June 8, 2021

How Long Does it Take to Become a Makeup Artist?

makeup header

It’s pretty incredible to think that you can have a full, thriving career doing other people’s makeup. Moreover, the demand and need for talented, makeup school-educated artists have been steadily growing – and the employment growth rate is nearly twice as high as the national average!

While natural talent is typically necessary for this career, the more training you have, the more skilled you will be. There is a big difference between being someone who is passionate and talented at doing makeup and being a certified makeup artist. Going to makeup school expands the services you provide and gives you more credibility for high-paying jobs.

So, what’s the process to become a makeup artist? And how long does it take to complete makeup school?

Here’s everything you need to know.

1. Know What to Expect in Makeup School

First, make sure that you understand the commitment it takes to complete makeup artist classes in school. Remember, the more effort you put into your training, the more skilled and experienced you can be once you graduate.

Thankfully, there are lots of options for makeup artist school classes depending on your time commitment.

At the L Makeup Institute, we offer two programs that can be completed in as little as 26 to 33 weeks. Both of these programs include our Mastering the Art of Beauty course, which runs for 16 weeks. This will cover all of the essential makeup artist skills. Next, you will move on to more advanced and focused courses to help you expand your skill set and learn a variety of techniques in hair styling for the makeup artist for on-set production work, airbrush makeup, and body painting. If you want to enhance your learning even further, our 32-week program will also teach special effects makeup.

During these classes, you can get hands-on experience from talented instructors. Students also have the chance to practice on models and take videos and photos of their work to create a portfolio.

It is important to understand that completing makeup school does not guarantee work – but having this advanced training and certification from an accredited makeup school on your resume can help you stand out. Even makeup counters or companies like Sephora will require proof of formal training from a certificate or diploma program.  Having this type of experience can help you land a job more easily. Additionally, a certified makeup artist who has completed professional training can set their own rates for their work – and you can charge more based on your skill level.

Now, completing makeup school classes does not mean that you are a licensed makeup artist. Some states provide registration or licensing for makeup artists, but you do not have to be licensed to be a professional makeup artist, also known as an MUA. Licensing is required by each state for cosmetology and esthetics. However, certification is the sign of educational training completion – such as finishing makeup school. And, having certification from an Accredited makeup school provides employers and clients confident that you have completed training at a makeup school that has undergone a thorough review and met certain standards. Some of these standards include:

  • An evaluation of the educational quality of the makeup school programs.
  • 3rd party verification that the makeup classes teach the necessary skills and techniques that lead to employment.
  • The instructors have the necessary experience to effectively teach the makeup classes?
  • The makeup school facility is equipped with the necessary equipment to support the makeup artist classes, just to name a few.

Just like with any successful career, there are no shortcuts. And, becoming a professional makeup artist is no different. Taking short makeup classes online or the 75 – 100 hours of MUA training you will receive as part of a Cosmetology program or Esthetics program is not enough. Be prepared to invest close to 1000 hours learning this craft. Look for a school that offers in-person instruction provides instruction in all styles of makeup artistry.

2. Enroll in Makeup School to Learn Exceptional Skills

Your next step will be to choose the makeup school program that covers the skills you want to learn and improve.

Our first program is a total of 845 training hours which covers all of the skills that an advanced makeup artist should know. This includes our Mastering the Art of Beauty course where you will practice important techniques like face, lipstick, and eye makeup application, complexion matching, and airbrush beauty.

You can also learn important skills about various products and tools, as well as sanitation methods to keep your kit clean. This course covers both natural makeup styles as well as more avant-garde techniques so you can be extremely versatile and service a wide range of clients.

The second program is a more comprehensive program with 1072.5 hours of training on all the techniques of our first program, but with the addition of special effects training.

In both programs, you’ll get more specific courses such as airbrush, body painting, as well as hairstyling for makeup artists.

If you are looking to continuing education you should apply to our “Advanced Prosthetics Avocational” course. This class teaches you how to create and apply prosthetics and use special effect makeup techniques to transform clients.

student learning makeup with teacher and client

3. Explore Your Career Options as a Makeup Artist

Once you complete your program in makeup school, you can decide what type of makeup artist you want to be. There are many options that you can pursue, depending on your interest and skills.

A traditional makeup artist typically works with a salon or makeup/skincare store to offer their services. With this type of job, you can assist shoppers to sell makeup products or even offer makeovers. You may also have the opportunity to teach classes on basic makeup applications.

If you prefer more flexibility and have an entrepreneurial spirit, then working as a freelancer may be ideal. This means that you can be contracted or work for specific occasions, such as weddings, proms, or special events.

Makeup artists are also in high demand in the film, theater, and TV industry. You can be hired on your own by applying for these jobs or connect with an agency that will send you assignments. You can also be hired for live productions or photoshoots.

But there are many other jobs and careers to pursue with makeup artist training, such as:

  • Film and production
  • Beauty video and tutorial production
  • Special event makeup
  • Fashion runway and photoshoots
  • Retail cosmetics
  • Conventions
  • Face painting for events such as carnivals, festivals, and amusement parks
  • Haunted house and amusement park special effects makeup
  • Makeup effects lab

Most makeup artists are responsible for finding their own clients unless you work with an agency. So, you will need to market yourself using social media, word-of-mouth, and other marketing strategies. These are skills that are taught at L Makeup Institute as part of our curriculum to make you successful!

professional makeup artist in the spotlight

Begin Your Future With L Makeup Institute

Becoming a makeup artist may seem like a dream job for many people – and you can certainly make it a reality with a little bit of training. The most important thing is to invest in makeup artist classes that will set you up for long-term success in this career.

L Makeup Institute is one of the top makeup schools in the country. We offer a wide variety of courses for beginners and advanced students with campuses in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Dallas, Texas. We provide training to help you nail interviews, create an impressive resume and portfolio, and our makeup artist classes are specifically designed to give you hands-on experience which will help you advance your career long after you graduate.

If you are interested in learning more about our makeup artist school program, please contact L Makeup Institute to schedule a virtual or in-person tour of our campuses.



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