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Cosmetology Schools & Programs in California

A career in cosmetology offers students experience in many areas such as hair styling, color, nail techniques and skin care. California is an ideal state for pursuing a career as a cosmetologist, since it is a large and highly diverse area with constant progress in trends and fashion.

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According to the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, California is one of the top five states for employment of cosmetologists!

Since California has many choices for a cosmetology education, prospective students should select an accredited program that not only prepares them for licensure, but also fits their specific career goals.

To be a cosmetologist in the state of California, you first need to get training and become licensed. Click the link below to view the list of all of our schools in California to get some information about each school’s programs (we have direct relationships with over 75 schools in CA!), or read on to learn more about licensing requirements and career opportunities in the state.

Cosmetology License Requirements in California

The California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology allows individuals to complete their initial application for licensure online. Applicants must have completed an approved program within the state or have documentation of program completion or experience in other states. This documentation must be mailed to the licensing board and approved before applicants can register for the exam. Applicants must pay a fee of up to $125 for the exam, and a fee of $75 if re-examination is needed. The re-examination fee only applies if applicants retake the exam within the same year; otherwise the full exam fee applies. After initial licensure, renewals are $50 and $40 for personal and establishment licenses, respectively. Late fees and processing fees may also apply.

Passing the National Cosmetology Exam is required for licensure. The exam is approximately three hours long, and is divided into timed sections. The topics include: the initial setup and client protection, blow drying and curling, haircuts, chemical waves, hair coloring, virgin relaxers and retouches, facials, manicures, sculpted nails and hair removal. Each section begins with verbal instructions, and examinees are expected to complete their task within the allotted time.

Candidates for the exam must bring their own supplies for each section of the exam, as well as their own appropriate supplies for disinfection. The California licensing board provides detailed information about the exam, including suggested supplies on their website in the Candidate Information Bulletin.

Career Opportunities

With many metropolitan areas in the state, graduates should find ample career opportunities. For those interested in careers as a celebrity stylist, some high-profile areas of California such as Los Angeles are ideal to begin their career. Depending on the particular career path in cosmetology or specialty, opportunities may vastly differ depending on locality. For more information on what employment looks like for cosmetologists in California, view the Employment Development Department Information Sheet for the barbering and cosmetology industry published by the State of California. It is especially helpful for anyone that is considering owning and operating as a self-employed individual.

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Featured Cosmetology Schools in CA

For a career as a cosmetologist, you need to have training. We have direct relationships with over 75 cosmetology schools in California, and can help you get directly in contact with them to get some more information on their programs and ask any questions you may need answered. As a rule of thumb, you should request information from 2 or 3 schools, get the specific program information from them, and weigh your options before making your decision.


Alameda Beauty College Alameda, CA
COBA Academy Anaheim Metro Orange, CA
Milan Institute Bakersfield, CA
Academy for Salon Professionals Canoga Park, CA
Academy of Makeup & Fashion Canoga Park, CA
Milan Institute Clovis / Fresno area, CA
W Institute of Cosmetology Concord, CA
Salon Success Academy Corona, CA
TONI&GUY Academy Costa Mesa, CA
Dublin Beauty College Dublin, CA
Bellus Academy East San Diego County Campus El Cajon, CA
Milan Institute of Cosmetology Fairfield, CA
Salon Success Academy Fontana, CA
Fremont Beauty College Fremont, CA
Western Beauty Institute Fullerton, CA
Career Academy of Beauty Garden Grove, CA
Newberry School of Beauty Granada Hills, CA
Napoleon Perdis Makeup Academy Hollywood, CA
Milan Institute of Cosmetology La Quinta, CA
Western Beauty Institute Lancaster, CA
Aveda Institute Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA
Palace Beauty College Los Angeles, CA
North Adrian’s Beauty College Modesto, CA
Safavi Institute of Cosmetology and Esthetics, a Paul Mitchell Partner School Modesto, CA
Bellus Academy South San Diego County Campus National City, CA
Ruby Make Up Academy North Hollywood, CA
Modern Beauty Academy Oxnard, CA
Western Beauty Institute Panorama City, CA
Bellus Academy North San Diego County Campus Poway, CA
Salon Success Academy Redlands, CA
Federico Beauty Institute Sacramento, CA
Salon Success Academy San Bernardino, CA
Cinta Aveda Institute San Francisco, CA
Ruby Make Up Academy San Gabriel Valley, CA
The American Institute of Education (A.I.E.) Santa Ana, CA
Toni&Guy Academy Santa Monica, CA
Hollywood Beauty College Stockton, CA
Royale College of Beauty Temecula, CA
Adrian’ Beauty College of Tracy, Inc Tracy, CA
Adrian’s Beauty College of Turlock Turlock, CA
Ruby Make Up Academy Upland, CA
Salon Success Academy Upland, CA
Blake Austin College Vacaville, CA
Lu Ross Academy of Beauty & Health Ventura, CA
Milan Institute of Cosmetology Visalia, CA
Elite Cosmetology School Yucca Valley, CA