Best 35 Cosmetology Schools in Chicago (2022)
Aspiring cosmetologists in a large metro area like Chicago have a variety of quality choices when it comes to choosing a beauty school. But with so many options, it can be challenging to find the training program that best fits in with your life and career goals.
We've researched and ranked the best cosmetology schools in Chicago to help you find a program that has everything you're looking for. Learn about the top Chicago beauty schools, including the courses they offer, required hours, tuition, and graduation rates.
Top Cosmetology Schools in Chicago
Top Cosmetology Schools in Chicago (Full List)
The Rosel School of Cosmetology is a small, NACCAS-accredited school that first opened in 1989. In 2019 they offered financial aid to 90% of students and enrolled 70 students, with a student-teacher ratio of 15:1.
The 1,500-hour cosmetology program meets the state requirements. You can choose whether to learn in the classroom or online, with part of the program in a hands-on setting. The program takes around 15 months to complete. For admission, students need a high school diploma or GED and must be of "high moral character."
You can also continue your education at Rosel. The cosmetology teaching program is 1,000 hours, which takes a year to complete, and the school offers continuing education programs in cosmetology.
The 1,500-hour cosmetology program at the University of Aesthetics & Cosmetology takes an average of 12 months to complete.
Students learn in a classroom setting and work under supervision in a student spa for hands-on clinical hours. Courses include the basics of cosmetology, like cutting and coloring hair, esthetics, and nail technology. Class sizes are small, with 12 students per instructor, and new classes start every eight weeks.
The school also offers other programs such as esthetics and instructor training courses. Every program at the University of Aesthetics & Cosmetology has a graduation rate of 100%.
The Capri Beauty College prides itself on having shaped hair since 1960. The award-winning and NACCAS-accredited school has multiple notable alumni and consistent state board licensure pass rates.
The cosmetology program covers the required 1,500 hours of coursework in an average of 11 months. Class sizes are small, with a student-teacher ratio of 11:1. Course study follows the industry-leading Pivot Point curriculum, which provides fundamental e-books, magazine-style books, video modules, presentations, and online LAB learning experiences.
Students focus on hairstyling, chemical application, shop management, esthetics, and nail technology basics.
With a versatile campus and flexible schedules, Tricoci University of Beauty Culture offers an award-winning education at their Glendale Heights location, around 25 miles from downtown Chicago. In addition to practical classrooms and a cutting-edge salon, the school dedicates 9,000 square feet of space to cosmetology, esthetics, and teacher training.
Students can complete the 1,500-hour cosmetology program in 13 months of full-time study or 20 months of part-time study. The training prepares you for multiple career paths, including hairstylist, colorist, makeup artist, salon manager, sales representative, or business owner. Legendary beauty stylists like Mario Tricoci design the courses.
The school also offers funding via federal loans, scholarships, and a tuition payment program. All students received financial aid in 2019.
The cosmetology program at Professional's Choice Hair Design Academy consists of lectures, hands-on experience, and written and practical evaluations. Expect small classes, with a student-teacher ratio of 6:1.
Professional's Choice Hair Design Academy offers accredited cosmetology and unique instructor training programs. You can complete the 1,500-hour cosmetology program in 11 months.
The cosmetology instructor training program is available to licensed cosmetologists who want to teach the next generation of hairstylists, with two options. If you recently graduated from beauty school and don't yet have salon experience, you can sign up for the 1,000-hour program. The 500-hour program is for cosmetologists with at least two years of salon experience.
Located in a suburb west of Chicago, Pivot Point Academy offers cosmetology, esthetics, barbering, teacher training, and continuing education programs.
Courses involve a mixture of classroom and salon immersion, and the instructors encourage a collaborative learning environment to help boost students' skills. Financial aid and scholarships are available; in 2019, 51% of the students received aid.
The cosmetology program is 1,500 hours, which takes 11 months to complete. You learn more than the basics at Pivot Point—the school also prepares you for success in a salon through hands-on training and a digital online classroom, Learn About Beauty (LAB). Pivot Point Academy students receive an iPad and student kit with over 400 high-quality tools and accessories.
The Capri Beauty College has been shaping beauty education since 1960. With many notable alumni and an online learning option, the NACCAS-accredited program also has high state board pass rates. The Oak Forest location is a welcoming family environment with classrooms and a student salon.
The cosmetology program is available through an innovative online learning platform called Learn About Beauty (LAB), which takes a multi-faceted approach to learning. The curriculum covers hairstyling, chemical application, hair treatments, esthetics, nail technology, and shop management.
The 1,500 hours of study take 13 months, and in 2019, all students at Capri received financial aid.
The Cannella School of Hair Design is a family-owned and nationally accredited cosmetology school that offers classes in English and Spanish.
Their cosmetology program is 1,500 hours, which takes 12 months to complete. It consists of 150 hours of classroom instruction followed by practical training in chemical application and hair treatments, hair styling, and shop management. As a cosmetology student, you also receive 85 hours of esthetics and 55 hours of nail technology training.
Cannella offers a 1,000-hour cosmetology teaching program that you can complete in a year, split between postgraduate theory education and teaching courses that include educational psychology and teaching methods.
The school provides excellent financial aid options, with 75% of students receiving funding. There's a $100 application fee.
The Cannella School of Hair Design is a nationally accredited beauty school providing high-quality education for more than 35 years. Their Villa Park location offers a full or part-time cosmetology program with day or evening classes available.
The cosmetology instruction divides the 1,500 required hours into six main sections: General Theory and Basic Training, Practical Chemical Application and Hair Treatment, Hair Styling and Hair Dressing, Shop Management and Interpersonal Relations, Esthetics, and Nail Technology.
For the remaining required hours, you can choose a classroom or practical elective. Classes are available in English or Spanish, and qualifying students have access to financial aid. Most students complete the 51 week-program without accumulating any debt.
The Douglas J Aveda Institute, which opened in 2010, is in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. With day or evening cosmetology classes starting every August, you study in three classrooms, two different clinic spaces, and any of the 55 styling stations. The staff also work with local charities to help the community.
The cosmetology program involves a combination of digital and in-class lessons with hands-on salon experience. You move through five phases, starting with your introductory education courses and ending with salon work.
The 1,500-hour curriculum focuses on haircutting and styling, skin care, nail care, and makeup artistry basics. Students also set up an online portal to watch educational videos and prep for state exams.
Paul Mitchell the School is an industry-leading cosmetology school. The accredited Lombard branch provides multiple cosmetology programs: a 1,500 or 1,600-hour cosmetology program, a 250-hour refresher course, or 1,000-hour cosmetology teacher training. The school also offers barbering and barber teacher training.
As a student at Paul Mitchell the School Lombard, you're called a Future Professional. The cosmetology program follows three levels: Core, Adaptive, and Creative. You learn more advanced techniques and build your skills as you progress through the levels. Then, you move on to phase two, working in salon-like environments.
Future Professionals get an iPad and student kit with the price of tuition. These tools include everything you need to succeed in school.
G Skin & Beauty Institute's Schaumburg campus offers a European-influenced cosmetology program. You learn the latest trends in haircutting, design, texture skills, and color techniques. The school emphasizes green beauty, with the goal of saving the earth and clients from harmful chemicals.
Class schedules are flexible, and most students complete the 1,600-hour program in 14 months or the 1,500-hour program in 12 months. The business classes go above and beyond to set you up to own a salon.
With no application fee and plenty of financial aid and scholarship options, it's easy to apply. In 2019, 82% of students received some form of financial aid.
At Hair Professionals Career College in Palos Hills you have access to six different schedule options to find the best fit for your lifestyle. The NAACS-accredited, locally owned beauty school has been around for over 40 years, helping aspiring cosmetologists build rewarding careers.
Learning in the cosmetology program takes place through classroom teaching and working with clients. The school uses high-quality salon products and teaches modern techniques in the 1,500-hour program, including instruction on hair cutting, hair design, coloring, skin care, manicures, and pedicures.
The school adds a $100 registration fee and student kit fee to your tuition, but you may be eligible for the school's many financial aid options.
Denmark College's mission is to provide students with the education and hands-on training needed for employment and a rewarding career.
The cosmetology program focuses on the latest hair, skin, nail care, and salon management techniques. You can complete the accredited 1,500-hour program in 11 months of full-time study or 16 months of part-time study.
Unlike in many other cosmetology programs, at Denmark College, you learn more extensive hair techniques like braiding, hair design, sew-in weaves, extensions, lashes, and makeup application. A normal day includes splitting your time between an hour-long theory class, computer lab, and practical classes, along with working on clients in the clinic.
Tricoci University of Beauty Culture's Libertyville location aims to create future professionals in the beauty industry. Students are encouraged to express their creativity and unique skills while learning advanced technical skills, leadership values, and professionalism.
The cosmetology program is 1,500 hours, which takes 13 to 20 months to complete. Schedules are flexible, but the program typically starts in August and combines theory lectures, interactive lessons on an iPad, and hands-on training. You can expect to learn hair cutting, coloring, chemical processing, and styling, as well as basic esthetics and nail skills.
The school provides career placement assistance for all students and financial aid opportunities for those who qualify.
Paul Mitchell the School Merrillville offers both a 1,500-hour cosmetology program and 1,000 hours of teacher training. The school is in the Lake Country portion of the Chicago metro area, an excellent location in Indiana to launch a stylist career.
As Future Professionals, students at Paul Mitchell learn the real-world skills needed to become licensed. You move through the Core, Adaptive, and Creative phases of study in 12 months. Then, you can join phase two, an optional intensive study course where you gain advanced training. Students get a free iPad and student kit, and the school offers financial aid options for those who qualify.
The G Skin & Beauty Institute's Oak Brook location provides cosmetology and teacher training programs with flexible class schedules and small class sizes. You can complete the 1,500-hour cosmetology program in 12 months. The teacher training also has three options that take under nine months: 500-hour, 750-hour, or 1,000-hour programs.
The cosmetology program focuses on the latest green beauty trends from London. You learn barbering techniques, hair design, special event styling, hair extensions, coloring, and skin and nail care basics while focusing on green beauty techniques.
G Skin & Beauty Institute also teaches advanced business skills to help further your career. There's no application fee to apply.
Paul Mitchell the School Bradley is a popular choice for aspiring cosmetologists. Located in the Kankakee metro area, the school offers a few cosmetology options, including a 1,500-hour cosmetology program, a 250-hour refresher course, and a 1,000-hour teacher training program.
At Paul Mitchell, the cosmetology program students are called Future Professionals, and the school does everything it can to help them succeed. Each student receives an iPad and student kit to complete coursework. Your training tackles the basics before moving into phase two, which is when you practice what you've learned on clients in a salon setting.
Future Professionals at the Bradley campus also have many financial aid and scholarship opportunities. In 2019, 97% of students received some financial aid.
The Tricoci University of Beauty Culture Northwest is in Norwood Park. It's an award-winning beauty school that opened as Tricoci's flagship beauty campus in 2005. Newly renovated, the campus offers 11,600 square feet of learning space filled with top resources and equipment.
The 1,500-hour cosmetology program takes 12 months of full-time or 20 months of part-time study to complete. The updated curriculum is technically precise, so you can learn the skills you need to become an industry-leading cosmetologist—whether a hairstylist, colorist, makeup artist, or salon owner.
Tricoci also offers excellent financial aid options, including federal programs. In 2019, all students received funding.
How We Ranked Chicago 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 37 cosmetology schools in Chicago.
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.