Find the Best Cosmetology Schools
Compare Reviews for Top Cosmetology and Beauty Schools
|Aveda Institute||Read 18 Reviews|
The Aveda Institute focuses on eco-friendly, innovative beauty options. They offer programs in skin care, massage therapy, cosmetology, nail technology and spa therapy, and there are locations all across the country.
|Paul Mitchell School||Read 29 Reviews|
Founded by Paul Mitchell himself, the Paul Mitchell School helps students learn all about cosmetology, barbering, hair design and more. There are locations all across the country, and all offer professional development programs.
|Ogle School||Read Author Review|
With a licensure rating of over 99% and an employment rating of over 85%, Ogle School graduates typically find great success upon graduation. It offers programs in cosmetology and esthetics, and financial aid is available.
|Empire Beauty Schools||Read Author Review|
With locations across the United States, Empire Beauty Schools has a variety of programs for aspiring beauticians. Because it's an accredited beauty school, they have financial assistance options available for students, as well.
|Pivot Point Academy||Read Author Review|
Leo Passage founded Pivot Point Academy in 1962. Programs offered include cosmetology, esthetics and teacher training, and students have the option to study abroad or perform internships at various locations in the United States.
|Tricoci University||Read Author Review|
Founded by the famous Mario Tricoci in 2004, Tricoci University began as a way to train new beauticians and develop the skills necessary to succeed in the field. They have multiple campuses throughout Illinois and Indiana.
|Xenon Academy||Read Author Review|
Xenon International Academy offers classes in cosmetology and esthetics. They have been in business for over 75 years, and are the only certified American Crew school. Xenon has over 7,000 graduates around the world.
Factors to consider when choosing a beauty school
Cosmetology schools can cost upwards of $20,000, though they might be priced much lower in rural areas. In either case, paying thousands of dollars up front is a challenge for most people, making financial aid a must.
- Grants: The federal government offers grants designed to help offset the cost of higher education. Accredited cosmetology schools often now qualify for these programs.
- Scholarships: Free money is always the way to go, and competition in for scholarships in beauty schools is often not as fierce as it is in other industries. Make sure to find out what scholarships might be available through your chosen school.
- Student loans: Although you will have to repay the money obtained from student loans, the low interest rates make them an effective choice for filling out a tuition package.
Certification and licensing
Beauty schools have a range of options for those interested in pursuing a career in personal grooming fields.
- Hair and nail programs: Possibly the most common, these programs teach students how to cut, style and color hair, along with providing professional nail care.
- Esthetics: These programs cover everything to do with skin care, from the best way to wash, to chemical facials.
- Massage therapy: Some schools offer programs that go beyond hair, nails and skin and branch out into more therapeutic fields, like massage therapy. Different states have different levels of credentials needed for a career in massage therapy, so be sure to look into state guidelines.
Independent nonprofit agencies offer accreditation for cosmetology schools and other technical education. Make sure the agency accrediting your school is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
- Accrediting commission of career schools and colleges: Also seen as ACCSC, this organization has a list of 800 accredited institutions serving 250,000 students each year.
- Council on occupational education: This accrediting agency is a branch of a regional accrediting agency for traditional colleges, and they work with institutions serving more than 360,000 students annually.
- National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences: Also seen as NACCAS, this organization specializes in cosmetology schools, making this recognized accreditation the most desirable for those interested school.
Cosmetology school can carry a price tag of more than $20,000, so exploring different price options is a must if you don't want to carry a high debt balance post-school.
- Price per completion: Some schools offer a single price for the total cost of your education. There are no added fees, extras for classes or any other costs.
- Material costs: There may be an added cost for some classes due to the cost of materials. You may also be required to buy some equipment that can drive up the cost of a class.
- Price per program: Some programs require fewer hours for completion, so the program you choose can have a big impact on price.
Many beauty school students need to work while they attend classes. That makes flexible scheduling a must.
- Evening classes: Make sure your chosen school offers classes in the evening, so you can work around their schedule.
- Ask about weekend classes: Weekend classes, while typically longer, might be an option for those who work Monday-Friday.
- Mornings or flex scheduling: Some schools offer the same classes morning, evening and weekends. Students need to attend each class, but they can do it around their schedule.
Every teacher at a beauty school is giving you hands on experience. In class, you should be putting your knowledge to work, so that when you graduate, you are prepared for the workforce.
- Professional instructors: Make sure that all instructors have real work experience in their fields. This should be required for them to be allowed to teach.
- Compare curriculums: Different schools have different classes available for completion. For example, in massage therapy, one school might offer a class on hot rocks, while another might offer a more in depth look at deep tissue and reflexology.
- Tutoring services: You probably won't get every concept on the first try, so make sure that there are tutoring services available if you need them.
Types of beauty schools
These are full service beauty schools that offer training in everything from makeup artistry to massage.
These schools focus on the art of hair, covering topics like cutting, styling, maintenance, and any other topic specific to the beautification of hair.
Like hair school, these schools focus on hair, but with an eye toward serving male customers. They often include sections on shaving services and a specialty in short hair cuts and care.
Makeup artistry schools
Most states include makeup artistry in their cosmetology license programs, but some do not. In some cases, there is no license available for a makeup artist, so be sure to ask before enrolling.
Typical beauty school students
High school grads
Cosmetologists can make a respectable living, so it is not uncommon for those who do not enjoy academics to seek alternatives like cosmetology as a direct entry career.
Portrait and beauty photographers should have a working knowledge of hair styling and cosmetics, so they can get the best out of every model.
Many people enjoy styling their own hair, experimenting with makeup or creating their own cosmetics.
For those who want to make a change in their career path, cosmetology school offers a quick solution.
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Information in this guide is general in nature and is intended for informational purposes only; it is not legal, health, investment or tax advice. ConsumerAffairs.com makes no representation as to the accuracy of the information provided and assumes no liability for any damages or loss arising from its use.
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