How Much Does Cosmetology School Cost?

How much does cosmetology school cost? Well, on average, tuition fees are often between $5,000 and $15,000, but this depends on a number of factors.

What’s the Average Cost of Cosmetology School?

Cosmetology school is an investment – but you’ll be glad to know it’s not as expensive as a traditional four-year college course. Unlike colleges, beauty schools don’t often advertise their fees. Most would rather meet with prospective students and discuss costs face-to-face than over the phone or via email.

How much cosmetology school costs depends on:

  • The school (top schools tend to be more expensive)
  • The location (schools in bigger cities usually cost more)
  • The program.

Let’s discuss this further…

It Depends on the School and Location

As we mentioned earlier, the average cost of tuition fees are usually between $5,000 and $15,000, though the most prestigious or private schools can cost more than $15,000.

For example, the Aveda Institute of New York’s fees are around $17,395 for the academic year 2018-19.

A 44-week course at the Sassoon Academy is $20,000.

Local community colleges can provide a similar range of courses but the fees will be much lower. Having said that, prestigious or private schools are more expensive, but it’s often worth it as you may find it easier to obtain a job at a high-end salon upon graduation.

It Depends on the Program

Some programs specialize individually in hairstyling, esthetics, nail tech, and massage therapy training. Or, there are cosmetology programs that combine all of these into one.

Hairstylist training tends to cost the most, with fees ranging between $6,000 and $15,000. Esthetician, nail technician and massage therapy training fees are usually much less, averaging between $3,000 and $5,000 for a 300-hour program.

Related read: How Hard is Cosmetology School? What You Need To Know Before You Enroll

However: to be a licensed cosmetologist, you’re usually required to complete a certain number of school hours. Most states require a minimum of 1,500 hours, though New York and Massachusetts ask for 1,000 and in Iowa, it’s 2,100.

How Much do Books and Materials Cost?

The cosmetology school costs we discussed earlier are just for tuition fees. Books and supplies usually aren’t included, though this depends on the school. According to BeautySchools.com, books and supplies typically cost $2,000 to $3,000 overall.

This includes the costs for tools like scissors, hair styling products, mannequins and so on. You should also have some extra room in your budget for any additional supplies your beauty school teacher might recommend that you purchase.

Related read: Cosmetology student kit list: The supplies you’ll need for cosmetology school

At this point, you might be thinking that beauty school is expensive. And it’s true – there are a lot of costs involved.

Luckily, you might not need to foot the entire bill.

There are various financial aid options available to you which can help reduce the cost of cosmetology school. Let’s discuss these further.

average cost cosmetology

How Can You Reduce the Cost of Cosmetology School?

Can You Get Financial Aid for Cosmetology School?

Of course. Federal Financial Aid is one possible route.

Some cosmetology schools take financial aid – just like traditional colleges do. This means just like regular college students, you’re eligible for grants, loans and work-study as well – thanks to Federal Financial Aid.

Also known as FAFSA, they’re the largest provider of student financial aid in the US. This provider is a part of the US Department of Education and is dedicated to making college education possible for more than 13 million students.

They provide:

  • Federal grants and scholarships.
  • Loans.
  • Work-study funds.

Federal Grants and Scholarships

With these, you’ll receive free money for school that you don’t need to pay back (which is why grants and scholarships are also known as ‘gift aid’). Whether you’re eligible and how much you receive is based on financial need (for grants) and merit (for scholarships).

Grants and scholarships can come from the federal government, your state government, your school or a private organization (this can also include nonprofits).

The US Department of Education offers the following federal grants to students:

  • Federal Pell Grants.
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG).
  • Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH).
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants.

Read more about these grants here. As for scholarships, we’ll discuss those further on.

If you’re going down this route, you start by filling out a free application for a FAFSA. You’ll need your social security number, among other things. There are deadlines you need to keep in mind too, so check that out here.

Tip: If you encounter any issues or have any questions when filling out your application, browse the FAQs page on FAFSA’s official website.

Loans

You can borrow as much as you need and pay it back at low interest rates. This is available to both students and parents.

Loans can come from the government, banks or private organizations. Federal student loans, which are loans from the federal government, often have more benefits than those from banks and other organizations – such as having lower interest rates.

These are the types of federal student loans available:

  • Direct Subsidized Loans.
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans.
  • Direct PLUS Loans.
  • Direct Consolidation Loans.

For more information on loans, their differences and how much you can borrow, check out this resource.

Tip: It’s important you understand the terms and conditions of the loan before you take it out.

Work-Study Funds

You’ll be provided with a part-time job while you’re enrolled in school so you can earn money to pay back your educational expenses. You’ll earn at least the federal minimum wage but you might earn more, depending on the type of work you do and the skills required.

This program will try to find you work related to your course of study wherever possible. Not only will this help you gain experience related to your chosen field but it’ll also encourage community spirit.

Tip: Know that you’re not allowed to work as many hours as you want. When assigning work hours, your employer or your school’s financial office will work around your class schedule. 

Read more about work-study funds here.

cosmetology school fees

Are Cosmetology School Scholarships Available?

Yes! So, we’ve discussed grants, loans and work-study funds. These aren’t the only financial aid options for cosmetology students. There are also scholarships available.

Scholarships are usually awarded based on merit or talent. FAFSA doesn’t offer them but plenty of other bodies do, including schools, employers and private corporations closely linked to the cosmetology industry.

Here are some tips to help you find the right scholarship:

  • Speak to the financial aid office at various cosmetology schools that you’re interested in.
  • Seek advice from your high school or TRIO counselor.
  • Conduct extensive research by searching Google or your local library’s reference section.
  • Contacting beauty salons – some of them offer scholarships.

We’ve written a blog post listing the different scholarships available to cosmetology students. But here’s a quick sample so you have an idea of what’s out there:

Various cosmetology schools, such as Aveda Institutes, also award scholarships. This is why it’s a good idea to contact the financial aid offices of the schools that you’re interested in.

Related read: Life after cosmetology school: how to start your career as a newly licensed cosmetologist

If you want to become a cosmetologist, you need to earn your cosmetology license. And that starts with going to beauty school. School isn’t cheap – that much can be said but there are various financial aid options available to you and remember that it’s all worth it to be able to work in your dream career.

If you want to find out whether you are ready to take your cosmetology exam, here is our free cosmetology practice test to help you out. You should also check out our cosmetology exam prep kit if you are looking for more specialized help.