Cosmetology Schools: Best 16 Schools and Programs For Cosmetologists (2023)

What Is The Top 10 Cosmetology Schools?

Have you ever fantasized about working as a cosmetologist? You will surely be on your way to becoming a professional cosmetologist by attending one of the best cosmetology schools and learning from the best while embarking on an exciting career.

Imagine being able to find fulfillment in knowing that you’re doing what you love every day, making others look and feel their best, and being able to support yourself financially in an industry that will always be in high demand.

In this post, we’ve compiled a list of the best 16 cosmetology schools and programs. The cosmetology program included in the list provides a solid educational foundation that prepares students for successful and rewarding cosmetology degree jobs.

What is Cosmetology?

Cosmetologists are trained and certified to provide hair, skin, and nail cosmetic treatments. Cutting and chemically treating hair, chemical hair removal, fashion trends, wigs, nails and skin care, skin and hair analysis; relaxation techniques such as head, neck, scalp, hand, and feet basic massage and aroma therapies; and the ability to expertly apply makeup applications to cover up dark spots or promote and can expand into further specialties.

Why Cosmetology degree?

best cosmetology schools

If you enjoy making other people happy, cosmetology is likely to be a satisfying career choice for you. And it’s about a lot more than just making people seem ‘nice.’

Cosmetology degree holders assist clients with long-term health conditions such as acne or hyperpigmentation, which can have a severe influence on their self-esteem and, ultimately, their mental health.

Boost people’s self-esteem and self-worth by helping them feel better about their appearance. After all, true beauty and well-being aren’t only about how you seem; they’re also about how you feel.

Cosmetologist also necessitates some artistic ability, making it a good career choice for those with a creative streak. The top make-up artists and hairstylists make a name for themselves by coming up with unique twists on existing trends or inventing new ones for everyone to copy. The most successful practitioners’ work can even be seen on large billboards selling high-end fashion lines or on movie screens.

There are a variety of cosmetology degree jobs positions available, as well as the opportunity to start your own profitable business once you get your cosmetology certification.

How To Get A cosmetology degree- Step-by-step guide

The step by step guide on how to get a Cosmetology Degree are:

  • Meet the minimum requirements.
  • Enroll in a cosmetology school.
  • Complete coursework.
  • Decide on a specialty.
  • Pass a licensing exam.

Meet the minimum requirements

To enter cosmetology school in most locations, you must be at least 16 years old and have completed high school or an equivalent program. In some cases, though, high school students are permitted to participate in vocational programs. These programs may be beneficial since they provide students with a head start on their career paths.

Enroll in a cosmetology school

When it comes to deciding what kind of schooling or cosmetology certification you’ll need to become a cosmetologist, you have a lot of alternatives. The cost of your education will vary substantially based on where you attend school, the licenses or certificates you acquire, and the facilities you have access to.

Cosmetology colleges, vocational schools, private institutions, and for-profit corporations all offer cosmetology programs. Some programs lead to a degree in cosmetology, associate cosmetology degree, while others only result in a diploma in cosmetology.

For those who require a flexible class schedule, full-time and part-time cosmetology programs are available. Only a few programs provide cosmetology online classes.

Complete coursework

A cosmetology program can take anywhere from nine to fifteen months to complete, and 1,000 to 2,300 hours of cosmetology coursework is required. Anatomy, hair coloring science, cutting techniques, customer service, and bookkeeping are among the topics covered. Cosmetologists also learn how to operate and maintain a variety of tools, including razors, blowers, rollers, and hair irons.

Passing tests and proving expertise via practical experience working with mannequins and actual people are required to complete a cosmetology program. As a kind of on-the-job training, certain states allow approved paid apprenticeships.

Decide on a specialty

Specialized studies in hair coloring, facials, waxing, and microdermabrasion, to name a few, maybe available within your program. Specialty occupations, such as estheticians and manicurists, necessitate an additional 600 hours of work. They can, however, assist you to widen your options and provide you with an advantage when applying for jobs.

With further expertise, you could be able to work as a consultant for a beauty magazine, for example. Some cosmetologists assist in selecting and properly applying hair and skincare products.

Pass a licensing exam

Passing a licensing exam is the final step towards becoming a cosmetologist or getting a cosmetology degree. The test’s content varies by region, but most include a written section as well as a review of skincare, cosmetics, and hair care principles. After passing your exam, you must pay a licensing fee to acquire your cosmetology certification.

Cosmetology requirements

  • A High School diploma or equivalent.
  • Certification from a recognized cosmetology school.
  • A state license.
  • Excellent customer service, listening, and communication skills.
  • Strong creative ability and attention to detail.
  • A willingness to engage in further education.
  • Dexterity in hands and fingers.

cosmetology school- Best cosmetology programs

Cosmetology colleges are fairly common, and interested students can enroll in undergraduate programs in the field. Most of these programs are designed to be on-campus programs due to the hands-on nature of the field, but there are some online cosmetology courses and online cosmetology degree programs.

Below, is the lists of some of the best cosmetology schools

  • Empire Beauty Schools 
  • Merrell University of Beauty Arts & Science 
  • Ogle School 
  • Xenon Academy
  • Elizabeth Grady Schools
  • Aesthetic Science Institute
  • Make-Up Designory
  • Bellus Academy
  • Aveda Institutes
  • The Sassoon Academy
  • Hollywood Institute Of Beauty
  • The Hair Design Institute 
  • Tricoci University
  • American National College
  • Northern Michigan University

#1.Empire Beauty Schools -Cosmetology Degree

The cosmetology school has grown to be one of the greatest beauty schools since its foundation in 1934 in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. Empire aims to assist students at every stage of their study, as well as provide ongoing support beyond graduation and job placement.

Empire is at the forefront of the new generation of beauty schools, with campuses in 21 states across the United States.

Students learn the fundamentals of facials, waxing, and makeup artistry in Empire’s esthetician program. The program teaches facial treatment procedures, such as deep cleansing and nourishing therapies for the skin of the face and neck, using a specialized tool selection.

Students study the materials needed for a safe and happy experience while learning several hair removal techniques, including waxing. The fundamentals of enhancing facial features and concealing faults are covered in makeup artistry programs.

#2. Merrell University of Beauty Arts & Science -Cosmetology Degree

Merrell University’s philosophy is best summed up by the school’s motto: “Inspire you, to inspire others.” Merrell views make-up as a form of service, assisting people in feeling beautiful. On a practical level, that includes teaching cosmetology arts and science to help students gain licenses from their states and employment within the industry.

Merrell has been achieving its goals for years with a curriculum based on hands-on experience and cutting-edge education. Classes are designed around a three-step approach.

#3. Ogle School -Cosmetology Degree

The Ogle School has been training professionals in beauty salons all over the world since 1973. They credit their success to a well-thought-out curriculum that not only meets the needs of its students but also emphasizes practical learning.

Students gain real-world experience by working in the school’s on-campus salons across the country from the beginning of the program. Students gain exposure to a diverse group of clients and the opportunity to experiment while under the supervision of professionals by providing low-cost services to the community. Soft skills like communication, salesmanship, and people relations, which are essential for success are also taught in the school.

#4. Xenon Academy-Cosmetology Degree

Xenon Academy, founded by internationally famous artist Xenon, puts his techniques and goods into practice, which have become industry standards for generations of stylists. The school, which has partnered with Peels Salon Services, has all of the tools and procedures necessary to train students for successful careers in the beauty business.

Xenon Academy offers esthetics training in addition to barbering methods and beauty shop management. The program builds on students’ innate ability to make others feel attractive by providing them with all they need to assist others in achieving their skincare objectives.

#5. Elizabeth Grady Schools-Cosmetology Degree

The Elizabeth Grady School, which was founded in 1975 to address the demand for high-quality esthetics education, continues to be a key force in the beauty industry, graduating almost 200 students each year.

The school’s esthetician curriculum includes 600 hours of instruction and prepares students for a career in the beauty business. Students learn through doing in an experience environment at the school.

Students put their academic knowledge into practice as they learn practical skills.

#6. Aesthetic Science Institute -Cosmetology Degree

The Aesthetic Science Institute, as its name suggests, takes an academic approach to esthetics. ASI focuses on the art and theory of beauty, in addition to training on how to start and run a business.

The advanced courses given at ASI are the best example of this technique. ASI encourages students to push to the forefront of the profession rather than simply duplicating well-worn approaches that have been in place for decades. Students stay focused on future styles with access to cutting-edge technology such as microdermabrasion, chemical peels, anti-aging treatments, electric current, laser, LED light, micro-current, radio frequency, infrared, and other esthetic equipment.

#7. Make-Up Designory -Cosmetology Degree

Students at the Make-Up Designory (MUD) learn everything they need to know for a rewarding career in entertainment, fashion, or retail. MUD provides a vibrant environment for future beauty professionals with its rigorous curriculum.

MUD gives students scientific and theoretical knowledge through lectures and demonstrations, and hands-on experience in lab work. With a faculty of established industry specialists on hand to share their insights.

MUD’s programs fall into one of four categories: fashion make-up, film and television make-up, multimedia make-up, and technical mastery.

#8.  Bellus Academy Cosmetology Degree-

Bellus Academy offers complete esthetician programs to a wide spectrum of students from locations in Manhattan, Kansas, and various California cities (Poway, Chula Vista, and El Cajon).

Led by a team of industry experts offers in-depth instruction and training on all aspects of skin rejuvenation and maintenance. Students learn their skills and art through visual, verbal, written, and hands-on learning, according to the school’s teaching system. Students graduate from the program fully prepared to obtain a state regulatory board license and a lucrative job in the sector.

#9. Aveda Institutes-Cosmetology Degree

The Aveda Institute has educated generations of beauty professionals on the fundamentals of the industry since its inception in 1977. Aveda, on the other hand, is concerned about bigger issues, as evidenced by its eco-friendly ingredients and wellness-oriented education.

#10. The Sassoon Academy-Cosmetology Degree

The Sassoon Academy, one of the greatest cosmetology schools in the world, offers a comprehensive beginning program in cosmetology that does not require any prior expertise. This program will last 44 weeks and include 1600 hours of classroom instruction and practical practice.

#11. Hollywood Institute Of Beauty-Cosmetology Degree

The Hollywood Institute of Beauty, which has three sites in Hollywood, West Palm Beach, and Orlando, is one of the greatest cosmetology schools in the country. It provides courses in nail technology, barbering, esthetics, massage treatment, skincare, and cosmetology, among other things.

The Cosmetology certification, often known as the General Beauty Culture curriculum, requires 1200 class hours. The average full-time day student will finish the program in around ten months, while evening students will finish in about seventeen months.

Spanish classes are also available. In addition to the 500 classroom hours, students must do around 700 hours of service or practical application.

#12.The Hair Design Institute -Cosmetology Degree

The Hair Design Institute, also known as Brittany Beauty Academy, is a network of educational institutions and one of the leading cosmetology colleges.

It is necessary to complete 1200 or 1000 class hours to be certified. Sanitation and Sterilization, Hair Analysis, Permanent Waving, Scalp Treatments, Chemistry, and Salon Management are some of the topics covered in this top-rated cosmetology curriculum.

Part-time, full-time, and evening classes are available for this cosmetology program, allowing busy professionals to attend. Students will display their work on precise models at events such as fashion week.

More often than not, well-known salon owners and managers will pay a visit to the Institute to give students special demonstrations. Following successful completion of the program, the Institute provides complete assistance with professional placement in the field.

#13. Tricoci University-Cosmetology Degree

Mario Tricoci’s desire to train other beauticians was inspired by his success and international recognition, and he founded Tricoci University in 2004. It now provides a 1500-hour cosmetology curriculum that has been accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences.

Even though his career in hairdressing and cosmetology began in the 1950s, Mario Tricoci and his brother Franco Tricoci did not open their salon until the 1970s.
This is one of the Best Universities For Cosmetology Programs, and students typically complete the degree in 12 months.

#14. American National College-Cosmetology Degree

The Iverson Institute, the Royal Beauty Careers School, and the Circle J. Beauty School merged in 2013 to become the American National College that exists today. The Council on Occupational Education has designated American National College as “the only Dermalogica, OPI, and CHI partner beauty school in the south.” The cosmetology program features a flexible class schedule, with classes available in the evenings and on weekends.

Shampoo and Related Theory, Chemical Hair Relaxing, Cold Waving, and Facials are among the topics covered in class.

#15. Northern Michigan University-Cosmetology Degree

There is one Cosmetology/Cosmetologist, General degree program offered by Northern Michigan University. It’s a public four-year university with a middling size in a small town. In 2019, 11 students graduated from the Cosmetology/Cosmetologist, General program, earning 11 certificates.

#16 . Walla Walla Community College-Cosmetology Degree

Walla Walla Community College is a multi-campus community college in the state of Washington, United States of America. It features five of the best community colleges in the country.

Their cosmetology program prepares students to achieve a Washington State Cosmetologist License or a Washington State Cosmetology Instructor License through theory and practical practice.

Shampooing, scalp and hair analysis, haircutting, and trimming, trimming and removal of facial hair, thermal styling, and wet and dry styling are all covered in the cosmetology course.

What can you do with a cosmetology degree

A large number of beauty specialists are self-employed, either as sole traders or freelancers, and some even open their salons or beauty spas. If you’re drawn to the flash and glamour of Hollywood or the fashion industry, cosmetology could be the career for you. Although there is a lot of competition for these sought-after occupations, the most skilled beauty, and hair specialists can get work as make-up artists to the stars.

Cosmetologist job role

Cosmetologists are responsible for the following duties:

  • Using chemical solutions, such as bleaches and dyes, and working with hair, such as cut, shampoo, style, and color.
  • Using scissors, clippers, curlers, straighteners, and dryers, among other items.
  • Wigs and hairpieces are cared for and sold by cosmetologist.
  • Using a range of lotions and creams to provide skin care treatments such as scalp treatments, massages, and facials.
  • Defining brows and eliminating or cutting unsightly facial hair.
    Giving makeup demonstrations and advice.
  • Softening and clipping cuticles, shaping nails, and applying nail polish are all examples of nail care.
  • Maintaining a clean and sanitary work environment and equipment.

Cosmetology degree salary

A cosmetologist on a big movie or TV set can make roughly $59,300 per year.

Cosmetology is a rapidly expanding sector with numerous long-term job opportunities. Over 800,000 cosmetology graduates have begun a new profession in the beauty industry, and the figure is expected to continue to grow. Indeed, between now and 2026, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a much higher-than-average 13 percent job increase in the beauty business.


Students interested in a degree in cosmetology, associate degree in cosmetology, and diploma in cosmetology should take their time and do their research to pick the best program.

Students can restrict their search by looking at our list of the best cosmetology degree programs. This list can be used as a starting point for prospective students, but they should contact their school’s admissions department for more information about cosmetology degree time.

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