Cosmetology school cost is one of the biggest considerations for some prospective beauty students who are trying to decide if they want to go to college or not. Compared to other academic courses that don’t require lots of supplies, there is no denying that it can be quite expensive.

So what are the prices like when everything is included, just how much is beauty school?

The cost can vary from state to state depending on length of study and other factors, but a range of $5,500 to $22,000 will cover almost all programs. Community colleges would be at the lower end usually charge between $5,000 and $10,000 — and can sometimes be free. Private schools would be in the upper range, sometimes even topping out at $25,000. Check out the table below for some examples in different states:

School NameLengthTuition CostBooks, Kit, and SuppliesRegistration and other feesTotal
Blue Cliff College - Louisiana1,500 hours$16,995$1,550 includes feesincluded$18,545
EQ School of Hair Design - Iowa2,100 hours$18,750$1,875included in tuition$20,625
Leon's Beauty School - North Carolina1,500 hours$7,200$800$100$8,100
Grabber School of Hair Design - Missouri1,500 hours$15,750$4,800$150$20,700
Hudson Valley Community College -- New York1,000 hours over 10 monthsfree if you qualify
California Beauty College, CA1,600 hours$16,800$2,664.90$100$19,564.90
Central Texas Beauty College - Texas1,500 hours$8,700$875$125$9,700

Tuition — Why Is It So Expensive?

Tuition is the main expense for most programs in all types of education unless you are in high school. Factored into the price paid are things like the instructor’s wages, the rent for classrooms, administration, taxes, insurance and so on. In our small sample in the table above you can see that — unless tuition is free — that the expense ranges from around $7,000 up to nearly $19,000. Enter your ZIP below to find out how much schools are in your area:

When cosmetology is being taught class sizes need to be smaller than regular academic classes. When arts and science students attend a lecture it doesn’t matter how many are sitting and listening and taking notes, so there could be 100 pupils with no lack in quality of the learning experience.

However if there are too many beauty students in a class the instructor won’t be able to give the trainees the individual attention they need in order to learn and execute the techniques being taught. So smaller class sizes mean the expenses mentioned above are spread out over fewer individual pupils.

paying for school with cash is not recommended!The good news is that as long as an education institution is accredited and recognized by state authorities, loans are not difficult to take out. If you have genuine need the Pell Grant and other financial aid can be applied for via And considering the great demand for beauty specialists you should have no problem finding job to repay a student loan if you end up needing one.

Books and Supplies

In beauty college you need to spend quite a lot on top of what most other students pay. Nearly all courses require one or more books, but not many programs require the amount of supplies that beauticians need.

Books for beauty classes will end up having an average cost of $200-$300. Supplies, though, can set you back up to $4,000 depending on where you go.

Some courses will cover several different aspects of beauty such as skin care, nail care, and makeup along with hair styling and cutting. If you are required to buy tools, supplies, and equipment for all those parts of your training it can really add up! Check out these pages for essential barber supplies students need and the same for manicurist supplies.

Example of one school’s required books and supplies:


  1. Cosmetology Comprehensive Overview $91
  2. Practical $41
  3. Theory $41
  4. Exam Review Book $30

Absolute Minimum Basic Supplies:

  1. Hair Clippers and attachments $50 – $150
  2. Shears $20 -$100
  3. Hair shaper razor and blades $20
  4. Thinning shears $25
  5. Mannequin head $25
  6. Styling combs $10
  7. Water sprayer $5

Accommodation and Living Expenses

This is one area where you can save a lot of money. If your chosen place to train is close to home and you can live with your parents, then you’ll probably be able to cut your expenses down considerably.

If you are farther from home, or a mature student then you’ll possibly need to get financial assistance or dip into savings.

Depending on the length of the program and the cost of living in the area where you are training, you could spend $2,000/month for your room and other living expenses. Of course if you are doing part of your training online then you will be able to save a lot! You won’t need to pay transport, or extra for accommodation away from home.

Hopefully your rent will be cheap!If you are living in a less expensive, less densely populated area such as in a small town you might be able to get by on half that — $10,000 — especially if you share an apartment.

Another possible solution to reducing costs is to work part-time and go to school part-time or on weekends. It will take you longer to graduate but you won’t be in debt as much (or at all) upon graduation.

Money-Saving Ideas for Beauty School

Take a shorter course! Do you really want and need a full cosmetology program? Some people have already developed a more specific interest in a particular aspect of beauty. For instance, if you don’t want to cut hair and only want to do nail care you can drastically reduce the time of your training and also the price. Same goes for makeup and esthetics: training time can be reduced by one half or more.

You might also want to consider online schools though the quality of training you get without an instructor looking over your shoulder is bound to suffer.

Financial Aid

If you really want to do a full cosmetology program and just don’t have the funds that shouldn’t stop you. As mentioned above there are many options for grants and student loans. Sometimes the specific institution you are applying to will offer scholarships to qualified applicants. And the nicest thing about scholarships is that they don’t have to be repaid!

Some Federal aid programs are:

  • Pell Grant as mentioned already
  • Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
  • Work-Study
  • Perkins Loan

In short, your studies can be expensive. But don’t let money stop you from pursuing your passion. If you want to study cosmetology the cost should not deter you. There may be scholarships and grants that will pay the bulk of you tuition, text books, supplies and even room and board. And be diligent in your search — there may be some perfectly good places to train that are completely free, especially if you are still in high school.