Known as ‘the capital of Silicon Valley,’ San Jose is a safe, clean city with gorgeous views of the San Francisco Bay Area. You won’t be at a loss for good food, either—like San Francisco, San Jose’s culinary offerings run the gamut, ranging from hidden gems like authentic, hole-in-the-wall Chinese noodle shops to Michelin-star restaurants. You get relaxation and a zest for life all in one place; not an easy line to toe, especially in a city fueled by the future.
What originally started as an agricultural hotbed that was home to vineyards, farms, and orchards has long since evolved into a booming metropolis that abounds with work in seemingly every industry. The beauty industry is no exception, and the average cosmetologist can expect to make a little over $40,000 here.
Even though San Jose is on par with San Francisco in terms of rent, other costs of living are pretty comfortable. Transportation costs will be low since the city is so compact and walkable, and your average meal out will be under $20. San Jose is a pretty affordable city on a non-tech salary for one of the world’s biggest technology hubs.
It’s also a surprisingly great place to start a career in the beauty industry, even though it hasn’t quite been that way this past year. Like nearly every other industry, local beauty shops and salons took a big hit during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the pendulum is starting to swing back, creating a bigger-than-ever demand for trained cosmetologists, so consider striking while the iron is hot.
However, it doesn’t make sense to strike any irons without knowing what you’re getting into! With so many great cosmetology schools to choose from, it can be difficult to really discern whether a particular one will suit your needs or not. We’re here to fix all of that, though, both with our top picks for cosmetology schools in San Jose and our handy school finder.
The Best Cosmetology Schools in San Jose
Let’s dive into our top choices for the best cosmetology schools in San Jose. We’ve broken each school down by program cost, length, selection, and financing options. You can also use our school finder to see which of these schools is closest to you, which will hopefully make the decision process a little easier.
1) The Salon Professional Academy
Beauty industry newbies will do themselves a favor by enrolling in the TSPA’s cosmetology program. With over two dozen locations across the country, TSPA works jointly with Redken to deliver one of the best and most cutting-edge cosmetology programs in the nation. In addition to learning and mastering hair cutting and coloring techniques, students will also pick up invaluable marketing tricks of the trade from industry veterans themselves.
You’ll get all of this for just a little over $10,000—a pretty great price point compared to other schools, where tuition costs can easily exceed $25,000. But even if tuition is a little high for you, you’ll still have plenty of scholarship and financing options available.
Cost: $11,250 (for non-dependents)
Program Length: 47 weeks (1600-hour cosmetology program)
Location: 1600 Saratoga Ave, Suite 103, San Jose, CA 95129
Financial Aid: Redken scholarship, lower cost of attendance for dependents ($8,750 compared to $11,250), Pell Grants, Stafford loans, G.I. Bill benefits (for applicable veterans), subsidized and unsubsidized federal and private loans
Other Programs Offered: Esthetics program
2) Cosmotek College
If you’re looking for a beauty program (or real estate licensure, for that matter), Cosmotek College has got it. This school offers the most programs out of any other school on our list, including barbering, cosmetology, esthetics, manicuring, massage therapy, permanent makeup, and other non-cosmetology programs like real estate, office accounting, remedial training, teacher training, and computer network administrator training. Talk about options!
They also offer some pretty killer financing options, including scholarships, work-study programs, and traditional federally subsidized loans like Pell Grants and Stafford loans. Check out their website for a thorough list of educational resources, too, like California state board regulations for cosmetologists and the outline for health and safety training.
Cost: $16,000 (for cosmetology program)
Program Length: 1600-hour cosmetology program (maximum 45 classroom hours a week)
Location: 2188-B Del Franco St., San Jose, CA 95131
Financial Aid: Cosmotek College Ambition Scholarship, G.I. Bill benefits (for applicable veterans), Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA), Worker’s Compensation Retraining Program, Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKS), Pell Grants, Stafford loans, federal subsidized and unsubsidized loans, private loans through banks or credit unions
Other Programs Offered: Barbering, esthetics, manicuring, massage therapy, permanent makeup, real estate, office accounting specialist training, remedial training, teacher training, and computer network administrator training programs
3) Fremont Beauty College
Even though this cosmetology school is about 25 minutes outside of San Jose, its status as a Redken Premier School makes it well worth the drive. Like other schools on this list, Fremont Beauty College offers a 1600-hour cosmetology program in addition to its esthetics, manicuring, barbering, and makeup artistry programs. Cost-wise it’s just under $15,000, making it a tad more expensive than some of our other options on the list. You can also choose to go full or part-time, depending on your schedule.
The school boasts over 5000 graduates who have gone on to speak at beauty and cosmetology conferences around the world. Students will learn the skills they’ll need to sharpen their business acumen and make their clients look and feel their best, and their 50-year streak in the industry proves it.
Cost: $14,894.25 (for cosmetology program)
Program Length: 1600-hour cosmetology program (11.5 months full-time, 19.5 months part-time)
Location: 4164 Technology Drive, Fremont, CA, 94538
Financial Aid: Zero-interest payment plans, Pell Grants, Stafford loans, federal subsidized and unsubsidized loans, private loans from banks or credit unions
Other Programs Offered: Esthetics, manicuring, makeup artistry, and barbering programs
4) Cinta Aveda Institute
Don’t let the hefty price tag fool you—Cinta Aveda has a proven track record of preparing business-minded beauticians who can deliver seriously fab results. Featured in The Harvard Business Review for their cosmetology institute and commitment to consumer loyalty, Cinta Aveda’s students learn the latest in hair care, cutting, and coloring, while also gaining valuable hands-on experience under the tutelage of the industry’s biggest influencers.
Fortunately, there is a handful of great financing and scheduling options that put certification and state board licensure well within reach. Their CIDESCO program, for instance, is one of the top skincare programs in the world, originating in Switzerland 65 years ago as “the world’s premiere spa and beauty certification authority.” This intensive skincare program is a great way for veteran estheticians to continue their education and take their careers up a notch.
Cost: $26,560 (for cosmetology program)
Program Length: 1600-hour cosmetology program
Location: 111 West St. John Street, San Jose, CA 95113
Financial Aid: Pell Grants, Stafford loans, Direct PLUS loans, G.I. Bill benefits (for applicable veterans), federal subsidized and unsubsidized loans, private loans through banks or credit unions
Other Programs Offered: Barbering, esthetics, manicuring, CIDESCO, and makeup artistry programs
5) San Jose City College
Believe it or not, this community college offers a pretty solid cosmetology program—and for a great price, to boot. California residents will pay just a little under $6,000 to get the same 1600-hour cosmetology program they can get at some of the other schools on our list. Don’t fret too much if you aren’t a resident, either; out-of-state tuition is on par with other school tuition costs mentioned here. Senior citizens are also eligible for a tuition discount, highlighting SJCC’s core belief that education shouldn’t stop when you’re young.
The cool thing about SJCC’s cosmetology program is that it prepares you for many different roles in the beauty industry, instead of a highly specialized and relatively narrow track (e.g., barbering school strictly to become a barber). This means that graduates of SJCC’s cosmetology program can go on to become consultants, lecturers, salon managers, and even salon owners.
Cost: $5,127 (cosmetology program for California residents); $16,308.50 (cosmetology program for non-California residents)
Program Length: 1600-hour cosmetology program
Location: 2100 Moorpark Ave, San Jose, CA 95128
Financial Aid: Pell Grants, Stafford loans, federal subsidized and unsubsidized loans, private loans through banks or credit unions
Other Programs Offered: See course catalog
Closing Thoughts on Cosmetology Schools in San Jose
The tech capital of the world seems to be pretty good at making people look and feel their best, too. The good news is that you can get in on the fun here if you’re serious about heading to cosmetology school; San Jose has many great cosmetology programs that cater to different lifestyles, budgets, schedules, and professional goals. We hope we’ve offered some information that helps bring you closer to the future you’ve been dreaming of.