20 Best Universities For Cosmetology Programs 2022-2023


What is the best college to attend for cosmetology and what is the number one cosmetology school in America, these are common questions people ask in different educational forums online.

Have you ever imagined yourself in a cosmetology setting? You will unquestionably be on your way to being a professional cosmetologist by enrolling in one of the top cosmetology schools, learning from the finest, and starting an exciting career. Imagine being able to support yourself financially in a field that will always be in demand while knowing you are doing what you love every day and helping others look and feel their best.

In order to help you express your creativity and advance your skills, we’ve put together a list of the top 20 cosmetology programs for 2022. The cosmetology programs on the list offer students a strong educational foundation that equips them for lucrative cosmetology degree positions.

What is cosmetology?

Cosmetologists are qualified and trained to offer cosmetic services for the skin, hair, and nails. Trimming and chemically handling hair, styling products removal, new trends, wigs, nail and face creams, skin and hair analysis, basic massages for the head, neck, scalp, hands, and feet, and aromatherapy, as well as the ability to apply makeup with the skill to hide dark spots or advance. They can also expand into other specialties, which are all examples of relaxing techniques.

Why earn a cosmetology degree?

If you appreciate making other people happy, cosmetology may be a fulfilling career choice for you. Additionally, it involves much more than merely making others seem pleasant. Bearers of a cosmetology degree from the top 20 cosmetology schools and programs help clients with chronic health issues like acne or hyperpigmentation, which may have a negative impact on a person’s mental health in the long run.

By making others feel great about their appearance, you can raise their sense of self-worth and self-esteem. After all, real beauty and well-being go beyond outward appearance; they also have to do with how you feel.


Cosmetology is a wonderful career choice for those with an imaginative spark because it also requires some artistic ability. The best hairstylists and makeup artists establish their reputations by creating original skincare products that take on popular trends or by creating new ones that anyone can replicate. 

Even on large billboards advertising upscale clothing brands or on movie screens, the most accomplished practitioners’ work can be seen. 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.

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Cosmetology colleges, vocational schools, private institutions, and non-profit corporations all offer cosmetology programs. Some programs lead to a degree in cosmetology or an associate’s degree in cosmetology, while others only end in a diploma in cosmetology.

For those that require a flexible class schedule, full-time and part-time cosmetology programs are available. However, some programs provide cosmetology online classes.

Complete coursework

A cosmetology program can take anywhere from nine to fifteen months to finish, 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 finish cosmetology. As a sponsored job training program. Half payment is required for a scholarship or international student.

Cosmology specialized program 

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

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With further expertise, you’ll be able to work as a consultant for a beauty magazine. For instance, some cosmetologists assist in selecting and properly applying hair and skincare products.

License Examination

Passing a licensing exam is the final step toward 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 will need to 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 a spotlight on detail.
  • A willingness to interact in further education.
  • Dexterity in the hands and fingers

The Best Cosmetology Programs

Cosmetology colleges are fairly common, and interested students can enroll in undergraduate programs within the field. Most of those 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.

What can you do with a cosmetology degree?

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

Cosmetologist job role

Cosmetologists are liable for the following duties:

  • Using chemical solutions, like bleaches and dyes, and dealing with hair, like cuts, shampoos, styles, and colors.
  • Using scissors, clippers, curlers, straighteners, and dryers, among other items.
  • Wigs care and hair styling
  • 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 enamel are all examples of nail care.
  • Maintaining a clean and sanitary work environment and equipment.

Cosmetology degree salary.

A cosmetologist on an enormous movie or TV set can make roughly $159,300  per annum. Cosmetology may be a rapidly expanding sector with numerous long-term job opportunities. Over 800,000 cosmetology graduates have begun a replacement profession in the beauty industry,  and therefore the figure is expected to continue to grow. Indeed, between now and 2026, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a way higher-than-average 13 percent job increase in the beauty business.

Best 20 schools and programs for cosmetologists in 2022

1. Empire Beauty Schools 

The cosmetology school has grown to be one of the greatest beauty schools since its foundation in 1934 in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. Empire aims to help students at every stage of their studies, 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 country.

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

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

2. Merrell University of Beauty Arts & Science 

Merrell University’s philosophy is best summed up by the school’s motto: “Inspire you, to inspire others.” Merrell views make-up as a sort of service, helping people feel beautiful. On a practical level, that means 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 supported by hands-on experience and cutting-edge education. Classes are designed around a three-step approach.

3. Ogle School 

The Ogle School has been training professionals in beauty salons everywhere in the world since 1973. They credit their success to a well-thought-out curriculum that not only meets the requirements 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 variety 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 other people skills, which are essential for fulfillment, are also taught in school.

4. Xenon Academy

The 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 varsity, which has partnered with Peels Salon Services, has all of the tools and procedures necessary to coach 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 the tools they need to assist others in achieving their skincare objectives.

5. Elizabeth Grady Schools

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

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

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

6. Aesthetic Science Institute 

The Aesthetic Science Institute, as its name suggests, takes a tutorial approach to esthetics. Additionally, 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 simplest example of this technique. As an example, ASI encourages students to push to the forefront of the profession instead of simply duplicating well-worn approaches that have been in place for decades. Students stay focused on future styles with access to cutting-edge technology like microdermabrasion, chemical peels, anti-aging treatments, current, laser, LED light, micro-current, frequency, infrared, and other esthetic equipment.

7. Make-Up Designory 

Students at the Make-Up Designory (MUD) learn everything they have 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 team of established industry specialists on hand to share their insights.

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

8. Bellus Academy 

Bellus Academy offers complete esthetician programs to a broad 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,  consistent with the school’s teaching system. Students graduate from the program fully prepared to get a state regulatory board license and a lucrative job in the sector.

9. Aveda Institutes

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

10. The Sassoon Academy

The Sassoon Academy, one of the greatest cosmetology schools in the world, offers a comprehensive beginning program in cosmetology that doesn’t 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

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 referred to as the General Beauty Culture curriculum, requires 1200 class hours. The typical 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 application. 

12. The Hair Design Institute 

The Hair Design Institute also referred to as Brittany Beauty Academy may be 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. Hair Analysis, Permanent Waving, Scalp Treatments, Chemistry, and Salon Management are a number 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 like fashion week.

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

13. Tricoci University

His desire to coach 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 didn’t 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

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 versatile class schedule, with classes available in the evenings and on weekends.

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

15. Northern Michigan University

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

16. Walla Walla Community College

Walla Walla Community College is a multi-campus community college in the state of Washington, USA. It features five of the simplest community colleges in the country.

Their cosmetology program prepares students to obtain 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 within the cosmetology course.

17. Somerset  junior college 

Somerset Junior College in Somerset, Kentucky, might be considered a top cosmetology school for its diversity of degrees and the preparation the school provides for students to take the Apprentice Cosmetology Examination. After passing their state boards, students must complete 6 months as a licensed apprentice cosmetologists.

To prepare for their boards, students at the school can pursue a certificate or diploma program in cosmetology. The certificate program requires 48 credit hours, while the diploma program requires 57 credit hours. Both programs require students to take various levels of cosmetology courses and finish their program with a cosmetology review. Each program is often completed in 4 semesters, but diploma students must also take courses in communication, quantitative reasoning, and/or digital literacy.

18. Laney College

Laney College in Oakland, California, also provides a pair of different degree options and allows for greater flexibility in students’ schedules by offering day or evening classes. Students at the school can pursue a Certificate of Completion, which still qualifies them for the California State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology licensing exam, or an Associate in Arts (AA) in Cosmetology.

Students within the AA degree program are required to take 19 units of general education courses in addition to the required courses for the program. Students receive hands-on training during laboratories and should take courses in topics like:

  • Manicurist theory
  • Chemical services
  • Hairstyling
  • Facials
  • Cosmetology theory

19. Honolulu junior college 

Honolulu junior college in Honolulu, Hawaii, is a world-member school of Pivot Point. Pivot Point may be a unique training method in cosmetology that includes art, math, and science. Students at the varsity can pursue a certificate or associate’s degree in cosmetology to prepare for the State Board of Cosmetology Examination, or pursue the school’s unique cosmetology instructor program.

The cosmetology instructor program is meant for cosmetologists who are already licensed and have been working for at least one year. The program trains students specifically on teaching methods for the sector and requires a total of 600 hours of hands-on experience teaching, planning, and studying theory.

20. Campbellsville University 

It currently offers a certification program at the Technology Training Center School of Cosmetology. Our cosmetology school trains students with real-world knowledge so that they can obtain a license to work in a spa, salon, or other beauty-related company after graduating. Whether you would like to become a hairstylist, makeup artist, esthetician, salon owner, or cosmetology instructor, Campbellsville’s cosmetology classes provide the wisdom and knowledge to enter this creative, personable industry. Earning our certification won’t only prepare you with the technical mastery needed to be an expert stylist, but our foundation in Christian values will also facilitate the improvement in your customer service skills. 


Students curious about a degree in cosmetology, an associate in cosmetology, or a diploma in cosmetology should take their time and do their research to select the best program.

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

FAQs on Cosmetology Degrees

What are the duties of a cosmetologist?

Cosmetologists are liable for the following duties:

  • Using chemical solutions, like bleaches and dyes, and dealing with hair, like cuts, shampoos, styles, and colors.
  • Using scissors, clippers, curlers, straighteners, and dryers, among other items.
  • Wigs and hairpieces are cared for and sold by cosmetologists.

Do cosmetologists get rich?

Cosmetologists that are successful earn around $20 per hour. Like most occupations, you should not expect to earn a large wage in your first year as a cosmetologist.

How can I be a successful cosmetologist?

You’ll conquer the tough aspects of cosmetology as employment and feel rewarded for all the effort you’ve put in if you have a passion for hair and beauty and enjoy connecting with others. A career as a cosmetologist is also ideal for those who wish to be their own boss and have a lot of flexibility.

Can I switch my career to cosmology?

Making a decision on your career is crucial and can have a profound impact on your life, whether you are just out of high school or are thinking about changing careers later in life. If you’ve been thinking about going to beauty school, we’ve gathered a ton of data to help you determine if it’s the right match for you. Type your zip code in the field to the right to see schools nearby and learn more if you decide cosmetology is the field for you.

Do beauty schools offer to lodge for students or dorms?

The choice of accommodation is a crucial one, regardless of whether you are a recent high school graduate or not, you should make an alternative for lodging as many schools do not provide accommodation. 

Is it too late for me to enroll in cosmetology school and change my career?

No, definitely not! A job move to cosmetology, esthetics or another area connected to beauty is never too late in life. A career in cosmetology can be right for you if you have a desire for beauty and realize that it is necessary for a change. In fact, you might be able to employ a lot of your current talents in a cosmetology job.

Seeking to make the time to coordinate your professional career obligations with your new professional makeup timetable, your family’s standards, and emotional responses, and getting over your fear of a major midlife career change are a few things you may need to think about in order to make the transition to a cosmetology career.

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