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Top Online Beauty Schools

Before enrolling in a beautician program, aspiring professionals should check with state official websites, for example, the Wyoming Board of Cosmetology, to find out about licensing regulations and training requirements in their state. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that all barbers, hairdressers and cosmetologists must be licensed (BLS.gov, 2012).

Because the beauty industry serves customers in person, programs often require hands-on labs in conjunction with classroom education. While there are online courses available for continuing education, continuing education credits typically cannot be used toward completion of a degree or certificate in cosmetology. Although some material can be completed online, currently no beauty schools that grant a fully online degree in cosmetology or barbering appear to be approved by a state licensing Board of Cosmetology or Hairdressing.

For cosmetologists, barbers, hair-dressers, manicurists and pedicurists, many states require graduation from an accredited and state-approved beauty school, according to Associated Hair Professionals, which provides business support for the industry. State licensing tests may include a practical demonstration of the skills expected of them on a living person.

The National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences has been approved by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit beautician schools. The following sample of schools represents some of the older schools carrying continuous NACCAS accreditation; this approximate ranking is based on data from the National Center for Education Statistics on student-faculty ratios and total enrollment size for 2010:

  • M J Murphy Beauty College of Mount Pleasant, accredited 1976
  • Pennsylvania Academy of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences-De Bois, accredited 1979
  • Pennsylvania Academy of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences-Johnstown, accredited 1979
  • Plaza Beauty School, accredited 1968
  • Continental School of Beauty Culture-Rochester, accredited 1973
  • Empire Beauty School-Pottsville, accredited 1975
  • Salon Success Academy-Upland, accredited 1971

    Learn more about the beauty schools and careers

    “Beauty school” can include classes or degree programs in cosmetology and hair styling or performing manicures and pedicures. Hairstylists can be responsible for shampooing, cutting and coloring a client’s hair in addition to configuring their hair into various styles. Cosmetologists provide skin and scalp treatments as well as makeup. Manicurists and pedicurists cut and trim a client’s nails and treat a client’s skin.

    Graduates of beauty schools may find themselves working in spas or hotels but often in salons. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov, 2012) states that in the U.S., 37 percent of manicurists and pedicurists were self-employed in 2010, and nearly half of barbers, hairdressers and cosmetologists were self-employed during the same time (BLS.gov, 2012). Beauty schools are designed to prepare students for cutting and trimming hair, providing facial treatments and caring for nails; graduates with enough experience have also opened their own salons.

    Licensing following completion of beauty school is not only required by each state but administered by each state’s board of commerce. According to the BLS (BLS.gov, 2012), some states offer a reciprocity agreement with other states, preventing the need to re-train when moving from one state to another. However, the BLS also notes that such agreements are not common (BLS.gov, 2012). The BLS also states that shampooers are the only beauty workers who do not need to be licensed.

    According to O*NET Online, cosmologists and hair stylists earned a national median hourly wage of $10.85 in 2011. Barbers earned a national median wage of $11.63 an hour as of May 2011 (BLS.gov, 2012). Manicurists and pedicurists earned a national median wage of $9.35 an hour in 2011 as reported by O*NET Online; specific salary data for these professions is unavailable for 2011 from the BLS. According to the BLS, employment for barbers, hairdressers, cosmetologists and shampooers is expected to grow about as fast as all other occupations from 2010 to 2020 (BLS.gov, 2012), with manicurists and pedicurists experiencing the fastest job growth of up to 17 percent between 2010 and 2020 (BLS.gov, 2012).

    Learn more about beauty programs from schools and colleges through SchoolsGalore.com

    When researching online colleges and universities, make sure to verify that your choice of school is accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council or by another accrediting agency that is approved by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, or both. DETC and CHEA both provide a searchable list of approved schools.

    The National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences has been approved by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit beautician schools and offers a searchable list of accredited schools.

    Sources and further reading:

    The Council for Higher Education Accreditation

    The U.S. Department of Education

    The Distance Education and Training Council

    The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

    O*NET Online

    The National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences