Schools for Theater Makeup Artistry: How to Choose

Aspiring makeup artists who want to work in theater, movies or television can pursue studies in theater makeup artistry. Courses in this field are typically offered through bachelor's degree programs in theater, non-degree programs or in a standalone format.

How to Select a Theater Makeup Artistry School

Few schools in the United States focus solely on theater makeup artistry. However, some colleges, universities or technical schools offer degree and certificate programs in theater and in fashion that help prepare students for behind-the-scenes careers in theater.

Summary of Important Considerations

  • History of program
  • Hands-on experience
  • Licensing
  • School reputation
  • Location

History of Program

When choosing a theater makeup artistry school, prospective students may consider the history of the program. While some makeup schools boast young programs, others have offered makeup artistry and theater makeup classes for several decades. The success of a school's alumni and faculty is also something prospective students may want to consider. Graduates of some schools have gone on to win Emmys and Academy Awards.

Hands-On Experience

Hands-on experience is another factor to consider. Some schools offer workshops and field trips that allow students to experience the real world of theater makeup artistry. Others provide classrooms that include individual workstations for each student.


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, depending on the state in which they work and the specific tasks they perform, makeup artists may need state licensing ( Whether a program prepares its graduates for any required licensing is another consideration.

School Reputation

A school's reputation is something prospective makeup artists can research. Many schools are professionally accredited; some offer student opportunities through partnerships and memberships in active groups, such as the American Association of Cosmetology Schools and the National Cosmetology Association.


A school's location can also be important to aspiring makeup artists. Schools in cities like Los Angeles and New York put students in the heart of the industry, which can help lead to jobs upon graduation.

Theater Makeup Artistry Program Overview

Course in Theater Makeup Artistry

Students in theater makeup artistry courses are exposed to the full array of makeup and cosmetology techniques. Some programs offer students the chance to apply their skills in an on-campus television studio. Students focusing on a career in theater makeup artistry can take courses in:

  • Theatrical/live performance makeup
  • Film makeup
  • Prosthetics
  • Monster makeup

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