Whether you want to work as a makeup artist in fashion, movies, salons, broadcast media, or the performing arts, Pennsylvania has a place for you.
Philadelphia was named the second-best American city in which to make a movie by MovieMaker magazine, and according to Nielsen Media Research Philadelphia has the fourth largest media market in the nation. Movies like The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, The Dark Knight Rises, and classics like Rocky were all filmed in Pennsylvania.
In addition to its well-established film industry, Pennsylvania is also a state that supports the arts. As a makeup artist you will find this benefits your employment prospects, especially if you are interested in working for theatre or dance companies, fashion events, and other state performance events.
How to Become a Makeup Artist in Pennsylvania
To become a makeup artist in Pennsylvania you will need to have a license issued by the Pennsylvania State Board of Cosmetology. You can choose between earning a general cosmetology license or a more specific esthetician license. Either of these licenses will allow you to work as a professional makeup artist.
To become an esthetician you will need to complete an approved program of study that is at least 300 hours in length, then pass an esthetician exam.
As an esthetician you will be able to provide makeup artistry services, as well as:
- Do face massages
- Apply antiseptics, tonics, lotions, and creams to your clients’ faces
- Use tweezers, wax, or depilatories to remove extra hairs
- Dye of eyelashes and eyebrows
To become a cosmetologist you will need to complete an approved program of study that is at least 1,250 hours in length or an approved apprenticeship that is at least 2,000 hours in length. After this you must also pass a cosmetologist examination.
As a cosmetologist you will be able to perform the cosmetology services associated with all of the following professional classes:
- Nail technician
- Natural hair braider
- Hair dresser and hair stylist
Makeup Artist Education in Pennsylvania
There are literally hundreds of teachers throughout Pennsylvania who are licensed to instruct prospective cosmetologists and estheticians. Once you have located an ideal makeup artist school, you can check to make sure your instructor is licensed to teach either cosmetology or esthetics through the Pennsylvania Department of State’s license verification webpage. To be eligible for a license your instruction must be from a licensed professional.
Whether you are pursuing a cosmetology or esthetician license, the classes that cover makeup artistry should be more or less the same, and include subjects like:
- Bacteriology, disinfection, and sanitation
- Business practices and a professional attitude
- Pennsylvania cosmetology law
- Makeup application techniques
- Science of makeup
- Temporary hair removal
- Eyelash and eyebrow styling and shaping
Career Opportunities in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania’s makeup artists work at professional beauty salons, on the sets of major film productions, and as the backbone of theatre and other artistic performance troupes.
Top Salons in Pennsylvania
One of the most obvious venues where you can find work as a makeup artist are salons and beauty parlors. These are one of the strongest employers of makeup professionals in the state, with well-known establishments including:
- Rescue Spa in Philadelphia
- Sage Spa in Fort Washington
- Giovanni and Pileggi in Philadelphia
- Makeup Design by Lyndsie Hinch in Pittsburgh
- Oliver’s Salon and Day Spa in Allentown
Besides salons and beauty parlors, you may also consider working for cosmetic companies or in major cosmetic outlets. Macy’s in Pittsburgh was recently advertising a vacancy for an beauty artist and sales adviser. The Estee Lauder beauty brand was also recently looking to hire a qualified makeup artist in Pittsburgh.
Film and Television Production Companies in Pennsylvania
Film studios are one of the leading employers of makeup artists. You can find the following companies located in the state’s larger cities:
- Center City Film & Video in Philadelphia
- Sun Center Studios close to Philadelphia
- Kinocraft in Philadelphia
- 31st Street Studios in Pittsburgh
- Aurora Films in Lancaster
You may be also interested in pursuing makeup artist jobs through television broadcast companies that have major production studios throughout the state. You could work with news anchors and other broadcast personalities for the major networks such as ABC, CNN, NBC, CBS, and PBS.
Pennsylvania’s Performing Arts
Makeup artists play an essential role in the presentation of major performing arts, music, and theatre events throughout the state. This includes with internationally-renown groups like:
- Opera Company of Philadelphia
- Philadelphia Theater Company
- Koresh Dance Company
- Pittsburgh Opera
Top Cities for Makeup Artists in Pennsylvania
While localities throughout the state offer fashionable districts for makeup artists to set up shop, three cities in particular have a vibrant culture of arts that thoroughly supports makeup professionals:
- Annual Live Arts Festival and First Friday art design and fashion event
- Old City, Northern Liberties, and Rittenhouse trendy neighborhood districts
- Approximately 120 theater organizations in the Philadelphia area
- Home to the broadcast studios of major television productions including American Bandstand, Double Dare and The Mike Douglas Show
- City with a 116-year-old film industry and the location of the world’s first movie theater
- Three Rivers Arts Festival
- Largest sound stage in the nation outside of New York and LA
- Trendy neighborhoods like the Cultural District, Lawrenceville, and East Carson Street
- Annual Mayfair Festival of the Arts
- Bethlehem Film Festival
- SouthSide Film Festival