Best 46 Cosmetology Schools in Illinois (2022)

Illinois can be a great place to pursue your beauty school education and career, whether you live in the Chicago metro area, near Springfield, or a less urban area in the state. But with more than 100 licensed cosmetology schools in Illinois, it can be time-consuming to figure out which one will best suit your goals and lifestyle. To help you on your journey, we’ve identified the top cosmetology schools in Illinois, along with descriptions and highlights of their programs.

Rankings Badge

Top Cosmetology Schools in Illinois

#1 - Rosel School of Cosmetology
#2 - The University of Aesthetics & Cosmetology
#3 - Capri Beauty College
#4 - Steven Papageorge Hair Academy
#5 - Tricoci University of Beauty Culture-Glendale Heights

Top Cosmetology Schools in Illinois (Full List)

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The Rosel School of Cosmetology opened its doors to students in 1989. To this day, it still offers a range of comprehensive programs in subjects, including cosmetology, instructor training, esthetics, and nail technology. International students are also invited to study at the school on an M-1 visa.

The school's cosmetology program can be taken full-time or part-time. Students master hair and beauty techniques such as hairdressing, cutting, coloring, scalp treatments, permanent waving, facials, makeup, and massage. The program mixes classroom theory with hands-on practice.

The school has an impressive 4.2  stars on Indeed, with reviews like this: "There was a very good combination of classroom and hands-on learning experience. Learned the basics in everything from hair, makeup, and waxing. Educators were very helpful and very knowledgeable.

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  95.8%
School Profile

This popular school gives students several study options, with programs in cosmetology, esthetics, and instructor training.

The university's cosmetology classes run full-time, from Tuesday to Saturday. The curriculum covers various topics, including hair cutting, coloring, styling, makeup, skincare, nails, blow drying, and more. New classes start every month, so it's easy to fit studies around other commitments.

"Good combination of classroom and hands-on training," says one review on Indeed. "While also learning to manage the front desk and scheduling. The teachers were always willing to help."

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  94.5%
School Profile

If you're looking for a school with a longstanding reputation, Capri Beauty College could be the one for you. The school was founded in 1960 and has been using Pivot Point training and curriculum methods since 1986—it was even deemed a Legacy Partner in 2018. Since its launch, the school has won many awards, including the Chicago Tribune's Best Beauty School in Chicago Southland five years in a row.

The school's cosmetology program teaches students everything they need to know about hair and beauty. This includes essential training, practical chemical applications, and treatments, hairstyling, shop management, sanitation,  interpersonal relations, esthetics, and nail technology.

The school has an impressive 4.7-star rating on Indeed, with comments like: "Great teachers and students who make the classes and your time there fun. You will leave with great friends. Some things were hard to get the hang of, but you just have to keep pushing, and you will get there."

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  93.6%
School Profile

Stephen Papageorge Hair Academy offers students cosmetology and teacher training classes, with new courses starting every month. In addition to the standard curriculum, the school provides a range of activities for its students, such as monthly talent showcases. Chicago area beauty professionals regularly visit the facility to share new techniques and lead sessions.

Stephen Papageorge's cosmetology program moves students through five different levels of training, starting with Cosmetology Foundation, then moving onto Hair Sculpting, Hair Design, Texture Theory, Color Theory, and finally Salon Management.

"If you are looking for a hair school, look no further!" says one in-depth review on Facebook. "I am a big proponent of shopping local, but for an investment like my education, I was a bit nervous and did consider going to a big box school with more name recognition. But the level of personalized education you will receive at Steven Papageorge is better than anything else I have seen or heard from graduates from other schools in the area."

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  89.2%
School Profile

This Glendale school has a lot to offer students, with a state-of-the-art facility 25 miles west of Chicago's downtown area. The school hosts programs in cosmetology, esthetics and teacher training, with lessons taking place across a range of learning spaces, an on-site salon and spa, a theory room, a dispensary, a wet room, a library, and student lounges.

The school also has many financial aid opportunities available to qualifying students.

The school's cosmetology program can be taken on a part-time (17-20 months) or full-time (10-12 months) basis. The curriculum covers a variety of salon techniques, including hairdressing, styling, coloring, and waving, nail technology, makeup artistry, and esthetics.

Reviews on Indeed are positive, such as this from one alumni: "Good education, amazing teachers, lots of hands-on work, working with actual clients, and increasing skill and knowledge more and more every day. A very good school."

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  88.5%
School Profile

This Joliet beauty school offers students the choice of programs in either cosmetology or instructor training, focusing on the importance of professionalism in the workplace. The Academy combines traditional subjects and methods with modern audio-visual techniques to ensure that all its students get a well-rounded, up-to-date education.

The school's cosmetology program takes 1,500 hours to complete and, alongside classic subjects such as hair cutting, coloring, and chemical treatments, strongly focuses on developing desirable work habits and attitudes towards health, sanitation, and safety. It also encourages self-reliance, a readiness to assist others, and an ethical approach. Lessons are taught through lectures, discussions, practical experiences, observations, and written and practical evaluations.

The school has a 4.7-star rating on Facebook, with comments like this: "Great school to learn at!!! I've learned more here than any other place I've ever learned."

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  86.1%
School Profile

Hairmasters Institute of Cosmetology opened its doors to beauty students in 1987 and has been a Pivot Point curriculum school for over 28 years. The school's faculty has a wealth of knowledge, with over 75 years of collective experience in the industry.

The school offers a core cosmetology program that can be taken during the day or at night. The curriculum moves students through seven different areas of study, starting with Basic Training and moving on to Practical Chemical Applications and Hair Treatments, Hairstyling and Dressing, Salon Management, Sanitation, Interpersonal Relationships, Esthetics, Nail Technology, and Electives.

Class sizes are kept small, ensuring more one-on-one time for a complete learning experience.

The school has many glowing reviews on Indeed, including: "I absolutely loved and enjoyed my time at HairMasters. Everything from the teaching staff, the clients, and even students were more than a joy to be around and grow with. I learned more about myself as a person also attending this school. They care about their students and their success both during and after completing your certification. Still to this day, I know if I called and needed something, they would be there for me. Love love loved this school. Became like family."

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  86%
School Profile

We've included several schools that work with the Pivot Point curriculum throughout this list. As you may have guessed from the name, this modern academy in Bloomingdale is another official Pivot Point partner. It offers students several hair and beauty programs in cosmetology, esthetics, barbering, MUD makeup application, and teacher training.

Pivot Point also has continuing education (CE) classes for those who are already licensed and need to fulfill state CE requirements to renew their qualifications.

The school's cosmetology program goes far beyond the basics, teaching students the "why" instead of just the "how" and showing them how to master complicated techniques. It also teaches students how to think, see, create, and adapt to the constantly changing hair and beauty industry.

"The education I received from Pivot Point has allowed me to travel the world, be creative, be an individual, all while loving what I do!" says one alum on the school's testimonials page. "It is the closest thing to being a rock star!"

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  85%
School Profile

Like its sister location in New Lenox, Capri Beauty College's Oak Forest campus is an official Pivot Point school. It offers students the choice of programs in cosmetology or teacher training for those who want to step beyond the salon and become an educator.

The school's cosmetology program has new intakes throughout the year and is available on a full-time day schedule, a part-time four-day schedule, and a part-time three-day schedule. Learners discover a wide range of hair and beauty topics, including hair styling, cutting, coloring, shop management, sanitation, esthetics, and nail technology.

The school also participates in a state-approved internship program, allowing learners to spend 150 hours in a registered salon, gaining vital hands-on experience in a real working environment.

Reviews on the school's Indeed page are positive, with comments like this: "Capri's instructors were the best in America because they showed me how to do everything when it comes to Cosmetology. Because of their passion for education, I was able to not only obtain my license in Illinois but in Colorado also."

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  84.5%
School Profile

Cannella offers students programs in both cosmetology and teacher training. The school offers flexible schedules, with classes taking place both in the daytime and at night, with part-time options available for those who need to fit their studies in around work or other commitments.

The school's cosmetology program takes students through seven different phases of learning, beginning with Basic Training. Then comes Practical Chemical Applications and Hair Treatments, Hairstyling and Dressing, Shop Management and Interpersonal Relationships, Esthetics, Nail Technology, and other topics.

"It offers great clinic and floor hands-on experience," says one student on Indeed. "The teachers are excellent at teaching the proper techniques. It offered competition also to get you ready."

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  83.9%
School Profile

Like its sister locations, Cannella's Villa Park campus is family-owned and nationally accredited, with over 40 years of industry experience. Lessons are in English and Spanish across all Cannella campuses, and financial aid is available to students who qualify.

As with other locations, this school offers students a 1,500-hour cosmetology program or a 1,000-hour teacher training course. The cosmetology program moves students through seven phases of learning to ensure they are ready to launch their new careers upon graduation.

"There was good hands-on training as well as book training," explains one Indeed review. "I learned customer service skills. Sanitation for clients and myself. I was taught the basics of hair. I was taught the hair industry."

Another reviewer agrees, adding that the school is particularly good for those on a budget: "It's a good school. Great teachers, very friendly. You got a whole set of things you need. You also get books for the classes. Very affordable financially."

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  81.5%
School Profile

With various programs and a welcoming campus, Paul Mitchell the School Normal provides a foundational beauty education for would-be industry professionals.

New cosmetology students can enroll in the 1,500-hour cosmetology course that develops increasingly advanced techniques and skills as it proceeds through the program’s three levels. Beauty professionals who’ve already completed a cosmetology program can choose the 250-hour refresher course. The school also offers a 750-hour esthetics course and teacher training (500 hours for cosmetology teachers and 750 hours for esthetics teachers). All students receive an iPad and student kit.

Paul Mitchell the School Normal encourages its Future Professionals to donate their time and talent to local charities while they’re in school and provides financial aid and scholarships to qualified applicants.

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  80.5%
School Profile

As part of the world-renowned Aveda network, Douglas J. Aveda Institute has an excellent reputation and offers cosmetology, esthiology, massage therapy, and barbering programs. The school’s 1,500-hour cosmetology program provides students with opportunities to learn and improve their skills in haircutting, styling, skin care, nail care, and makeup application in a practical, hands-on setting. Cosmetology students work with guests in the salon to become comfortable working in a real-life, professional environment.

The cosmetology curriculum has five phases: Intro, Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Salon Life. Students start with building a solid foundation in cosmetology and then expand their knowledge in different areas. The curriculum’s last phases emphasize students’ business and customer service skills to help them market themselves as licensed cosmetologists.

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  80%
School Profile

Located in the Western suburbs of Chicago, Paul Mitchell the School Lombard offers cosmetology, barbering, and teacher training programs for aspiring beauty professionals.

With 1,500-hour and 1,600-hour program options, cosmetology students receive a comprehensive theoretical and technical beauty education that progresses through the school’s three levels: Core, Adaptive, and Creative. A 250-hour cosmetology refresher course can help professional cosmetologists stay up to date on current practices. The 1,500-hour barbering and 1,000-hour teacher training programs also provide additional educational opportunities for up-and-coming beauty professionals.

All Future Professionals receive a student kit, iPad, career advice, and extensive digital support via the school’s online portal. Paul Mitchell the School Lombard offers a variety of scholarships and financial aid options for those who qualify.

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  78.7%
School Profile
3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  77.5%

Trenz Beauty Academy’s cosmetology program trains students in a variety of hair care treatments, including hair cutting, hairstyling, braiding, weaves, sew-ins, and hair coloring. The school operates a flexible class schedule with day and evening classes and full- and part-time options.

The school is unique in its multicultural aspect, offering cosmetology classes in English and Spanish at its Calumet City campus. Trenz Beauty Academy also offers refresher courses in nail technology, cosmetology, and esthetics, along with hair braider and instructor programs. The school’s facility has a theory room, break room, facial area, nail area, and clinic floor.

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  75.7%
School Profile

The “G” in G Skin & Beauty Institute stands for “green,” so this school’s curriculum emphasizes environmentally friendly practices in the beauty industry. The school focuses on client health and safety by minimizing harmful chemicals in their beauty treatments, and their skin care education prioritizes natural and organic ingredients.

The school’s Schaumburg campus trains students in theory, sanitation, hair treatment, hairstyling, and shop management. The Schaumburg beauty school allows for one-on-one training, so students receive significant personal attention. Students also have the chance to work with real customers. In 2019, 100% of cosmetology students earned their license, and over 87% were employed in the field.

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  74.4%
School Profile
3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  72.7%
3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  72%
School Profile

Tricoci University of Beauty Culture is an award-winning school offering a flexible cosmetology program designed for different students’ needs, schedules, and budgets. Full-time students can complete their education in a year, and part-time students can complete the program in 20 months. The school prioritizes business and marketing skills in their teaching, and the Libertyville salon is one of the fastest-growing in the nation.

Libertyville’s campus provides students with modern facilities evenly split into theory and practical learning spaces. The campus is complete with a salon and spa where students can practice with guests.

Tricoci University’s cosmetology program prepares students for a wide variety of careers in cosmetology and teaches them how to best market themselves as beauty professionals after graduation. The faculty also helps students discover possible job opportunities upon finishing their course.

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  71.3%
School Profile
3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  70.5%

Founded in 1995, Midwest Technical Institute provides vocational training in a variety of in-demand fields. The Moline campus offers 1,500- or 2,100-hour hands-on cosmetology programs that take 13 or 17 months to complete, with classes available in the daytime or evenings.

Cosmetology students focus on basic hair cutting, styling, and coloring skills, in addition to learning about skin and nail care. The cosmetology program emphasizes hygiene, sanitation, salon management, Illinois rules and regulations, and customer relations.

Most students at Midwest Technical Institute receive financial aid in federal grants and loans, and students can apply for assistance any time before the program’s start date.

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  70.4%
School Profile

The University of Spa and Cosmetology Arts offers programs in cosmetology, esthiology, barbering, nail technology, massage therapy, and teacher training. The 1,500-hour cosmetology program combines theory, practical application, and clinical work to help students learn the latest techniques in hairstyling, hair treatment, nail care, makeup application, and skin care. The curriculum focuses on both beauty and business management to help students achieve professional success after graduation.

Students learn in spacious, professional clinic areas with the most up-to-date equipment. Since its inception, the school has graduated 2,250 students with alumnus employed across the Midwest and in Canada and New Zealand. Students have access to a flexible class schedule with full- and part-time options and a mix of in-person and distance learning.

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  68.7%
School Profile
3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  67.9%
3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  67.1%
School Profile

The environmentally-conscious beauty school’s Oak Brook campus is a world-class facility offering students practical experience in a salon and spa environment. Beyond their eco-friendly identity, the institute trains students on the latest styling trends in American and European cosmetology techniques.

The school also boasts an impressive alumnus made up of television makeup artists, employees in spas in top tourist destinations like Las Vegas, and professionals working alongside dermatologists and other medical professionals.

The cosmetology curriculum consists of hair treatment, hairstyling, sanitation, business management, and interpersonal relations. Students also take classes in nail technology and esthetics. The Oak Brook campus trains students in cosmetology, nail care, skin care, esthetics, and makeup application.

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  66.2%
School Profile

Founded by celebrity stylist John Amico, the John Amico School of Hair Design trains students in cosmetology, barbering, esthetics, makeup application, and nail technology. The cosmetology program is broken into four levels. Students establish a basic foundation in level one, move onto more advanced techniques in level two, and prepare for salon business management in levels three and four. Cosmetology students become experts in hair coloring, keratin treatments, hair design, barbering, and braiding.

The school offers online education in addition to hands-on learning and flexible class schedules. The John Amico method emphasizes self-esteem and confidence-boosting as well as strong customer service relations.

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  66%
School Profile

Beauty school students appreciate the state-of-the-art 17,000 square foot facility and abundant training opportunities at Paul Mitchell the School Bradley, located in the Kankakee metropolitan area.

With programs in cosmetology, barber, esthetics, nail technician, and teacher training, aspiring beauty industry professionals have several options to explore. Students pursuing the 1,500-hour cosmetology program can choose from a full-time or part-time schedule and elect the distance education version, which provides 10% of the course online. The 250-hour cosmetology refresher course also offers full-time and part-time options.

Future Professionals at Paul Mitchell the School Bradley receive a student kit and an iPad, which gives them online access to schoolwork, career advice, cutting and coloring apps, and more. Student-led teams organize public outreach and fundraising events, help with social networking, and work on environmental issues.

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  65.8%
School Profile
3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  65.7%

Paul Mitchell the School Chicago has a unique location on the University of Illinois at Chicago campus. This beauty school is located in a luxury dorm and offers students the college experience, with access to university meal plans, dorm living, a recreation center pass, and more.

Students can choose from cosmetology, barbering, and teacher training, including 1,500-hour, 1,600-hour, and 250-hour cosmetology programs—all of which guide students through Paul Mitchell’s industry-leading Core, Adaptive, and Creative levels. Part-time (Monday-Wednesday) and full-time program options are available.

A full student kit gives cosmetology students the tools they need to advance their skills, and the school-issued iPad enables them to connect online to schoolwork, career advice, and beauty apps. Paul Mitchell the School Chicago provides financial aid assistance to students who qualify.

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  65%
School Profile
3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  63.7%

The Chicago Norwood Park location is Tricoci University’s flagship campus. Established in 2005, the school’s facilities are newly renovated and boast top-notch equipment and resources. The campus is approximately 11,600 square feet and conveniently accessible for many students living in the Greater Chicago area.

The school’s dynamic education prepares students for a host of cosmetology careers, including hairstylist, hair colorist, wedding stylist, makeup artist, and salon manager. To best accommodate their students, the school offers flexible schedules with full- and part-time options. In addition to hands-on experience, the school’s curriculum includes a digital, interactive learning platform called PRO that’s best suited for today’s modern society.

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  63.4%
School Profile
3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  62.4%
School Profile
3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  61.3%

Tricoci University’s Urbana campus offers programs in cosmetology and esthetics. Students learn in a professional, hands-on environment where they have access to live clients in student-run salons and spas. In addition to the hands-on education, cosmetology students learn through electronic methods using Apple iPads and other digital tools, including the school’s interactive learning platform.

Prospective students have access to several financial aid opportunities to assist them in paying for their cosmetology education. Tricoci University’s financial aid staff help students find scholarships, access federal financial aid and loans, and assists with on-campus tuition programs.

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  60.6%
School Profile
3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  60.4%
3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  60.2%
3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  59.9%
School Profile
3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  59.5%
3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  59.5%

Tricoci University’s Bridgeview campus offers programs in cosmetology, barbering, esthetics, and teacher training. The location’s amenities include a clinic area, theory room, wet room, lounges, classrooms, dispensary, and library. Students have the opportunity to gain real-world experience by practicing on salon guests, and they can take advantage of the school’s suburban location by participating in beauty events in Chicago and surrounding communities.

The campus helps students adjust to salon life by offering flexible schedules, including afternoon and night classes, and students can learn at their own pace with full- and part-time education options. The institution’s financial aid professionals help prospective students determine an affordable payment plan for their schooling.

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  59.3%
School Profile

The Tricoci Rockford campus provides a high-quality cosmetology education, and students receive training in a professional and supportive environment offering hands-on learning. The 1,500-hour cosmetology program begins every six weeks with full- and part-time options.

Tricoci University’s award-winning education encompasses a challenging cosmetology curriculum, digital interactive learning, and business management knowledge to give aspiring cosmetologists the tools they’ll need for career success.

The school’s digital learning tool complements its hands-on experience with a modern, tech-savvy touch. And the Nuts and Bolts Training Program teaches students how to market themselves as beauty professionals in today’s self-starter workplace culture.

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  58.7%
School Profile

Founded by beauty industry icon Mario Tricoci in 2004, Tricoci University of Beauty Culture has won multiple awards throughout its history: Excellence in Education Award from Modern Salon, Intercoiffure Mondial’s Best World Academy Award, and Repêchage’s President’s Award for School of the Year.

Tricoci University’s Peoria campus offers cosmetology and esthetics programs. The cosmetology program’s challenging and versatile curriculum comprises training in makeup application, hairstyling, and nail care. Students can hone their beauty and business skills as they prepare for cosmetology licensure. Faculty help students connect with employment opportunities after completing the course.

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  58.3%
School Profile
3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  56.1%
School Profile
3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  55.2%
3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  54.7%

How We Ranked Illinois 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 46 cosmetology schools in Illinois.

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.

Editorial Transparency and Anti-Bias Statement
This program ranking and others on our site were created by Beauty Schools Directory editorial staff based on both proprietary and publicly available data. In providing this information for our readers, our team makes editorial decisions independent from any commercial partnerships with any educational institution.

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