Beauty schools that are labeled "accredited" have met certain academic and institutional requirements established by the cosmetology school accrediting organizations. Typically these organizations comprise schools with similar training programs and curricula, and they establish consistent eligibility criteria and an index to measure beauty schools against. NACCAS is not a government agency, but the United States Department of Education recognizes their authority in accrediting cosmetology schools and beauty schools. Accreditation helps preserve the integrity and quality of education in the cosmetology field.
Some of the factors that accrediting organizations look for are the cosmetology school's curriculum, quality of education, facilities, staff, and admission policies. NACCAS in particular accredits schools based on standards and criteria in a number of different areas:
- Educational Objectives
- Institutional Evaluation
- Instructional Staff
- Administrative Services
- Admissions Policies & Procedures
- Student Support Services
- Financial Practices & Management
- Instructional Space & Facilities
- Student Evaluations
- Courses of Study & Programs
The steps to NACCAS accreditation for beauty schools includes getting the school properly licensed, attending an accreditation workshop, completing an institutional self-study and having a candidate consultation visit, filling out the necessary applications and paying the required fees, and then having an initial accreditation full team visit, among other steps. Accredited schools are re-evaluated at least every six years, and they must continue living up to the established standards to keep their accreditation active. If they fall short of the requirements, they are assigned an amount of time to correct the issues. (Note that massage school accreditation follows different criteria.)
Being accredited means that the school meets national education performance standards established by the agency. While an unaccredited beauty school may live up to the same standards, being accredited is a reliable signal that the school has been objectively evaluated and meets high standards for quality in serving students. Attending an accredited beauty school can also improve your chances of finding employment after graduating and getting licensed, because many employers look for people who got their education at certified institutions. The primary advantage of choosing a cosmetology school that is "accredited" is its ability to offer federal financial aid resources to beauty school students who qualify . All that said, while accreditation is important to most beauty schools, there are still tons of excellent beauty schools available that are not yet accredited but are working on attaining that status.
Schools are required to publish exam pass rates and job placement rates ever since the Gainful Employment laws Job placement rate typically looks at how many people are working in jobs directly related to the field of study at any point since their graduation date. This information is usually collected through surveys of past graduates, and it is reported annually to the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences . Our survey of 70 beauty schools shows that the participating schools had a 93.98% board exam pass rate.
Another way to find out a beauty school's graduation rate is to request information from cosmetology schools admissions’ representatives directly. When you use this site to find beauty schools near you, an admissions representative will typically respond to your inquiry within 24 to 48 hours. When the admissions rep calls you, you can ask any specific questions you have about graduation and dropout rates. You may also wish to ask about how many people land cosmetology jobs after graduating beauty school in order to make an educated decision. You can also try contacting the licensing board for the state you're considering going to school in for more information about the graduation, dropout and job placement rates at schools in your area.