11 Best Cosmetology Schools in 2021

Staff Writers by: Staff Writers

Cosmetology is an exciting program for those artists who prefer a hairbrush to a paintbrush. And as it’s such a popular field that will likely never go out of style, there are plenty of programs to complete and jobs available. 

We took a look at several of these programs to find some of the best to bring to you. Most states require 1500 clock hours, so you will notice that number a lot with these schools. 

However, a few states vary from the norm. All options listed below provide the required number of clock hours for that state, and each has some form of financial assistance to help with tuition.

We feel that the following eleven cosmetology schools are some of the best in the country. Take a look to see what you think.

11 Best Cosmetology Schools

1. Emily Griffith Technical College

Emily Griffith Technical College began as a dream in 1916. Emily Griffith, an educator from Colorado, wanted to open a public school for all who wished to learn. The Denver Board of Education provided the building, and Griffith opened the Opportunity School. Over the years, new programs opened to accommodate new job opportunities. The school’s cosmetology program is one of the most affordable, but there are still financial aid and scholarships available to those in need. 

Tuition: $10,897

Time to Complete: 1440 clock hours

Cost of Kit/Supplies: $0- included in tuition and fees

2. Tennessee College of Applied Technology- Memphis

The Tennessee College of Applied Technology– otherwise known as TCAT- is dedicated to preparing its student with real-world, marketable skills. Instructors focus on individualized instruction for their students, ensuring that each meets the necessary competencies before finishing the program. 

Tuition: $4,462

Time to Complete: 1500 clock hours

Cost of Kit/Supplies: $963

3. Southeastern Technical College

Southeastern Technical College has been providing career training and prep since 1968. It has locations in both Swainsboro and Vidalia and offers several day and nighttime classes to suit your schedule. Some programs include dental assisting, HVAC, nursing, culinary arts, and cosmetology. 

Tuition: $5,000*

Time to Complete: 1000

Cost of Kit/Supplies: $1,645

*Price listed is for in-state residents. Out-of-state tuition is typically almost double that of in-state tuition. 

4. Avery James School

The Avery James School of Cosmetology got its start as the Demmon School of Beauty in 1955. It changed hands several times before being purchased by Avery James, LLC in 2015. The school provides affordable tuition rates with the kit and textbooks included. If interested, the school offers virtual tours so you can get a real feel of the program. 

Tuition: $15,550

Time to Complete: 1500 clock hours

Cost of Kit/Supplies: Included in Tuition

5. Bridgerland Technical College

Bridgerland Technical College was founded in Logan, Utah, in 1971. It is a public community college that helps to make up the Utah System of Technical Colleges. All programs offered at Bridgerland are designed to ensure its students pass competency and state-required exams. Additionally, they are open-entry, so you can start at the beginning of almost every month throughout the year. Many programs are completely free to take, and there is financial aid available to pay for the rest. 

Tuition: $4,455

Time to Complete: 1600 clock hours

Cost of Kit/Supplies: $1,219+

6. Omega Institute of Cosmetology

The Omega Institute of Cosmetology of Road Houma, LA, is a high-end salon clinic that provides cosmetology, esthetics, manicuring, and teacher training. Students get real-world training by serving clients in the salon. When they complete the program, they can go out into their field with confidence as they have experience. As they are accredited, you can receive federal assistance for tuition. 

Tuition: $15,180

Time to Complete: 1500 clock hours

Cost of Kit/Supplies: $1,420

7. Arkansas Tech University- Ozark Campus

Arkansas Tech University- ATU– was established in 1909 in Russellville, Arkansas. ATU offers bachelor’s degrees and graduate degrees in everything from applied sciences to arts and humanities. The Ozark Campus provides associate degree certification programs, including cosmetology. Tuition is very affordable, and the available financial aid makes it even more so. Though many of ATU’s certification programs do require a kit, the specifics are not available on their site. 

Tuition: $5,160

Time to Complete: 1500 clock hours

Cost of Kit/Supplies: Specifics not available

8. Paul Mitchell School

The Paul Mitchell School is one portion of the John Paul Mitchell Systems (JPMS). The founders of JPMS– John Paul DeJoria and Paul Mitchell– began their enterprise in Beverly Hills, California, but it has since spread around the country. They have about 100 schools in America that offer students comprehensive cosmetology programs, instructor programs, and makeup programs. Though they are not considered a “traditional” school, you can still receive financial aid and scholarships to help with tuition. 

Tuition: $15,000

Time to Complete: 1500 clock hours

Cost of Kit/Supplies: $4,510

9. Northern Michigan University 

Northern Michigan University is located in Marquette, Michigan. It was founded in 1899 as a small school for those wishing to be teachers. Now, it provides more than 170 degree programs. It’s set on a 360-acre campus with some impressive features, including a university theater, a large recreation complex, and more. The school’s Technology and Occupational Sciences department provides a two-year comprehensive cosmetology program and two one-semester specialized certificates.

Tuition: $30,496*

Time to Complete: 1500 clock hours

Cost of Kit/Supplies: $900

*NMU has flat-rate tuition, which is set by the number of credits taken at a time. The tuition listed here may vary. 

10. Pivot Point Academy

If you live in or around Chicago, the Pivot Point Academy is a great option. It is located in Bloomingdale, Illinois, and is committed to providing locals with an education that prepares them for their field. Not only does the program teach nail care, hair care, esthetics, skincare, and makeup. It also teaches business skills that are necessary to run a salon. 

Tuition: $18,405

Time to Complete: 1500 clock hours

Cost of Kit/Supplies: $3994

11. Minnesota School of Cosmetology

The Minnesota School of Cosmetology began as the Minnesota Cosmetology Education Center (MCEC) in 1950. Since then, the training has adapted and diploma options, which include a comprehensive ten-month cosmetology program, a five-month esthiology program, and a five-month massage therapy program. You can choose to complete them on a half time schedule, if necessary. The Minnesota School of Cosmetology offers its students ongoing career assistance after program completion. 

Tuition: $21,700 

Time to Complete: 1550 clock hours

Cost of Kit/Supplies: $1500

Our Ranking Methodology

We chose these eleven cosmetology programs for our list due to their overall costs and the number of clock hours required. We first ranked each school according to their tuition, with the lowest being a 1. Next, we did the same with the number of clock hours and then the kit costs. The schools are listed according to the sum of those three numbers. 

Have you decided that cosmetology is the road you want to take but are still unsure of which program to choose? We’re here to help you make the best choice possible, so reach out to us with any questions you may have. 

If you notice any inaccuracies in our information, please let us know. We aim to provide only the most accurate and up to date information.

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Engineering</option></optgroup><optgroup label="Trades &amp; Careers"><option value="144">Automotive</option><option value="264">Carpentry</option><option value="90">Construction Management</option><option value="259">Culinary</option><option value="218">Electrical Technician</option><option value="141">Fire Science</option><option value="217">Heating/Cooling</option><option value="145">Technology</option><option value="143">Trades</option></optgroup></select></label></div><button type="submit" class="css-hkmjk6">Find Your School</button><input type="hidden" name="publisher" value="bestvalueschools.org"/><input type="hidden" name="url"/><div class="ad-disclosure-wrapper css-1kwozlu-Wrapper"><section class="css-1pz3fcu css-1iam9o9"><button type="button" class="css-1p5s0hp-AdDisclosure tooltip-toggle">AD</button><div class="tooltip-body right css-iok6vd-Tooltip">BestValueSchools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.<button type="button" class="css-1pz3fcu css-11e3mg8 css-1w9ghd css-1hhul3j css-1jbuhzf css-yrxnuw css-1u78gm9 css-1y4tel7 css-1kru6p0 css-rnous3 css-12fbi72 bg-accent close-button">Got it!</button></div></section></div></form></div></div> <script> (function(){var i=this.element,e=this.props;if(i){i.setAttribute("data-ssr-mounted","");var o=i.querySelector("select[name=degree]"),a=i.querySelector("select[name=category]"),c=i.querySelector("select[name=subject]"),t=c.querySelectorAll("optgroup"),n=i.querySelector("[name=url]"),r=o.children[0].label,l=a.children[0].label,u=c.children[0].label,s=window.self!==window.top;n.value=s?document.referrer:window.location.href;for(var d,g,m,p=[],f=[],h=[],y=1;y<o.length;y++)p.push({name:o[y].label,id:o[y].value,selected:o[y].selected});for(var b=1;b<a.length;b++)f.push({name:a[b].label,id:a[b].value,selected:a[b].selected,degree:p.map(function(e){return e.id})});for(var v=0;v<t.length;v++){for(var x=void 0,w=0;w<f.length;w++)f[w].name===t[v].label&&(x=f[w].id);for(var O=0;O<t[v].children.length;O++){var E=t[v].children[O];h.push({name:E.label,id:E.value,selected:E.selected,category:x,degree:p.map(function(e){return e.id})})}}o.addEventListener("change",F),a.addEventListener("change",N),c.addEventListener("change",z);var S="".concat("https://platform.highereducation.com/","api"),j="\n query QuickDegreeFinderFeed(\n $publisher: String!\n ) {\n quickDegreeFinder(\n publisher: $publisher\n ) {\n degrees {\n id\n name\n slug\n categories {\n id\n name\n slug\n subjects {\n id\n name\n slug\n }\n }\n }\n }\n }\n ",k={publisher:e&&e.publisher},C="".concat(S,"?query=").concat(encodeURIComponent(j),"&variables=").concat(encodeURIComponent(JSON.stringify(k)));if(k.publisher&&I(C,function(e){var t,n,i=JSON.parse(e).data,r=i&&i.quickDegreeFinder&&i.quickDegreeFinder.degrees;r||!r.length?(t=r.reduce(function(t,n){return n.categories.forEach(function(e){t[e.id]=t[e.id]||e,t[e.id].degree=t[e.id].degree||[],t[e.id].degree.push(n.id)}),t},{}),t=Object.keys(t).map(function(e){return t[e]}),n=r.reduce(function(n,i){return i.categories.forEach(function(t){t.subjects.forEach(function(e){n[e.id]=n[e.id]||e,n[e.id].category=n[e.id].category||t.id,n[e.id].degree=n[e.id].degree||[],n[e.id].degree.push(i.id)})}),n},{}),n=Object.keys(n).map(function(e){return n[e]}),d=p.filter(function(e){return e.selected}),g=f.filter(function(e){return e.selected}),m=h.filter(function(e){return e.selected}),p=r.map(function(e){return e.selected=d[0]&&d[0].id==e.id||!1,e}),f=t.map(function(e){return e.selected=g[0]&&g[0].id==e.id||!1,e}).sort(function(e,t){return e.name<t.name?-1:e.name>t.name?1:0}),h=n.map(function(e){return e.selected=m[0]&&m[0].id==e.id||!1,e}).sort(function(e,t){return e.name<t.name?-1:e.name>t.name?1:0}),F()):console.error("Problem loading QDF feed.")}),"undefined"!=typeof window&&!window.toggleTooltip){Element.prototype.matches||(Element.prototype.matches=Element.prototype.msMatchesSelector||Element.prototype.webkitMatchesSelector),Element.prototype.closest||(Element.prototype.closest=function(e){var t=this;do{if(t.matches(e))return t;t=t.parentElement||t.parentNode}while(null!==t&&1===t.nodeType);return null}),window.NodeList&&!NodeList.prototype.forEach&&(NodeList.prototype.forEach=Array.prototype.forEach);var P=function(e){if(!e)return!1;var t=window.innerWidth,n=e.getBoundingClientRect().left,i=t-(n+e.offsetWidth);return 275+10<i?"right":i<n?"left":"right"};window.toggleTooltip=function(e){if(e.target.classList.contains("tooltip-toggle")){var t=i.querySelector(".tooltip-toggle"),n=e.target.closest("section").querySelector(".tooltip-body");"left"===P(t)?(n.classList.remove("right"),n.classList.add("left")):(n.classList.remove("left"),n.classList.add("right")),n.classList.toggle("open"),"undefined"!=typeof window&&void 0!==window.tagular&&window.tagular("beam","ElementClicked",{"@type":"redventures.usertracking.v3.ElementClicked",webElement:{location:"AD_DISCLOSURE",elementType:"TOOLTIP",position:"Search Experience",text:"Click - 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