Best Cosmetology Associate Programs

Updated November 2, 2022

Cosmetology programs prepare students for careers as nail technicians, makeup artists, estheticians, and hairstylists. Learn More. The Best Cosmetology Programs.

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Two women working on another woman's makeup Credit: Alter_photo / iStock / Getty Images Plus

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists working in the United States in 2019 exceeded 722,000. These careers require only a postsecondary certificate. However, candidates for cosmetology positions can increase their hireability by obtaining additional education, such as an associate degree in cosmetology.

Cosmetology programs prepare students for careers as nail technicians, makeup artists, estheticians, and hairstylists. Individuals who enjoy working one-on-one with clients and who are passionate about helping others feel good often thrive in these roles. Cosmetology professionals often work on weekends and evenings, but they typically set their own schedules.

This guide lists the best cosmetology associate programs, explores common program requirements, and describes financial aid options for cosmetology students.

FAQ on Cosmetology

What is cosmetology?

Cosmetology refers to the study of beauty treatments, such as nail treatments, facials, hairstyling, and hair removal.

How long does it take to earn an associate degree in cosmetology?

Most full-time students earn their associate degree in cosmetology in two years. However, the time frame depends on the program format and credit requirements.

What is the difference between a cosmetologist and an esthetician?

Cosmetologists can provide a variety of services, including makeup application, nail painting, and hairstyling and cutting. Estheticians focus on the skin's beauty and health.

What is the difference between a cosmetologist and a barber?

Cosmetologists work on hair, skin, and nails. These professionals usually style and cut hair, most often women's hair. Barbers only cut hair and often work only with men's hair.

Best Associate in Cosmetology Programs

Learners pursuing an associate degree in cosmetology should devote time and research to finding the right program. This list of the best and most affordable cosmetology associate programs can help students narrow their search. Prospective students can use this list as a starting point but should contact their school's admissions department for more detailed information.

#1 Best Cosmetology Associate Programs

Central New Mexico Community College

  • Albuquerque, NM
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Central New Mexico Community College offers 74 associate programs, including many remote options, from its Albuquerque campus. Cosmetology associate students get introduced to the core concepts of the field and work on strengthening general skills like critical thinking and communication. Candidates can complete their studies while still working full or part time because of the program's online format.

Associate degree-holders qualify for many entry-level cosmetology positions. Two more years of study allows many learners to add a bachelor's degree to their educational accomplishments. Graduates of the associate program benefit from articulation agreements with many of New Mexico's four-year schools, letting them easily transfer their credits into a bachelor's program.

Central New Mexico Community College at a Glance:

School Type: Public

Total Associate Programs: 74

Total Online Associate Programs: 17

Undergrad Tuition In State: $1,344

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $7,104

Average Graduate Earnings After Six Years: $26,700

Average Tuition
In-state
$1,344
Out-of-state
$7,104
Retention Rate
65%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
23,096
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
44% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#2 Best Cosmetology Associate Programs

Western Piedmont Community College

  • Morganton, NC
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Degree-seekers choose from 35 associate programs, including many online programs, at Western Piedmont Community College, a Morganton, North Carolina-based school. The cosmetology associate degree introduces fundamentals of the field and helps students strengthen general skills like critical thinking and communication. The program's virtual format allows candidates to complete their coursework around a full-time or part-time job.

Associate degree-holders can pursue entry-level careers in the cosmetology field. Learners can also continue their education, earning a bachelor's with just two additional years of study. The school features articulation agreements with institutions throughout North Carolina, so graduates of the associate program can easily transfer their credits into a bachelor's program.

Western Piedmont Community College at a Glance:

School Type: Public

Total Associate Programs: 35

Total Online Associate Programs: 3

Undergrad Tuition In State: $2,432

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $8,576

Average Graduate Earnings After Six Years: $24,800

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,432
Out-of-state
$8,576
Retention Rate
69%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
1,820
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
49% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 Best Cosmetology Associate Programs

Hutchinson Community College

  • Hutchinson, KS
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

From its campus in Kansas, Hutchinson Community College offers 40 associate programs, including many online options. Throughout the cosmetology associate program, students gain foundational knowledge of the field and practice general skills such as critical thinking and communication. An online format lets candidates complete requirements for class around full-time or part-time work obligations.

An associate degree often meets the educational requirements for entry-level positions in cosmetology. Some learners choose to continue their studies and earn a bachelor's degree with just two additional years of education. Because of articulation agreements with some of Kansas's four-year schools, associate graduates can easily transfer their credits into a bachelor's program.

Hutchinson Community College at a Glance:

School Type: Public

Total Associate Programs: 40

Total Online Associate Programs: 7

Undergrad Tuition In State: $2,730

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $3,660

Average Graduate Earnings After Six Years: $31,500

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,730
Out-of-state
$3,660
Retention Rate
58%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
5,315
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#4 Best Cosmetology Associate Programs

San Juan College

  • Farmington, NM
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

A New Mexico school, San Juan College offers many of its 61 associate programs remotely from its Farmington campus. Cosmetology associate students get introduced to the core concepts of the field and work on strengthening general skills like critical thinking and communication. Candidates can more easily balance their studies with a full-time or part-time job because of the program's remote classes.

Often, applicants qualify for many entry-level positions in cosmetology by holding an associate degree. Learners who wish to continue their studies can earn a bachelor's degree with just two more years of school. The school features articulation agreements with institutions throughout New Mexico, so graduates of the associate program can easily transfer their credits into a bachelor's program.

San Juan College at a Glance:

School Type: Public

Total Associate Programs: 61

Total Online Associate Programs: 4

Undergrad Tuition In State: $1,176

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $3,720

Average Graduate Earnings After Six Years: $29,000

Average Tuition
In-state
$1,176
Out-of-state
$3,720
Retention Rate
57%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
6,741
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
47% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#5 Best Cosmetology Associate Programs

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College

  • Salisbury, NC
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

A North Carolina school, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College offers 28 associate programs, including many remotely, from its Salisbury campus. Students learn foundational concepts and strengthen general skills such as critical thinking and communicate in the cosmetology associate program. An online format lets candidates complete work for class around full-time or part-time professional obligations.

Many entry-level positions in cosmetology accept associate degree-holding applicants. Some learners decide to keep going with their education, and they can earn a bachelor's after just two more years of school. Transferring credits into a bachelor's program is easy for associate graduates because of articulation agreements with four-year schools throughout North Carolina.

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College at a Glance:

School Type: Public

Total Associate Programs: 28

Total Online Associate Programs: 8

Undergrad Tuition In State: $2,432

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $8,576

Average Graduate Earnings After Six Years: $25,000

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,432
Out-of-state
$8,576
Retention Rate
64%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
6,379
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
57% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#6 Best Cosmetology Associate Programs

Vincennes University

  • Vincennes, IN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

An Indiana school, Vincennes University offers 99 associate programs, including many virtual options. Cosmetology associate students get introduced to the core concepts of the field and work on strengthening general skills like critical thinking and communication. The online classes in the program make it easier for candidates to complete their studies while continuing to work on a full-time or part-time basis.

Associate degree-holders meet the educational requirements for many entry-level positions in the cosmetology field. For learners who want to continue their education, they can earn a bachelor's degree after just two more years of school. Associate graduates benefit from articulation agreements with four-year schools throughout Indiana, allowing them to easily transfer their credits into a bachelor's program.

Vincennes University at a Glance:

School Type: Public

Total Associate Programs: 99

Total Online Associate Programs: 22

Undergrad Tuition In State: $5,581

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $13,871

Average Graduate Earnings After Six Years: $30,000

Average Tuition
In-state
$5,581
Out-of-state
$13,871
Retention Rate
32%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
17,239
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
13% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#7 Best Cosmetology Associate Programs

Wake Technical Community College

  • Raleigh, NC
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in Raleigh, North Carolina, Wake Technical Community College offers a total of 54 associate programs, including many online options. Cosmetology associate students at the college learn the core concepts of the field and strengthen general skills, including critical thinking and communication. Candidates can continue working in full-time or part-time positions while earning their associate because of the program's virtual format.

Associate degree-holders can pursue entry-level careers in the cosmetology field. Just two additional years of school allows learners to earn a bachelor's degree, as well. The school features articulation agreements with institutions throughout North Carolina, so graduates of the associate program can easily transfer their credits into a bachelor's program.

Wake Technical Community College at a Glance:

School Type: Public

Total Associate Programs: 54

Total Online Associate Programs: 11

Undergrad Tuition In State: $2,432

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $8,576

Average Graduate Earnings After Six Years: $30,800

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,432
Out-of-state
$8,576
Retention Rate
65%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
22,003
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
51% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#8 Best Cosmetology Associate Programs

Johnston Community College

  • Smithfield, NC
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Smithfield, North Carolina is home to Johnston Community College, featuring 32 associate programs, with many available in an online format. In the cosmetology associate program, students are introduced to the foundational concepts of the field and further develop general skills like critical thinking and communication. The online format of the program lets candidates complete their studies while maintaining full- or part-time work.

An associate degree qualifies applicants for many entry-level jobs in the Cosmetology field. Some learners decide to keep going with their education, and they can earn a bachelor's after just two more years of school. Articulation agreements with four-year institutions throughout North Carolina make it easier for graduates of the associate program to transfer their credits into a bachelor's program.

Johnston Community College at a Glance:

School Type: Public

Total Associate Programs: 32

Total Online Associate Programs: 1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $2,432

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $8,576

Average Graduate Earnings After Six Years: $28,500

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,432
Out-of-state
$8,576
Retention Rate
60%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
4,054
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
55% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#9 Best Cosmetology Associate Programs

Gaston College

  • Dallas, NC
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Many of Gaston College's 51 associate programs are offered virtually from its Dallas, North Carolina, campus. Students learn fundamentals of the field and build general skills, like critical thinking and communication, during the college's associate degree in cosmetology. Candidates can complete coursework around full-time or part-time jobs because of the program's online format for its classes.

Those who graduate with their associate degree meet the educational requirements for many entry-level positions in cosmetology. Some learners choose to continue their studies and earn a bachelor's degree with just two additional years of education. Transferring credits into a bachelor's program is easy for associate graduates because of articulation agreements with four-year schools throughout North Carolina.

Gaston College at a Glance:

School Type: Public

Total Associate Programs: 51

Undergrad Tuition In State: $2,432

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $8,576

Average Graduate Earnings After Six Years: $25,200

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,432
Out-of-state
$8,576
Retention Rate
65%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
5,655
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
65% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#10 Best Cosmetology Associate Programs

Central Piedmont Community College

  • Charlotte, NC
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

A total of 60 associate programs, including many online options, are available at Central Piedmont Community College, a Charlotte, North Carolina-based school. Cosmetology associate students at the college learn the core concepts of the field and strengthen general skills, including critical thinking and communication. An online format lets candidates complete work for class around full-time or part-time work obligations.

Holding an associate degree makes applicants eligible for many entry-level jobs in the cosmetology field. Learners can add a bachelor's degree to their accomplishments with just two extra years of education. Associate graduates can easily transfer their credits into a bachelor's program because of the articulation agreements with many four-year schools in North Carolina.

Central Piedmont Community College at a Glance:

School Type: Public

Total Associate Programs: 60

Total Online Associate Programs: 5

Undergrad Tuition In State: $2,432

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $8,576

Average Graduate Earnings After Six Years: $25,800

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,432
Out-of-state
$8,576
Retention Rate
56%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
18,646
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
54% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#11 Best Cosmetology Associate Programs

Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College

  • Asheville, NC
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

A North Carolina school, Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College offers 54 associate programs, including many remote options, from its Asheville campus. In the cosmetology associate program, students are introduced to the foundational concepts of the field and further develop general skills like critical thinking and communication. An online format lets candidates complete work for class around full-time or part-time work obligations.

Those who graduate from an associate program qualify to pursue entry-level cosmetology positions. Earning a bachelor's degree is possible for many learners with just two more years of education. The school's articulation agreements with many of North Carolina's four-year institutions allows associate graduates to easily transfer their credits into a bachelor's program.

Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College at a Glance:

School Type: Public

Total Associate Programs: 54

Total Online Associate Programs: 2

Undergrad Tuition In State: $2,432

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $8,576

Average Graduate Earnings After Six Years: $26,700

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,432
Out-of-state
$8,576
Retention Rate
64%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
7,003
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
42% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#12 Best Cosmetology Associate Programs

Johnson County Community College

  • Overland Park, KS
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

A total of 43 associate programs, including many virtual options, are available at Johnson County Community College, located in Overland Park, Kansas. The college's associate degree in cosmetology introduces students to the fundamentals of the field while also building general skills such as critical thinking and communication. Virtual classes make it easier for associate candidates to complete their studies while maintaining a full-time or part-time job.

Those who graduate from an associate program qualify to pursue entry-level cosmetology positions. Just two additional years of school allows learners to earn a bachelor's degree, as well. The school features articulation agreements with many of Kansas's four-year institutions, so associate graduates can easily transfer their credits into a bachelor's program.

Johnson County Community College at a Glance:

School Type: Public

Total Associate Programs: 43

Total Online Associate Programs: 3

Undergrad Tuition In State: $2,880

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $6,210

Average Graduate Earnings After Six Years: $32,200

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,880
Out-of-state
$6,210
Retention Rate
65%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
18,278
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
32% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#13 Best Cosmetology Associate Programs

Sandhills Community College

  • Pinehurst, NC
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Pinehurst, North Carolina, is home to Sandhills Community College, featuring 43 associate programs, with many available in an online format. The cosmetology associate degree introduces fundamentals of the field and helps students strengthen general skills including critical thinking and communication. Candidates can complete their studies while still working full or part time because of the program's online format.

An associate degree qualifies applicants for many entry-level jobs in the cosmetology field. Just two additional years of school allows learners to earn a bachelor's degree. The school's articulation agreements with many of North Carolina's four-year institutions allows associate graduates to easily transfer their credits into a bachelor's program.

Sandhills Community College at a Glance:

School Type: Public

Total Associate Programs: 43

Total Online Associate Programs: 2

Undergrad Tuition In State: $2,598

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $8,742

Average Graduate Earnings After Six Years: $23,300

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,598
Out-of-state
$8,742
Retention Rate
68%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
4,039
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
61% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#14 Best Cosmetology Associate Programs

Rockingham Community College

  • Wentworth, NC
  • 2 years
  • Campus

Degree-seekers choose from 21 associate programs, including many online programs, at Rockingham Community College, a Wentworth, North Carolina-based school. Cosmetology associate students at the college learn the core concepts of the field and strengthen general skills, including critical thinking and communication. Remote-format courses allow associate candidates to do work for class while still working a full-time or part-time position.

Alumni of the associate program often qualify for entry-level cosmetology jobs. Learners who wish to continue their studies can earn a bachelor's degree with just two more years of school. The school features articulation agreements with many of North Carolina's four-year institutions, so associate graduates can easily transfer their credits into a bachelor's program.

Rockingham Community College at a Glance:

School Type: Public

Total Associate Programs: 21

Undergrad Tuition In State: $1,824

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $6,432

Average Graduate Earnings After Six Years: $23,000

Average Tuition
In-state
$1,824
Out-of-state
$6,432
Retention Rate
59%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,013
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
48% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#15 Best Cosmetology Associate Programs

Cape Fear Community College

  • Wilmington, NC
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Degree-seekers pick from among 49 associate programs, many available online, at Cape Fear Community College, located in Wilmington, North Carolina. Associate students enrolled in the college's cosmetology program get introduced to the core concepts of the field and get the chance to practice general skills, such as critical thinking and communication. Candidates can complete their studies while still working full or part time because of the program's online format.

Those who graduate with their associate degree meet the educational requirements for many entry-level positions in cosmetology. Learners who wish to continue their studies can earn a bachelor's degree with just two more years of school. The school's articulation agreements with many of North Carolina's four-year institutions allows associate graduates to easily transfer their credits into bachelor's programs.

Cape Fear Community College at a Glance:

School Type: Public

Total Associate Programs: 49

Total Online Associate Programs: 10

Undergrad Tuition In State: $2,432

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $8,576

Average Graduate Earnings After Six Years: $26,900

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,432
Out-of-state
$8,576
Retention Rate
55%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
8,629
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
53% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

What Do Cosmetologists Do?

Cosmetologists can perform a variety of tasks, including styling and cutting, giving facials, applying makeup, and doing manicures. Some cosmetology programs cover more of these skills than others.

Many professionals in the field specialize in 1-2 areas. For example, a cosmetologist may style and cut hair and offer hair-removal services. Another cosmetologist may focus on nail services.

Many cosmetologists are self-employed, while others work as employees at spas, salons, and resorts. Makeup artists may even work on studio sets or at photoshoots.

Cosmetology professionals need technical skills, such as haircutting techniques and safe application methods for hot wax. However, they must also possess strong interpersonal communication skills to build a loyal client base. Self-employed cosmetologists often need marketing and accounting skills to run their small business.

Cosmetologists must stay current on beauty trends. For this reason, many of these professionals read beauty magazines and blogs. They often follow industry influencers on social media to stay apprised of styles clients may request.

Career and Salary Outlook for Cosmetologists

The table below highlights the median salary for barbers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists. However, factors such as location, experience, and specialization can impact a professional's earning potential. For example, hairstylists generally earn different salaries than cosmetologists, and professionals with significant experience typically earn higher salaries.

Additionally, earning potential depends on the individual's place of employment. Hairstylists who work in salons may earn less than self-employed stylists who set their own rates. Similarly, makeup artists located on the East Coast may charge more than those in the Midwest. Learners can research current job listings to become familiar with typical salaries in their region.

Career Salary Potential
Career Bottom 10% Median Annual Salary Top 10%
Barbers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists Less than $9.76 $14.50 More than $27.23

Source: BLS

Accreditation for Cosmetology Programs

Students researching schools should pay attention to accreditation status. Accreditation indicates that a school or program regularly passes quality assessments from a third-party organization. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation oversee these third-party accrediting agencies.

Institutions can receive regional or national accreditation. National accreditation agencies typically evaluate trade schools, including cosmetology schools. The National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences (NACCAS) is one of the leading accrediting agencies for cosmetology schools and programs. More than 1,000 schools in the United States hold NACCAS accreditation.

Many employers and bachelor's programs only recognize degrees earned from accredited institutions. To check a school or program's accreditation status, learners can use the ED's searchable database.

Courses in a Cosmetology Program

Associate in cosmetology programs usually require about 60 credits, or 20 courses. Some cosmetology programs allow learners to tailor the curriculum to their career goals. For example, cosmetology students may select from emphasis options in hair styling, nail grooming, and makeup application.

Before choosing an associate in cosmetology program, prospective students should make sure the program's content matches their career goals. Reading through the program's course descriptions can help learners determine whether the curriculum meets their academic needs. Students in cosmetology associate programs commonly take the courses below. However, course availability and content vary by program.

  • Safety and Hygiene

    Enrollees learn how to apply safety and hygiene precautions. Learners discover best practices for cleaning equipment and detecting contagious nail and skin conditions. This course also covers basic first aid procedures to treat small wounds that may occur during cosmetology treatments.
  • Foundations for Nail Technicians

    This foundational course focuses on nail services. Students learn basic techniques for giving pedicures, manicures, and hand and foot massages. This course covers different types of painting techniques, such as dip and gel application. Students also practice applying acrylic nails to models.
  • Makeup Application

    Learners practice applying cosmetics, and they explore color theory to help them make educated color choices for clients. Students gain experience applying foundation, blush, lipstick, eyeliner, and mascara. Students also learn how to properly clean reusable brushes and makeup pallets.
  • Facial Basics

    This class teaches students how to apply facial steams and masks. Learners also practice performing facial massages and extractions. Coursework covers common skin ailments, such as acne, and students learn which products can help achieve certain results. The class also covers which skincare ingredients interact well and poorly with others.
  • Cutting, Styling, and Coloring Hair

    Many cosmetology programs include multiple classes on techniques for cutting, styling, and coloring hair. Learners explore which haircuts flatter each face shape. Students practice mixing hair dye, properly using shears and scissors, and cutting a variety of hair textures.

Financial Aid for Cosmetology Programs

Cosmetology students attending an accredited school can qualify for various types of financial aid. Learners should begin by completing the FAFSA to determine their eligibility for federal financial aid, including grants and loans. The FAFSA form takes about 40 minutes to complete and requires students to provide their financial information or that of their guardian.

Students may qualify for need-based grants or subsidized loans from the federal government. Grants do not require repayment, and subsidized loans do not begin accruing interest while the recipient is in school. While unsubsidized loans begin accruing interest immediately, recipients do not need to make payments until six months after graduation.

Students can review this guide for more detailed information about financial aid opportunities for distance learners.

Scholarships for Cosmetology

The cost of earning an associate in cosmetology varies by school. However, students can often minimize their debt by applying for scholarships. Learners should allow adequate time for completing scholarship applications, since application requirements often include essays and recommendation letters. The five scholarships below are available exclusively to cosmetology students.

Beauty Schools Directory Beauty & Wellness Professionals Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Twice a year, Beauty Schools Directory offers this scholarship to one student attending an eligible cosmetology or esthetician school. Applicants must submit an essay about their inspiration for pursuing a career in beauty and wellness.

Amount: $2,500

European Wax Center Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Twice a year, Beauty Schools Directory offers this scholarship to one student attending an eligible cosmetology or esthetician school. Applicants must submit an essay about their inspiration for pursuing a career in beauty and wellness.

Amount: $2,500

Health and Beauty Esthetics Scholarship

Who Can Apply: EstheticianEDU.org offers this scholarship to learners studying esthetics. Applicants must be enrolled in a degree or certificate program and need a minimum 3.5 GPA.

Amount: $500

Rosy Rewards Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Students enrolled in a cosmetology, barber, or esthetics program in the U.S. or Canada can apply. Applicants must submit a recommendation letter, a resume, and two photos that display their talent.

Amount: $12,000

The Great Scholarship Program

Who Can Apply: Great Clips funds this scholarship to support cosmetology students. Applicants must answer essay questions about why they wish to become a cosmetologist and which services they plan to offer.

Amount: $250-$1,500

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