Choose-a-Cosmetology-SchoolAre you unsure about how to choose a cosmetology school? If you’ve chosen cosmetology as your career path there are so many options and knowing where to start can be difficult.

Choosing the school and program that’s right for you will depend on your schedule, lifestyle, age, goals, etc.

It’s important to explore all options and visit potential schools before making a decision!


Are you still in high school?

You’ve got a great chance to get ahead if your school offers a cosmetology program. Most schools offer it in your junior and senior year, so you’ll need to enroll at the end of your sophmore year to be eligible.

Choosing a program while you’re high school is much cheaper than attending a beauty school or institute after you graduate.

I wish I had the opportunity to take cosmetology in high school, but only to have a decent job while going through college. Then, you have the option of continuing in cosmetology with a degree to fall back on just in case!

There is one reason that I am thankful my high school didn’t offer the program….

The skills I acquired, along with the amazing culture and diversity of subjects was far better at the Paul Mitchell School than any high school could offer. Go to an amazing school…the school of your dreams….if you are truly passionate about what you want to do and if you want to exceed your own expectations.


Are you a high school graduate that’s ready to get started in life?

Chances are that if you’re reading this you have probably made the decision to pursue a trade rather than college. I wanted to do both, but my heart was set on cosmetology.

The first thing you should do is ask yourself what your short and long-term goals are.

Would you like to own a salon someday, rent a booth and build clientele, or travel the country to educate fellow stylists? Knowing which direction you’d like to go with your cosmetology license is the best way to figure out where to start. If you want to be an educator you should probably choose a school/brand that has a culture you enjoy. This doesn’t mean that you have to work for the company you are educated through, but it would give you a great foundation.

If you want to own a salon then you might consider taking a few night college courses along the way to get your business degree. Of course, you don’t have to make all of these decisions now, and chances are that you will change your mind along the way!

Are you pursuing your second career?

Making the decision to take a new path in life can be quite overwhelming, but with proper research and planning you will be even more sure that you made the right choice. The hardest part is already out of the way….recognizing that you are ready to make a change and knowing the direction you’d like to go in. I was in class with people of all ages. Some were moms, active duty military, investors, nurses, you name it they were there!

No matter where you are now and the circumstances there is a program that can fit your schedule.

The most common way to get your cosmetology license while working is with a night program. Most schools offer an 18 month part-time course with easy hours like 5:30-9:00 or Saturday sessions. I like the idea of night school for people who are working because you will make a lot of great friends who are all there with the same goals.

Another option is to find a salon that has a mentor who is willing to let you shadow them and teach you the techniques along the way. This is most commonly known as an “apprenticeship”.

This option is a little harder because you may have to teach yourself the curriculum, but a great group of stylists will be there to help…hopefully. You will still have to “clock in” for the required amount of hours for your state and take the licensing exam just like those who attend an institution.

Tricks are great, but learning by the book is a must before using the short-cuts that an experienced stylist may teach.

One drawback to going this route is that you may not have as much structure or learn everything about cutting, coloring, styling, etc. Stylists who get their license in-salon are usually lacking in a few areas as far as skill, but have learned a few more tricks than they would have in school.

For more tips visit the students page!


About The Author


Professional Hairstylist | American Board Certified Haircolorist | Makeup Artist | Beauty Blogger

3 Responses to How to Choose a Cosmetology School

  1. Duncan Lance says:

    I do like that you recommend some questions to ask yourself when choosing a cosmetology school. After all, certain questions, such as whether or not you want to own a salon, will impact what kind of school you choose. For example, if you want to own a salon then you’ll need a cosmetology school that also offers business classes.

  2. Steph says:

    Hey, I wrote a page about cosmetology high schools that meshes well with your post that your readers might be interested in too:

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