Find Trade Colleges

Study Area & Zipcode

Best Cosmetology Trade Schools

Find Schools Near

2021 Best Cosmetology Trade Schools

925 Colleges
$15,675 Avg Salary
$10,029 Avg Student Debt

Finding the Best Cosmetology School for You

In 2018-2019, 103,674 degrees and certificates were awarded to cosmetology students, making the major the most popular in the country.

With all the trade school programs available today, it can be tough to choose which one is the best for you. You're no longer limited to schools in your local area, either, since online programs are becoming more prevalent. Or you may find the programs at a trade school to be a better alternative for you.

Along with in-depth profiles of schools and the programs they offer, Trade College Search has created the Best Cosmetology Trade Schools to help you in your search for the best school for you. This report analyzed 925 schools in the United States to see which ones offered the best programs for trade school students.

View our full ranking methodology.

2021 Best Cosmetology Schools in the United States

Check out the cosmetology programs at these schools if you want to get the best education that money can buy.

Top 25 Top Trade Schools in Cosmetology

Our analysis found Dermal Science International Aesthetics and Nail Academy to be the best school for cosmetology students who want to pursue a degree in the United States. DSI Academy is a small private for-profit school located in the small city of Reston.

Full Cosmetology at Dermal Science International Aesthetics and Nail Academy Report

Request Information
#2

Medspa Academies

South Jordan, UT

You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around you if you attend Medspa Academies. The school came in at #2 on this year’s Best Cosmetology Trade Schools list. Located in the large suburb of South Jordan, National Institute of Medical Aesthetics is a private for-profit school with a small student population.

Read full report on Cosmetology at Medspa Academies

Request Information
#3

Universal Spa Training Academy

Downers Grove, IL

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Universal Spa Training Academy. It ranked #3 on our 2021 Best Cosmetology Trade Schools list. Universal Spa Training Academy is a small private for-profit school located in the large suburb of Downers Grove.

Read full report on Cosmetology at Universal Spa Training Academy

Request Information

The excellent programs at Gary Manuel Aveda Institute helped the school earn the #4 place on this year’s ranking of the best cosmetology schools in the United States. Located in the city of Seattle, GMAI is a private for-profit school with a fairly small student population.

Full Cosmetology at Gary Manuel Aveda Institute Report

Request Information
#5

Cinta Aveda Institute

San Francisco, CA

A rank of #5 on this year’s list means Cinta Aveda Institute is a great place for cosmetology students. Located in the city of San Francisco, Cinta Aveda Institute is a private for-profit college with a fairly small student population.

Read More…

Request Information

San Francisco Institute of Esthetics & Cosmetology Inc did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for cosmetology students. It came in at #6 on the list. Located in the city of San Francisco, SFIEC is a private for-profit school with a fairly small student population.

Read full report on Cosmetology at San Francisco Institute of Esthetics & Cosmetology Inc

Request Information
#7

Aveda Institute-Des Moines

West Des Moines, IA

With a ranking of #7, Aveda Institute-Des Moines did quite well on this year’s best schools for cosmetology students. Aveda Institute-Des Moines is a fairly small private for-profit school located in the city of West Des Moines.

Read More…

Request Information

With a ranking of #8, Atelier Esthetique Institute of Esthetics did quite well on this year’s best schools for cosmetology students. Atelier Esthetique Institute of Esthetics is a fairly small private for-profit school located in the city of New York.

Full Cosmetology at Atelier Esthetique Institute of Esthetics Report

Request Information

The Salon Professional Academy-Fargo did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for cosmetology students. It came in at #9 on the list. Located in the medium-sized city of Fargo, The Salon Professional Academy-Fargo is a private for-profit college with a fairly small student population.

Read More…

Request Information

Elizabeth Grady School of Esthetics and Massage Therapy came in at #10 in this year’s edition of the Best Cosmetology Trade Schools ranking. Elizabeth Grady School of Esthetics and Massage Therapy is a small private for-profit school located in the suburb of Medford.

Read full report on Cosmetology at Elizabeth Grady School of Esthetics and Massage Therapy

Request Information

Evergreen Beauty and Barber College-Everett landed the #11 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best cosmetology programs. Evergreen Beauty and Barber College-Everett is a fairly small private for-profit school located in the midsize city of Everett.

Full Cosmetology at Evergreen Beauty and Barber College-Everett Report

Request Information

Minnesota School of Cosmetology-Woodbury Campus landed the #12 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best cosmetology programs. Minnesota School of Cosmetology-Woodbury Campus is a fairly small private for-profit school located in the large suburb of WOODBURY.

Full Cosmetology at Minnesota School of Cosmetology-Woodbury Campus Report

Request Information

University of Aesthetics & Cosmetology did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for cosmetology students. It came in at #13 on the list. Located in the city of Chicago, University of Aesthetics & Cosmetology is a private for-profit college with a small student population.

Full Cosmetology at University of Aesthetics & Cosmetology Report

Request Information
#14

Josef's West Academy

Fargo, ND

Josef’s West Academy did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for cosmetology students. It came in at #14 on the list. Josef's West Academy is a fairly small private for-profit school located in the medium-sized city of Fargo.

Full Cosmetology at Josef’s West Academy Report

Request Information
#15

Penrose Academy

Scottsdale, AZ

Penrose Academy ranked #15 on this year’s Best Cosmetology Trade Schools list. Located in the large city of Scottsdale, Penrose Academy is a private for-profit college with a small student population.

Full Cosmetology at Penrose Academy Report

Request Information

With a ranking of #16, Minnesota School of Cosmetology-Plymouth Campus did quite well on this year’s best schools for cosmetology students. Located in the city of Plymouth, Minnesota School of Cosmetology-Plymouth Campus is a private for-profit school with a small student population.

Read More…

Request Information

New York Institute of Beauty ranked #17 on this year’s Best Cosmetology Trade Schools list. New York Institute of Beauty is a small private for-profit school located in the suburb of Islandia.

Read More…

Request Information
#18

Avenue Five Institute

Austin, TX

With a ranking of #18, Avenue Five Institute did quite well on this year’s best schools for cosmetology students. Avenue Five Institute is a small private for-profit school located in the large city of Austin.

Full Cosmetology at Avenue Five Institute Report

Request Information

College of International Esthetics Inc came in at #19 in this year’s edition of the Best Cosmetology Trade Schools ranking. Located in the large suburb of Arvada, College of International Esthetics Inc is a private for-profit school with a small student population.

Read full report on Cosmetology at College of International Esthetics Inc

Request Information
#20

Stewart School

Sioux Falls, SD

Stewart School ranked #20 on this year’s Best Cosmetology Trade Schools list. Located in the medium-sized city of Sioux Falls, Stewart School is a private for-profit school with a fairly small student population.

Read full report on Cosmetology at Stewart School

Request Information

International Institute of Cosmetology did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for cosmetology students. It came in at #21 on the list. International Institute of Cosmetology is a small private for-profit school located in the suburb of Wethersfield.

Full Cosmetology at International Institute of Cosmetology Report

Request Information

Paul Mitchell the School-Portsmouth came in at #22 in this year’s edition of the Best Cosmetology Trade Schools ranking. Located in the suburb of Portsmouth, Paul Mitchell the School-Portsmouth is a private for-profit college with a small student population.

Read More…

Request Information

Josef’s School of Hair Design Inc-Grand Forks landed the #23 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best cosmetology programs. Josef's School of Hair Design Inc-Grand Forks is a small private for-profit school located in the city of Grand Forks.

Read More…

Request Information

New York School of Esthetics & Day Spa ranked #24 on this year’s Best Cosmetology Trade Schools list. Located in the small city of white plains, New York School of Esthetics & Day Spa is a private for-profit school with a small student population.

Read full report on Cosmetology at New York School of Esthetics & Day Spa

Request Information

Paul Mitchell the School-Overland Park did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for cosmetology students. It came in at #25 on the list. Located in the medium-sized city of Overland Park, Paul Mitchell the School-Overland Park is a private for-profit school with a fairly small student population.

Read More…

Request Information

Rest of the Top 50 Best Cosmetology Trade Schools

#26

Aveda Institute-Denver

Denver, CO
#27

Skin Institute

Saint Louis, MO
#29

Jupiter Beauty Academy

Boston, MA
#33

The Hair Academy

Bismarck, ND
#34

Nova Academy of Cosmetology

Rochester, MN
#35

EINE Inc

Tewksbury, MA
#37

Aveda Institute-Minneapolis

Minneapolis, MN
#43

Aveda Institute-Madison

Madison, WI
#44

Arrojo Cosmetology School

New York, NY

Remaining Award Winners

This section shows the rest of the schools awarded a Best Cosmetology Trade Schools badge. Showing in this list means the college was ranked in the top 15% of the 925 different United States cosmetology schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
51 Summit Salon Academy Tacoma, WA
52 Robert Paul Academy of Cosmetology Arts & Sciences Timonium, MD
53 Paul Mitchell the School-Milwaukee Pawaukee, WI
54 Aveda Institute Portland-Vancouver Campus Vancouver, WA
55 The Salon Professional Academy-Nashville Nashville, TN
56 The University of Aesthetics & Cosmetology Downers Grove, IL
57 Make-up Designory Burbank, CA
58 Black Hills Beauty College Rapid City, SD
59 Hastings Beauty School Hastings, MN
60 Paul Mitchell the School-Grand Rapids Kentwood, MI
61 The Salon Professional Academy-St Charles St. Charles, MO
62 The Salon Professional Academy-Ft Myers Fort Myers, FL
63 DuVall’s School of Cosmetology Bedford, TX
64 Tricoci University of Beauty Culture-Indianapolis Indianapolis, IN
65 Paul Mitchell the School-Austin Austin, TX
66 Paul Mitchell the School-Phoenix Phoenix, AZ
67 Capitol School of Hairstyling and Esthetics Omaha, NE
68 Laird Institute of Spa Therapy Manchester, NH
69 Aveda Institute-Phoenix Tempe, AZ
70 Z Hair Academy Overland Park, KS
71 Catherine Hinds Institute of Esthetics Woburn, MA
72 The Chrysm Insitute of Esthetics Virginia Beach, VA
73 Charles and Sues School of Hair Design Bryan, TX
74 Long Island Nail & Skin Care Institute Levittown, NY
75 O’Briens Aveda Institute Williston, VT
76 Taylor Andrews Academy of Hair Design-West Jordan West Jordan, UT
77 Paul Mitchell the School-Denver Lakewood, CO
78 Summit Salon Academy-Gainesville Gainesville, FL
79 W Academy of Salon and Spa Danville, CA
80 Aveda Institute-Portland Portland, OR
81 Paul Mitchell the School-Webster Webster, TX
82 Studio Beauty School Spokane Valley, WA
83 Eric Fisher Academy Wichita, KS
84 Hair Professionals Academy of Cosmetology West Dundee, IL
85 Casal Institute of Nevada Las Vegas, NV
86 PCI Academy-Plymouth Plymouth, MN
87 Cozmo Beauty School Bonita Springs, FL
88 Spa Tech Institute-Westboro Westboro, MA
89 LaBarberia Institute of Hair Mayfield Hts, OH
90 Aveda Institute-Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
91 The Salon Professional Academy-Tonawanda Tonawanda, NY
92 Aveda Institute-Tucson Tucson, AZ
93 Taylor Andrews Academy-Orem Orem, UT
94 Tint School of Makeup & Cosmetology-Seattle Seattle, WA
95 Studio Academy of Beauty Chandler, AZ
96 Model College of Hair Design Saint Cloud, MN
97 The Salon Professional Academy-San Jose San Jose, CA
98 Avi Career Training Great Falls, VA
99 Paul Mitchell the School-Spokane Spokane Valley, WA
100 Paul Mitchell the School-Portland Portland, OR
101 Aveda Institute-Provo Provo, UT
102 Estelle Skin Care and Spa Institute Skokie, IL
103 G Skin & Beauty Institute Oakbrook, IL
104 Ricci’s Academy of Cosmetology Newtown, CT
105 Panache Academy of Beauty Baraboo, WI
106 Bella Capelli Academy Monroeville, PA
107 Aveda Institute-Tallahassee Tallahassee, FL
108 Paul Mitchell the School-East Bay Pleasant Hill, CA
109 Summit Salon Academy Tampa, FL
110 Professional’s Choice Hair Design Academy Joliet, IL
111 La James International College-Ft Dodge Fort Dodge, IA
112 Tucson College of Beauty Tucson, AZ
112 Tint School of Makeup and Cosmetology-Irving Irving, TX
114 Acaydia School of Aesthetics Provo, UT
115 Cameo College of Essential Beauty Murray, UT
116 Spa Tech Institute-Plymouth Plymouth, MA
117 Tricoci University of Beauty Culture-Lafayette Lafayette, IN
118 Christine Valmy International School for Esthetics, Skin Care & Makeup New York, NY
119 Florida Academy Fort Myers, FL
120 Capri College-Dubuque Dubuque, IA
121 Warrensburg Area Career Center Warrensburg, MO
122 Paul Mitchell the School-Indianapolis Indianapolis, IN
123 Skin Science Institute Salt Lake City, UT
124 Aveda Institute-Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA
125 Spa Tech Institute-Westbrook Westbrook, ME
126 Niles School of Cosmetology Niles, IL
127 Elegance International Hollywood, CA
128 Paul Mitchell the School-Louisville Louisville, KY
129 Xenon International Academy-Omaha Omaha, NE
130 Gene Juarez Academy of Beauty-Federal Way Federal Way, WA
131 Aveda Institute-Chicago Chicago, IL
132 Aveda Institute-Columbus Columbus, OH
133 Victoria’s Academy of Cosmetology Kennewick, WA
134 Paul Mitchell the School-Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH
135 Mitchell’s Hair Styling Academy-Raleigh Raleigh, NC
136 Brown Aveda Institute-Strongsville Strongsville, OH
137 Vogue College of Cosmetology-Santa Fe Santa Fe, NM
138 Vogue College of Cosmetology-San Antonio Fredericksburg San Antonio, TX

Additional Noteworthy Schools

Here are some additional great schools for Cosmetology students that almost earned our Best Cosmetology Trade Schools award.

Rank College Location
139 Continental Academie of Hair Design-Hudson Hudson, NH
140 Innovate Salon Academy South Plainfield, NJ
141 Brown Aveda Institute-Mentor Mentor, OH
142 Paul Mitchell the School-Sacramento Sacramento, CA
143 The Salon Professional Academy-Appleton Appleton, WI
144 Paul Mitchell the School-Normal Normal, IL
145 Paul Mitchell the School-Salt Lake City Holladay, UT
146 Gene Juarez Academy of Beauty-Mountlake Terrace Mountlake Terrace, WA
147 La James International College-Cedar Falls Cedar Falls, IA
148 Paul Mitchell the School-Merrillville Merrillville, IN
149 Johnson County Community College Overland Park, KS
150 Christine Valmy International School of Esthetics & Cosmetology Pine Brook, NJ
151 Paul Mitchell the School-Sherman Oaks Sherman Oaks, CA
152 John Paolo’s Xtreme Beauty Institute-Goldwell Product Artistry Ballston Spa, NY
153 Tenaj Salon Institute The Villages, FL
154 PCI Academy-Ames Ames, IA
155 Citrus Heights Beauty College Citrus Heights, CA
156 Paul Mitchell the School-Toledo Sylvania, OH
157 Hays Academy of Hair Design Hays, KS
158 Aveda Institute-New York New York, NY
159 Paul Mitchell the School-Esani Roswell, GA
160 The Salon Professional Academy-Kenosha Kenosha, WI
161 Alexander Academy Lunenburg, MA
162 Toni & Guy Hairdressing Academy-Cranston Cranston, RI
163 Paul Mitchell the School-Fort Myers Fort Myers, FL
164 Paul Mitchell the School-Columbus Columbus, OH
165 Academy of Cosmetology Merritt Island, FL
166 Spa Tech Institute-Ipswich Ipswich, MA
167 International Academy of Style Reno, NV
168 Paul Mitchell the School-Wichita Wichita, KS
169 DiGrigoli School of Cosmetology West Springfield, MA
170 Lansdale School of Cosmetology Inc Lansdale, PA
171 Avalon School of Cosmetology-Alameda Alameda, CA
172 Aveda Institute-South Florida Davie, FL
173 Artistic Academy of Hair Design Morris Plains, NJ
174 Aveda Institute-Boise Boise, ID
175 Hays Academy of Hair Design Salina, KS
176 Collectiv Academy Midvale, UT
177 Paul Mitchell the School-Roanoke Roanoke, VA
178 Brighton Institute of Cosmetology Brighton, MI
179 Tricoci University of Beauty Culture-Bridgeview Bridgeview, IL
180 Keune Academy by 124 Lawrenceville, GA
181 The Salon Professional Academy-Shorewood Shorewood, IL
182 Iowa School of Beauty-Des Moines Des Moines, IA
183 Capri College-Cedar Rapids Cedar Rapids, IA
184 Elaine Sterling Institute Sandy Springs, GA
185 House of Heavilin Beauty College-Academy of Beauty Professionals Madison, WI

Cosmetology by Region

View the Best Cosmetology Trade Schools for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

One of 3 majors within the trade school area of study, cosmetology has other similar majors worth exploring.

Cosmetology Concentrations

Major Annual Graduates
General Cosmetology/Cosmetologist 52,002
Aesthetician/Esthetician & Skin Care Specialist 23,657
Nail Technician/Specialist & Manicurist 10,042
Barbering/Barber 8,937
Cosmetology, Barber/Styling, & Nail Instructor 1,881
Facial Treatment Specialist/Facialist 1,732
Other Cosmetology and Related Personal Grooming Arts 1,563
Make-Up Artist/Specialist 1,409
Master Aesthetician/Esthetician 1,142
Hair Styling/Stylist & Hair Design 773
Salon/Beauty Salon Management/Manager 247
Electrolysis/Electrology & Electrolysis Technician 239
Permanent Cosmetics/Makeup & Tattooing 50

Related Major Annual Graduates
Culinary Arts 26,643
Funeral & Mortuary Science 1,965
Other Personal & Culinary Services 320

Notes and References

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

  • Read more about our ranking methodology.
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to Tiffany Bumgardner.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

Featured Schools

Find Trade Schools Near You

Our free school finder matches students with accredited trade schools across the U.S.