Top 5 Best Cosmetology Schools in California

cosmetology schools California


California, the city known for the famous Golden Gate Bridge and the magical Disneyland, is home to many famous cosmetology schools. If you are staying in California and dreaming of setting your feet in the beauty industry, this article is for you. I have curated a list of the best cosmetology schools in California that provide the best of education. Apart from just classroom education, cosmetology schools also give you exposure to the actual beauty industry.

Coming up with a list of the best cosmetology schools is not an easy job! After thorough research, I have jotted down the list (it’s written randomly!)

  1. American Beauty College School of Cosmetology and Barbering, LA
  2. California Beauty College, Modesto
  3. Bellus Academy, El Cajon
  4. San Francisco Institute of Esthetics and Cosmetology Inc, San Francisco
  5. Butte College, Orville

American Beauty College School of Cosmetology & Barbering, LA

American Beauty College School (ABC) is one of the most premium and famous cosmetology schools. Starting with baby steps, this organization has completed 40 years of experience in the beauty and barbering industry. The curriculum emphasizes guiding students to prepare for the State Cosmetology Board Exam. Besides theory knowledge, ABC school also focuses on counseling for professional staff.

American Beauty College also has an active network of alumni and students across the globe. It helps the cosmetology school to maintain its placement rate every year. Apart from being a great alumnus, the school is also accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences. For the barbering course, the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology accredits the college.

Key Features of the American Beauty College School of Cosmetology

Four decades of experience in the cosmetology and barbering industry has given the ABC school to create a curriculum that has a few key features:

  • Flexible schedules to facilitate easy class scheduling for everyone
  • The school provides professional tool kits that you can take with you after your degree. 
  • You get hands-on with the industry-leading Pivot Point curriculum system
  • Financial aid for eligible students
  • Getting professional education and training from experts around the globe

Course Details

The American Beauty College School of Cosmetology provides a range of courses.


The duration of the program is 1,000 hours. The cosmetology program is updated with the latest trends and techniques in the beauty industry.


The barbering course of ABC school is  1,000 hours long program. You will learn about facial grooming, marketing tactics, haircutting, coloring, etc.


The manicuring course is six months long with 400 hours of practical hours. You will learn about different spa manicures, gel nail techniques, nail enhancement techniques, etc.

Cosmetology to Barbering

This course varies from the duration of 2 to 4 months. The training duration is 200 hours. You will learn how licensed cosmetologists learn how to barb to upskill their careers.

Barbering to Cosmetology

The course is 2-4 months with 300 hours of training duration. You will learn about the different cosmetology techniques. It could change your barbering career to cosmetology.

Teacher Trainee

If you opt for a career of teaching others, a teacher training course is for you. The length of the program is five months for a program duration of 600 hours.

Financial Aid

The following are some of the financial aid the school provides to qualified students:

  • Grants
  • Work-study scholarships
  • Scholarships
  • Loans: There are two types of loans-subsidized federal direct, and unsubsidized federal direct loan

Know more about the school here

California Beauty College, Modesto

If you are looking for an institution that is old yet modern in every way, look no further. California Beauty College (CBC), Modesto is an institution that blends contemporary style with classic beauty techniques to create a syllabus that is as beautiful as it sounds.

It was founded by Mr. William Mineni in 1961, the school offers a plethora of courses that would help you in your transition to becoming a world-class cosmetologist. The course is divided into three sections, namely, Cosmetology, Nail Technology, and Esthetics. It is worth noting that CBC follows the Milady Standard syllabus for its courses.

Oh, hey, by the way, their practical classrooms are so cool. Check out their website and have a look.

Key Features of the California Beauty College

CBC has a lot of amenities that scholars can use. I have listed some of the ones I particularly like.

  • 60+ years of experience in the field of cosmetology
  • Financial aid for qualifying candidates
  • Student-enabled Salon Services (They have a salon of their own)
  • Well-equipped practical sessions

Course Details

The college has three main divisions as given below.


California Beauty College offers a cosmetology course that spans 12 months with 1000 hours of study. With the syllabus set, the course covers all the latest industry trends.

Nail Technology

This course is offered as a four-month-long course that is all about Nail technology that covers topics such as manicuring, nail care, and similar. The classes include technical and practical lesson coverage so that students know what they are working towards.


The Esthetician course is an 18-month course that is divided into two. The first 6 weeks will be about the basics of the job and after that, you will be taking up clients of your own.

Financial Aid

The college does provide financial aid for the students who qualify for the tests. The course fees for the three sections have been mentioned below

  • Cosmetology: $ 14,113.45
  • Nail Technology:  $ 6,667.00
  • Esthetics: $ 9,423.50

Bellus Academy, El Cajon

How would you like to study in an award-winning institution that has garnered quite an interest due to the reputation it holds? The Bellus Academy has one of its many branches in California. And it offers top-notch education along with the use of cutting-edge technology to teach its students. Like many other institutions, it offers externship programs for the benefit of students.

The school has an extensive training program that focuses not only on cosmetology but on marketing and business training too. This helps individuals start their businesses after completing the course. Moreover, the institution has multiple colleges spread all over the country.

Key Features of Bellus Academy

  • Financial Aid
  • Externship programs with first-hand salon experience
  • Business and marketing training
  • Award-winning institution

Courses offered by the Bellus Academy


The cosmetology program at the Bellus Academy is 1500 hours. Along with professional skills, students are taught business management skills such as client retention, online marketing, branding, and financial management. These would help when you set up a salon of your own.


The course is of 1000 hours and covers the technical aspects of the field along with an understanding of the retail industry. Skills such as retailing, sales techniques, and budgeting are taught as a part of the course. One thing to note is that this course is a combination of both cosmetology and barbering.


As a part of a 600-hour course, students are taught the intricacies of human skin which include chemical exfoliation, hair removal, microdermabrasion, and facials.

The academy offers the best value for money with amazing varied training modules.

Financial Aid

The Bellus Academy offers financial aid to the students who qualify. You can check out the academy website here or contact them using the below number.

Phone: 619-442-3407

San Francisco Institute of Esthetics & Cosmetology Inc, San Francisco

The San Francisco Institute of Esthetics and Cosmetology offers cosmetology programs for students preparing for the California State Board exams. Even licensed professionals can take up advanced training courses.

The institute has certified professionals who teach the students all about the field and course. The syllabus is designed such that the students have exposure to the current trends in the industry. It prepares them for a long-term career in their desired vertical.

Key Features of the San Francisco Institute of Esthetics & Cosmetology Inc

  • Partner – Paul Mitchell schools
  • Salon facility with students and graduates
  • A limited number of students per batch



The Barbering course is around 1000 hours and approved by the Cosmetology Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, California. It includes intricate details such as health and safety standards, sanitation habits, best practices for the trade, marketing, and business training. It ensures that the graduates have it all when they go out to the real world.


The Cosmetology course at San Francisco Institute of Esthetics & Cosmetology (SFIEC) has an extensive 1000 hours program that encompasses everything about the field. The Paul Mitchell syllabus does work here since the syllabus is uniform for all partner schools. The course covers a wide range of topics such as business management, to help graduates understand the field better from a marketing perspective.


SFIEC offers a 600-hour program with a variety of curriculum as prescribed and approved by the Cosmetology Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, California. Like others, business training is an integral part of this course. Along with the aforementioned, the course also trains students on safety standards exclusive to it.

Nail Technology

This course is one of the shortest courses offered by SFIEC and has around 400 hours of study. Nevertheless, the course involves all the latest technologies available in the industry. The institute ensures that all graduates know the modern trends that have evolved around nail technology.

You can check out the institute website here.

Butte College, Orville

The Butte College, Orville, is a multifaceted institution that provides multiple courses divided as per their practical uses in the real world. It is an accredited community college that has well-trained professionals for all the courses it offers. The cosmetology department of the college is one of the many courses and is one of the best in California.

Key Features of Butte College, Orville

  • Multiple career-oriented courses
  • Self Sustaining electric power grid enabled campus



Along with the Cosmetology State board of California approved course hours of 1600, Butte college offers an extra 80 hours of classes that sum up the total study hours to 1680 hours for the Cosmetology course. These courses span over 11 months as 7 six -week modules. The college website has the syllabus for the Cosmetology course that it offers. Do check it out here.

Financial Aid

The college offers financial aid to deserving students through its many scholarship plans listed on the site. It includes grants, loans, and scholarships.

Call up below contact information to know more or drop a mail to the below mailing address.


Are you ready to apply to one of the above colleges? See if you are qualify by taking a test.

Wrapping Up

Though the courses offered by the mentioned schools may seem similar, the beauty lies in the way the institutions impart it to their students. Each school is unique in its way and has a great infrastructure that is second to none. 

Moreover, the secondary training modules such as business management, finance, retail management, and industrial safety offered by the colleges are the real deal.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there online cosmetology schools?

Cosmetology is a career that requires you to get your hands dirty. Therefore, learning it online would be of no use if you wish to make a mark in the field. Go out and dive deep into the field to master it. But yes, there are certain schools that offer online courses mainly due to the pandemic.

How to get financial aid for cosmetology school?

Almost all cosmetology schools offer financial aid to students who qualify. You can apply for the same with the college and wait for it to be approved. Financial aid may come in the form of grants, loans, and scholarships.

Is cosmetology a good career?

Once you obtain your license as a cosmetologist, the sky’s the limit. As a licensed cosmetologist, your job would include multiple locations and a variety of clientele. To a trained mind, this would be great fun. Besides, the compensation is pretty good.

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