How to Become a Cosmetologist in Pennsylvania

Becoming a cosmetologist in Pennsylvania may seem like a complicated process. With varying hour requirements, apprenticeship options, and minimum time requirements it can be complicated to decipher. It is, however, much easier than you think!

We would love to help you make sense of the requirements as you begin your own education in cosmetology. Give our admissions department a call and let us get you on your way!

cosmetologist in PA

  • Way to Gain the Necessary Hours

    Unlike many other states, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania accepts offers two ways to gain your licensure. Because the apprenticeship path is limited by permits and difficult requirements we’re going to be talking about how you can gain your license starting with beauty school.

    • Through an Approved School– A school approved by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to deliver an education in beauty is one of the most common ways to gain the necessary hours towards licensure. Find a school, such as The Salon Professional Academy Altoona, that has been approved by the Pennsylvania State Board of Cosmetology to gain an education.
      The required state hours for attending a licensed school is 1250. Make sure the facility that you choose to receive your education can deliver these hours.Choosing an approved school could help assure that you have relevant skills, technical ability, and business knowledge to sit for the state board exam. Schools that have been approved through Pennsylvania are required to meet certain education standards in order to stay in business, we are proud to reach and exceed these requirements for our students.
  • Meet The Time Requirement

    In addition to the formal training hours, Pennsylvania has a few added requirements that students must meet.

    • Eight Months or More– If you are expecting to gain your cosmetology license in record time it is worth it to note that any education put toward a license in cosmetology cannot be completed in less than eight consecutive months if you are enrolled full-time, and fifteen consecutive months if you are enrolled part-time. So, take your time and soak it in, it’s important you get all of this down.


  • Age and Grade Minimums

    Many states have grade and/or age requirements before students can enroll in Cosmetology school. In Pennsylvania, the minimum enrollment qualification is that a student must have completed tenth grade, or an equivalent before enrolling in beauty school. Once you meet that, you are good to go.

  • Sitting for the State Board

    Let’s not forget the most important part of becoming a cosmetologist in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Sitting for the state boards. While this can seem like a daunting task, the required test is the only way to gain the certification needed to pursue a career in beauty.

    • Pay The Fee– In Pennsylvania, the state exam is administered by a third party. While monitored by the Pennsylvania State Board of Cosmetology, the exam can be taken at most testing centers in the state for a fee. Schedule your exam as you near graduation to ensure there is a limited gap and that you meet the time requirements.
    • The Test– A practical exam is no  longer required in Pennsylvania. For this exam you will only be tested in written form on theory and standard rules and practices.

While all of this can seem like a complicated process, it is much simpler than you might think. If you are ready to pursue a future in the beautiful world of cosmetology, getting the right team behind you can make a difference between finding success, or finding yourself lost in the hub-bub.

At The Salon Professional Academy Altoona, we have a team that is ready to stand behind you and help you make sense of it all, guiding you from your fist snip, to your first official masterpiece.
Contact us today to get started, and join your new family in your personal beautiful adventure.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median loan debt of students who completed the program and other information vist

Meet Kim From TSPA Altoona!

Beauty runs deep in Kim Hofer, the owner of The Salon Professional Academy Altoona, it’s more than a passion for her. It’s a tradition that has been passed down through her family for years.

Beauty is in Her Blood

kim hoferTSPA Altoona wasn’t always part of The Salon Professional Academy family. The humble history of TSPA Altoona dates all the way back to 1963 when Gene Pruonto opened a Hair Institute in downtown Altoona. In the early 70s Kim’s mother was employed as the school supervisor.
In the early 80’s the school was purchased by Kim’s family and Pruonto’s Hair Design Institute became more than an after school hangout for Kim, it became part of her life.

”Beauty is Just Part of Me” – Kim Hofer

Weekends were suddenly filled with heaving heavy chairs and ripping up drywall during a remodel, to answering phones and working part time for her parents. The school was her home, but it was also the home for so many others. Fueled by the passion of Kim’s parents, lovingly known as Mr. and Mrs. S, Pruonto’s Hair Design Institute was filled with a culture and atmosphere that is both comforting and supportive.

A Family Business Becomes a Way of Life

In 1991, Kim’s childhood hangout shifted to a career as Kim moved into the role of a school representative, a position she held until she herself purchased the school from her parents in 2007. It was only a few years later, in 2010, that Pruonto’s Hair Institute became TSPA Altoona.

While it may seem like this change was a quick shift with the new ownership – it was not done lightly. In fact, parting with the name of her family’s school was a difficult decision that was only made after The Salon Professional Academy approached her. Even then, however, there were sleepless nights and endless bank denials before the dream of this transition become a reality.

”I can only describe her in one word WARRIOR” – SPEC Awards

It was the TSPA name that brought Kim and the Pruonto’s family into the fold. Not only does The Salon Professional Academy bring additional education and opportunities for her staff and students, but they hold a standard that has allowed them to become the academy that they are today.

Honoring Family, Honoring TSPA

Pruontos-first-graduatesKim’s passion for success reached every part of her school, so much so that she was awarded Director of The Year in 2016 from The Salon Professional Academy. This is quite the honor, and truly shows her dedication to her students and to the education they receive. Becoming part of the TSPA family has lifted the work that Kim and her family have done, and created an education that they are proud of.

But don’t worry, nothing else was lost besides a name. The school still holds that same comforting atmosphere and supportive culture that Mr. and Mrs. S harbored all of those years ago.

Dedicated to Students and to Their Futures

When asked what her favorite part of her career has been, Kim had two answers.
The first of which is the life changing experiences that she witnesses every day. Kim loves changing lives. She loves helping students onto a path that could turn their entire lives around.
Each day she see’s students who move from the worst possible situation into a career that changes their lives. By taking the time to get to know each of them, Kim is determined to inspire them and support them no matter where they may end up.

”Each group that comes in is unique – there are always memorable moments – from hoses going crazy, to clients who have attempted to cut their own hair. I love every minute.” -Kim Hofer

Pruontos students

Her favorite “part”, however, extended beyond the students. She was able to grow up in a school that supported her, right alongside her parents who created the family environment that she welcomes those amazing students into every day. TSPA Altoona is a home for so many that lets them grow and become the amazing successful beauty professionals that they are.
That their entire TSPA Altoona family is proud of.

Even though Mr. and Mrs. S have since passed on, Kim is honored to continue the tradition that she is proud of, changing lives every day.

If you want to meet Kim in person, or just want more information on how to join the TSPA Altoona family, contact us today. We would love to welcome you home.