Top 5 cosmetology schools in California

If you are interested in studying in the cosmetology field in the state of California, it is important to know that there are certain requirements you must meet as determined by the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology to get licensed. Here are their requirements to get your cosmetology degree in the state of California:

  • Complete an approved Cosmetology Program: Program must be approved by the Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) in California and include 1,600 hours of training required for license qualification
  • Apprenticeship to Licensure: This is a full-time 2-year program where individuals can work under a licensed cosmetologist. The requirements are 3,200 hours and 220 of classroom instruction in California. You must register your apprenticeship with the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology and are then issued an apprenticeship license.
  • Complete Exam Application: This can take 12 weeks to schedule and you can apply once you have completed either your Cosmetology Program or approved Apprenticeship
  • Complete the Exam: The exam is administered in two parts; written and practical examination. The written test has 100 questions to be completed within 120 minutes. The practical examination lasts around 4 hours. If you pass both portions, you will have completed the last step in acquiring your state license!
  • Esthetician: 600 hours of training in California
  • Manicurist: 400 hours of training in California
  • Electrologist: 600 hours of training in California

It is important to note that there is a renewal requirement every 2-years on odd-numbered years, and the cost is $50 to retain your cosmetology license.

Now that you have the breakdown of the requirements, let’s review some of the top schools California has to offer.

American Beauty College School of Cosmetology & Barbering, Los Angeles

This school is accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences, Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, and the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education. They have 4 programs that they offer:

  • Cosmetology School Degree: 1,600 hours that takes 12 months to complete
  • Barber School Degree: 1,500 hours that takes 11 months to complete
  • Teacher Trainee Certificate: 600 hours that takes 5 months to complete
  • Manicuring Certificate: 400 hours that takes 6 months to complete

This school does not guarantee employment but they do offer one-on-one counseling with their professional staff, and have active networking events with current students and alumni to help with job placement.

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You can get admissions info at the link above.

The average cost of tuition is approximately $16,000 but they do accept Federal Financial Aid, so make sure you file your FAFSA® if you decide this is the right school for you!

Aveda Institute, Los Angeles

Aveda Institute, which is operated by Nurtur, LLC., is accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences and the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education. They offer two programs:

  • Cosmetology Degree: 1,600 hours of training over 57 weeks
  • Esthetics Certificate: 600 hours of training over 21 weeks

This school has also partnered with MUD to offer 3 levels of MUD Makeup Certifications. The 1st level is included with the Cosmetology Program and Levels 2 and 3 are offered as Post-Graduation programs.

The average cost to attend Aveda at the Los Angeles location is approximately $23,000. Don’t let the price decide for you, as this school accepts Federal Financial Aid and VA Educational Benefits!

You can get admissions info at the link above.

California Beauty College, Modesto

The California Beauty College is accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences and the U.S. Department of Education. They have 3 programs that they offer:

  • Cosmetology Degree: 1,600 hours of training over 48 weeks. Total cost of the program is around $19,600.
  • Nail Technology Certificate: 600 hours of training over 18 weeks. Total cost of the program is around $8,000.
  • Esthetics Certificate: 18 weeks of training. Total cost of the program is around $8,400.

This school prides itself on the fact they have an average 83% graduation rate, an 88% licensure rate amongst their graduates, and a job placement rate of over 60%. This means that many of their students not only graduate and become licensed, but they have a strong probability of securing employment when they leave school!

They also accept Federal Financial Aid, so make sure to file your FAFSA® if you want to save some money on school costs!

You can get admissions info at the link above.

International College of Cosmetology, Oakland

Located in the Bay Area, the International College of Cosmetology is a school accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences, Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, and the U.S. Department of Education. They offer the following 5 programs:

  • Cosmetology Degree: 1,600 hours of training over 11 months. Total cost of the program is around $15,000.
  • Esthetics Certificate: 37 weeks of training. Total cost of the program is around $7,300.
  • Manicure Certificate: 11 weeks of training. Total cost of the program is around $2,700.
  • Makeup Artistry Certificate: 6 weeks of training offered on Fridays & Saturdays only.
  • Eyelash Extensions Certificate: 16 hours of training in 3 days. The total cost is $1,500. If you’re already a student, you can get 40% off of this training.

This school does accept Federal Financial Aid, so it is important to make sure to file your FAFSA®. Depending on your aid package, you might be able to enroll and take advantage of some of the extra programs offered that have the shorter durations.

This would help you become more competitive in the market by having a broader skill set!

You can get admissions info at the link above.

Palomar Institute of Cosmetology, San Diego

This school is located in sunny San Diego and is accredited by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education, National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences, and is a member of both the American Association of Cosmetology Schools and the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce. They offer 3 programs:

  • Cosmetology Degree: 1,600 hours of training.
  • Esthetics Certificate: 600 hours of training.
  • Manicuring Certificate: 400 hours of training.

The average cost to attend this school is just over $18,000. The school is known for offering excellent business classes, so in addition to world-class training, students get set up with the knowledge on how to run a successful business.

You can get admissions info at the link above.

In fact, many graduates from this school finish with very little debt. They also accept Federal Financial Aid, so make sure to file your FAFSA®!

California is known for fashion and trendsetting so it’s no surprise they have several top schools in the cosmetology industry. Hopefully, this list helps you make the best decision for your future.

One thing to consider, is they all accept Federal Financial Aid, so file your FAFSA®.