are available for purchase at the college bookstore.

    Keep reading for the steps to apply to the program.

  • Locations and Course Delivery Methods

    Classes for the cosmetology program are delivered in several ways:

    • In-person classes and labs are held at City View Center.
    • combined (classroom/lab and online)

    Courses available and their schedules can change each semester. Check the cosmetology program options, courses, eligibility, and requirements each semester.

  • Career Coach

  • Costs and Aid

    Central Piedmont provides real-world, affordable, hands-on education and career training. Learn how much it costs to attend Central Piedmont. Financial aid and scholarships are available.

    Cosmetology Scholarships

    In particular, students interested in the cosmetology program should consider the following scholarships. Please note that many scholarships are managed by organizations outside of Central Piedmont.

  • Related Programs

  • Admitted Students: Find Your Advisor

    If you are currently enrolled and taking classes, log in to Watermark or download the Watermark Student App to find your assigned academic advisor.

    If you do not have an advisor, you can:

Apply for the Cosmetology Program

You can apply and begin cosmetology studies in either the fall or spring semester. Admission into the cosmetology associate degree program is competitive, with 50 day seats opened each fall and spring semester. Applications are accepted on a rolling admissions basis until all spots are filled for each fall and spring semester.

We will accept transfer students from other North Carolina community college and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools cosmetology programs. Each application is reviewed on an individual basis for admission. If you are not admitted, you are encouraged to submit a new application during the next application period.

Requirements Once Admitted into the Program

  • Attend a mandatory orientation session upon eligibility prior to the date you start the program; make arrangements for childcare in advance.

  • Submit the following documentation (required by the NC State Board of Cosmetic Arts):

    -copy of social security card, tax ID card, or student visa information

    -government-issued ID and proof of date of birth

    -acknowledgement of the NC State Board of Cosmetic Arts felony policy on the cosmetology application

Affordable Salon Services in Charlotte, NC

The Central Piedmont salon offers a variety of hair, skin, and nails services at affordable prices.

Cosmetology salon