Cosmetology is the study of different areas of beauty, from hairstyles to cosmetics, nail care to skin care. Cosmetologists, or beauticians, study trends in the beauty industry by examining entertainment and fashion industries. They enjoy helping people look their best. A beautician has excellent interviewing skills as well as an innate sense of style. A successful cosmetologist must be able to determine what a customer is looking for and then help translate that wish into a 'look' that is flattering to the customer. There are many areas of specialty within the cosmetology arena, although a cosmetologist is generally expected to be able to provide services in all of the following areas of personal service: hair, makeup, nails and skin care.

As a hairstylist, a beautician is expected to perform a variety of haircut styles. They must be able to apply hair dyes, chemical relaxers and permanent wave chemicals. A cosmetologist may be asked to chemically straighten one client's hair and then give a permanent wave to the next. They are also expected to provide advice concerning hair problems. A cosmetologist may be expected to give a spectacular hairstyle to a bride on her wedding day, or attend a beauty pageant with a contestant to help prepare her hairstyles for competition.

As a nail technician, a beautician is expected to give manicures and pedicures. Both usually include softening the skin, removing calluses and then trimming the nails. They should also be able to offer a customer the latest innovations available in nail polish styles and techniques.

With skin care, a beautician should be able to do facials, which involve properly cleaning the skin, removing blemishes such as pimples and blackheads, and then administering proper moisturizer. Advising clients about skin care is a very important part of a cosmetologist's job, as proper skin care greatly impacts an individual's appearance, self-confidence and demeanor.

In the area of skin care, a cosmetologist will also learn proper makeup application and techniques. This is perfect for someone interested in working in the entertainment area as a makeup artist or someone interested in working in the makeup industry. In a beauty salon setting, a cosmetologist may be asked to apply makeup for someone on their wedding day or for someone about to be photographed for a special occasion.

How to Achieve a Career as a Beautician

Someone interested in becoming a beautician must attend a beauty school for training and be licensed as a cosmetologist in the state in which they plan to practice. A beauty school candidate may want to locate an accredited beauty school as their first step towards becoming a cosmetologist. A typical cosmetology program will take 9-15 months to complete.


Accreditation of schools of cosmetology arts and sciences is performed by the National Accrediting Commission of Cosmetology Arts and Science (NACCAS), which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. In order to become an accredited beauty school, the school is held to certain standards such as admission policies, education offered, qualifications of instructors as well as the curriculum.

Pursuing a Career in Cosmetology

Most cosmetology schools require that the individual have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are no entrance exam requirements: This is a profession that may be pursued by anyone dedicated to providing optimal personal care service to other people.

Course of Study

Lectures, textbook study, and hands on salon work are all part of obtaining the proper training in cosmetology. Some of the courses that an individual may expect to take during beauty school include hair cutting techniques, mixing chemicals for hair dye, and applying foils to achieve a particular look. Cosmetology students may even take some business classes, as many beauticians are independent contractors basically running their own business.

A great deal of time is spent working on mannequins as well as real people. Many beauty schools offer reduced-pricing for locals who come to the beauty college so the students can practice their new skills on the public. This real world experience will enable a beautician to enter the workplace with confidence upon graduation.

Cosmetologist Licensing Requirements

Each state requires cosmetologists to be licensed. Since cosmetologists must work in a very clean environment, part of their training required includes sanitation. Most states require at least 1600 hours of actual training before someone is able to obtain a license as a cosmetologist, although this varies from state to state. After training, most cosmetologists must sit for a licensing examination in order to complete the qualifications for a cosmetology license.

Obtaining additional education in the form of seminars and continuing education courses enable a cosmetologist to remain informed and current on the latest trends in the industry. This will enable the cosmetologist to provide the best care and advice to clients.

We found 1186 schools offering cosmetology degree programs in the U.S.

>> See all 1186 Cosmetologist Colleges in the U.S.

Cosmetology Schools By Total Enrollment

Houston Community College System
Houston, TX  |  Total Enrollment: 40929

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years
Santa Monica College
Santa Monica, CA  |  Total Enrollment: 27868

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years
Santa Ana College
Santa Ana, CA  |  Total Enrollment: 27571

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years
San Diego City College
San Diego, CA  |  Total Enrollment: 27165

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years
North Harris Montgomery Community College District
The Woodlands, TX  |  Total Enrollment: 24554

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's
Cerritos College
Norwalk, CA  |  Total Enrollment: 24536

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's
El Camino College
Torrance, CA  |  Total Enrollment: 24067

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years
Oakland Community College - Bloomfield Hills Campus
Bloomfield Hills, MI  |  Total Enrollment: 23188

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years
Pasadena City College
Pasadena, CA  |  Total Enrollment: 22948

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years
Riverside Community College
Riverside, CA  |  Total Enrollment: 22107

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years

Browse All 1186 Colleges With Cosmetology Programs

Title City State Enrollment
A Arts College of Beauty Eugene OR 41
A Cut Above - Indianapolis Indianapolis IN 137
Aarons Academy of Beauty Waldorf MD 38
Abbott Academy of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences Saint Peters MO 52
Academy of Beauty Culture Grand Junction CO 60
Academy of Cosmetology Charleston SC 343
Academy of Creative Hair Design Kingston PA 6
Academy of Hair Design Las Vegas NV 97
Academy of Hair Design Canton OH 36
Academy of Hair Design Hazelton PA 47
Academy of Hair Design Lufkin TX 60
Academy of Hair Design Houston TX 56
Academy of Hair Design Beaumont TX 21
Academy of Hair Design Wenatchee WA 61
Academy of Hair Design - Poway Poway CA 249
Academy of Hair Design Four Pearl MS 48
Academy of Hair Design Inc Salina KS 36
Academy of Hair Design Inc Salem OR 35
Academy of Hair Design One Grenada MS 40
Academy of Hair Design Three Jackson MS 76
Academy of Hair Technology Greenville SC 75
Adam & Eve College of Cosmetology Inc Independence MO No Data
Adirondack Beauty School Glens Falls NY 25
Adrians Beauty College of Turlock Turlock CA 62
Adult & Continuing Education - Bcts Hackensack NJ 77
Advanced - Basic Hair Design Training Center Merritt Island FL 71
Advanced Institute of Hair Design Greenfield WI 55
Advanced Institute of Hair Design Milwaukee WI 56
Aesthetics Institute of Cosmetology Gaithersburg MD 20
Ailano School of Cosmetology Brockton MA 30
Aims Community College Greeley CO 6948
Alabama Southern Community College Monroeville AL 1261
Alamance Community College Graham NC 3414
Alameda Beauty College Alameda CA 100
Albany Technical College Albany GA 2444
Alexandria Academy of Beauty Culture Alexandria LA 58
Alhambra Beauty College Alhambra CA 115
Allan Hancock College Santa Maria CA 12110
Allentown School of Cosmetology Allentown PA 61
Altamaha Technical College Jesup GA 1110
Altamore School of Cosmetology Inc Machesney Park IL 33
Altoona Area Vocational Technical School Altoona PA 154
Altoona Beauty School Inc Altoona PA 48
Alvareitas College of Cosmetology Godfrey IL 31
Alvareitas College of Cosmetology Edwardsville IL 28
American Academy of Cosmetology Danbury CT 45
American Academy of Hair Design Topeka KS 78
American Barber Institute Inc New York NY No Data
American Beauty Academy Wheaton MD 22
American Beauty College Bellflower CA 23
American Beauty College San Antonio TX 47
American Beauty Institute Mcalester OK 18
American College of Hair Design Inc Sedalia MO 32
Americana Beauty College #2 Colorado Springs CO 78
Anderson County Beauty College Palestine TX 16
Anson College of Cosmetology Wadesboro NC 15
Apex Academy of Hair Design Inc Anderson IN 27
Appalachian Beauty School South Williamson KY 20
Appalachian Technical College Jasper GA 950
Arkadelphia Beauty College Arkadelphia AR 29
Arkansas Beauty School Conway AR 19
Arkansas Beauty School Little Rock AR 25
Arkansas Career Training Institute Hot Springs AR 139
Arkansas Valley Technical Institute Ozark AR 455
Arnold - Padricks University of Cosmetology Forest Park GA 58
Arthur Angelo School - Providence Providence RI 213
Arthurs Beauty College Inc Jacksonville AR 54
Arthurs Beauty College Inc - Fort Smith Fort Smith AR 46
Artistic Academy of Hair Design Morris Plains NJ 63
Artistic Beauty Colleges - Arvada Arvada CO 35
Artistic Beauty Colleges - Flagstaff Flagstaff AZ 11
Artistic Beauty Colleges - Glendale Glendale AZ 90
Artistic Beauty Colleges - Lakewood Lakewood CO 83
Artistic Beauty Colleges - Phoenix Glendale AZ 95
Artistic Beauty Colleges - Scottsdale Scottsdale AZ 70
Artistic Beauty Colleges - Thornton Thornton CO 55
Artistic Beauty Colleges - Tucson Tucson AZ 124
Artistic Beauty Colleges - Westminster Westminster CO 87
Ashland School of Beauty Culture Ashland KY 88
Ashland Technical College Ashland KY 503
Ashtabula County Joint Vocational School Jefferson OH 115
Asian American International Beauty College Westminster CA 221
Athens Technical College Athens GA 2747
Atlanta Technical College Atlanta GA 2884
Atlantic County Vocational Technical School Mays Landing NJ 175
Atlantic Technical Center Coconut Creek FL 1570
Augusta Technical College Augusta GA 3265
Austins School of Spa Technology Albany NY 62
Avance Beauty College San Diego CA 19
Avanti Hair Tech Altamonte Sprin FL 42
Avanti Hair Tech Lakeland FL 25
Avanti Hair Tech Winter Park FL 39
Aveda Institute Minneapolis MN 369
Aveda Institute - Baton Rouge Baton Rouge LA 75
Aveda Institute - Lafayette Lafayette LA 79
Award Beauty School Hagerstown MD 14
Baldwin Beauty School Austin TX 95
Baldwin Beauty School 5 Austin TX 60
Baltimore Studio of Hair Design Baltimore MD 76
Barrett and Company School of Hair Design Nicholasville KY 49
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