Online Programs

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What’s up with online cosmetology school courses and program? Do they exist? Are they worth it? And what are the obstacles to going this route? Believe it or not, there are some online options for beauty school training. With e-Learning technology becoming more sophisticated every year, it’s only a matter of time before online options open up for beauty students. While we are still in a very gray in-between area, take a few minutes to review these FAQ’s about online beauty programs. We’ll let you know whether you can attend cosmetology school without going to campus.


Online Programs

01. About
Obstacles to online beauty school programs

There are several challenges beauty schools face when integrating e-learning cosmetology courses to their program options. These obstacles can include:

  • State Cosmetology Board approval
  • Investing in the online learning infrastructure that offers the same quality of a traditional classroom experience
  • Convincing potential students that these options will result in the careers they want

We at Beauty Schools Directory believe that online cosmetology school options will make up a larger part of the beauty education curriculum as technology advances. But for now, we believe there will always be an essential in-person component of beauty school training.

Of course, with advances in computer simulations and communication tools, it would be foolish to rule out any prediction for what the future could bring. Who knows, you may find a virtual beauty school classroom in the future…where simulation labs replace actual clients. In fact--

The Tide for Online Beauty School Training is Already Turning…

In fact, NACCAS (one of the accrediting bodies for cosmetology schools) bylaws allows up to 50% of accredited programs to deliver their beauty school curricula in an online format. This proves that State Boards, school owners, and legislators are already planning and implementing these advances in online beauty education.

And why not? With so many medical and healthcare degrees offering distance learning courses in subjects, such as anatomy, chemistry, and other knowledge-based subjects, why shouldn’t the cosmetology specialties do the same? After all, many beauty students are juggling busy lives and other jobs.

Any bit of convenience helps

3 ways states approach online beauty school training

In general, states approach regulation of online beauty school and cosmetology courses in three different ways:

  • Allow virtual beauty schools. These states actively approved that online learning is okay for cosmetology students.
  • Prohibit online beauty programs. Many states agree with the idea that cosmetology programs should be taught in person by licensed professionals, and include mandatory training hours.
  • Do not prohibit or regulate. In other words, these states allow online and campus programs, and leave it to the schools to format their own curriculum

The thing you need to know about each of these options, is that if you get your distance learning cosmetology degree, you are most likely not going to be able to get licensed in your state. Plain and simple.

Can I attend beauty school all online?

No, not currently. As of 2015, all states currently require the majority or all beauty training hours to occur in the classroom, not online. Because there are many skills that require hands-on practice and repeat practical training in order to pass the practical portion of the board exams, much of cosmetology school must still occur on campus. More schools these days are moving toward offering portions of their training online, particularly theory and book work portions that don't require hands-on work.

"Right now it runs the gamut as far as what is allowed and what's not," Milady Directory of Marketing & Training Gerard McAvey said. "If we look across all 50 states and DC, there is a handful of states that technically have and passed legislation to allow pre-licensure education online. There are three buckets: states that actually have legislation passed to allow online training, states that prohibit online learning and only allow for brick-and-mortar learning, and the states that technically do not prohibit online learning, and therefore schools can partake if they choose."

There are several obstacles schools are facing as they try to introduce online learning and more technology into the classroom, such as getting their state boards to allow it, and purchasing and setting up the tools and resources students will need. We at Beauty Schools Directory believe that some day, online cosmetology school will make up a larger part of the beauty education curriculum as more and more students try to pursue their education from home while also juggling full-time work or family commitments. In fact, NACCAS (one of the accrediting bodies for cosmetology schools) bylaws allows up to 50% of accredited programs to deliver their beauty school curricula in an online format. But we also believe that coming to campus for hands-on lessons will still be a part of cosmetology school indefinitely, because it is such a hands-on line of work. Until then, full online beauty school programs and full online cosmetology school programs are not available.

02. Courses | Course Length
Can I attend online beauty school – without going to campus?

The answer to that question is kind of tricky. It’s one of those yes-and-no questions that requires a bit of explanation. The following information is meant to help you understand why online education might not be the best option for cosmetology training.

We’ll also take a look at situations when distance learning courses do align with online beauty school training. From there, you can take a look at what kinds of technology are already making an impact in cosmetology programs.

Why should you rely on Beauty Schools Directory as your source for online cosmetology information?

  • We have one of the most comprehensive lists of top beauty schools on the web.
  • You can easily contact all your options for cosmetology training from one place.
  • You can apply for our scholarship, which can help cover your costs for tuition and fees.
  • We have a world of resources about every kind of cosmetology program, and several related areas, such as massage therapy, salon management and more!

If you are ready to view your options for online cosmetology schools and campus based programs, enter your zip code, or choose your state and preferred program to start.

Short answer: There aren’t currently any 100% online beauty school programs that qualify you for state licensure.

As of 2017, all states currently require the majority or all of your beauty-training hours to occur in the classroom, not online. Why?

Here are the main reasons students need to complete a large portion of their cosmetology training in-person, under the guidance of experienced professionals:

  • Most cosmetology skills are hands-on – requiring in-person coaching and training.
  • Cosmetologists work face-to-face with their customers; training in real environments helps develop interpersonal skills.
  • The mentorship of experienced professionals cannot be completely replicated online when it comes to beauty training.


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