Attending College for a Degree in Cosmetology

Colleges with the Top Cosmetology Programs

Cosmetology is about all things beauty! Whether you are beautifying hair, skin, or nails, cosmetology is a great career for those who are interested in different parts of the beauty industry. 

Common Services offered by Cosmetologists

Check out the most common services that are done by cosmetologists. Whether or not you have more of an interest in a particular skill set, you can learn it all when you become certified in cosmetology! 

Hair Services

Whether it’s playing around with hair texture or changing up the color, hair stylists do it all! In order to become a certified hair stylist, you must work towards becoming a cosmetologist first. Here are some services a cosmetologist will be trained in:

  • Haircuts
  • Hairstyles
  • Perms
  • Chemical Treatments
  • Shampooing
  • Hair Straightening
  • Bleaching
  • Coloring

Skin Services 

Another part of becoming a cosmetologist is learning about all things that have to do with skin and skincare. Many people will choose to become an esthetician when they are looking for a career that mostly deals with skin, but those with a license in cosmetology can apply for more specific practices such as:

  • Facials
  • Makeup
  • Waxing
  • Tweezing

Nail Services

If you have some experience and love working with nails, consider picking up a license in cosmetology to help teach you how to do it all. Regarding nails, licensed cosmetologists can do:

  • Manicures
  • Pedicures
  • Gel Nails
  • Acrylic Nails
  • Silk Nails

Schooling for Cosmetology 

For many of those interested in furthering their career in cosmetology, a common path is to attend beauty school. However, you can also attend college to get a degree in cosmetology, as many schools offer either a one year certificate or a two year associate’s degree. If you decide to go with the college route, you will get the opportunity to expand your knowledge on information that’s outside of the salon. Many people who attend college for cosmetology have aspirations of furthering their career in the beauty industry, including learning more about different topics such as beauty marketing, becoming a beauty brand ambassador, and even beauty school business training. Check out the top colleges that have the best cosmetology programs across the country!

Cerritos College

Norwalk, CA

It may be in your best interest to hone your search in on community colleges when looking to attain your degree in cosmetology, such as Cerritos College. This is because you will get the overall cheapest option when looking for schooling. First founded in 1955, Cerritos College is one of the top colleges in the county of Los Angeles that offers affordable and high quality career training across nearly 180 areas of study. Cerritos College offers 3 Cosmetology/Cosmetologist general degree programs. In 2020, 61 Cosmetology/Cosmetologist students graduated. In total, those students earned 51 Certificates and 10 Associate's degrees.

Cerritos College also does everything in its power to put students first. Cerritos College lists on its website that the school wants you to succeed in academics and develop socially and career wise in a friendly and supportive environment.

Idaho State College

Pocatello, ID

If you’re looking for more of that traditional college experience at a bigger school to get your cosmetology degree, Idaho State College should be towards the top of your radar. Originally founded in 1951 as the Academy of Idaho, Idaho State offers over 250 different academic programs. The school’s main campus is located in Pocatello, along with other locations in Meridian, Idaho Falls, and Twin Falls. The school offers one degree program in the Cosmetology/Cosmetologist general degree program. In 2020, 12 Cosmetology/Cosmetologist students graduated with students that earned a total of 12 Certificates.

Here is Idaho State’s extensive course load as part of the cosmetology program. Check out the school’s website here for more information:

  • COSM 0116 Introduction to Principles and Practices of Cosmetology: 5 semester hours: Fundamentals of hair chemistry and biology; introduction to basic permanent waving chemistry, hair cutting, and hair styling. Classroom and lab are integrated. 
  • COSM 0117 Beginning Principles and Practices of Cosmetology: 8 semester hours: This course builds upon concepts taught in Principles and Practice. This course will continue with the basic fundamentals of hair design, hair chemistry and biology, and interpersonal skills. Classroom and lab will be integrated. 
  • COSM 0126 Fundamental Principles and Practices of Cosmetology: 5 semester hours: Combination of classroom, lab, and live work on the clinic floor dealing with customer needs and practical applications.
  • COSM 0127 Fundamental Principles and Practices of Cosmetology II: 8 semester hours: In a combination of lab, live work, and classroom work, students will perform services on clientele, learn retail, customer relations, scheduling appointments, and dispensary duties pertaining to all phases of cosmetology. 

Vincennes University

Vincennes, IN

Initially founded in 1801 as Jefferson Academy, Vincennes University is 

Similar to Idaho State’s overall atmosphere, which is another public four year university. VU is also the oldest public institution of higher learning in the entire state of Indiana. Vincennes University offers 1 Cosmetology/Cosmetologist general degree program. It's a large, public, four-year university that’s in more of a secluded remote town. In 2020, 5 Cosmetology/Cosmetologist general students graduated with students that earned 5 Associate's degrees.

Pasadena City College

Pasadena, CA

Pasadena City College is another community college in Pasadena that enrolls over 30,000 students every single year. If you’re worried about your GPA or test scores on ACT/SAT, it’s important to note that the school does have a 100% acceptance rate!

The Cosmetology Program at Pasadena City College is a 1,600 hour program leading to a Certificate of Achievement that prepares you to take a State Board test to become a licensed cosmetologist. Courses are very hands-on overall and give you the training necessary to succeed in the workforce wherever you may end up. Once you get the Cosmetology Certificate of Achievement, you will be prepared to seek employment as a cosmetologist at a beauty salon. If you already have a license in cosmetology, you can also pursue the Instructional Techniques in Cosmetology certificate which prepares you to become a cosmetology instructor.

Montclair State University

Montclair, NJ

Montclair State is a public research university that’s located in Montclair, New Jersey history dating all the way back to 1908. At Montclair State, you have the opportunity to get your Makeup Artistry Certificate which is in partnership with the Bobbi Brown Studio. Overall, the certificate prepares students for productive careers in the cosmetics industry as it relates to fields including media, performance, and fashion. For more information, you can visit the school’s Department of Art and Design

Required courses apart of receiving the certificate:

  • Culture and Appearance 
  • Fundamentals of Makeup for Beauty and Fashion
  • Advanced Principles and Techniques of Makeup for Fashion and Beauty
  • Professional Level Challenges in Makeup Artistry

Whether it be from a beauty school or college, a cosmetology degree could be the perfect thing for you if the beauty industry is where you want to end up in one day. Even though the two may have similarities, attending a college will give you the opportunity to take certain subjects that a beauty school will not have the same to offer. Good luck!

Matt Lyons
Matt is a professional writer based in Pittsburgh, PA.
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