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Cosmetology Schools in California

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Bellus Academy – Accredited

970 Broadway
Chula Vista, CA 91911

Programs:
Cosmetology, Esthetics/Skin Care, Nail Technology, Make-Up Artist Training, Barbering
Bellus Academy – Accredited

1073 East Main Street
El Cajon, CA 92021

Programs:
Cosmetology, Esthetics/Skin Care, Make-Up Artist Training, Barbering
Bellus Academy – Accredited

13266 Poway Road
Poway, CA 92064

Programs:
Cosmetology, Esthetics/Skin Care, Nail Technology, Make-Up Artist Training, Barbering

72-840 Highway 111
Palm Desert, CA 92260

Programs:
Cosmetology, Esthetics/Skin Care, Barbering

520 San Ramon Valley Boulevard
Danville, CA 94526

Programs:
Cosmetology, Esthetics/Skin Care

1679 East Monte Vista Avenue
Vacaville, CA 95688

Programs:
Cosmetology, Esthetics/Skin Care, Barbering
Milan Institute – Accredited

2822 F Street
Bakersfield, CA 93301

Programs:
Cosmetology, Esthetics/Skin Care, Nail Technology, Massage Therapy, Barbering
Milan Institute – Accredited

731 West Shaw Avenue
Clovis, CA 93612

Programs:
Cosmetology, Esthetics/Skin Care, Nail Technology, Massage Therapy, Barbering
Milan Institute – Accredited

780 Loughborough Drive
Merced, CA 95348

Programs:
Cosmetology, Esthetics/Skin Care, Nail Technology, Barbering
Milan Institute – Accredited

75-030 Gerald Ford Drive
Palm Desert, CA 92211

Programs:
Cosmetology, Esthetics/Skin Care, Nail Technology, Massage Therapy, Barbering
Milan Institute – Accredited

6500 South Mooney Boulevard
Visalia, CA 93277

Programs:
Cosmetology, Esthetics/Skin Care, Massage Therapy

16852 Devonshire Street
Granada Hills, CA 91344

Programs:
Cosmetology, Esthetics/Skin Care, Barbering
Paul Mitchell – Accredited

3100 Mchenry Avenue
Modesto, CA 95350

Programs:
Cosmetology, Esthetics/Skin Care, Nail Technology, Barbering

1st Academy of Beauty – Accredited

8819 Garvey Avenue
Rosemead, CA 91770

AAA Beauty College

4774 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92117

ABA Beauty School – Accredited

8428 Van Nuys Boulevard
Panorama City, CA 91402

ABC Adult School – Accredited

20122 Cabrillo Lane
Cerritos, CA 90703

Abram Friedman Occupational Center – Accredited

1646 South Olive Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015

Academy for Salon Professionals – Accredited

19520 Nordhoff Street
Northridge, CA 91324

Academy of Beauty – Accredited

3834 Main Street
Culver City, CA 90032

Academy of Esthetics and Cosmetology – Accredited

1116 San Fernando Road
San Fernando, CA 91340

Adrian's Beauty College – Accredited

3000 West Grantline Road
Tracy, CA 95304

Adrian's Beauty College – Accredited

1340 West Main Street
Turlock, CA 95380

Advance Beauty College – Accredited

10121 Westminster Avenue
Garden Grove, CA 92843

Advance Beauty College – Accredited

25332 McIntyre Street Laguna
Laguna Hills, CA 92653

Advance Beauty Techs Academy – Accredited

2191 Sampson Avenue
Corona, CA 92583

Alhambra Beauty College – Accredited

200 West Main Street
Alhambra, CA 91801

Allan Hancock College

800 South College Drive
Santa Maria, CA 93454

American Beauty Academy – Accredited

558 Main Street
Brawley, CA 92227

American Beauty College – Accredited

641 West Palmdale Boulevard
Palmdale, CA 93551

American Beauty College – Accredited

652 South Sunset Avenue
West Covina, CA 91790

American Beauty Institute – Accredited

4625 Convoy Street
San Diego, CA 92111

American Empire College – Accredited

1168 San Gabriel Boulevard
Rosemead, CA 91770

Amy Beauty School – Accredited

290 Corporate Terrace Circle
Corona, CA 92879

Ares Beauty Academy

12473 Woodside Avenue
Lakeside, CA 92040

Asel Beauty College – Accredited

9240 Garden Grove Boulevard
Garden Grove, CA 92844

Ashe Beauty Academy

1368 Lincoln Avenue
San Rafael, CA 94901

Asian-American International Beauty College – Accredited

7871 Westminster Boulevard
Westminster, CA 92683

Aveda Institute – Accredited

10935 Weyburn Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90024

Baldwin Park Adult & Community Education – Accredited

4640 North Maine Avenue
Baldwin Park, CA 91706

Bamboo Advance Beauty College – Accredited

14624 East 14th Street
San Leandro, CA 94578

Barstow Community College – Accredited

2700 Barstow Road
Barstow, CA 92311

Bay Area Hair Institute, LLC – Accredited

1133 El Camino Real
San Francisco, CA 94080

Bay Vista

1520 East Plaza Boulevard
National City, CA 91950

Bellflower Beauty College of Lakewood – Accredited

5438 Woodruff Avenue
Lakewood, CA 90713

Beyond 21st Century Beauty Academy – Accredited

13640 Imperial Highway
Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670

Borner's Barber College – Accredited

1284 North Lake Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91104

Bridges Beauty College – Accredited

9170 Foothill Boulevard
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730

Bridges Beauty College – Accredited

16515 Mojave Drive
Victorville, CA 92395

Butte College – Accredited

3536 Butte Campus Drive
Oroville, CA 95965

California Beauty School – Accredited

1115 15th Street
Modesto, CA 95354

California College of Barbering and Cosmetology – Accredited

1024 East March Lane
Stockton, CA 95210

California Cosmetology Academy – Accredited

1760 Fremont Boulevard
Seaside, CA 93955

California Hair Design Academy – Accredited

8011 University Avenue
La Mesa, CA 91942

Career Academy of Beauty – Accredited

12471 Valley View
Garden Grove, CA 92845

Career Academy of Cosmetology – Accredited

3314 Delaware Avenue
Stockton, CA 95204

Cen Beauty Academy – Accredited

7900 Limonite Avenue
Riverside, CA 92509

Central Sierra ROP (high school students only) – Accredited

6540 Koki Lane
El Dorado, CA 95623

Cerritos College – Accredited

11110 Alondra Boulevard
Norwalk, CA 90650

Cinta Aveda Institute – Accredited

305 Kearny Street
San Francisco, CA 94108

Cinta Aveda Institute – Accredited

111 West St. John Street
San Jose, CA 95113

Citrus College – Accredited

1000 West Foothill Boulevard
Glendora, CA 91741

Citrus Heights Beauty College – Accredited

7518 Baird Way
Citrus Heights, CA 95610

Coachella Valley Beauty College – Accredited

3643 West Florida Avenue
Hemet, CA 92545

Coachella Valley Beauty College – Accredited

79450 Highway 111
La Quinta, CA 92253

Coastline Beauty College – Accredited

16151 Harbor Boulevard
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

Coastline Beauty College – Accredited

2627 West Florida Avenue
Hemet, CA 92545

Coba Academy – Accredited

663 North Euclid Street
Anaheim, CA 92801

College of San Mateo – Accredited

1700 West Hillsdale Boulevard
San Mateo, CA 94402

College of the Sequoias

915 South Mooney Boulevard
Visalia, CA 93277

Compton College – Accredited

1111 East Artesia Boulevard
Compton, CA 90221

Cosmebar Academy

2920 Sonoma Boulevard
Vallejo, CA 94590

Cosmetology Apprenticeship Program

11650 Iberia Place
San Diego, CA 92128

Cosmo Beauty Academy – Accredited

3500 Fulton Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95821

Cosmotek College – Accredited

2188 Del Franco Street
San Jose, CA 95131

CRU Institute of Cosmetology and Barbering – Accredited

11889 Valley View Street
Garden Grove, CA 92845

D'Lacreme School of Cosmetology and Barbering

1787 North Texas Street
Fairfield, CA 94533

Dermal Refuge Academy

490 Post Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

Design's School of Cosmetology – Accredited

2727 Buena Vista Drive
Paso Robles, CA 93446

Diamond Beauty College – Accredited

10301 Garvey Avenue
South El Monte, CA 91733

Divina Cosmetology & Barbering Academy – Accredited

1011 Mason Street
Vacaville, CA 95688

Dream Beauty Academy

30700 Russell Ranch Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91362

East Los Angeles Occupational Center – Accredited

2100 Marengo Street
Los Angeles, CA 90033

East Los Angeles Skills Center – Accredited

3921 Selig Place
Los Angeles, CA 90031

El Camino College – Accredited

16007 Crenshaw Boulevard
Torrance, CA 90506

Estes Institute of Cosmetology – Accredited

324 East Main Street
Visalia, CA 93291

Extensions R Us Academy

2137 West Manchester Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90047

Fantasy Beauty College – Accredited

216 East Second Street
Pomona, CA 91766

Federico Beauty Institute – Accredited

1515 Sports Drive
Sacramento, CA 95834

Federico College – Accredited

5660 North Blackstone Avenue
Fresno, CA 93710

Flair Beauty College – Accredited

23754 Valencia Boulevard
Santa Clarita, CA 91355

Fredrick and Charles Beauty College – Accredited

831 F Street
Eureka, CA 95501

Fremont Beauty College – Accredited

4164 Technology Drive
Fremont, CA 94538

Fullerton College – Accredited

321 East Chapman Avenue
Fullerton, CA 92832

Gavilan College – Accredited

5055 Santa Teresa Boulevard
Gilroy, CA 95020

Georgiykot Academy USA

20855 Ventura Boulevard Suite 7
Woodland Hills, CA 91364

Glendale High School (high school students only) – Accredited

1440 East Broadway
Glendale, CA 91205

Golden West College – Accredited

15744 Goldenwest Street
Huntington Beach, CA 92647

Hacienda La Puente Adult Education – Accredited

14101 East Nelson Avenue
La Puente, CA 91746

Hair California Beauty Academy

1828 East Collins Avenue
Orange, CA 92867

Hesperia Alternative Education Center – Accredited

16527 Lemon Street
Hesperia, CA 92345

Hilltop Beauty School – Accredited

6317 Mission Street
Daly City, CA 94014

Hinton Barber and Beauty College – Accredited

1035 Tennessee Street
Vallejo, CA 94590

Hoss Lee Academy – Accredited

200 Whyte Avenue
Roseville, CA 95661

Inspire Academy of Barbering and Cosmetology – Accredited

445 West Weber Avenue
Stockton, CA 95203

Institute of Beauty Culture – Accredited

325 East Betteravia
Santa Maria, CA 93454

Institute of Technology – Accredited

564 West Herndon Avenue
Clovis, CA 93612

International Academy of Cosmetology & Barbering – Accredited

4085 Tweedy Boulevard
South Gate, CA 90280

International Beauty College – Accredited

1224 Polk Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

International College of Beauty Arts & Sciences – Accredited

5225 San Fernando Road West
Los Angeles, CA 90039

International College of Cosmetology – Accredited

3701 International Boulevard
Oakland, CA 94601

International School of Beauty – Accredited

72-261 Highway 111
Palm Desert, CA 92260

Jama's Beauty & Barber College – Accredited

8300 Valley Circle Boulevard
Canoga Park, CA 91304

Jasmine Beauty School – Accredited

5911 University Avenue
San Diego, CA 92115

JLC Beauty School – Accredited

16025 Gale Avenue
City of Industry, CA 91745

John C. Fremont High School (high school students only) – Accredited

7676 South San Pedro Street
Los Angeles, CA 90003

John Wesley International Barber and Beauty College

920 Atlantic Avenue
Long Beach, CA 90813

Katie Skills Center – Accredited

415 East 12th Street
Oakland, CA 94606

KC Beauty Academy – Accredited

706 East First Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

King Beauty College – Accredited

7717 Garden Grove Boulevard
Garden Grove, CA 92841

KZ Academy

1221 East Calaveras Boulevard
Milpitas, CA 95035

Lancaster Beauty School – Accredited

44646 North 10Th Street West
Lancaster, CA 93534

Laney College – Accredited

900 Fallon Street
Oakland, CA 94607

Lawrence & Company College of Cosmetology – Accredited

810 North 10th Avenue
Hanford, CA 93230

Lawrence & Company College of Cosmetology – Accredited

2048 Grant Street
Selma, CA 93662

Letty's Barbering and Cosmetology College – Accredited

4926 Whittier Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90022

Los Angeles Trade Technical College – Accredited

400 West Washington Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90015

Lu Ross Academy – Accredited

470 East Thompson Boulevard
Ventura, CA 93001

Lyle's College of Beauty – Accredited

2935 F Street
Bakersfield, CA 93301

Lyle's College of Beauty – Accredited

6735 North First Street
Fresno, CA 93710

Lytles Redwood Empire Beauty College – Accredited

186 Wikiup Drive
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Maiquela's Cosmetology Academy – Accredited

1434 East Foothill Boulevard
Upland, CA 91786

Maiquela's Cosmetology Academy – Accredited

12221 Whittier Boulevard
Whittier, CA 90602

Maiquela's Cosmetology School – Accredited

8511 Long Beach Boulevard
South Gate, CA 90280

Marin Beauty Academy – Accredited

854 Fourth Street
San Rafael, CA 94901

Marmel Beauty Academy – Accredited

6444 Bellingham Avenue
North Hollywood, CA 91606

Master Academy – Accredited

4100 Orange Avenue
Long Beach, CA 90807

Milan Institute of Cosmetology – Accredited

78-900 Highway 111
La Quinta, CA 92253

MiraCosta College

1 Barnard Drive
Oceanside, CA 92056

Mixed Institute of Cosmetology and Barbering – Accredited

5950 Florin Road
Sacramento, CA 95823

Modern Beauty Academy – Accredited

699 South C Street
Oxnard, CA 93030

Moler Barber College – Accredited

22425 Main Street
Hayward, CA 94541

Moler Barber College – Accredited

3815 Telegraph Avenue
Oakland, CA 94609

Moler Barber College – Accredited

13128 San Pablo Avenue
San Pablo, CA 94806

Moler Cosmetology College/Divsion of Moler Barber College – Accredited

955 Monroe Street
Santa Clara, CA 95050

MTI College

5221 Madison Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95841

My Beauty & Barber College – Accredited

6100 Mack Road
Sacramento, CA 95823

My Le's Beauty College – Accredited

4516 Florin Road
Sacramento, CA 95823

National Cosmetology School – Accredited

315 11Th Street
Oakland, CA 94607

Neihule Academy of Beauty – Accredited

305 East 8th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90014

North Adrian's College of Beauty Inc – Accredited

124 Floyd Avenue
Modesto, CA 95350

Palace Beauty College – Accredited

1517 South Western Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90006

Palomar Institute of Cosmetology – Accredited

355 Via Vera Cruz
San Marcos, CA 92078

Paris Beauty College – Accredited

1655 Willow Pass Road
Concord, CA 94520

Pasadena City College – Accredited

1570 East Colorado Boulevard
Pasadena, CA 91106

Paul Mitchell – Accredited

3309 Hyland Avenue
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Paul Mitchell – Accredited

5091 North Fresno Street
Fresno, CA 93710

Paul Mitchell – Accredited

825 East Green Street
Pasadena, CA 91101

Paul Mitchell – Accredited

100 Crescent Drive
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523

Paul Mitchell – Accredited

2100 Arden Way
Sacramento, CA 95825

Paul Mitchell – Accredited

410 A Street
San Diego, CA 92101

Paul Mitchell

2200 Eastridge Loop
San Jose, CA 95122

Paul Mitchell – Accredited

15301 Ventura Boulevard
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

Paul Mitchell – Accredited

27536 Ynez Road
Temecula, CA 92591

Paul Mitchell – Accredited

12047 Donner Pass Road
Truckee, CA 96161

Pomona Unified School District – Accredited

800 South Garey Avenue
Pomona, CA 91766

Princess Institute of Beauty – Accredited

1605 East Manning Avenue
Reedley, CA 93654

Professional Institute of Beauty – Accredited

10801 East Valley Mall
El Monte, CA 91731

Professional Schools of Beauty, Fashion and Arts – Accredited

18573 Sherman Way
Reseda, CA 91335

Redondo Beach Beauty College – Accredited

2205 West Artesia Boulevard
Redondo Beach, CA 90278

Regional Occupational Center – Accredited

501 South Mount Vernon Avenue
Bakersfield, CA 93307

Richard N. Slawson Southeast Occupational Center – Accredited

5500 Rickenbacker Road
Bell, CA 90201

Riverside City College

4800 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92506

Rosemead Beauty School – Accredited

8531 East Valley Boulevard
Rosemead, CA 91770

Royale College of Beauty and Barbering

27485 Commerce Center Drive
Temecula, CA 92590

RTC College – Accredited

10427 San Sevaine Way
Jurupa Valley, CA 91752

SABA Beauty School – Accredited

23635 El Toro Road
Lake Forest, CA 92630

Sacramento City College – Accredited

3835 Freeport Boulevard
Sacramento, CA 95822

Saddleback Beauty Academy – Accredited

23565 Moulton Parkway
Laguna Hills, CA 92653

Saddleback College

28000 Marguerite Parkway
Mission Viejo, CA 92692

Salinas Beauty College – Accredited

916 South Main
Salinas, CA 93901

Salon Success Academy – Accredited

2097 Compton Avenue
Corona, CA 92881

Salon Success Academy – Accredited

16803 Arrow Highway
Fontana, CA 92335

Salon Success Academy – Accredited

1915 West Redlands Boulevard
Redlands, CA 92373

Salon Success Academy – Accredited

6780 Indiana Avenue
Riverside, CA 92506

Salon Success Academy – Accredited

1385 East Foothill Boulevard
Upland, CA 91786

Salon Success Academy – Accredited

112 Plaza Drive
West Covina, CA 91790

San Bernardino Beauty College – Accredited

600 North Sierra Way
San Bernardino, CA 92410

San Diego City College – Accredited

1313 Park Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92101

San Francisco Institute of Esthetics & Cosmetology Inc – Accredited

1067 Folsom Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

San Jose City College – Accredited

2100 Moorpark Avenue
San Jose, CA 95128

San Luis Obispo Beauty College – Accredited

285 South Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Santa Ana Beauty Academy – Accredited

2231 North Tustin Avenue
Santa Ana, CA 92705

Santa Ana Beauty College – Accredited

1926 West 17th Street
Santa Ana, CA 92706

Santa Barbara City College – Accredited

721 Cliff Drive
Santa Barbara, CA 93109

Santa Clara Beauty College – Accredited

2630 El Camino Real
San Jose, CA 95051

Santa Monica College – Accredited

1900 Pico Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90405

Santiago Canyon College

8045 East Chapman
Orange, CA 92869

Selective Esthetics

22600 Ventura Boulevard Stacks
Woodland Hills, CA 91364

Shasta School of Cosmetology – Accredited

678 North Market Street
Redding, CA 96003

Sierra Beauty College – Accredited

1340 West 18th Street
Merced, CA 95340

Sierra Vista Adult School (Central California Women’s Facility) – Accredited

P.O. Box 1501
Chowchilla, CA 93610

Simi Valley Cosmetology School

3340 East Los Angeles Avenue
Simi Valley, CA 93065

Skyline College – Accredited

3300 College Drive
San Bruno, CA 94066

Solano Community College – Accredited

4000 Suisun Valley Road
Fairfield, CA 94534

Sonora Union High School (high school students only) – Accredited

606 Shaws Flat Road
Sonora, CA 95370

Southern California College of Barber and Beauty – Accredited

641 North Broadway
Escondido, CA 92025

Southern California Regional Occupational Center – Accredited

2300 Crenshaw Boulevard
Torrance, CA 90501

Southern California University of Health Sciences

16200 East Amber Valley Drive
Whittier, CA 90604

Straight Perm Beauty School – Accredited

3863 West 6th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90020

Thanh Le College School of Cosmetology – Accredited

12875 Chapman Avenue
Garden Grove, CA 92840

The Brothers & Sisters BarberCosmo Academy – Accredited

3322 International Boulevard
Oakland, CA 94601

The Salon Professional Academy – Accredited

1600 Saratoga Avenue
San Jose, CA 95129

Thuy Princess Beauty College

252 East Second Street
Pomona, CA 91766

TNN Beauty Apprenticeship

836 57th Street
Sacramento, CA 95819

TNN Beauty Apprenticeship

607 East Street
Woodland, CA 95776

Toni & Guy Hairdressing Academy – Accredited

3400 Bristol Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Toni & Guy Hairdressing Academy – Accredited

464 North Fairfax Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Topline Beauty College – Accredited

130 South Harbor Boulevard
Santa Ana, CA 92704

Universal College of Beauty Inc – Accredited

3419 West 43rd Place
Los Angeles, CA 90008

Universal College of Beauty – Accredited

244 North Market Street
Inglewood, CA 90301

V.R. Professional Beauty Academy – Accredited

1600 South Azusa Avenue Unit 242
City of Industry, CA 91748

Valley State Adult School (Valley State Prison for Women) – Accredited

P.O. Box 99 21633 Avenue 24
Chowchilla, CA 93610

Vanity Pro

18821 Delaware Street
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Victory Career College – Accredited

19401 South Vermont Avenue G100
Torrance, CA 90502

Wayne's College of Beauty – Accredited

1271 North Main Street
Salinas, CA 93906

West Valley Occupational Center – Accredited

6200 Winnetka Avenue
Woodland Hills, CA 91367

Western Barber Institute – Accredited

18442 Sherman Way
Reseda, CA 91335

Womack's Academy, Barber and Cosmetology

598 Silver Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94112

Yuba College

2088 North Beale Road
Marysville, CA 95901

ZMS The Academy – Accredited

2228 East Cesar E. Chavez Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90042

Toni & Guy Hairdressing Academy

2425 Mchenry Avenue Suite A
Manteca, CA 95337

Toni & Guy Hairdressing Academy

1019 South Main Street
Modesto, CA 95350

Toni & Guy Hairdressing Academy

1358 5th Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401
School Accreditation

You must attend a school that is approved by your state to provide training in the discipline you want to practice. Check with the school and the state board to be sure that your program of study will prepare you for any applicable state licensure.

 

Cosmetology is a career that lets you flex your creativity, enjoy the satisfaction of the beautiful, and make clients feel great about themselves. And being a cosmetologist in California can open many doors. Top10.com named California the 5th most beauty-obsessed state in the country, with consumers spending $11 million on skin care, $5.2 million on hair care, and $1.3 million on makeup each year.

With a thriving film and theater scene and a large population needing personal grooming services, it’s no wonder California has the third-highest employment level of cosmetologists in the nation.

Learn about getting your cosmetology license in California, including cosmetology program FAQs, licensing requirements, job and salary outlooks, and scholarship opportunities.

Why Cosmetology?

Cosmetologists do far more than “just” hair, makeup, nails, and skin care. They also need the people skills to explain the science behind different hair and skin ingredients to clients who may need help making the best beauty choices for their hair and skin.

In other words, it’s great for folks who love art, science, and working with people in equal amounts—a rare combination.

But cosmetologists don’t need to limit themselves to working in salons or product stores. Some choose to work in healthcare, helping patients in assisted living facilities look and feel their best. Others are in entertainment, working magic to turn everyday humans into fantastical creatures. Still more go into business for themselves, running a beauty business out of their home, making beauty products, or becoming an influencer. There are tons of unexpected beauty jobs in the field!

Additionally, cosmetology is largely recession-proof. Many people love having professionals care for their hair, skin, and nails and prioritize it, no matter what happens in the economy. With consumers willing to put aside other luxuries to continue looking and feeling their best, cosmetologists remain in high demand.

Getting Your Cosmetology License in California: FAQs

If you’re considering getting a cosmetology license in California, you likely have a few questions. Here are answers to some of the most common ones.

What Does a Cosmetologist Do?

Cosmetologists perform hair cutting, styling, dying, skin care, hair removal, and nail care. In California, they may also tint and perm eyelashes and eyebrows, which isn’t allowed everywhere.

How Much Does Cosmetology School Cost?

Nationwide, on average, cosmetology school costs between $6,500 and $10,000+. However, in California, cosmetology schools often cost anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000—but that’s before the recent change to lower required hours, mentioned below. Fewer required hours may eventually lead to lower school costs.

How Long Are Cosmetology Programs?

California cosmetology programs must include a minimum of 1,000 theory and practical hours. (Until 2022, aspiring cosmetologists had to undergo 1,600 hours of training.) If attending full-time, programs take approximately nine months to complete. Part-time study takes longer; the length depends on what your program allows and how many hours per week you’re in school.

What Are the Best Cosmetology Schools?

The best cosmetology schools have high exam pass rates, are accredited or state-approved, can accommodate your unique needs and schedule, and help you with financial aid and the job search given your personal goals. What’s best for someone you know may not be best for you. When deciding which is the best cosmetology school for you, read reviews, meet with representatives, and take a tour.

You can find information on some specific schools below, but there are more than 200 approved cosmetology schools in California, so do your research!

Types of California Cosmetology Schools

California cosmetology schools fit into three basic categories: smaller private independent schools, community colleges, and big brand beauty schools. (Big brand schools are also private, but they have name recognition and many locations across different cities.) None of the three types is inherently better than the others, but one of the three might be a better type of cosmetology school for you!

Note: In California, you can complete cosmetology education while incarcerated or as part of a high school program.

Smaller Independent Private Cosmetology Schools

Most cosmetology schools aren’t part of national brands or community colleges. These include privately run programs and nonprofit adult education programs.

These schools often have smaller class sizes than community colleges or big brand programs. However, they may not have the name recognition the other options offer if you leave the state.

A unique private school option in California is the ABC Adult School in Cerritos. Their Adult Education Program, accepted by the state of California and accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and the Council on Occupational Education, offers a cosmetology program for which you can receive federal aid. Federal financial aid can be hard to find outside community colleges or similar institutions.

As noted, cosmetology programs in California can cost as much as $30,000. At ABC, the program is under $7,000.

Community College Cosmetology Programs

Community college cosmetology programs are part of institutions that may offer degrees in addition to professional certification. While not all community colleges offer associate degrees in cosmetology, some do. The goal of an associate degree in the field is to provide a comprehensive education that includes general education courses plus beauty classes. Many students complete further education like business degrees to run their own companies.

Community colleges can run the gamut in price, but they’re often less expensive than big brand cosmetology programs. However, if traditional school isn’t your thing, attending a degree-granting program is probably not for you.

Sacramento City College offers an Associate of Science in Cosmetology. Like other community colleges, it requires a certain number of general education hours (English, math, etc.) and degree-specific hours to complete the program. They also have a nail technology certificate allowing people to practice manicures and pedicures in the state without enrolling in a full associate degree program.

Big Brand Cosmetology Schools

These cosmetology schools are the ones even people outside the field would recognize by name and may trust as a result. That’s a benefit of big brands—people know who they are and the quality of education nationwide. But they may have very large class sizes and be more expensive than other options.

For instance, California has 12 Paul Mitchell the School locations throughout the state. Let’s take the San Diego location as our example, though all Paul Mitchell locations have fairly similar programs tailored to the needs of their state.

Paul Mitchell offers a 1,000-hour cosmetology program, a 1,245-hour cosmetology/makeup program, a 1,200-hour cosmetology/barbering program, and others. You might qualify for federal Pell grants or loans, and they also have scholarship programs through the school. Military benefits may also be available.

Using their tuition calculator and assuming no financial aid, the estimated price for their general cosmetology program is nearly $23,000.

Financial Aid for Cosmetology Students

While cosmetology programs are typically less expensive than four-year college programs, some people may still find the price out of their reach. Luckily, there are financial aid options for cosmetology students.

The school you attend affects the types of aid you can get. Not all programs are eligible for federal assistance, which may include grants and subsidized or unsubsidized loans. However, you could attempt to get private scholarships, grants, or loans.

Scholarships for Cosmetology Students in California

Many cosmetology schools offer school-specific cosmetology scholarships. So, when you look for your perfect cosmetology school, be sure to investigate their beauty school scholarship options.

California is no different—most beauty-specific scholarships come from individual schools. However, you may be able to find general certification, licensure, vocational, or associate degree scholarships through independent organizations in the state. The below scholarships are available on a state-wide level. Many other scholarships are available at the local level for cosmetology students or other vocational students in California.

Winger/Leyes Endowment

This is for students who are accepted to an accredited cosmetology program in California or Oregon and need help paying for supplies. Two $1,000 awards are available each year. This is just one of many ESA Foundation scholarships worth investigating. The due date has passed for the 2022/2023 school year, but you can sign up to be notified about future due dates.

Cal Grant Community College Entitlement Award

The California Student Aid Commission offers a variety of assistance options for California students. This grant is for students attending accredited community colleges to attain an associate degree. The exact award amount isn’t published, but the deadline is September 2 each year.

Cal Grant C Award

Also part of the California Student Aid Commission, the Cal Grant C program gives free money to students pursuing occupational or technical training, including cosmetology. Recipients receive up to $2,462 for tuition and fees and $547 for tools, books, and equipment at eligible schools. Students must apply using the FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application by March 2.

California Association of Winegrape Growers Foundation

The CAWG Foundation awards four scholarships each year to high school seniors who have a parent or legal guardian employed by a California vineyard. The scholarship provides $2,000 for recipients to attend any community college in California. Applications require a high school transcript, a letter of recommendation, and an essay and are due on March 4.

Career and Salary Outlook for Cosmetology Graduates

California hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists made a mean annual wage of $38,790 in 2021, nearly $3,000 more than the national norm. Pay typically ranges between $29,120 and $57,840 in the state.

Cosmetologist salaries vary by industry and location. Median salaries for cosmetologists in 10 metropolitan areas in California are:

Metropolitan Area2021 Median Salary
Chico, CA$35,400
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA$35,380
Santa Rosa, CA$34,890
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA$34,820
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA$30,340
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA$30,230
Salinas, CA$29,970
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA$29,790
Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA$29,610
Stockton-Lodi, CA$29,320

Table information sourced from O*Net (2022).

Salary isn’t the only reason to consider working as a cosmetologist in California. The state is flourishing in terms of job openings, too.

Cosmetology jobs in California are expected to grow by 7% between 2018 and 2028, which is lower than the national expectation of 19%. Still, it’s also worth noting California employed approximately 66,200 cosmetologists in 2018, so a 7% change is about 8,960 projected annual openings due to growth and net replacement. Meanwhile, as a comparison, Idaho estimates a 15% growth in jobs—but with only 1,490 cosmetologists in the state in 2018, that equates to just 20 annual job openings.

As of spring 2022, there are 1,142 California cosmetology jobs posted on Indeed.com. Advertised positions include traveling jobs at $75 per hour, esthetician/cosmetologist work at $25 to $45 per hour, and employment at unique locations like Disneyland resorts.

California is also known for its film and theatre scenes. Hair and makeup jobs in these fields don’t necessarily require cosmetology backgrounds, but obtaining licensure can help—and those certifications can keep the bills paid while you look for work in the field, which can be competitive.

California makeup and hair artists for theatre and performance earned an average annual salary of $136,340 per year in 2021, about $12,000 more than the national average for this role. These jobs aren’t as common as standard cosmetology jobs in salons and spas, so having a backup plan is essential.

California Cosmetology License Requirements

There are four routes to obtaining a cosmetology license in California:

  • Traditional education
  • Apprenticeship
  • High school CTE
  • CTE during incarceration

You may also transfer an out-of-state cosmetology license to California if it meets all requirements. If the state decides your current training doesn’t meet standards, you may need to take additional classes, pass the written exam, or both.

We’ll dig into cosmetology licensure requirements by route, but let’s start by looking at some commonalities.

Universal California Cosmetology Licensure Requirements

You can expect to take classes in certain topics and complete a state test regardless of your licensure route. The topics include:

  • Health and safety
  • Disinfection and sanitation
  • Chemical hair services
  • Hairstyling services
  • Skin care services
  • Hair removal
  • Lash and brow beautification
  • Manicure and pedicure
  • Sexual and physical assault awareness (California cosmetologists are required to report suspected abuse)

Cosmetology programs culminate in a written exam. Testing vendor PSI has extremely strict requirements for scheduling your test, what to prepare, and so forth, so be sure to review their candidate information bulletin and talk to your school for clarification before taking your tests.

California does not require a practical cosmetology exam as of January 2022. This lack of practical testing is unusual; most states require a written and a hands-on test.

California Cosmetology Apprenticeships

Cosmetology schools are great for many people, but they may not be right for everyone. Fortunately, California also allows cosmetologists to complete training via apprenticeships. California requires cosmetology apprentices to be at least 16 years old and have a minimum of a 10th-grade education, have a valid SSN or TIN and government photo ID, and complete the required hours and examinations.

Apprentices don’t just jump in and start working in salons. Before beginning a cosmetology apprenticeship, you need to:

  • Be accepted to a state-approved apprenticeship program
  • Pay the program’s fees (max of $2,500 unless they’ve received a state exemption)
  • Complete a 39-hour Pre-apprentice Training Class with your program sponsor
  • Fill out all applications and relevant paperwork in conjunction with your trainer and program
  • Receive your apprentice license

Once you have your apprentice license, you may begin your approximately two years of apprenticing. These include 32-42.5 hours of On-the-Job Training (OJT) per week and 220 hours of Related Supplemental Instruction (RSI). A minimum of 3,200 OJT hours are required.

While you pay to undergo an apprenticeship, your mentor must pay you at least minimum wage (no commission or rental fees), and you get workers’ compensation. California’s minimum wage is $14 to $15 per hour as of 2022, depending on how many employees your establishment has. So, if your fee was $2,500 and you earn $14 per hour, you need to work about 179 hours or nearly five full-time weeks (before taxes) to pay it off.

Once you’ve completed 21 months of your apprenticeship and required hours, you apply to take the exam just like those who attended traditional schools. You may not split your training between schooling and apprenticing.

High School Cosmetology Programs

Some secondary schools allow students to take cosmetology as a career and technical education (CTE) route while attending traditional high school.

Schools and districts set their own requirements, though the licensure requirements set by the state don’t change.

CDCR Career and Technical Education in Cosmetology

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) allows incarcerated people to train in cosmetology while in a California state prison. Cosmetology isn’t available at all institutions, but it’s worth checking into if you or a loved one are sentenced to serve time and want to study cosmetology.

These cosmetology programs take six to 18 months to complete, and priority is given to those with fewer than five years to serve.

Accreditation and State Approval for Cosmetology Schools

The state board must approve any cosmetology schools before they can offer programs for licensure. State approval information should be easy to find on the school website, and the state keeps a running list as well.

In addition to offering the required cosmetology curriculum, schools must have space for a minimum of 25 students (more if they plan to teach larger groups) and at least 25 full-time learners.

State-approved schools may choose to offer externship programs so students can receive hours toward graduation. These aren’t required, and the school can revoke an externship.

While cosmetology schools only need to be approved by the state to function, some choose to get additional markers of quality. For instance, community colleges have institutional accreditations, and many independent beauty schools have programmatic accreditation from relevant agencies backed by the U.S. Department of Education, such as the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences (NACCAS).

Once you’ve determined a school is accredited, the rest is up to you. Does the school meet your scheduling, budgetary, and educational needs? Do they pass the “gut check?” The only “best” school is the one best for you!

How to Become a Cosmetologist in Your State

Additional Education and Career Resources

Beauty Industry West
Based in Los Angeles, BIW is an organization for beauty professionals to share trends, network, and learn more about the tricks of their trade. It also offers instruction and advocacy on diversity issues, scholarships, and events.

California Board of Barbering & Cosmetology
You can find everything you need to know about California’s cosmetology licensure laws on this official government site.

California Cosmetology Association
The CCA helps promote diversity, advocates for positive legislation, and ensures the reputation of the beauty industry is kept intact. Membership benefits include free or reduced cost trade show admission, insurance benefits, educational opportunities, and more.

Cinema Makeup School Instagram
The Cinema Makeup School in Los Angeles doesn’t offer a cosmetology license program, but their Instagram page alone can provide a lot of inspiration to aspiring theatre and film makeup artists.

Color May Vary
This Instagram page is a great introduction to Color May Vary, a Black-owned beauty guide based in California. The group, run by influencer Renee Loiz, strives to support and uplift beauty brands owned by Black entrepreneurs.

A.T.S.E. Local 706
While cosmetologists can work in entertainment nationwide, those interested in working in film hair and makeup may be particularly successful in California. To work in this industry, you should investigate the Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild to determine what specific requirements you need to meet.

Latinas in Beauty
This Instagram page for California-based Latina beauty pros uplifts visitors, helps with networking and job searching, runs meetups, and more.

Professional Beauty Federation of California
PBF acts as the voice of California’s beauty professionals. The federation advocates for improved laws, understanding of the field, and industry safety. PBF also organizes volunteer events and encourages direct interaction between lawmakers and beauty experts.

PSI Licensure Candidate Information Bulletin
This booklet explains everything you need to know about applying for and taking your California cosmetology licensure examination.

PSI Online Store
This shop contains study guides and textbooks to help you prepare for your state cosmetology exam. These resources may be particularly important now that California has discontinued the practical portion of the exam.