Best 49 Cosmetology Schools in Pennsylvania (2022)
Discover the best cosmetology schools in Pennsylvania, as ranked by the Beauty Schools Directory team with the latest data available in 2022.
Top Cosmetology Schools in Pennsylvania
Top Cosmetology Schools in Pennsylvania (Full List)
Susquehanna County Career & Technical Center (SCCTC) has high school and adult programs. Its mission includes making education accessible to all, regardless of background. It offers 1,250-hour cosmetology programs for high schoolers and adult students.
Instruction covers sanitation, anatomy and biology, salon management, and customer relations. The hair design curriculum includes shampooing, cutting, styling, coloring, and permanent waving hair. They also teach about manicuring, facials, and massage. In addition, students gain hands-on experience in the school's student-run clinic.
One student review says, "Incredible is the only word I can think of to describe it. I've learned so much here, and I've had so many great experiences… Teachers at this school are effective: They treat us fairly and treat us like adults. They help prepare us for when we get out of high school and help us get into colleges/jobs."
South Hills Beauty Academy prides itself on innovative instruction. It has modern classrooms, a salon/spa, and advanced materials and curriculum. It also allows for interaction with industry leaders and boasts career support both before and after graduation.
Students receive a complete materials kit, including uniforms, styling tools, and more
The cosmetology and hair design program at South Hills is 1,250 hours of instruction. After the first 300 hours, students gain practical education on the salon floor.
One Indeed review says, "[T]here were only about 30 students including me and 2 teachers, which was great; everyone got that one-on-one time if it was needed and wanted… About 90% of the learning was hands-on, and the teachers were there every step of the way, so any anxious feelings instantly go away."
Metro Beauty Academy strives to provide instruction in cosmetology and business techniques. Salon owner Chad Schneider founded the school in 2007 because he struggled to find staff.
Metro's cosmetology program incorporates the Pivot Point digital learning platform. This encourages collaboration, allows access to resources, and tracks progress.
The school works with Dermalogica, Wella, and Davines. So, they tutor students about their techniques and products.
"Metro Beauty Academy is a beautiful school, has an enthusiastic staff, with a structured curriculum," says one Indeed review. "The staff encourages you to keep up with trending hairstyles & techniques, and really train students in providing the excellent customer service needed for guest retention."
Bucks County School of Beauty Culture (BCSBC) is a family-owned school founded in 1974. The school offers affordable classes, small class sizes, and job placement upon graduation.
BCSBC's hairdressing program offers full-time daytime (50-week) or part-time evening (94-week) options.
The 1,250-hour program is in four units totaling 1,250 hours.
The first two emphasize basic hairdressing, facials, and nail care skills. The third unit is clinical, where students work in the school's on-site salon. Finally, students can continue hairdressing or choose a course in esthetics or nails.
A reviewer on Facebook says, "BCSBC changed my life… I have called on them many, many times over the years, both personally and professionally, and they have always been there for support, guidance, and friendship. My education was top notch."
Beaver Falls Beauty Academy respects students' talents while teaching about standards and laws.
The school's cosmetology program lasts 10 months. Students receive instruction in hair, skin, and nail care services. They also gain practical experience in the school's on-site salon.
In her testimonial, a student writes, "I've attended a state college and a community college. I have a degree as a lab processing tech. I wanted more than what I was getting at my current job. I applied [to BFBA] on a whim and ended up staying through my cosmetology degree as well as the teaching program. The entire staff here has done nothing but help me succeed. For that, I'm grateful beyond words."
In 1968, Clearfield County Career and Technology Center (CCCTC) began teaching high schoolers and adults in 1968.
They offer a three-year high school cosmetology program and a separate adult program.
High schoolers must apply in ninth grade. The program prepares students for the licensing exam and provides credits for three colleges.
For the first 300 hours of the program, students study the basics of hair, skin, and nail services. Then, students can practice in an on-site clinic.
A review on Indeed says, "Good combination of hands-on and classroom. Busy atmosphere and prepares you for real salon life. The teacher is very caring and willing to work with any student of any level or desire of education in this field."
Kittanning Beauty Academy is one location of the area’s Beauty Academies, which include campuses at Butler and New Castle. The school boasts small class sizes, which makes for personalized education.
The cosmetology program comprises 1,250 hours of academic training. Students learn the basics of hair, esthetics, and nail services. They practice on real-haired mannequins, then step up their learning in the salon.
"Good combination of hands-on and in-classroom training," says a student reviewing the school on Indeed. "The teachers were wonderful and knowledgeable. The administrator was caring and helped push us in the right direction of success if ever we doubted ourselves.
The Salon Professional Academy in Altoona has a student-first culture emphasizing inclusivity.
The school offers full- and part-time classes (when available). The 1,250-hour cosmetology program takes 37 weeks to complete if attending full-time. Part-time courses run for 63 weeks.
Students receive a supply kit upon enrollment. Instruction includes laws, tools, technology, and techniques for hair, skin, and nail services. They also receive business skills training in social media, marketing, and client relations.
In an Indeed review, a student says the school has a "Good combination of classroom and hands-on learning. Knowledgeable staff and administrative/directorial staff. State of the art equipment along with new theories and trends taught as they're available."
Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology, or CPI, is a career-training academy.
The adult diploma program admits 16 students per class. Students learn about hair, skin, nails, cosmetology history, basic science, and business skills.
The program starts in January and July each year.
A student review on Indeed says CPI is a "Great institution for cosmetology. Great hands-on skill set learning. Great school for teaching the fundamentals of Cosmetology. All around a great course."
Founded in 1968, Berks Career & Technology Center (BCTC) is a career technical education (CTE) provider for Berks County high school students and adults. About 1,800 secondary and 500 adult students attend Berks' programs each year.
It offers state-of-the-art learning laboratories and college credit for high school students. In addition, programs in several career clusters are available. This includes the service cluster, through which a 1,250-hour cosmetology program is available.
The cosmetology program teaches hygiene/sterilization, anatomy/physiology, haircutting/design, hair coloring, manicuring, facials/makeup, natural hair care, and salon operations.
Students also work in the school's cosmetology clinics, which are open to the public. There, they perform haircutting, coloring, manicuring, and facials. In addition, students attend two instructional sessions per day.
Since 1956, Altoona Beauty School has provided progressive cosmetology training. It boasts instructors who continuously attend professional development to stay current and a curriculum that includes digital technology and the latest techniques.
Its cosmetology program includes 1,250 hours of hairdressing, nail care, skincare, and makeup training. After the first 300 hours of classwork, students begin gaining experience in the school's salon.
Altoona is a Nuts and Bolts Member School. This provides comprehensive training in personal development, retail, customer service, growing a clientele, and other business skills associated with operating a salon business.
"Awesome school with wonderful teachers," wrote one student on Indeed. "They go above and beyond to get you extra training. They are also very flexible to accommodate your schedule as far as offering full-time or part-time classes."
Butler Beauty Academy's philosophy includes encouraging students to develop artistic styles. Educators work closely with students, even helping them to secure employment after schooling is complete.
Butler's cosmetology program comprises 1,250 hours of training in hair, skin, and nail services. First, students practice on mannequins, then move on to the student styling salon.
One student reviewing the school on Niche wrote, "I love Butler Beauty School. We have so much fun while we are learning. Each and every one of the teachers, the director, and even the owner care about you. I am graduating soon, and I never want to leave."
The Jean Madeline Salon has been around since 1933! The whole time, it's been a source of education for many in the beauty industry.In 1987, its status as a school was formalized via the Jean Madeline Education Center of Cosmetology. Today, the school has three Philadelphia-area locations and is an official Aveda Institute.
Cosmetology students at Jen Madeline Aveda Institute train in Aveda products and techniques. These emphasize high-quality, all-natural, plant-based ingredients and environmentally friendly methods. Graduates enjoy the school's connection to more than 7,500 Aveda salons nationwide.
Upon enrolling, students receive a supply kit for training and beyond. They also get iPads, where they access digital textbooks. Classes are available full-time at all locations (42-week program) and part-time (63-week program) at the University City campus.
The 1,250-hour cosmetology certificate program at Fountain of Youth Academy of Cosmetology was designed to be completed in 59 weeks.
Students receive a comprehensive education in:
According to one Yelp reviewer, "I am an owner of one of Pittsburgh's leading salons. I have hired students from this school and have been very pleased with their training. I would recommend this school to anybody who wants to be a nail tech or stylist."
Both programs comprise 1,250 training hours. They cover several topics, from disinfection and sanitation practices to the basic techniques for hair, skin, and nail care services and legal and business issues. All students gain hands-on experience in GJCTC's on-site student salon.
One cosmetology student reviewing the school on Facebook wrote, "One of the best education decisions I have ever made. I'm taking Cosmetology, and I love the instructor; she is active and passionate about what she does."
Founded in 1904, the Douglas Education Center offers several creative arts programs. This includes Tom Savini's Special Make-up Effects Program and The Cosmetology Academy.
Within this academy are several programs, including a 1,350-hour cosmetology training program.
The program has 100 more hours than required due to the school's focus on career preparedness. Students get to build a portfolio highlighting their skills.
They also have certification training in hair extension, fusion, framesi®, Scruples, and texture fusion.
"Great teachers and amazing students," wrote one DEC cosmetology graduate on Indeed. "Classrooms were great and well-equipped for the educational needs of the training. Hands-on time was great and teaches a lot of the skills required."
The Lancaster School of Cosmetology & Therapeutic Bodywork offers cosmetology or massage therapy training. Its two-story building, originally an elementary school, has undergone a significant renovation. It has 10,000 square feet of classroom space and a student laboratory.
The cosmetology program includes 1,250 haircutting, styling, coloring, and relaxing hours. It also offers barbering, waxing, makeup, nail, skincare, business, and state law instruction.
According to a review on Indeed, "This school offers a great opportunity to engage with your instructors for an awesome hands-on experience. The instructors are well-versed and willing to share everything they know about Cosmetology with you. This environment makes it fun and easy to follow along in order to receive the education needed to do well in the future."
The Beauty Institute has a 35-year history of providing comprehensive beauty training. Its curriculum aims to help students see progress on measurable goals. They offer a professional-quality salon and a faculty of experienced, successful professionals.
The 1,250-hour cosmetology program takes 36 weeks to complete (full-time). For the first 16 weeks, students learn basic hair design techniques and master up to 10 haircuts. In the final 20 weeks, students work on the salon floor, build a client book and portfolio, and prepare for the exam.
A reviewer on Indeed says, "Great hands-on training with clients at the student salon. I learned a lot about chemicals and how they react to hair. How to cut and style hair in many ways … Our teachers are the best of the best, and they are all still doing hair."
Greater Altoona Career & Technology Center instructs adults and high schoolers.
Its secondary programs, including cosmetology, operate on a half-day basis. Students attend core courses at high schools and complete career education at GACTC. This lets them earn college credit through dual enrollment or articulation agreements.
The school also partners with local industries. Work-based learning occurs through company tours, class speakers, career shadowing, internships, and more.
The cosmetology program includes hair styling, cutting, coloring, waving, removal, and relaxing. It also has classes for scalp treatment, skincare, makeup, manicuring/pedicuring, and nail applications.
"Great organization, great education, great professors, just wonderful," wrote one reviewer on Niche. "They care about each and every student."
How We Ranked Pennsylvania 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 49 cosmetology schools in Pennsylvania.
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.