Best 15 Cosmetology Schools in Arizona (2022)
Every career journey starts with one small step. Picking the right beauty school can be the beginning of your dream career, so we've put together a list of the top 15 cosmetology schools in Arizona to help you get started.
Read on to learn more about cosmetology school hours and timelines, curriculum requirements, student reviews, and more.
Top Cosmetology Schools in Arizona
Top Cosmetology Schools in Arizona (Full List)
As well as offering courses in esthetics, hair, and laser services, Penrose Academy is the first school in Arizona to be approved by the U.S. Department of Education to offer a cosmetology hybrid online and in-person program.
The 1,500-hour, 47-week program combines hands-on techniques and classroom sessions with distance learning online and at your convenience, making it easy to fit in around other commitments. It runs on a four-day schedule and covers various topics, from cutting, coloring, and styling, to extensions, nails, skin treatments, and business training.
The school has partnerships with leading brands such as Davines, Hattori Hanzo, Joico, and CND, and works with the Pivot Point Lab 2.0 curriculum. It also has a 70-chair student salon and four-chair beauty bar, where students can practice their skills.
"Good combination of classroom and hands-on learning," says one reviewer on Indeed. "The school made everything very interactive for each student. It also had good Technology for educational purposes."
The East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT) offers two cosmetology programs—one for high schoolers and one for adult learners. Both take 1,600 hours to complete, around 13 months for adults or four semesters for high schoolers.
Students learn the technical skills necessary for a successful future career in cosmetology, nails, hairstyling, makeup artistry, or esthetics. The programs also include instruction in hygiene, equipment sanitizing, customer relations, and salon management.
Reviews from former students are good, such as this testimonial from one alumnus on Indeed: "Great school for high schoolers to learn a trade for super cheap, sometimes free. If your grades and attendance are good you'll be able to apply. I'm a licensed cosmetologist and EVIT paid for my schooling that would've cost me $35,000."
This popular Tucson school offers students programs in esthetics, hairstyling, nail technology, student instruction, and cosmetology. Students can take the 1,600-hour cosmetology program during the day (over 48 weeks) or at night (over 52 weeks) full-time. Tucson College of Beauty provides comprehensive instruction and hands-on training in hair care, skin care, nails, and makeup, with an emphasis on using Paul Mitchell Hair Care Systems. The school is also a Dermalogica Partner School and is MAC Cosmetics affiliated.
Students study a wide range of beauty-based topics, including hair cutting, coloring, styling, and texture, skin care, nails, massage, makeup, hair removal, chemistry, anatomy, and physiology. They can also practice their newly learned techniques in the school's onsite salon and spa.
"The best college of beauty," says one former student. "I recently graduated from this amazing school and I was sad to go. Love all the instructors and staff, but most of all Mrs. Carr the lead director. You will get the best education here! Such a fun learning environment! I am so proud to now be an alumni 2020!"
As an Aveda Institute, this school is committed to giving students a well-rounded education that expands their creativity and sharpens and hones their talents. Between 2011 and 2020, Aveda Institute students represented 37 of the 50 NAHA Student Hairstylist of the Year nominees and seven of the 10 winners.
The Institute's 1,600-hour cosmetology program teaches hair cutting, color and texture services, nail care, makeup application, business development, retail knowledge, and gaining and retaining clients. The school encourages extracurricular experiences, including studying abroad, working alongside professional Aveda hair and makeup teams backstage on the New York and London Fashion Week runways, or pairing with professional photographers at the North American Hairstyling Awards.
The school has positive reviews on Indeed, such as, "Provided a great combination of both classroom time and time on the floor (working with real clients instead of mannequin heads.) The atmosphere was very spa like which made it more inviting for guests and it made me feel more comfortable knowing that would be the type of environment I'd be working in in the future."
At the Toni & Guy Hairdressing Academy's Scottsdale campus, students learn the brand's Classics curriculum, including 11 cutting techniques and nine types of coloring. Once they complete their studies, students leave the school with a fundamental education in hairdressing, expertise in products, makeup, and skin care, an understanding of the salon experience, and how to further their professional development.
The Academy's 1,600-hour cosmetology program splits into five levels. Students focus on all aspects of cosmetology during the freshman and sophomore phases, with a mixture of theory and practice on mannequins and models. After completing the freshman level, students advance to the junior, senior, and graduating senior levels, where they start working with clients.
"My experience at Toni & Guy Hairdressing Academy taught me and prepared me for more than I could have ever dreamed of," says one reviewer on Indeed. "Not only was the curriculum strict and challenging, it was also fun and efficient. Also, we got plenty of insight to the inner workings of active salons via salon tours and in-class speakers representing local salons."
Studio Academy's Chandler campus was established in 2006 as the school's flagship location. Its 1,600-hour cosmetology program covers various topics and techniques, including hair cutting and styling, coloring and lightening, chemical waving and relaxing, facials, makeup, manicuring, Arizona state laws, and professional business practices. The school offers flexible schedules with both day and night classes available, so it's easy to fit in around other commitments.
"I am a student here and I personally love this environment," says one learner on Facebook. "All of these instructors are extremely knowledgeable of their profession and they share and teach it well. The services are awesome! Everyone is always so friendly. Protocols are always followed and they teach us to be extremely thorough. I am so excited and sad to graduate at the same time, I wish I could never leave!"
This Tempe beauty school, part of the Aveda Institute family, offers students the choice of programs in cosmetology or esthiology. As a brand, Aveda is committed to caring for the world we live in, from the products it makes to how it gives back to society. Because of this, it focuses on the use of cruelty-free products with naturally derived ingredients and 100% post-consumer recycled PET packaging.
The school's cosmetology program takes 1,600 hours and includes training in hair cutting, color, and texture services, skin and nail care, makeup artistry, and business development.
Reviews are favorable, such as this testimonial from one former cosmetology student on Indeed: "There's a great balance of classroom and service floor time. You're not going to perform a service without any education and hands on time in the classroom."
Located just minutes from downtown Phoenix, this Paul Mitchell the School campus is another great place to pursue your education in hair and beauty and launch your dream career. Students can choose from programs in cosmetology, esthetics, and teacher training.
The school's cosmetology program takes 1,600 hours to complete and moves students through three different levels of training. Core focuses on the fundamentals of cutting, color, texture, styling, skin and nails, and an introduction to Paul Mitchell culture. Adaptive lets students practice their techniques in the classroom and clinics. Creative is where Future Professionals begin to expand their skills and learn more advanced techniques. An optional Phase Two program is also available for those who want to further their studies.
"This is an AMAZING school!!" says one Facebook reviewer. "The teachers are everything here!! Shirley is the most amazing she pushes you to be the best you are!! Michael is the most creative person ever I'm so happy I had him for core!! I love being on the floor with Sara Nike and Veronica because they are just the best!! All reviews should be 5 stars for this school and if they aren't they are delusional!!!!"
This popular Mesa school offers students programs in esthetics, cosmetology, and student instruction—as well as add-on classes in makeup artistry and hair extensions. The school's cosmetology program takes 55 weeks to complete on a daytime schedule or 86 weeks on a nighttime schedule and moves through three distinct stages of training.
Stage one covers basic theory and instruction in hair design, cutting, coloring, styling, texture, disinfection and sanitation, skin care, and nail care. Stage two builds upon these skills, moving on to advanced hair care techniques, nail care, business training, product upselling, and state board preparation. The final stage focuses on career development, with classes in resume preparation, interview skills, and job search assistance.
"Amazing school to study everything of what you are passionate about," says one reviewer on Yelp. "Great teachers, incredible classmate, amazing programs, and really entertaining. They offer day (full time) and night (part time) shift, so you can be able to accommodate on whatever schedule. There's only few in the country so I would suggest to take the opportunity to study on a great school. Just remember good stuff ain't cheap."
Just like its Mesa campus, at the Avalon School of Cosmetology's Phoenix location, students can choose from programs in esthetics, cosmetology, and student instruction and take optional extra classes.
The school's cosmetology program takes between 55 and 86 weeks to complete (depending on whether you attend during the day or at night) and covers various beauty-based topics and techniques. Students also practice their skills in the school's onsite spa salon while under the instruction of qualified expert educators.
One recent reviewer on Indeed has this to say about their experience: "This was a lot of hands on training, it is a very good program for anyone to attend. A typical day would either be hands on with an actual client or learning a curriculum hands on for half of the day. Then the other half hands on learning."
Turning Point gives students a thorough education in hair and beauty and offers five programs to choose from—cosmetology, cosmetology instructor, hair styling, esthetics, and nails. The school opened its first campus in Arizona in 2000 as the first Asian minority-owned beauty college in the state and is proud of its strong Asian, Hispanic, and veteran student body. The Chandler campus opened in the fall of 2020 and offers a spacious 6,800 square feet facility with a large clinic floor.
The school's 1,600-hour cosmetology program takes 54 weeks to complete and teaches students how to work with clients of all backgrounds through various courses, including makeup application, hair cutting techniques, manicures, pedicures, nail care, skin treatments, and waxing.
Reviews on Indeed are positive, with testimonials such as this from a recent alumnus: "Good teachers who are very knowledgeable. They can get you where you need to go. Smaller class sizes and local so no driving too far to go to school here."
Charles of Italy offers students programs in cosmetology, nail technology, massage therapy, and cosmetology instructor training. The school first opened its doors in 1981 and has two campuses in Lake Havasu City and Bullhead City.
The school's cosmetology program covers a wide variety of hair and beauty techniques. Students can take between 30 and 35 hours of classes per week, meaning they are normally ready to take the state board licensure exams in around 11.5 months. Students learn through a mixture of theory and hands-on instruction and practice their techniques in the onsite salon.
"I am super stoked to be in this place taking classes," says one Facebook reviewer. "Omg it's an amazing group of people and it's going to be an amazing learning experience. Thank you so much, with all of my heart to you all there."
For more than 80 years, Empire Beauty School has been providing cosmetology education for future professionals, with its first Wilkes-Barre, PA location opening in 1935. This campus, based in Avondale, AZ, opened in 2013 and offers courses in cosmetology and educator training.
The cosmetology program takes 1,600 hours to complete and teaches students a wide variety of hair, nail, skin techniques, and business practices and marketing. Several scholarships are available for those who qualify, including over 100 high school scholarships, $1,000 Good Attendance Scholarships, and the Empire Beauty School Gives Back Cosmetology Educational Endowment Program for students who have been living in anti-domestic violence program shelters.
"I just joined Miss Allison's class this module," says one Facebook reviewer, "and it's been a great experience all around. The school itself is really good as well, the atmosphere is very welcoming and the people here are extremely helpful."
This family-owned beauty school has served the community for over 60 years, having first opened in 1962. It offers students programs in cosmetology, cosmetology instruction, and nail technology.
The school's 1,600-hour cosmetology program gives students practical, hands-on experience and the basic knowledge and theory to build a successful future career as a cosmetologist. Students spend 450 hours in the classroom, where learners discover a variety of design principles, technical information, and professional practices. The remaining 1,150 hours occur in the clinic area, where students gain practical experience working with paying clientele under the close supervision of licensed instructors.
Reviews on Indeed are positive, such as this comment from one recent graduate: "Lots of one on one instruction. Teachers More than willing to Help with extra training and Super Patient. Good field trips, lots of guest speakers and side training from Guests and outside instructors."
With programs in cosmetology, esthetics, nail technology, and educator training, Empire Beauty School's Tucson campus is another great choice for anyone wishing to enter the world of hair and beauty. As with all Empire schools, this facility is accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences (NACCAS), which holds its members to a high standard of quality.
Its cosmetology program covers a wide range of hair and beauty topics, including hair cutting, design, color, texture, nail care, skin care, and business and retail training. All cosmetology students receive a full student kit upon enrollment, including all the tools, products, and curriculum materials needed to complete the program.
"I am a recent graduate from Empire Beauty School and if I could do it again I would!" says one testimonial on the school's website. "The teachers are amazing and really want you to learn and know everything that they know."
How We Ranked Arizona Cosmetology Programs
The cosmetology schools ranked are accredited or state-approved to provide cosmetology programming according to the licensing requirements in the state. We researched schools that qualified as Title IV institutions and had an average of at least 25 students enrolled in the most recent 3 academic years of available data (2018 - 2020). These schools are all within 50 miles of a major city center and had a weighted 3-year average graduation rate (2018, 2019, and 2020) greater than 50%. After filtering for those requirements, we sorted the remaining programs by the highest weighted average graduation rate to determine the top 15 cosmetology schools in Arizona.
Graduation rate and student enrollment data are from the U.S. Department of Education's Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) reports. Schools with key data points missing from IPEDS reports may be omitted from the ranking, as are schools with data that is unattributable to its beauty programs. Many excellent educational institutions—including community colleges—offering a wide variety of vocational programs may, as a result, not be represented on these rankings of top beauty schools.