Schools in the USA

Cosmetology And Esthetics Programs In America

  • Associate of Science (AS)

  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS)

  • Associate of Arts (AA)

  • Diploma/ Certificate

  • Program Length
  • 2 years for associate's degree

  • 300 hours - 1 year for diploma/certificate

  • Entry
  • Associate's degree - direct entry; entry after diploma or certificate

  • Diploma/ Certificate - direct entry

  • Areas of Study
  • General cosmetology and esthetics

  • Specialization areas include hair design, hair coloring, make-up, nail art, skin treatments, esthiology, manicures, pedicures, electrology, reflexology, aromatherapy, medical spa treatments and teacher instruction.

  • Special Features
  • Access to specialized, professional-quality facilities and products

  • Opportunity to attend local, state, and international competitions and trade shows

  • Professional work experience and development of client base while studying

  • Study abroad

  • If you've thought that it would be fun to work in a spa or salon, you're right. But it takes work to get there! A flair for style and an ability to chat and make people feel comfortable isn't enough; in the United States you need to pass a State Board examination to become licensed as a barber/ cosmetologist, esthetician or nail technologist. The academic programs at beauty schools--both stand-alone career colleges and community college cosmetology Schools--prepare you to sit for these exams so you can get started in your career right away.

    2-year degree options in cosmetology from community college Schools of Cosmetology include the Associate of Science (AS) or Associate of Arts (AA) in Cosmetology, and the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Cosmetology or Cosmetology Management. More common, though, are career colleges that specialize in cosmetology and esthetics education.

    In the field of beauty services, program length at career colleges is generally calculated in hours. For instance, you can take a 1,600-hour cosmetology course, 600-hour esthetics program, 750-hour cosmetology or esthetics teacher training course, or 300-hour nail technician program. A beauty school may also break this length down into hours of theory and hours of practice (for example, 320 hours of theory and 680 hours of practice), which will help you get a good sense of how much hands-on training you'll receive. Program length will often vary at different institutions, and programs generally take less than a year. But what you really want to look for is a statement that the program qualifies you to sit for the relevant state licensing exams.

    These vocational beauty schools aren't focused so much on awarding credentials as they are about preparing you to pass the licensing exams. Many school websites will not even say what you "get" at the end of a program, while others specify that you earn a certificate or diploma. Advanced diplomas may be available at some schools.

    So what can you expect to actually study at beauty school? That depends on your program. Cosmetology programs cover hair design, hair coloring, perms, various cutting and styling methods, skin care, manicure and pedicure, as well as extensive training in a wide range of hair products. Esthetician training programs usually include topics like various kinds of facials, massage, reflexology, masks, hair removal, eyebrow tinting, make-up application and removal, microdermabrasion, chemical peels and light therapy. Nail technician programs cover manicuring, pedicures, nail maintenance, tip applications, gel nails, acrylic nails, fiberglass, nylon and silk overlays as well as free hand and air brush nail art techniques. Many of these programs include some courses in anatomy and chemistry, and virtually all career college beauty school programs also include instruction in business skills and professional ethics so graduates will be knowledgeable in opening a practice.

    In terms of how you learn, most beauty school programs focus on a balance of theory and practice, with usually more weight given to the practical training. You can therefore expect a combination of lectures, audio-visuals, theory testing and actual work in a salon or clinic setting. Part-time and evening classes may be available Many beauty schools have operating salons and spas attached, which means students get experience with clients and are able to build a clientele while still at the school. Students graduate with a professional portfolio showcasing their skills and creativity/ personal vision, and job placement assistance is also offered at most career college beauty schools.

    Take the time to explore before you decide, but remember: this is a profession that is always growing! So feel good about choosing a beauty school in the US to start your future.


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    Florida College of Natural Health

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    Milan Institute
    Prepare for an exciting new career at the Milan Institute.
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    Vista College
    Get hands-on training with Vista College.
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    Virginia College

    Set your career in motion at Virginia College.

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    SkinScience Institute
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    Florida Barber Academy

    Florida Barber Academy

    For nearly fifteen years, the Florida Barber Academy has stood among the elite barber schools in Florida.

    Programs Offered:
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    • Full Specialist

    IBMC College

    Are you un-employed, under-employed or looking for a stable career where you can make a real difference? Well then, you have come to the right place.

    Programs Offered:
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    • Diploma-Cosmetology
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