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8 Best Cosmetology Schools in Chicago to Help Kickstart Your Dreams

8 Best Cosmetology Schools in Chicago to Help Kickstart Your Dreams

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Attending a cosmetology school is a great way to combine your love of beauty and your career, and cosmetology schools in Chicago are some of the best you can attend to get a well-rounded education. One of the largest cities in the Midwest, Chicago is rapidly growing, and the presence of many trade schools and colleges alike makes it a fantastic city for new or long-time residents to get started on their education.

With the Chicago job market continually growing and strong employment prospects surrounding cosmetology careers, there is no better reason to begin your education and beauty career in the city. Cosmetology graduates in the city will receive the support of their programs as they search for employment, in addition to being eligible for help from the state of Illinois if they choose to start their own cosmetology business in the city.

Cosmetology students and graduates in Chicago will also receive the benefit of being in a major fashion center, with many recognized and up-and-coming fashion brands establishing their businesses in the city. This creates a need for more cosmetology professionals, especially those who are interested in working with models, on fashion shoots, and on runways.

Another plus is the multicultural aspect of Chicago creating a need for cosmetology professionals who are skilled in working with all hair and skin types, opening up more employment opportunities around the area.

As a cosmetology student in Chicago, getting around the city is made easy by the ample public transportation available. You are never too far away from your classes, your apartment, or your daily needs, such as grocery stores and restaurants, and for many students, this adds to the overall enjoyment of their cosmetology program.

When you’re not in class, you will be able to maintain a positive work-life balance by visiting one of the city’s famous landmarks or museums, or simply catching up on studying in a local coffee shop.

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The Best Cosmetology Schools in Chicago

These cosmetology schools offer a comprehensive range of beauty programs that focus on both foundational skills and advanced techniques while supporting their students throughout graduation and helping them to obtain the most successful cosmetology career possible.

With each entry on our list, we’ve taken into account the cost, cosmetology skills taught, program length, and location to give you the most complete and diverse selection possible.

Paul Mitchell the School Chicago

Paul Mitchell The School Chicago is one of the most well-known names in cosmetology training. The school takes its students seriously and dedicates itself to building up foundational techniques and basic skills that will help students succeed long-term and will prepare them for learning more advanced procedures.

The course has 3 phases to it that start by building up skills in haircutting, braiding, manicures, and makeup application before moving on to instructing students on how to perfect their skills and work independently. Students will have the chance to practice on real people in a salon environment and will be supported as they study for the State Board licensure test.

Cost: $19,500 tuition plus $3,900 kit, equipment, and textbook cost

Program Length: 1,500 or 1,600 hours; 12 to 14 months

Location: 1225 South Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60607

Financial Aid: Scholarships and loans offered to eligible students, government FAFSAs accepted

Other Programs Offered: Barbering, teacher training


Steven Papageorge Hair Academy

Another well-known and highly reputable school, the Steven Papageorge Hair Academy is one of the best beauty schools in Chicago. This school puts a large amount of emphasis on career placement and teaches all of its students in such a way that they will be completely prepared for employment after graduation.

Students will learn basic techniques at first and build up to more advanced skills; professional products and in-depth instruction are provided along every step of the way. There is a monthly showcase for industry talent with Q and A sessions that students are able to participate in, expanding their knowledge of the beauty industry and future employment connections. Both full-time and part-time courses are offered.

Cost: $17, 250 tuition plus $700 kit and registration fee

Program Length: 1,500 hours; 12 to 13 months

Location:</strong 3401 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL 60625

Financial Aid: Financial aid and loans available for eligible students

Other Programs Offered: Teacher training


Tricoci University of Beauty Culture


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Founded in 2004 by renowned hairstylist Mario Tricoci, the Tricoci University of Beauty Culture takes the same innovation and creative approach towards cosmetology teaching that Mario himself embraces. Tricoci University has many locations in Chicago and around Illinois and has been given several awards for their education standards.

The school is committed to preparing students for success in the beauty industry, and many of its classes are centered around helping students work independently and grow their skills. Students will learn traditional and foundational cosmetology skills and build on them, learning how to apply their skills to the real world and become successful, creative professionals.

Cost: $19, 900 tuition plus equipment and textbooks

Program Length: 1,500 or 1,550 hours; 12 to 14 months

Location: 6458 N Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL 60626

Financial Aid: Financial aid, loans, scholarships available for eligible students, government aid and FAFSAs accepted

Other Programs Offered: Barbering, teacher training, esthetics, nail technology


Douglas J. Aveda Institute

The Douglas J. Aveda Institute works to instruct their students in both practical cosmetology skills and in professional skills that will help them interact with customers and bring in more business. Students start off the course by learning theories and basic skills in areas such as hair cutting and coloring, makeup application, skin analysis, and manicures before moving on to more advanced techniques.

Once students have a good understanding of foundational techniques, they will be able to provide beauty services to real people up to 4 times a week. Students will also be instructed on using social media to build business and proper customer services skills, ensuring they will succeed in their careers after graduation.

Cost: $20,000 tuition plus supplies and textbooks

Program Length: 1,500 hours; 12 to 13 months

Location: 2828 N Clark St, Chicago, Illinois 60657

Financial Aid: Government FAFSAs and VA benefits accepted

Other Programs Offered: Esthiology, massage therapy, barbering


Your School of Beauty Culture


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Your School of Beauty Culture prides itself on being an accessible and quality certification program for any student interested in a cosmetology career. The school boasts an 80 percent graduation rate and a state licensure test passing rate in the 90th percentile, a testament to the quality of education received at the school.

In the cosmetology program, students will receive education in the fundamentals and art of skin, hair, and nail care. Students will work their way up to learning more advanced techniques and become highly practiced in hair care and nail care while learning how to effectively run a business.

Cost: $7,700 tuition, includes kit and necessary supplies

Program Length: 1,500 hours; 12 to 13 months

Location: 116 E Pershing Rd, Chicago, IL 60653

Financial Aid: Scholarships available to eligible students

Other Programs Offered: Nail technician, teacher training, barbering, aesthetics, natural hair and braiding, continuing education


Capelli Academy of Cosmetology

The Capelli Academy of Cosmetology has two locations in Chicago that are both dedicated to teaching students to be the best professionals possible. The school has information available in both Spanish and English, making it a good choice for a bilingual student who is looking to study in the language they are more comfortable with.

Students will be given initial training in basic cosmetology skills and theories and will work their way up to practicing their techniques on real people. Several hours of the course are dedicated to understanding sanitation practices in a salon and business techniques, effectively preparing students for their licensure exams and their future employment.

Cost: $12,500 tuition plus supplies

Program Length: 1,500 hours; 12 to 13 months

Location: 2836 W Cermak Rd, Chicago, IL 60623, USA

Financial Aid: None offered, payment plans available

Other Programs Offered: Nail technician, teacher training, barbering


Trenz Beauty Academy

The Trenz Beauty Academy is dedicated to making sure that each student enrolled in the academy passes the Illinois licensure exam and finds success in their cosmetology career. The school offers full-time, morning part-time, and evening part-time classes, allowing students to undertake their education in the way easiest for them.

Students of this program will learn hair cuts and styling, basic nail and makeup application techniques, and build up their skills in natural hair braiding, learning things such as weaves, sew-ins, braids, and crochets. All students will have the chance to practice their skills on real people near the end of their time in the program.

Cost: $20,500 tuition includes kit and necessary supplies

Program Length: 1500 hours; 12 to 13 months

Location: 2605 West 79th St, Chicago, IL 60652

Financial Aid: Government FAFSAs accepted

Other Programs Offered: Nail technician, teacher training


Dudley Beauty College

Established in 1993, Dudley Beauty College is a family-owned beauty school that works to provide an excellent education in cosmetology, nail technology, teacher training, and continuing education programs. The school offers free consultations, so students who aren’t sure about attending can speak to an admissions counselor and have some of their worries put to rest.

Students in this program will start out learning basics skills, a 300-hour requirement, and then move on to the advanced level of the course, a 1,200-hour requirement. Students will learn how to apply the theories of cosmetology in the real world and will be instructed on how to best run and succeed with their own cosmetology business.

Cost: $9,000 plus kit and necessary supplies

Program Length: 1,500 hours; 12 to 13 months

Location: 8501 S Green, Chicago, IL 60620

Financial Aid: Government FAFSAs accepted

Other Programs Offered: Esthetics, nail technology, teacher training, continuing education


Picking the Best Cosmetology School For You

A professional cosmetology certification is an expensive but rewarding endeavor and can open up a lifelong career within the beauty industry. But if none of the above courses inspire you to enroll, why not consider a rewarding new career as a professional makeup artist?

You can study online at your own pace and learn from industry experts from the comfort of your own home. Click here to get started.