Choosing Between Different Cosmetology School Programs

Comparing training programs?

If you are considering a career in beauty, but you’re not sure whether you’d like to be a cosmetology generalist, or a specialist and pursue a more specific field of beauty, we can help. We have compiled clear and concise information to help you learn the differences between your various beauty course options. Below is a brief overview of each of the main programs you can study in beauty school, and some of the classes you can expect to take in each, so you can choose which is right for you. If you are ready to explore your school options for one or more of the programs below, simply enter your zip code in the search box to the right.

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How do I choose a cosmetology school?

Student Learning to Do HairThere are many factors you should consider when choosing a cosmetology school. To answer this question better we put together an all-new page the gives you step-by-step instructions on how to choose a beauty school, as well as the Top 14 Questions to Ask Your Admissions Representative at a beauty school, and a checklist of the things you should consider when making your final decision. Check them out!

The short answer, though, is that the best way to choose a cosmetology school is to make a complete list of questions you need answered in order to make an educated decision. Different people are looking for different things in a beauty college, but there are several things to you can do to ensure that the beauty school you choose meets your needs. Choosing the perfect beauty school is a breeze once you have a checklist of questions to ask admissions representatives.

Ask the beauty academies' admissions reps you are considering if they have access to an in-student salon to get hands-on practice, and whether they teach you to practice your beauty skills on mannequin heads or real models. Ask about financial aid such as scholarships, grants, loans and payment plans. What about scheduling - do they offer flexible class schedules, and part-time or full-time schooling? Visit a local salon or spa and speak with one of the employees or managers and ask for their recommendations. What beauty schools jump out at them as producing very hirable graduates? Don't be afraid to ask a beauty school for references from recent graduates! Read more about choosing the best cosmetology schools.

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What is the difference between beauty school and cosmetology school?

There really is not much of a difference between beauty school and cosmetology school - they are basically synonymous. Sometimes the term “beauty school” is used to encompass any school that offers any beauty program regardless of whether it’s comprehensive or niche, whereas “cosmetology school” may refer specifically to schools that offer the full-length program that includes hair, makeup, nails and some skin care. (Basically, a cosmetology school is always a beauty school, but a beauty school is not always a cosmetology school.) You'll find that regardless of which term an institution uses to label itself, the courses and programs they offer are similar. Both types of campus may offer an assortment of beauty programs ranging from a comprehensive cosmetology curriculum, to more specific programs like nail technology, esthetics and skincare, makeup artistry, hairstyling, and so on.

What is the difference between hair school and beauty school?

Young Barber Client

It depends. Hair schools and beauty schools may be identical if you are referring to a cosmetology college that teaches hairstyling skills along with a variety of other spa beauty services. However, there are many schools that offer only a hair design program that covers skills such as cutting, coloring and styling hair. These schools may also teach how to do scalp analysis, shampooing and conditioning, hair sculpting and styling, hair relaxing, curling and more. Basically, all hair all the time! These schools may train someone specifically to become a hairdresser, but not to do other services like makeup and nails. This hairdresser training may only be available in states that offer a hairstylist license separate from the standard cosmetologist license. These are sometimes referred to as hair design schools. Regardless of how a school labels itself, you should make sure to ask the beauty school or hair school which programs and beauty classes they offer. p>

What is the difference between barber school and beauty school?

It depends. Some beauty schools may include specific programs dedicated to teaching you how to become a barber, along with other programs. Other schools are specifically barber schools that are independent, separate entities from beauty or cosmetology programs. A barber school focuses specifically on short hair and shaving services for male clientele. The main difference that sets barber schools apart is that the vast majority of their clients are male, so some courses will be tailored to services specifically for men, such as facial shaving like traditional straight razor shaves and modern safety razor shaves. Many states do not allow cosmetologists to perform these services, only barbers.

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What is the difference between make-up artist school and beauty school?

There are many schools that focus exclusively on makeup artistry training, and they specialize only in cosmetics and their application. However, there are also many cosmetology schools that offer comprehensive beauty programs that include makeup classes. To be sure you’re getting the training you want to become a professional makeup artist, make sure to ask the schools you are considering what makeup courses they offer as a part of their beauty program. Some states do not offer makeup artist licenses, or include it in a full cosmetology license – so be sure to ask about that, as well. Those who decide to attend a makeup-specific program can learn how to apply cosmetics for a variety of purposes, including but not limited to day-to-day makeup looks, portrait photography or modeling, broadcast and film, weddings, costume and theater, and more. The career options after this type of training range very widely, and some consider this to be one of the most creative of the beauty specialties.

What is the difference between a beauty school, college, academy or institute?

There is no difference between a beauty college, beauty academy or beauty school. Those terms are usually interchangeable. Often it has to do with how the cosmetology institution chooses to brand itself to prospective students (you!). They should offer similar classes to prepare you for your beauty career of choice. Whether they choose to call themselves schools, colleges or academies, make sure to ask them what beauty programs and courses they offer. It is important to find training and classes that fit your interests and needs, and that will set you up for the career you want.

Should I visit the cosmetology school before choosing?

If it's possible, you should absolutely visit and tour the schools you are considering. Visiting the campuses of potential beauty schools is important to get an accurate feel for how the institution works. It is the perfect opportunity to watch the cosmetology teachers in action as they educate beauty school students on the tricks of the trade. It is also your chance to ask any questions left on your list of the admissions representatives, teachers and other beauty students to make sure the school is a good match for you. If you are pursuing a specific program such as hair, nails, skin or makeup, campus visits are perfect for finding out how well a school covers that aspect of beauty. Tours are highly recommended.

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Should I only search for cosmetology schools in close proximity to where I live?

Not necessarily. While there are many beauty students who decide to attend the closest beauty school to where they live, many other students are willing to commute or relocate in order to attend cosmetology. Perhaps there are no schools near you that teach your program of choice - such as makeup or laser training. However, there are definitely beauty schools throughout the nation that do have those programs and would be happy to accept your application for enrollment. While some people prefer to attend beauty school close to home, some are a little more adventurous and choose to go out-of-state to get beauty education. The most important thing is to find the best school for you, wherever that may be. However, almost all beauty schools do not offer student housing, so if you do decide to relocate for school, you will likely be responsible for finding your own living accommodations.

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