Best Cosmetology Schools in Atlanta, GA (2022)

As a vibrant city with a thriving hair and beauty industry, Atlanta may be the perfect place to become a beauty professional.

Choosing the right cosmetology school is essential for a successful career, so we've compiled a list of the top seven cosmetology schools in the area, with information on curriculum, training hours, reviews, and more.

Rankings Badge

Top Cosmetology Schools in Atlanta

#1 - Paul Mitchell the School-Esani
#2 - Georgia Institute of Cosmetology
#3 - Elaine Sterling Institute
#4 - Dalton Institute of Esthetics and Cosmetology
#5 - Georgia Career Institute

Top Cosmetology Schools in Atlanta (Full List)

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The prestigious Paul Mitchell School in Roswell offers students programs in both cosmetology and esthetics, as well as teacher training classes. Cosmetology students (or "Future Professionals," as they're known at Paul Mitchell) complete the 1,500-hour program by progressing through three levels of education—Core, Adaptive, and Creative—taking on more advanced techniques and building real-world skills and confidence with each stage.

Each Future Professional receives their own kit upon enrollment, packed with all the essentials they need for their training—including hot styling tools, mannequin heads, combs and brushes, scissors, and clips. They also get a brand-new iPad to further their studies. Students are encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities, such as regular FUNraising charity drives.

The school has a positive rating on Facebook, with reviews such as this from one alumnus: "Best decision I made! Great learning experience!"

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  79.00 %
School Profile

The Georgia Institute of Cosmetology aims to provide exceptional, state-of-the-art cosmetology training for students who wish to pursue a career in hair and beauty and prepares them for the world of work via self-paced structural programs and career guidance.

TAt its Athens campus, the school offers programs in cosmetology and cosmetology instruction for experienced cosmetologists who wish to take their career beyond the salon and into the classroom.

The 1,500-hour cosmetology program normally takes 12 months for full-time students or 18 months for those attending part-time. The school offers a $5,000 scholarship for those who qualify—check the school's website for more details.

TThe Institute has a solid rating on Indeed, with reviewers leaving comments such as, "I'm happy I accomplished this goal while supporting my family. I met really helpful friends and associates. The curriculum was exciting and very informative."

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  78.00 %
School Profile

This popular Atlanta school offers a variety of beauty-based programs in subjects such as cosmetology, esthetics, nail care, massage therapy, and continuing education classes for students looking to renew their license.

The school's 1,500-hour cosmetology program takes 10 months to complete full-time, 15 months when attending part-time evening classes, or 18.75 months for part-time day classes. It covers a wide range of hair and beauty topics, including industry concepts, health and safety, hair cutting, shaping, coloring, relaxing, waving, nails, skin care, makeup, and business practices.

Testimonials from alumni are glowing with praise. One former student says, "Elaine Sterling and her team have taught me beyond my expectations and have truly inspired me in so many ways... What an amazing group of educators! The education I received was exceptional."

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  74.90 %
School Profile

The Dalton Institute prides itself on giving its students an advanced education in hair and beauty, taking their training beyond the state board's requirements, and offering a range of extracurricular activities to boost learning. These include monthly field trips to The International Dermal Institute in Atlanta (Dalton is a Dermalogica Partnership School), job placements, and career development classes.

The school offers students programs in esthetics, master cosmetology, nail technology, instructor courses, and additional advanced classes in facial peels, microdermabrasion, and makeup artistry.

Dalton's 1,500-hour master cosmetology program combines hands-on practical training with technical instruction to cover all hair and beauty industry aspects. On Facebook, the school has a 4.8 out of 5-star rating, with alumni leaving reviews such as, "If you are an artist looking to further your life and gain a life long career in the health and beauty industry, then Dalton Institute of Esthetics and Cosmetology is for you!!!!!"

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  72.50 %
School Profile

First established in 1975, the Georgia Career Institute (GCI) in Conyers gives students the choice of several different hair and beauty programs, including cosmetology, esthetics, nail technology, massage therapy, and instructor courses.

The school's cosmetology program takes 1,500 hours, can be completed via day or night classes, and aims to give students a first-class education in everything related to hair, skin, and nails. Hands-on training is an integral part of the GCI curriculum. Students practice their techniques on fellow classmates in the school's on-site clinics before graduating to the next level of study and utilizing their skills with real clients in the extensive on-campus salon and spa.

GCI taught me everything I needed to know about the industry and prepared me for my career!" says one Indeed reviewer. "I enjoyed my program along with instructors. The time frame was perfect!"

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  68.00 %
School Profile

This Stone Mountain school first opened its doors in 1961 as the DeKalb County Beauty College, then evolved to become the Pro Way Hair School in 1998. Since then, the college has launched scores of students into successful careers in the hair and beauty industry, with programs in both cosmetology and barbering.

The school's popular cosmetology program takes 1,500 hours to complete and mixes theoretical classroom learning with hands-on experience. Once they have completed 250 hours of study, students can start performing clinical services for real clients in the school's salon facility, where they practice their skills under the supervision of Pro Way's expert instructors.

"Very awesome teachers and owners," says one former student on Facebook. "They actually teach you hair..... I learned so much going to this school and I also won a competition at this school as well. They taught me speed and accuracy. I absolutely cannot think of a better place to get your license from. Thanks to Ms. Davis for showing me all the ropes of being the best hairstylist. I will always remember her for that."

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  63.00 %
School Profile

As part of the Empire Beauty School family, this school in Morrow offers its students fun and interactive classes conducted by industry-leading beauty educators. As with its sister locations, the school is accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences (NACCAS), which holds its members to high standards.

Students can choose from programs in cosmetology or educator training, giving those who wish to take their beauty career a step further the skills to do so. The 1,500-hour cosmetology program teaches students a wide variety of hair and beauty theories and techniques, from cutting, coloring, and styling, to skin care and business and retail training.

Reviews on Indeed are favorable, such as this from one former student: "All of the teachers are honest helpful and make sure u strive and conquer to be your best self. As well as you not only pass but over achieve the state board test."

3-Year Average Graduation Rate
2018 – 2020 average:  55.00 %
School Profile

How We Ranked Atlanta Cosmetology Programs

The cosmetology schools ranked are accredited or state-approved to provide cosmetology programming according to the licensing requirements in the state. We researched schools that qualified as Title IV institutions and had an average of at least 25 students enrolled in the most recent 3 academic years of available data (2018 - 2020). These schools are all within 50 miles of a major city center and had a weighted 3-year average graduation rate (2018, 2019, and 2020) greater than 50%. After filtering for those requirements, we sorted the remaining programs by the highest weighted average graduation rate to determine the top 10 cosmetology schools in Atlanta.

Graduation rate and student enrollment data are from the U.S. Department of Education's Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) reports. Schools with key data points missing from IPEDS reports may be omitted from the ranking, as are schools with data that is unattributable to its beauty programs. Many excellent educational institutions—including community colleges—offering a wide variety of vocational programs may, as a result, not be represented on these rankings of top beauty schools.

Editorial Transparency and Anti-Bias Statement
This program ranking and others on our site were created by Beauty Schools Directory editorial staff based on both proprietary and publicly available data. In providing this information for our readers, our team makes editorial decisions independent from any commercial partnerships with any educational institution.