Best 15 Cosmetology Schools in Boston (2022)
As a cultural hub of New England, Boston offers a dynamic beauty industry with a metropolitan feel. So, if you're planning to obtain your cosmetology training here, look no further than the city's top beauty institutions.
Below are Boston's 15 highest-ranked beauty schools, with information on curriculum, training requirements, student reviews, and more.
Note: Because we chose schools within 50 miles of Boston's city center, some schools are in New Hampshire, which has different training requirements for cosmetologists (1,500 hours vs. 1,000 hours in Massachusetts). When choosing your school, consider where you'll be working after graduation to ensure you receive the right amount of training for your state.
Top Cosmetology Schools in Boston
Top Cosmetology Schools in Boston (Full List)
The postsecondary cosmetology program at Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical School is meant to prepare students for an entry-level position in cosmetology. The program comprises 1,000 hours of cosmetology instruction in various topics, including hairstyling, cutting, permanent waves, coloring, manicuring, skin care, and safety and sanitation procedures. The school also offers a 600-hour aesthetics program—training students in skin care, hair removal services, and makeup application.
Students can hone their beauty skills with hands-on training through the school's public salon services. You'll learn how to perform basic personal services and provide effective client consultations in a fast-paced salon environment. Successful graduates should be well-prepared for the state's cosmetology licensing exam and the profession's demands. You'll come out of the program with first-rate beauty knowledge and the ability to attract gainful employment opportunities.
"I currently work at an Organic Skin & Nail Spa in NC, and I will never forget the great training I received that started my career," says a cosmetology graduate on Facebook.
Toni & Guy Hairdressing Academy offers programs in cosmetology, barbering, makeup, skin care, student instruction, and advanced education. The school's cosmetology program primarily focuses on haircutting and styling, in which you'll learn 11 haircut and nine color techniques. Additionally, you'll gain expertise in makeup, nail care, skin care, beauty products, and the salon environment.
The curriculum covers the necessary skills for taking the state's cosmetology licensing exam as well as the business side of the beauty industry. You'll get the chance to work on real-life clients and tackle job development by honing your resume and interview skills. The school operates like a real salon to prepare students for life after graduation.
"The school gave me an excellent fundamental knowledge that extended outside of just hairdressing. The teachers are all knowledgeable, the admissions team works their butts off and gives you unlimited support after you've left, and the brand gives you family for life," an alumnus explains in a Yelp review. "I would recommend this school to anyone looking to give themselves the best chances at a successful career in the cosmetology field."
Since 1964, Empire Beauty Schools have provided outstanding cosmetology education to prospective beauty professionals. The Hooksett campus offers cosmetology, barbering, esthetics, and professional makeup programs. Classwork is hands-on and prioritizes students' creativity. Pivot Point, an international leader in beauty education, has awarded Empire's cosmetology program legacy school status.
The school offers flexible schedules, full- or part-time options, and day and evening classes. Students receive an iPad with their cosmetology kit to enhance their learning experience. The 1,500-hour cosmetology curriculum comprises instruction in hair coloring and lightening, hair cutting techniques that match current trends, texture services, nail care, facials, hair removal, makeup application, and business and client-building skills.
"The Cosmetology program was great. The school provided a great learning environment and really felt a bond with the Instructors. I was given all the building blocks I would need to thrive as a professional," Kayla Kearns, a 2019 Cosmetology graduate, says of her experience.
Michael's School of Hair Design and Esthetics offers programs in cosmetology, esthetics, and student instruction. The cosmetology curriculum consists of four phases and 1,500 hours of instruction, with each phase building upon the other to enhance your real-world skills and knowledge.
You'll learn the basics of cosmetology in the first level—covering braiding, up-styling and finishing, perming and smoothing hair, hair coloring and lightening, haircutting, nail care, makeup, and facials. In the second phase, you'll learn how to work in a salon. By the third phase, you'll be working independently and preparing for the state board exam. The final level allows you to explore advanced hair care services. The cosmetology coursework also focuses on life after graduation, teaching students salon business and marketing skills.
Former students have praised the faculty for their support and expertise. "Michael's is the best cosmetology school in the area by far. All the teachers were so helpful to me and were very knowledgeable on products and always willing to take the extra steps to help me out," a former student writes in a Google review.
Jupiter Beauty Academy is committed to helping prospective cosmetologists pass the state board exam, obtain licensure, and work as beauty professionals.
The beauty school has cosmetology, nail technology, esthetics, massage therapy, and eyelash extension certification programs. The 1,000-hour cosmetology program, in particular, has an extensive curriculum covering topics in manicuring (including 12.5 hours of instruction in artificial nail techniques), hair removal, facials, skin care, and hair styling, cutting, and coloring. Coursework also involves wig instruction, shampooing, scalp treatments, sanitation and hygiene procedures, and best salon business practices. Students learn through oral, written, and practical tests to be sufficiently prepared for the state licensing exams.
Former students praise the academy's teaching staff for their expert knowledge and friendly demeanor in online reviews. "They are caring and nurturing and help you do your absolute best. I was super prepared for and confident when leaving to begin my career," a former student explains in a Google review.
For over 54 years, Keene Beauty Academy has offered its community superior beauty education. Students are taught in a rigorous and rewarding environment, learning the latest beauty skills and receiving dedicated instruction. Students can finish the program in 13-15 months with 30 hours of weekly class instruction. The school boasts a low student-to-teacher ratio and experienced instructors.
Keene Beauty Academy's cosmetology program comprises 1,500 hours of coursework using a combination of theoretical and practical training. Training is broken down into five blocks covering cosmetology services, health and sciences, state laws, and career management. Students can practice in the school's cosmetology salon and esthetics spa, where they perform all services by students under instructor supervision.
Students can also take advantage of guest lectures, workshops, and technical demonstrations. Those who complete the cosmetology program can transfer 150 hours into the school's esthetics program to broaden their career choices.
Empire Beauty School's Somersworth location offers programs in cosmetology, barbering, esthetics, and professional makeup. In the 1,500-hour cosmetology program, students learn hair coloring and lightening, hair cutting techniques, texture services, nail care, facials, hair removal, makeup application, and business and client-building skills. Instruction is hands-on, with students practicing on real clients in a salon environment.
The school offers an accommodating and affordable education. Students can choose day and evening classes with available full- and part-time options. Cosmetology kits are equipped with an iPad to digitize and simplify students' learning experiences. Financial aid is available, and Empire Beauty Schools' scholarship program includes a $5,000 grant awarded twice a year to cosmetology students.
Former students commend the school's hands-on instruction, teaching staff, and career preparation on Indeed.
"Empire will push you as a person and a student. The hours of school can be quite demanding after a while because it's literally a full time job, but it's worth it. The teachers are absolutely incredible. They will truly do whatever they can to help you with something and push you to be the best future designer you can be," a former student says in an Indeed review.
The Alexander Academy offers cosmetology and barbering programs to prospective beauty professionals. The 1,000-hour cosmetology program prepares students for the state licensing exam and an entry-level salon position—training them in all the necessary skills to achieve both.
Class content includes haircutting, styling, perming, coloring, facial treatments, waxing, manicure and nail techniques, wig instruction and scalp treatments, sanitation and sterilization procedures, and salon business practices.
Students receive hands-on training, small class sizes that cater to each student, and career guidance. The program can be completed in 10 months, and 80% of graduates find employment after finishing the program.
"Everyone from the director to the instructors were all very helpful throughout the whole time that I attended the school," a former student writes in a Google review. "Thank you for teaching me what was only a hobby to me and that has now became a career for me."
Empire Beauty School's Laconia Campus houses programs in cosmetology, esthetics, and professional makeup. In the 1,500-hour cosmetology program, students receive hands-on training in hair coloring and lightening, haircutting techniques that match current trends, texture services, nail care, facials, hair removal, makeup application, and business and client-building skills at Laconia's state-of-the-art facility.
Empire Beauty School offers flexible schedules with full- or part-time options and day and evening classes to easily accommodate adult student life. Student kits come packed with the necessary cosmetology supplies and an iPad to assist in learning.
Student reviews laud the staff's education and expertise. "Empire, for me, is more than a school. It's home," Peggy Marshall, a 2019 cosmetology graduate at the Laconia campus, says. "It's where at 37 years old, I found myself. I've learned that I'm capable, I've for the first time in my life found confidence and pride. This is due to the amazing staff who believed in me when I didn't believe in myself."
New England Hair Academy is a leading private beauty school offering cosmetology, barbering, and manicuring training. Students can complete the school's 1,000-hour cosmetology program in just seven months, and day and evening classes are available to fit any student's schedule.
The well-rounded curriculum involves basic cosmetology instruction along with foundational business and ethics training. Classes are a mix of theoretical and hands-on instruction with a strong emphasis on career preparation. Students hone their skills in the school's full-service salon and gain the professional traits needed to succeed in the beauty industry. Your connection to the school doesn't end when you graduate, however. The school also offers alumni job placement assistance to help them get interviews with top salons.
"[Ne]w england hair academy did exactly what they promised me when i signed up, which was to get the hours and education needed to go on to the state board exam. i am now a licensed cosmetologist working on newbury street, and i will always say one of the best decisions i ever made was going to school here. i loved the staff, especially ms. nagat!!" says a 2020 graduate of the school in a Google review.
Southeastern Technical Institute (STI) has been operating as an educational leader since 1968 and opened its cosmetology program in 2014. The 1,000-hour cosmetology course consists of theoretical and practical training and lasts 14 months. Classes are in the evenings.
The curriculum is broken into three sections, with students learning hair care and nail care at each level. Course content also includes skin care instruction, cosmetology-related sciences, and business practices—preparing students for both the licensing exam and a salon career. Students can also begin hosting clinical time with the public after the mandated number of hours.
Career development is a core part of STI's education. Students not only undergo in-depth cosmetology instruction but also training in employability skills. The school boasts a 100% licensure and job placement rate. Both students and alumni receive career assistance. Students learn in the institute's Cosmetology Laboratory by an experienced group of teachers.
Paul Mitchell the School's Portsmouth campus offers a 1,500-hour cosmetology program that guides students through three levels—Core, Adaptive, and Creative—as they gain experience and learn and practice increasingly advanced techniques. Students can choose from day or night classes, with program starting dates every couple of months.
Students, called Future Professionals, receive a professional kit and ample digital support to help them study. The school also encourages students to give back throughout their education by participating in local events and FUNraising campaigns.
One former student on Indeed says, "Good combination of classroom and hands on training. Great instructors. Milady text book training was helpful. Pheobe was the original founder and worked with students. She was amazing!"
Since 1934, Empire Beauty School has been delivering high-quality beauty education. Empire Beauty School's 1,000-hour comprehensive cosmetology program at Malden includes hair design, hair cutting, coloring and texture, skin care, and business/retail training. Students come out of the program knowing how to execute the latest hair trends and adapt to each client's individual taste.
Coursework also covers nail care, esthetics services, and marketing skills. You'll learn the ins and outs of salon ownership and how to build a client base. Students learn in an interactive classroom environment by licensed instructors and have the chance to work with real customers at the student salon.
"I love coming to school everyday because I truly learn something new daily. All the educators are professional, positive, have good communication, and want to help you move forward in your career. I would recommend Empire in Malden to anyone looking to start their education in the cosmetology field!" says Justin Cimon, a Malden graduate.
Lowell Academy Hairstyling Institute has provided outstanding beauty education for over 80 years. Programs include cosmetology and manicuring as well as continuing education classes.
The cosmetology program blends classroom and hands-on training to give students the skills they need to pass the state licensing exam and confidently enter the beauty profession. Students are trained in basic, current, and advanced cosmetology techniques and can earn professional certifications in makeup, keratin, and hair extensions.
The makeup certification class—taught by makeup artist Alicia Zefta—covers makeup application, technique, presentation, consultation, and product knowledge. Students can also become certified in the Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy methodology and applying Di Biase hair extensions.
"I thoroughly enjoyed my education at Lowell Academy of Hair. The curriculum and hands on training was essential," writes a former student on Indeed. "They prepare you very well for the state boards. While taking the state boards, the instructor knew exactly what school I attended by how prepared I was for my exam."
Empire Beauty School's Boston campus offers a 1,000-hour cosmetology program to help you pass the state board exam and become a licensed beauty professional. Training is hands-on and covers five main cosmetology areas: hair design, hair cutting, color and texture, basic skin care, and business/retail training. The curriculum comprises both the creative and business sides of cosmetology. Students learn how to create different hairstyles and work with different hair types while understanding how to build their business.
Salon business management and marketing is a key part of the program's curriculum, as many Empire Beauty School applicants aspire to run their own salon. With this in mind, training focuses heavily on this skill set.
Graduates have praised the school's teaching teachers for their dedication and support. "It's been a pleasure to get my education at Empire Beauty School. I am very grateful for teachers like Mr. Legge who is such a reliable, responsible - most knowledgeable just amazing teacher in short. He truly was invested in my education and success personally," says Amen Sam, a Boston graduate.
How We Ranked Boston 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 Boston.
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.