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Cosmetology Schools in Raleigh, NC

Cosmetology Schools in Raleigh, NC

Known as the “City of Oaks” for its abundance of oak trees, Raleigh is the capital of North Carolina. It’s a moderately sized city of about 500,000 people, but residents still say it has a small town, community atmosphere. With an abundance of nature nearby, from forests to beaches, it’s no wonder that Raleigh attracts a diverse community.

For a would-be cosmetologist, Raleigh offers great opportunities. Studying cosmetology gives you the chance to work flexible hours and even pursue entrepreneurial goals. Raleigh is not as expensive as many bigger cities in the US, but it’s still large enough to provide you with a wide range of customers.

Raleigh’s population has increased greatly, nearly doubling in the past few years, no doubt due to it ranking highly on many lists of the best cities in the US. Raleigh has plenty of craft breweries and beautiful parks, and it enjoys mild winters. It also ranks highly in education. With such a population boom, there are new opportunities for professionals with in-demand skills.

If you’re in the Raleigh area or are considering a move to this blossoming metropolis, you might want to pursue cosmetology studies in the area. Having a car will make things more convenient, and is recommended, but Raleigh does have bus routes around the city and it’s also bike-friendly in certain neighborhoods. There are plenty of moderately priced rental options, but the housing market can be a little pricey, so bear that in mind.

Raleigh and its neighboring cities of Durham and Chapel Hill encompass a large area, sometimes called “The Research Triangle,” forming one large community between them. While many of the cosmetology schools on our list are located in Raleigh city limits, a few are technically located outside of Raleigh in this Triangle area. This might be ideal for someone who lives outside the city and is an easy commute for many who do.

The Best Cosmetology Schools in Raleigh

We’ve compiled a list of cosmetology schools taking into account the types of programs, cost, and how their curriculum prepares students for the workplace. There are a number of options for studying cosmetology in the Raleigh area, no matter your needs or desired specialty.

Paul Mitchell School, Raleigh

Paul Mitchell is a household name thanks to the Scottish-American hairstylist who started the brand. The Paul Mitchell family now includes salons, hair products, and cosmetology schools. There are Paul Mitchell beauty schools across the country that focus on teaching the skills you’ll need for success.

The school’s cosmetology course is divided into three levels. In the first level, you’ll start with the core technical skills you need as a foundation for salon work, including hair cutting, styling, and dying, manicuring, makeup, and facials.

The second level is adaptive, and it prepares students to be flexible to their clients’ needs. Students will get to practice on actual clients to build their experience.

The final level is the creative level. In this portion of the class, students will work on creating a portfolio while learning how to work independently. It also prepares them to take the state exam to be certified to practice cosmetology in North Carolina.

Paul Mitchell Schools provide every student with a tablet to facilitate more learning through online resources. There are online portals for students to help them connect with other students, stay in tune with current trends, and get career tips.

Cost: $18230.55

Program Length: 1500 hours, 12-13 months

Location: 8551 Glenwood Avenue, Suite 100, Raleigh, NC 27612

Financial Aid: Scholarships, grants, loans, and financial aid are available for qualified individuals

Other Programs Offered: Cosmetology, cosmetology instructor training

WakeTech School of Cosmetology

WakeTech is a technical community college with campuses all around the US. They offer practical career training in a number of areas including cosmetology. This school offers hybrid courses with online training to be ultra-flexible for its students, many of whom are working adults.

The cosmetology course takes you through the importance of sanitation and infection control at the very beginning of the class so you can give your clients the safest and healthiest experience. From there, you move on to other fundamentals, like understanding the chemistry of various products and treatments, before you start delving into hands-on practice with facials, haircutting, and styling, all while keeping a focus on giving great customer service in a professional environment. Waxing, manicures, and pedicures are also covered to give students a wide range of skills.

The school runs a salon for students to gain experience as part of the in-person portion of the course. Students can also choose the natural hair specialist track alongside their other cosmetology training to focus more on this in-demand skill. The 384-hour natural hair course gives students a comprehensive look at treating and styling textured hair, and also helps them look towards a career applying this training.

Cost: Approximately $19,000

Program Length: 1584 hours, 12-14 months

Location: 9101 Fayetteville Rd, Raleigh, NC 27603

Financial Aid: Scholarships, financial aid, and student loans available

Other Programs Offered: Natural hair specialist

Aveda Institute, Chapel Hill

The Aveda Institute in Chapel Hill is one of the Aveda schools, owned by the cosmetics company of the same name, and their schools have been operating in the US since the 1970s. Their Chapel Hill location is outside of Raleigh, but convenient to get to from the cities of Raleigh and Durham.

At their Chapel Hill location, they offer a full cosmetology program as well as a cosmetology instructor program. The school has launched a night program to allow students the ability to take evening classes if they work or study during the day. The school has also adapted to offer its program in a hybrid form with a combination of online classes and in-person learning.

The cosmetology course covers the usual suspects: hair, skincare, hair removal, nails, and makeup. Within the program, students also become MUD Makeup Artist certified as part of their training. This allows students to get started on the makeup artist path, if they so choose, with higher-level certification available at MUD campuses in New York and LA. Like most schools, the Aveda Institute runs a salon for students to get hands-on experience with real customers.

Cost: Approximately $18,000, plus supplies

Program Length: 1500 hours, 12 months

Location: 201 S. Estes Dr Suite 200-B, Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Financial Aid: Scholarships, financial aid, and payment plans for qualified individuals

Other Programs Offered: Esthetics, cosmetology instructor

Sherrill’s University of Barbering and Hairstyling

This is a local cosmetology school based in Raleigh that specializes in styling natural hair, an in-demand skill for salon professionals. The school has three main educational tracks: barbering, cosmetology, and instructor training.

The barbering course focuses on men’s hair and facial hair services. In the cosmetology course, the focus is women’s hair along with training in makeup, facials, manicure, pedicure, and waxing services. Students have the opportunity for a lot of hands-on experience with real clients at the clinic the school runs 5 days a week. Members of the community can come and receive a number of different treatments and styles at this clinic.

While this school doesn’t have the name recognition of some others on our list, it has significantly lower fees as well. The college makes its focus helping students pass their state certification and finding job placements after they complete their course.

Cost: Approximately $9,500

Program Length: 1500 hours, 14-18 months

Location: 3601 Bastion Lane, Raleigh, NC 27604

Financial Aid: Personal scholarships accepted, financial aid, and payment plans available

Other Programs Offered: Barber-styling, instructor training

Mitchell’s Academy

With two locations, one in Raleigh and the other in Wilson, Mitchell’s Academy has been preparing students for cosmetology careers for over 50 years. Their comprehensive professional program is designed to give their students the tools for success in their careers.

The Academy has rolling admission, with multiple start times throughout the year for their classes, which are held five days a week. The classes offer the typical range of cosmetology instruction for cutting, treating, and styling hair, along with nail training. Students become versed in a range of techniques and tools so they can care for hair in a variety of methods.

The course also puts a great deal of emphasis on day-to-day professional skills, such as developing a professional image in your job. Understanding bacteriology and maintaining a sterile environment, as well as understanding the chemistry behind products and treatments are also covered in some depth.

Cost: Approximately $17150

Program Length: 1500 hours, 12 months

Location: 1301 Buck Jones Road, Raleigh, NC 27606

Financial Aid: Financial aid is available

Other Programs Offered: Esthetics

Elevate Salon Institute

Located close to Raleigh in nearby Durham, Elevate is a L’Oreal beauty school that offers a professional training environment for its students. The school’s salon services are highly rated by local clients. All students have the opportunity to work in the salon and provide hair and manicure services for hands-on experience.

Elevate focuses on multicultural beauty, preparing its students to work with a variety of hair types and textures along with all the other basic foundational techniques to start a career in cosmetology. The school also takes a modern approach to helping its students prepare for career success, by covering marketing techniques such as the use of social media.

Each student receives a toolkit of all the items, including technology, that they will need to successfully complete the course. Students also have the option of choosing between a full-time and part-time learning program, with both day and evening part-time options.

Cost: Approximately $15,500

Program Length: 1500 hours, 11-16 months

Location: 300 East Main Street, Unit 100 Durham, NC 27701

Financial Aid: Scholarships, grants, and financial aid available

Other Programs Offered: Esthetics

A.R.T.C Beaute’ & Aesthetics College

A.R.T.C.’s cosmetology course is offered in three levels, with 500 hours of training in each. From the first level on, students will have hands-on opportunities to practice what they are learning. Not only does the course start with the fundamentals of hairdressing, skincare, and nails, they also give students a foundation of professionalism to help them develop the business skills they need and craft a professional image.

The second level of the course delves deeper into practical skills like sanitation, and has students run drills to practice their timing. At this point in the course, students start to work in the salon with real customers. By the third level of the class, 80% of your time is spent working with real clients and running drills to hone your technical skills.

A.R.T.C. is run by a former cosmetologist who was a lead educator at a Paul Mitchell school before founding her own. Uniquely, this school also offers training programs for home-school students who have not yet graduated but would like to take technical classes as part of their high school education. They also look to support their students in any way possible, helping them to find adequate childcare and transportation so they have the opportunity to educate themselves in a new career.

Cost: $10,000 plus supplies

Program Length: 1500 hours, approximately 12 months

Location: 4853 NC-55, Durham, NC 27713

Financial Aid: Scholarships, financial aid, and payment plans for qualified individuals

Other Programs Offered: Nail, natural hair program, esthetician/makeup school, instructor’s preparation