How Much Does Cosmetology School Cost?
The average cost of tuition at cosmetology school in 2019-2020 was just under $15,000 per year, but it can be as high as $25,000 or as low as $1,000, depending on where you go. While tuition is the bulk of the cost, there are other fees you’ll have to consider if you’ll plan to enroll in a cosmetology program.
The cost of cosmetology school is based on several factors, such as where you live, if the school has a particular specialization, and your state’s requirements for the number of hours you need to train before becoming licensed. Remember that program fees are only one component of cosmetology school costs: you may also need to pay for housing, supplies, and books.
Beauty School Tuition
Aside from living accommodation (which we’ll discuss below), tuition fees will likely be the highest cost of attending cosmetology school. In 2019-2020, the average cost of tuition in a Title IV program was $14,943. Fees can be much more or much less than this, depending on many factors, including:
To give you an idea of the range of costs at different types of schools across the country, check out the following table. In general, private schools affiliated with a hairdressing or cosmetics brand (such as Paul Mitchell or Aveda) are among the most expensive, especially when they’re in a major city.
On the other end of the scale, community colleges in more rural areas are among the most affordable. But there’s still a wide range within these broad parameters and being located outside a major city isn’t always an indication of lower-than-average tuition.
|Cosmetology School (Metro Area)||2019-2020 Tuition Cost|
|Aveda Institute (Los Angeles, California)||$24,474|
|Paul Mitchell (San Diego, California)||$21,867|
|Arkansas Beauty School (Little Rock, Arkansas)||$19,805|
|Toni & Guy Hairdressing Academy (Dallas, Texas)||$17,600|
|New England School of Hair Design (Lebanon, New Hampshire)||$17,301|
|Denham Springs Beauty School (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)||$14,500|
|UCAS University of Cosmetology Arts & Sciences (San Antonio, Texas)||$14,025|
|French Academy of Cosmetology (Spring Lake, Michigan)||$12,370|
|Sierra Beauty College (Merced, California)||$9,600|
|Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center (Scranton, Pennsylvania)||$8,625|
|Technical College of the Rockies (Delta, Colorado)||$7,421|
|Warrensburg Area Career Center (Kansas City, Missouri)||$5,940|
|Tennessee College of Applied Technology (Nashville, Tennessee)||$4,887|
Tuition data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) 2021.
Fortunately, financial aid may be available at some schools, depending on your situation. As you check out schools, ask if they are Title IV programs with access to federal financial aid and if they offer any scholarships to incoming students.
Room and Board for Cosmetology Students
The cost of room and board for cosmetology school will depend on whether you can live at home with family while you study at cosmetology school or whether you need to move to a different town, or even out of state, to attend. If you’re in the latter group, it’s important to budget for this cost, which can be large.
Some cosmetology schools have dorm housing, which can be a good way to make new friends if you have to move away from home to study. For example, La James College in Mason City, Iowa, has dorm accommodations for female beauty school students. This is an economical option that works out to about $150 per month for the room, much cheaper than most private housing options. The cosmetology college also keeps a list of non-school-owned apartments that they recommend if students prefer to live elsewhere.
Not all cosmetology schools have dorms, though. You may need to rent a room in a private house. The cost of this varies enormously around the country, with big cities like New York or Los Angeles costing much more than smaller towns. For example, the average rent in the District of Columbia is the highest in the country, at $2,324 per month for a one-bedroom apartment. Other high-cost states are Massachusetts, California, and New Jersey. West Virginia has the lowest average rents, at $628 per month. Other lower-cost states are Montana, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and Kansas.
Cost of Cosmetology Student Kits, Books, and Other Course Materials
Cosmetology school students will also need to pay for a range of other supplies, including course books, tablets, and beauty equipment and tools of the trade. Here are some average costs from higher-cost, average, and lower-cost cosmetology schools:
|School||Annual Tuition||Average Books and Supplies Cost|
|Aveda Institute (Los Angeles, California)||$24,474||$2,990|
|Denham Springs Beauty School (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)||$14,500||$950|
|Tennessee College of Applied Technology (Nashville, Tennessee)||$4,887||$1,256|
How Much Is a Student Kit for Beauty School?
The cost of a student kit for beauty school depends on its size and what’s included but is typically between $1,200 and $2,500.
A cosmetology student kit contains all the things you’ll need to practice your cosmetology specialty. Unlike many other subjects that just require textbooks, cosmetology is a practical field, and you’ll be tested on your ability to use specialist equipment. For example, student hairdressing kits at Paul Mitchell cosmetology schools include:
Incidental Expenses for Beginning Beauty Professionals
Tuition fees, accommodation, and course supplies aren’t the only costs associated with studying at beauty school. You’ll also encounter several other associated costs that should be budgeted for. For example, incidental expenses for beauty school can include:
Of course, if you plan to set up your own business rather than work for someone else, there will be a range of other associated costs, such as salon rent, furniture, utilities, accounting services, and marketing/advertising. This isn’t a common path for newly trained cosmetologists, though. Most prefer to get work experience as an employee for a few years before branching out as an independent business owner (if at all).
Sample Budget for Beauty Students
As you can see, many educational and locational factors determine the cost of cosmetology school. Before you enroll, it can help to develop a budget to see just how much you’ll need to make it work. Many people just consider tuition, but you’ll also want to factor in living expenses while in school—especially if you’ll be attending full-time and won’t have a significant income.
The following is a sample cost of attendance budget for Jane. She’s attending a private beauty school in small-town Michigan (French Academy of Cosmetology in Spring Lake, Michigan). She will rent a room in a house with other students, and she doesn’t need to use her car to get to school, so she can keep transportation costs low. Here’s approximately what she can expect to pay during her full-time, 10-month, 1,500-hour course, not including personal items or leisure activities, as estimated by the National Center for Education Statistics.
|Tuition and Fees||$12,370|
|Books and Supplies||$1,650|
|Off Campus Room and Board||$11,532|
|Michigan State Cosmetology License||$63|
|Total Cost of Attending Cosmetology School||$25,600 ($2,560/month for 10 months)|