Find Trade Colleges

Study Area & Zipcode

Best Cosmetology Basic Certificate Trade Schools

Find Schools Near

2022 Best Cosmetology Basic Certificate Trade Schools

729 Colleges

Finding the Best Cosmetology Basic Certificate School for You

In 2019-2020, 95,609 degrees and certificates were awarded to cosmetology students, making the major the most popular in the country.

There are lots of options to pick from today when trying to decide which trade school program is right 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.

To help you arm yourself with the information you need to make your decision, Trade College Search has developed this Best Cosmetology Basic Certificate Trade Schools ranking. Our analysis looked at 729 schools in the United States to see which basic certificate programs offered the best educational experiences for trade school students.

View our full ranking methodology.

2022 Best Cosmetology Basic Certificate Schools in the United States

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

Top 25 Top Trade Schools for an Award Taking Less Than 1 Year in Cosmetology

Our 2022 rankings named Institute of Advanced Medical Esthetics the best school in the United States for cosmetology students working on their basic certificate. Located in the suburb of Henrico, Institute of Advanced Medical Esthetics is a private for-profit school with a small student population.

Read More…

#2

Avi Career Training

Great Falls, VA

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Avi Career Training. It ranked #2 on our 2022 Best Cosmetology Basic Certificate Trade Schools list. Located in the large suburb of Great Falls, Avi Career Training is a private for-profit college with a fairly small student population.

Full Cosmetology at Avi Career Training Report

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend New York Institute of Beauty. It ranked #3 on our 2022 Best Cosmetology Basic Certificate Trade Schools list. New York Institute of Beauty is a fairly small private for-profit school located in the suburb of Islandia.

Read More…

#4

Avenue Five Institute

Austin, TX

You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around you if you attend Avenue Five Institute. The school came in at #4 on this year’s Best Cosmetology Basic Certificate Trade Schools list. Avenue Five Institute is a small private for-profit school located in the large city of Austin.

Full Cosmetology at Avenue Five Institute Report

A rank of #5 on this year’s list means Dermal Science International Aesthetics and Nail Academy is a great place for cosmetology students working on their basic certificate. DSI Academy is a small private for-profit school located in the small city of Reston.

Read full report on Cosmetology at Dermal Science International Aesthetics and Nail Academy

Aveda Fredric’s Institute - Indianapolis came in at #6 in this year’s edition of the Best Cosmetology Basic Certificate Trade Schools ranking. Located in the large city of Indianapolis, Aveda Fredric's Institute - Indianapolis is a private for-profit college with a small student population.

Read full report on Cosmetology at Aveda Fredric’s Institute - Indianapolis

Gary Manuel Aveda Institute ranked #7 on this year’s Best Cosmetology Basic Certificate Trade Schools list. Located in the large city of Seattle, GMAI is a private for-profit college with a fairly small student population.

Read full report on Cosmetology at Gary Manuel Aveda Institute

American Academy of Health and Beauty landed the #8 spot in the 2022 rankings for the best basic certificate cosmetology programs. Located in the city of Manchester, American Academy of Health and Beauty is a private for-profit school with a small student population.

Read full report on Cosmetology at American Academy of Health and Beauty

#9

Cinta Aveda Institute

San Francisco, CA

Cinta Aveda Institute came in at #9 in this year’s edition of the Best Cosmetology Basic Certificate Trade Schools ranking. Located in the city of San Francisco, Cinta Aveda Institute is a private for-profit college with a fairly small student population.

Full Cosmetology at Cinta Aveda Institute Report

J D Academy of Salon and Spa ranked #10 on this year’s Best Cosmetology Basic Certificate Trade Schools list. J D Academy of Salon and Spa is a fairly small private for-profit school located in the suburb of Danville.

Full Cosmetology at J D Academy of Salon and Spa Report

New York School of Esthetics & Day Spa ranked #11 on this year’s Best Cosmetology Basic Certificate 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 fairly small student population.

Full Cosmetology at New York School of Esthetics & Day Spa Report

Evergreen Beauty and Barber College-Everett came in at #12 in this year’s edition of the Best Cosmetology Basic Certificate Trade Schools ranking. Evergreen Beauty and Barber College-Everett is a small private for-profit school located in the midsize city of Everett.

Read full report on Cosmetology at Evergreen Beauty and Barber College-Everett

San Francisco Institute of Esthetics & Cosmetology Inc ranked #13 on this year’s Best Cosmetology Basic Certificate Trade Schools list. Located in the large city of San Francisco, SFIEC is a private for-profit school with a small student population.

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

With a ranking of #15, Atelier Esthetique Institute of Esthetics did quite well on this year’s best schools for cosmetology students working on their basic certificate. Atelier Esthetique Institute of Esthetics is a fairly small private for-profit school located in the large city of New York.

Read More…

International Academy of Style landed the #16 spot in the 2022 rankings for the best basic certificate cosmetology programs. Located in the large city of Reno, International Academy of Style is a private for-profit school with a fairly small student population.

Full Cosmetology at International Academy of Style Report

Elizabeth Grady School of Esthetics and Massage Therapy came in at #17 in this year’s edition of the Best Cosmetology Basic Certificate Trade Schools ranking. Elizabeth Grady School of Esthetics and Massage Therapy is a small private for-profit school located in the large suburb of Medford.

Full Cosmetology at Elizabeth Grady School of Esthetics and Massage Therapy Report

The Salon Professional Academy - Fargo landed the #18 spot in the 2022 rankings for the best basic certificate cosmetology programs. TSPA - Fargo is a small private for-profit school located in the midsize city of Fargo.

Read More…

#19

Penrose Academy

Scottsdale, AZ

Penrose Academy came in at #19 in this year’s edition of the Best Cosmetology Basic Certificate Trade Schools ranking. Located in the large city of Scottsdale, Penrose Academy is a private for-profit college with a small student population.

Read More…

The Institute of Beauty and Wellness came in at #20 in this year’s edition of the Best Cosmetology Basic Certificate Trade Schools ranking. The Institute of Beauty and Wellness is a small private for-profit school located in the large city of Milwaukee.

Read More…

Academy of Massage and Bodywork ranked #21 on this year’s Best Cosmetology Basic Certificate Trade Schools list. Located in the suburb of Bear, Academy of Massage and Bodywork is a private for-profit school with a fairly small student population.

Full Cosmetology at Academy of Massage and Bodywork Report

Aveda Institute - Madison did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for cosmetology students to get a basic certificate. It came in at #22 on the list. Aveda Institute - Madison is a fairly small private for-profit school located in the city of Madison.

Full Cosmetology at Aveda Institute - Madison Report

With a ranking of #23, The Salon Professional Academy - San Jose did quite well on this year’s best schools for cosmetology students working on their basic certificate. TSPA - San Jose is a fairly small private for-profit school located in the large city of San Jose.

Read full report on Cosmetology at The Salon Professional Academy - San Jose

#24

Aveda Institute - Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC

Aveda Institute - Chapel Hill did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for cosmetology students to get a basic certificate. It came in at #24 on the list. Aveda Institute - Chapel Hill is a small private for-profit school located in the small city of Chapel Hill.

Read More…

#25

Medspa Academies

South Jordan, UT

With a ranking of #25, Medspa Academies did quite well on this year’s best schools for cosmetology students working on their basic certificate. Located in the large suburb of South Jordan, National Institute of Medical Aesthetics is a private for-profit school with a small student population.

Full Cosmetology at Medspa Academies Report

Rest of the Top 50 Best Cosmetology Basic Certificate Trade Schools

#27

Aveda Institute - Minneapolis

Minneapolis, MN
#29

Aveda Institute - Des Moines

West Des Moines, IA
#32

Make-up Designory

Burbank, CA
#34

Universal Spa Training Academy

Downers Grove, IL
#35

Florida Academy

Fort Myers, FL
#36

Hoss Lee Academy

Roseville, CA
#39

Studio Academy of Beauty

Chandler, AZ
#41

G Skin & Beauty Institute

Oakbrook, IL
#41

Aveda Institute Las Vegas

Las Vegas, NV
#47

Aveda Institute - New York

New York, NY
#48

Stewart School

Sioux Falls, SD
#49

The Chrysm Insitute of Esthetics

Virginia Beach, VA

Remaining Award Winners

This list shows the remainder of the schools awarded a Best Cosmetology Basic Certificate Trade Schools badge. Showing in this list means the school was ranked in the top 15% of the 729 different United States cosmetology schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
51 Gould’s Academy Memphis, TN
52 Shear Ego International School of Hair Design Rochester, NY
53 Aesthetic Science Institute Latham, NY
54 Tint School of Makeup & Cosmetology-Seattle Seattle, WA
55 Catherine Hinds Institute of Esthetics Woburn, MA
56 Minnesota School of Cosmetology-Woodbury Campus WOODBURY, MN
57 Minnesota School of Cosmetology-Plymouth Campus Plymouth, MN
58 Aveda Institute - Phoenix Tempe, AZ
59 Aveda Fredric’s Institute - Cincinnati West Chester, OH
60 Aveda Institute - Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA
61 Aveda Institute - Columbus Columbus, OH
62 Aveda Institute - Chicago Chicago, IL
63 PCI Academy-Plymouth Plymouth, MN
64 La James International College-Davenport Davenport, IA
65 La James International College-Iowa City Iowa City, IA
66 Aveda Institute Portland - Vancouver Campus Vancouver, WA
67 Aveda Institute - Tucson Tucson, AZ
68 MKG Beauty & Business Cranston, RI
69 Aveda Institute - Portland Portland, OR
69 Lia Schorr Institute of Cosmetic Skin Care Training New York, NY
71 Pure Aesthetics Tucson, AZ
72 Gould’S-Academy Bartlett, TN
73 Summit Salon Academy - Tacoma Tacoma, WA
74 Paul Mitchell the School Sacramento Sacramento, CA
75 Christine Valmy International School of Esthetics & Cosmetology Pine Brook, NJ
76 Palace Beauty College Los Angeles, CA
77 Skin Science Institute Salt Lake City, UT
78 Tricoci University of Beauty Culture-Libertyville Libertyville, IL
79 Sharp Edgez Barber Institute Rochester, NY
80 Xenon International Academy-Omaha Omaha, NE
81 Tint School of Makeup and Cosmetology-Irving Irving, TX
82 G Skin & Beauty Institute West Dundee, IL
83 Boca Beauty Academy Boca Raton, FL
84 Christine Valmy International School for Esthetics, Skin Care & Makeup New York, NY
85 Paul Mitchell the School Austin Austin, TX
86 Capri College, Dubuque Dubuque, IA
87 Nova Academy of Cosmetology Rochester, MN
88 Tricoci University of Beauty Culture-Elgin Elgin, IL
89 L’esprit Academy Livonia, MI
90 Capilo School of Hair Design Augusta, ME
91 Black Hills Beauty College Rapid City, SD
92 O’Briens Aveda Institute Williston, VT
93 The Salon Professional Academy - Appleton Appleton, WI
94 American Barber Academy Reading, PA
95 Innovate Salon Academy - Ewing Ewing, NJ
96 Panache Academy of Beauty Baraboo, WI
97 Tricoci University of Beauty Culture-Lafayette Lafayette, IN
98 Tricoci University of Beauty Culture-Chicago NW Chicago, IL
99 Jupiter Beauty Academy Boston, MA
100 The Salon Professional Academy - Tonawanda Tonawanda, NY
101 Innovate Salon Academy South Plainfield, NJ
102 Tricoci University of Beauty Culture-Glendale Heights Glendale Heights, IL
103 Josef’s School of Hair, Skin & Body, Grand Forks Grand Forks, ND
104 Tricoci University of Beauty Culture-Bridgeview Bridgeview, IL
105 Spa Tech Institute-Westbrook Westbrook, ME
106 PCI Academy-Ames Ames, IA
107 American Institute of Beauty Largo, FL
108 Lancaster School of Cosmetology & Therapeutic Bodywork Lancaster, PA
109 Robert Paul Academy of Cosmetology Arts & Sciences Timonium, MD

Additional Noteworthy Schools

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

Rank College Location
110 Brown Aveda Institute - Strongsville Strongsville, OH
111 Spa Tech Institute-Westboro Westboro, MA
112 Estelle Skin Care and Spa Institute Skokie, IL
113 International College of Cosmetology Oakland, CA
114 Long Island Nail Skin & Hair Institute Levittown, NY
115 Tricoci University of Beauty Culture-Rockford Rockford, IL
116 Studio Beauty School Spokane Valley, WA
117 Summit Salon Academy - Tampa Tampa, FL
118 Capri College, Cedar Rapids Cedar Rapids, IA
119 Iowa School of Beauty-Des Moines Des Moines, IA
120 Model College of Hair Design Saint Cloud, MN
121 La James International College-Cedar Falls Cedar Falls, IA
122 Academy of Professional Cosmetology Rogers, AR
123 Bucks County School of Beauty Culture Inc Feasterville, PA
124 UCAS University of Cosmetology Arts & Sciences San Antonio, TX
125 Cortiva Institute-Baltimore Linthicum, MD
126 Baldwin Beauty School - North Austin Austin, TX
127 Aveda Institute - Tallahassee Tallahassee, FL
128 Parisian Beauty School Hackensack, NJ
129 Michaels School of Hair Design and Esthetics - A Paul Mitchell Partner School Bedford, NH
130 Spa Tech Institute-Plymouth Plymouth, MA
131 DuVall’s School of Cosmetology Bedford, TX
132 Aveda Institute - Boise Boise, ID
133 Aveda Institute - San Antonio San Antonio, TX
134 Tricoci University of Beauty Culture-Chicago NE Chicago, IL
135 Summit Salon Academy - Perrysburg Perrysburg, OH
136 Academy Di Capelli - School of Cosmetology Wallingford, CT
137 Paul Mitchell the School Portsmouth Portsmouth, NH
138 Arrojo Cosmetology School New York, NY
139 Metro Beauty Academy Allentown, PA
140 Paul Mitchell the School Schenectady Schenectady, NY
141 Grabber School of Hair Design St. Louis, MO
142 Brown Aveda Institute - Mentor Mentor, OH
143 Southwest Wisconsin Technical College Fennimore, WI
144 House of Heavilin Beauty College-Academy of Beauty Professionals Appleton, WI
145 The Spa School Columbus, OH

Cosmetology by Region

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

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

Cosmetology is one of 4 different types of trade school programs to choose from.

Cosmetology Concentrations

Major Annual Graduates
General Cosmetology/Cosmetologist 45,592
Aesthetician/Esthetician & Skin Care Specialist 24,512
Nail Technician/Specialist & Manicurist 8,655
Barbering/Barber 8,159
Facial Treatment Specialist/Facialist 2,079
Other Cosmetology and Related Personal Grooming Arts 1,737
Cosmetology, Barber/Styling, & Nail Instructor 1,274
Master Aesthetician/Esthetician 1,187
Hair Styling/Stylist & Hair Design 1,037
Make-Up Artist/Specialist 797
Salon/Beauty Salon Management/Manager 322
Electrolysis/Electrology & Electrolysis Technician 232
Permanent Cosmetics/Makeup & Tattooing 26

Related Major Annual Graduates
Culinary Arts 21,906
Funeral & Mortuary Science 2,058
Other Personal & Culinary Services 280

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.