Top Beauty Schools

A look at the best

What exactly determines the best beauty school in America? Is it their celebrity alumnae? If we look at that factor, then we have a short list of options.

Jonathon Antin, star of the television show Blow Out, graduated from Fairfax Beauty Academy, while Marjorie Joyner graduated from the AB Molar Beauty School. But other famous stylists and artists didn't graduate or even attend beauty school at all, merely worked their way up through the ranks starting as sweepers in salons.

While some of the most famous names in the field began this way, that was before a license was a requirement. Now, unless you have that diploma, your options are severely limited.

Instead, let's look at two of the best beauty schools in America: the COBRA Academy in Orange County, California and the Burton Academy in Post Falls, Idaho.


The COBRA Academy is one of the best reviewed schools by both current and former students. For admission, a student is required to complete an application at least one week before classes start, and hold a high school diploma or equivalent. The school offers two programs - cosmetology and teacher training.

The cosmetology program is a 1600-hour program that some manage to complete in 10 months, while the teacher training program for cosmetologists last for 600 hours. As an authorized school with the federal government, grants and loans are available for students. The school does require that potential students either live in the area, or plan to move to the area before requesting information.

Burton Academy

The Burton Academy of Beauty Culture and Hair Design in Post Falls, Idaho is one of the best-reviewed schools in the country by leading experts. Their cosmetology program is all inclusive, with classes on skin, hair and nails.

During the first part of their program, students work on mannequins and in classrooms to learn the basic techniques. The second half of the program places students in real life situations, where they are permitted to work on real clients in a supervised atmosphere.

Starting in 2008, the school will also offer a program in esthetics that focuses on skin care. The program will teach students in the areas of hair removal, massage and the treatment of skin problems. It is the perfect program for a future student interested in facials and body treatments.

The Industry

The job potential for beauty school graduates is quite varied. A cosmetologist can work in makeup for television and film, as an instructor, a private consultant or in a beauty shop. An esthetics graduate has the same options, as well as the ability to work in a salon or spa. Students trained in esthetics are in particularly high demand, as they are trained in multiple areas and can fulfill many different jobs.

For those who do not live in either area, and do not plan on moving there, there are beauty schools across the country and in every state. A quick look on the Internet or through the phonebook will reveal more options.

By Jennifer Eblin