How Much Does Cosmetology School Cost?

Though the cost of cosmetology school varies, most programs cost less than $20,000 to complete. You may find financial aid options for beauty school through state or federal government, beauty schools themselves, or professional or private organizations. However, federal student aid is only available to students if the school is accredited. Grants and scholarships are available as well.

The cost and requirements for cosmetology school are based on multiple factors, such as where you live, if the school has a particular specialization, the school's brand, and your state’s requirements for the number of hours you need to train before becoming licensed.

Cosmetology School Tuition

Aside from living accommodation (which we’ll discuss below), tuition will likely be the highest cost of attending cosmetology school. Tuition can depend on many factors, including:

  • Location
  • Whether it’s a university, technical college, or another type of institution
  • If it’s attached to a big brand name
  • How many hours the course requires
  • Whether you study full-time or part-time

To give you an idea of the range of costs at different types of schools across the country, check out the following table.

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.

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.

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.

Additional Cost Considerations

Remember that program tuition is only one component of cosmetology school costs, as you may also need to pay for housing, supplies, and books.

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

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. For example:

  • Combs and brushes
  • Mannequin heads
  • Hot styling tools
  • Shears, scissors, and clips
  • Capes and aprons
  • Books and other reading materials

Incidental Expenses for Beginning Beauty Professionals

Tuition, 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.

Incidental expenses for beauty school can include:

Parking costs or public transport: Parking passes and bus or subway tickets in larger cities can be costly. Check whether the campus you attend has free or subsidized parking/transport for students or whether you can find accommodation within walking distance of the school to save on this cost.

Student kit upgrade: Some student kits can be quite generic and don’t necessarily provide the best equipment for your specialization. If your focus is on haircutting rather than makeup artistry, for instance, you may choose to invest in a kit with better-quality scissors than makeup brushes.

Licensing fees: Once you’ve completed cosmetology school, you will need to sit for licensing exams before you’re allowed to work in the field. These fees vary from state to state.

Sample Beauty School Budget

We have created a sample monthly beauty school student budget on Google Sheets for you to use! Create a copy of this with a free Google account and adapt to your own situation. The numbers in this spreadsheet are representative only.

Select a beauty program and state to view schools