Best Cosmetology Schools in Harrisburg, PA (2022)

Finding the right cosmetology school is an essential foundation to your beauty career. Below are the top nine cosmetology schools in and around Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, with information on required classes, training hours, financial aid options, and student reviews.

Rankings Badge

Top Cosmetology Schools in Harrisburg

#1 - Lancaster School of Cosmetology & Therapeutic Bodywork
#2 - York County School of Technology-Adult & Continuing Education
#3 - Empire Beauty School-Hanover
#4 - Empire Beauty School-Lebanon
#5 - Empire Beauty School—Harrisburg

Top Cosmetology Schools in Harrisburg (Full List)

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Since 1979, Lancaster School of Cosmetology & Therapeutic Bodywork has been providing superior beauty education to prospective Pennsylvania cosmetologists. The school offers training in cosmetology, nail technology, massage therapy, esthetics, and instructor training. With the institution's 1,250-hour, comprehensive cosmetology program, students learn skin, hair, and nail care and receive an in-depth curriculum focused on acquiring numerous marketable skills. The program takes about 10 months to complete if pursuing full-time education.

The school also offers substantial financial aid, with more than 40% of students receiving benefits. This includes federal and institutional grants, scholarships, interest-free payment plans, and alternative financing options.

"The school is filled with an excellent body of employees who truly care about the outcomes of their students," says one former student. "They provide not only, extensive hands on training, but also in depth book learning."

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  78.00 %
School Profile

The York County School of Technology offers a cosmetology program through its adult education center. Here, students can complete cosmetology, nail technology, permanent makeup, or massage programs.

The school boasts small class sizes, a high state board pass rate, flexible schedules, and substantial financial aid packages.

Each student who enrolls in the 1,250-hour cosmetology program receives a cosmetology kit valued at $800. The kit includes blow dryers/concentrators, curling irons, flat irons, scissors, shears, razors, manicure tools, mannequin hands, nail polishes, tweezers, makeup brushes, eyeshadow palettes, a makeup selection, and seven mannequin heads. Cosmetology students also have the opportunity to attend the International Beauty Show held in New York City every year.

"It's flexible. It's fun. It's no pressure," Zhuhaiylah Cox, a cosmetology student, says of the program in a YouTube video.

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  76.40 %
School Profile

Empire Beauty Schools has been providing outstanding beauty education since 1934. The Hanover, Pennsylvania campus offers programs in cosmetology and teacher training. Students get an education that goes beyond the textbook, receiving hands-on training in the school's student salon.

The 1,250-hour cosmetology program takes nine months to complete, and 100% of students get financial aid. Students receive instruction in hair design, hair color and texture, chemical services, haircutting, nail care, skin care, and cosmetology business practices—learning the latest trends and how to market themselves.

Students say the learning environment is welcoming and positive, and the staff are incredibly supportive. "Some of the highlights there are the educators who help you when you need it the most, no question is a stupid question," says a former student in a Facebook review. "Every one there is just wanting to do what they love, very passionate people."

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  76.20 %
School Profile

Empire Beauty Schools' Lebanon, Pennsylvania campus offers cosmetology and teacher training programs. The school boasts a student salon, where students can practice their beauty skills on real clients.

The 1,250-hour cosmetology program comprises instruction in hair design, hair color and texture, chemical services, haircutting, nail care, skin care, and cosmetology marketing practices. Students learn how to execute the latest styles—addressing customers' tastes—and how to manage their business.

Empire Beauty Schools are accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences (NACCAS), meaning the school is held to a high-quality standard.

"The teachers are amazing!" a former student says on the school's website. "So supportive and always there for whatever you need them for! I've also made friends here that I will keep for a lifetime!!! I love the environment and atmosphere here!!"

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  72.20 %
School Profile

Empire Beauty School in Harrisburg provides students with a fun and interactive education in a practical setting. Like other Empire Beauty Schools, the Harrisburg location has a student salon so trainees can get real-world experience. The school offers programs in cosmetology and teacher training. The cosmetology pathway encompasses 1,250 hours of instruction in hair design, hair color and texture, chemical services, haircutting, nail care, skin care, and cosmetology retail. The program takes nine months to complete.

The school's curriculum prepares students for the state licensing exam and helps them hone their entrepreneurial skills. The cosmetology education isn't just top-notch but also affordable. Many students receive a generous financial aid package, with 100% of attendees getting assistance.

Students have praised the faculty's talent and the school's supportive atmosphere online. "They have a great understanding of the working student!!" says a former student on Facebook. "The staff is extremely nice and offer a warm and welcoming environment! The instructors are highly skilled and knowledgeable and offer a ton of experience in the beauty field! The staff is patient with new students and you never feel that you are asking a dumb question!"

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  60.20 %
School Profile

Empire Beauty School in Whitehall, Pennsylvania, offers a dynamic, hands-on cosmetology education. Students can take advantage of the school's onsite salon, where they can practice with real clients. The school offers cosmetology and teacher training programs.

Students learn hair design, hair color and texture, chemical services, haircutting, nail care, skin care, and cosmetology retail through the school's 1,250-hour cosmetology program. Classwork includes hair cleansing techniques and how products interact with different hair types. Haircutting and styling are major components of the school's curriculum, so students become well-versed in the latest styles.

Reviews on Facebook are generally favorable, with former students commending the school's skilled staff and friendly learning environment.

"Even though I was a transfer to Empire Beauty School and only attended for a little over a month, I felt so welcomed and they made my transition so easy! They helped me build my confidence in both myself and my work," says a former student on Facebook.

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  60.00 %
School Profile

Lancaster's Empire Beauty School offers cosmetology and teacher training programs in a vibrant and practical learning environment. Surrounded by dedicated instructors, students gain the knowledge necessary to pass the state licensing exam and learn how to build their cosmetology business.

"The educators are absolutely amazing. I am learning so much from Ms. Sorg in presalon to my on the salon floor educators Ms. Gerhart and Ms. Kauffman," a former student writes on Facebook. "They truly give us all the skills we need to be successful out in the salon world. And they help with job placement. It is a win...win education."

The 1,250-hour cosmetology program takes nine months to complete. Coursework includes hair design, hair color and texture, chemical services, haircutting, nail care, skin care, and cosmetology marketing. Like other Empire Beauty Schools, students can practice on real customers in the school's student salon.

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  59.10 %
School Profile

Students receive a quality, hands-on education at Empire Beauty School's York campus. The 1,250-hour cosmetology program includes instruction in hair design, hair color and texture, chemical services, haircutting, nail care, skin care, and cosmetology marketing—providing students with a well-rounded education. Students come away from the program with a general understanding of different areas of cosmetology, helping to broaden their job opportunities.

Students receive a cosmetology kit with professional items they can use beyond their training, like mannequins, hair tools, and skin, nail, and makeup kits. Students also gain practical experience by working in the school's salon.

The environment is described as warm and welcoming. "I didn't know what to expect in the beginning, but once I got to know all of the the awesome people here, I'm glad that Empire York was my choice," says a current student on Google Reviews. "There is room for creativity, and they allow you to be YOURSELF! It's like one big family here."

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  56.30 %
School Profile

Lebanon County Area Vocational Technical School offers programs in cosmetology and nail technology. The cosmetology program is offered over the course of two years (in 36-week sessions with varying schedules), covering hairstyling, haircutting, perming, chemical relaxing, hair coloring, manicuring, facials, makeup, and salon management. Upon completion, students should be well-versed in cosmetology theory and procedures needed to pass the state licensing exam.

Students also obtain practical experience through the school's Cooperative Education program. High school students can participate in this initiative and gain employment after finishing their training. Through this program, students can obtain work experience in local businesses as part of their education.

"The biggest value of the program was that I was prepared to go out in the workforce right after graduation. I didn't need any additional training since I had already completed the required hours necessary for my license," Samantha Hickernell, a program graduate, says on the school's website.

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  56.00 %
School Profile

How We Ranked Harrisburg 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 11 cosmetology schools in Harrisburg.

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.