What is the cost of cosmetology school?

Concerned About The Cost Of Cosmetology School?

One of the very first concerns beauty school students have is how much it's going to cost, and how they're going to pay for it. We’ve conducted surveys of both beauty schools and beauty school graduates to answer the most common questions about the cost of becoming a cosmetologist. Here, you’ll find answers from beauty schools about the specific training programs, as well as the ways students choose to pay for school. From tuition costs to financial aid options, we have all the information right here to help you make your decision about paying for cosmetology school.

You might be wondering…Why are we your best resource for figuring out the cost of cosmetology training? Here’s why:

  • We have over 40 years of combined experience helping students discover their beauty school options.
  • We give you free access to thousands of pages of information about licensing, programs, and countless FAQ’s to answer your top questions.
  • We offer a simple way for you to narrow your beauty school options by state and program – so you can move towards a career as quickly as possible!
  • We are real people who will do whatever it takes to answer your questions.
  • We also offer a beauty school scholarship opportunity four time a year to help students like you pay for school!

Are you excited to start contacting cosmetology schools?

Excellent! It’s essential to discuss your dream of going to cosmetology school with the people who can help make it happen! If you want to work in a creative career where you can apply your flair in hair, makeup, and many other areas, you’ve chosen well!

To get going, just use our simple search functions to filter by:

  • State
  • Type of beauty program
  • Zip code

Ready to get your beauty school questions answered?

Jump to Your Question:

    What Is The Average Cost Of Beauty School - 2017?

    Every cosmetology student needs to ask this one question before enrolling in any program—“How much is cosmetology school going to cost me?” That’s one of the first pieces of advice we would give any students weighing the decision to go to cosmetology school. Once you learn how much it costs, you can start planning.

    Here are a few tips for handling your financial responsibilities:

    • Talk to beauty school advisors to create a plan for funding.
    • Look for schools with Federal, private, and scholarship options.
    • Check out 3-5 schools before making a decision.
    • Remember tuition costs and fees can vary greatly between beauty schools.

    When applying for beauty school, you might realize that cosmetology programs can be significantly more affordable than a traditional four-year university program. They can also be completed on more efficient timelines than other degree programs in many cases. Yes, you can find Associate’s programs in cosmetology that take 18-24 months, but there are many diploma and certificate programs that can be finished in about 12 months, that get you the same skills.

    So, the length of the program and type of degree or certificate awarded can affect the cost. Here are some other factors that can impact your cost of tuition and fees:

    Location. Location. Location.

    Cosmetology schools inside or close to major metropolitan cities like New York or Boston will likely endure higher costs for the whole program, whereas smaller, more rural areas or suburbs usually have a smaller price tag.

    Our survey of 55 cosmetology schools says that the cost of cosmetology school in a large city averages between $10,000 and $20,000.

    The same comprehensive cosmetology program in a rural area could cost closer to $6,500.

    Reducing Costs Through Specialized Cosmetology Programs

    One of the great things about cosmetology is number of specialized programs, opportunities for training, and continuing education available. Students who just want to focus on makeup, for example, can find programs that just develop those skills. These can be great ways to enhance your current credentials; especially if you have a cosmetology or esthetician license.

    Additional specialty program areas in cosmetology include:

    • Makeup artistry
    • Laser training
    • Permanent makeup
    • Hair design
    • Massage therapy
    • Salon management
    • Teacher training
    • And more!

    And did you know… If you choose a more specific program, like esthetics, nail technology or makeup artistry, the cost of beauty school could be much less! These programs often cost anywhere between $3,000 and $5,000 depending on the beauty program and location of the cosmetology school.

    That’s because cosmetology programs offer a full scope of skills, including:

    • Hair design
    • Nail technology
    • Makeup artistry
    • Esthetics

    You won’t get quite the focused education in esthetics or makeup artistry in a traditional cosmetology program, but you will learn the skills necessary to perform most salon and spa work. Specialized programs teach you those advanced skills in a specific area that can help you stand out.

    For instance, if you want to become a makeup artist, you might take a collection of workshops and classes to develop the abilities to work in these areas:

    • Bridal
    • Theatrical, Film and television
    • Runway modeling
    • Special event
    • Advertising

    Individuals that want to work in special effects in Hollywood will need to seek a completely different set of classes than someone who want to work in bridal makeup. This is one way to get a focused education without paying for the full costs of a cosmetology program. Of course, the real issue is how to get the career training you need at the price that you can afford!

    Want to know what cosmetology graduates have to say?

    Check out our beauty school survey…

    You only have to take a quick look at the survey below to realize the estimated costs of beauty school can be all over the board. The survey respondents were from different states all across America, and had taken different programs - some took the full cosmetology or barbering programs, whereas some took much shorter, more specific programs like nail technology or esthetics and skin care. As we mentioned above, all these factors and more can affect the cost of your tuition.

    How Much Is The Average Cost Of Beauty School…

    … After You Factor In Supplies?

    When you contact schools and discuss your financial obligations, don’t let the conversation end with tuition. Every beauty school has some forms of fees for supplies, use of equipment, and other learning materials you may need. Be sure you ask what the final cost will be for attending school – from start to finish.

    Ask to see a supply list, which will usually include:

    • Cosmetology kits
    • Frocks and aprons
    • Textbooks
    • Computers (may be necessary for programs with online courses)

    Some schools have specific vendors they recommend purchasing supplies and kits through, that matches up with their specific curriculum. Other cosmetology schools simply include the cost of supplies right into the total cost of tuition.

    What’s the Net Price Calculator for Cosmetology School?

    In 2011, the U.S. Department of Education began requiring all Title IV post-secondary institutions that enroll full-time students to feature a Net Price Calculator tool on their website. This net price calculator helps students estimate the total price they and their families can expect to pay for beauty school, including the cost of tuition and fees, books and supplies, other expenses, and room and board (if applicable), as well as the contribution of any grant aid or other financial aid. 

    Additionally, you need to map out your work/life/school balance on a calendar, so you can get a clear picture of what your life will be like. Be sure you include time for studying and practicing your core skills. It takes dedication and passion to become an awesome cosmetologist, no matter which career path you choose.

    Having a sound plan for paying for beauty school is half the equation. Make sure you understand what your repayment terms you will be responsible for. There can be a big difference between the interest rate for a federal loan versus a private loan. You might also have scholarship and grant opportunities to apply for as well.

    Okay, let’s recap these steps – and write them down, so you don’t forget:

    • Use the Net Price Calculator for each school you consider.
    • Create a calendar that outlines what your schedule could be while you train.
    • Work with school advisors to develop a plan.
    • Remember your goal is to borrow the least amount of money possible, at the lowest possible interest rate

    Do you see why it’s so important to speak with several schools to understand all your cosmetology school options, and costs for training?

    Is Beauty School Expensive?

    The average cost of a traditional four-year university is just under $24,000 per year according to the National Center for Education Statistics and has been rising steadily.

    Cosmetology school, on the other hand, typically costs less than $20,000 on average.

    This includes costs for an entire cosmetology program at most schools, and costs are often much less than that. So comparatively, beauty school programs are both shorter and cost much less than a traditional four-year school. But of course, whether a beauty school is "expensive" is completely relative to your financial situation. That’s why financial aid is essential…no matter how much you plan to spend on school.

    Our survey of beauty school students and graduates showed that more than 70% of them were either "somewhat concerned" or "very concerned" that they would be unable to pay for beauty school. However, when they learned the total cost, about 57% said they thought the cost was either "surprisingly cheap" or "affordable."  Only about 43% found it to be "expensive" or "impossibly expensive."

    We never recommend choosing a beauty school based only on cost, though we do include that very important piece on our How to Choose a Beauty School checklist.

    Be sure to request information from a handful of the top beauty schools near you to accurately compare your options and determine how much the total cost of your beauty school tuition and supplies will be. This is essential so you can plan accordingly.


    Do Beauty Schools Offer Financial Aid For Tuition?

    In short: Yes! Mostly…

    We can’t say for certain that every single beauty school offers financial aid options that you would consider suitable. So, here’s the deal…

     You can typically find three types of financial aid:

    • Federal loan and grant program
    • Private loan providers
    • Scholarship and grants

    Many accredited cosmetology schools offer a mix of all three of those types of financial aid. This is suitable for most students, when it comes to paying for the cost of cosmetology school. In very low cost schools that offer certificates or workshops, financing options might be available, since federal loans may not cover them. This can be true even in programs that aren’t accredited or mandatory.

    Some of those non-accredited cosmetology schools also offer private grants and scholarships to qualified students for their cosmetology school costs. In addition to speaking with school advisors, we recommend performing your own research for scholarship opportunities as well. You never know what you’ll stumble upon.

    Popular Cosmetology School Financial Aid Options

    Some financial aid options to cover cosmetology school costs for your beauty school may include:

    • Federal Pell Grant
    • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
    • Federal Work-Study
    • Federal Perkins Loan

    There are also numerous scholarships for cosmetology school you can apply for, though it was shocking to discover in our survey that only 22% of beauty school students bothered to apply for the scholarships available to them. 

    Don’t be one of the students that overlooks these opportunities!

    Scholarships do not have to be paid back, as long as you meet the terms and obligations outlined. This means…apply for all the scholarships you can find, as they are essentially free money for your education! You can check out our full list of scholarships and check back often, as we will continue to update the list. 

    Some of the cosmetology scholarships you could apply for include: 

    • NCEA Esthetician Scholarships
    • Cinta Aveda scholarships
    • ACE Grant
    • Sports Clip Scholarship
    • OPI scholarships
    • Massage Magazine Scholarship Program

    And of course… Beauty Schools Marketing Group offers our own $2,500 scholarship to help you pay for beauty school!  Be sure to apply!!!

    Do Cosmetology Schools Offer Scholarships?

    Why, yes! Many cosmetology schools like Empire Beauty Schools offer a full list of scholarships and financial aid as well. Don't let the price of tuition be the one obstacle that keeps you from pursuing your dreams of attending cosmetology school. In addition to planning and saving, make sure you are exhausting all your options for scholarships, grants, financing, payment plans and loans to ensure that you can pursue your dreams of becoming a licensed beauty professional.

    Want to discuss your options for cosmetology training?

    To learn more about the cost of beauty school average for programs near you, and what financial aid options you have, use our search tools to get started. And don’t forget to check out our scholarship opportunity for cosmetology students quarterly!

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