How Much Do Beauty Schools Cost?

Prior to searching for a cosmetology school, many of our readers write in and ask, “How much do
beauty schools cost?”. It’s a reasonable question, especially considering the number of people who attend beauty schools each year. According to a study in 2003, more than 1,600,000 professionals were working in barber shops, nail salons, beauty salons and skin care salons.

Cost of Beauty School
- How Much Does Cosmetology School Cost?


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Since the question in this article was “How much do beauty schools cost,” let’s address that right away. The cost of a beauty school often depends on the location. For example, schools located in major cities may cost as much as $10,000 or $20,000, while smaller schools may only be $2,000 to $6,000.

By way of comparison, vocational and technical schools can cost anywhere from $500 to $10,000. It all depends on the type of course being taken and the length of the studies.

Both of these pale in comparison to the yearly cost of a four-year university. The average cost for a public college is $16,357 per year, while a private college will set you back $33,301 annually. If you’re attending a public college as an out-of-state student, expect to pay around $10,000 above average.

Salary of a Cosmetologist

beauty-schools-costNow that we know the answer to “How much do beauty schools cost,” let’s take a look at how much a cosmetologist can expect to make each year. There are three ways a beautician can earn their paycheck:

  • Hourly Wage – Cosmetologists receive a fixed hourly wage per hour, but they’re also eligible to earn tips from clients. This system is used in many small chains of beauty shops, and tips often comprise a large part of the cosmetologist’s actual income. Here’s a rough guide to the expected hourly wage of a cosmetologist:
    • Less than 1 year $8.07 per hour
    • 1 to 4 years $8.35 per hour
    • 5 to 9 years $10.11 per hour
    • 10 to 19 years $11.79 per hour
    • 20 + years $12.50 per hour
  • Booth Rental – For a monthly fee, the cosmetologist can rent space in a salon. The cosmetologist must provide their own products, and they are considered self-employed.
  • Commission – The salon pays for water, products, lights and rent, and the remaining profits are split between the cosmetologist. A commission may also be given to cosmetologists who sell styling products. A cosmetologist working on commission is often considered self-employed.

On average, a cosmetologist cannot expect to make more than $50,000 per year. The average salary is closer to the $25,000 range.

Financial Aid for Cosmetology Students

Beauty schools do offer financial aid for their students, as long as they are accredited. Scholarships are also available. Here are some of the financial aid options available to cosmetology students:

  • Federal Work-Study – In this program, the student holds a part-time job in order to earn money for their education in the cosmetology field.
  • ACE Grant – These grants for cosmetology students are offered by the American Association of Cosmetology Students.
  • Federal Pell Grant – Any student who is enrolled in an undergraduate program is eligible for this grant.
  • Federal Perkins Loan – Undergraduate, graduate and professional degree students are eligible for this loan which must be paid off within 10 years.
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant – This grant provides cosmetology students (among others) with anywhere from $100 to $4,000 annually.
  • National Coalition of Estheticians, Manufacturers / Distributors and Associations Esthetician Scholarship – Esthetician students who are attending an AACS school are eligible for this scholarship.
  • Sports Clip Scholarship – Cosmetology students who attend an AACS school are eligible for this beauty school scholarship.
  • Pat Goins Memorial Scholarship – This scholarship counts towards tuition, and five $1,000 scholarships are awarded each year to students of AACS schools.
  • Diamond Beauty Products Scholarship – Five $1,000 scholarships are awarded, and the recipients must attend an AACS member school.
  • OPI Scholarships – Thirty $500 scholarships are awarded annually to cosmetology students or nail technicians enrolled in an AACA school.

Cost of a Beautician’s Equipment

Professional cosmetologists must also pay for the cost of their equipment. While the salon will provide fixtures such as drying chairs and barber chairs, items such as clippers, gels, hairspray and shears must be purchased by the beautician. Some rough estimates for products include:

  • $289 for two pairs of shears. This item can also be purchased individually for less than $100.
  • A hair razor costs around $39.
  • Hair clippers are usually $100 or more.
  • A moustache and beard trimmer is around $59.


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