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Cosmetology Schools in NC with Course Descriptions

There are more than 80 schools within North Carolina that have cosmetology programs. Read an overview of the 10 largest school's programs, requirements and tuition information and find out which school is the right one for you.

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Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Aesthetician and Skin Care
  • Barber and Hair Cutting Services
  • Beauty Salon Management
  • Cosmetology, Hair, and Nail Instructor
  • Electrolysis
  • Facial Treatment Specialist
  • Hair Design
  • Make-Up Artist
  • Nail Technician - Manicurist
  • Permanent Cosmetics and Tattooing

Essential Information

North Carolina has many schools offering programs in cosmetology. Students may opt to earn a certificate, diploma, or associate's degree in the field. All programs related to cosmetology include hands-on training and practice of skills, and some offer the opportunity to practice said skills outside of the classroom through workshops, fieldwork experiences, and/or internships. Associate's degree programs additionally include general education coursework, as well.

Alamance Community College

Alamance Community College offers three cosmetology program options at its Graham campus. The diploma program is offered in a day format that can be completed in one year or an evening format that takes two years to finish. This program can help students develop their skills through experiences in a simulated salon environment. Students in this program can learn about hygiene, manicuring, first-aid, hair coloring, chemical restructuring and light therapy. The program also allows students to choose three elective courses.

The school offers a standard certificate program in cosmetology as well as a certificate program for cosmetology instructors. The cosmetology certificate program can be completed in only one year and includes the same cosmetology and salon courses that are found in the diploma program. However, the certificate option doesn't include instruction on communication and math models and only includes one elective option. The cosmetology instructor program includes 24 credits of coursework and can be finished in two semesters.

Asheville - Buncombe Technical Community College

Asheville - Buncombe Technical Community College offers associate degree and diploma programs in cosmetology. For both program options, certain vaccinations and other specific requirements are to be met before enrolling. Students in both programs get to participate in cosmetology concepts courses, where they can gain fundamental knowledge of first-aid, safety and chemistry. The program also allows students to learn hair cutting, coloring and design techniques through hands-on learning opportunities. The school is home to the Mountain Tech Spa, which provides students with a place to get practical experience in the field. The associate degree option has additional courses in mathematical modules, small business and people skills.

Cape Fear Community College

Wilmington's Cape Fear Community College provides three program options for individuals seeking careers in cosmetology. The certificate program requires three levels of cosmetology concepts and salon courses, and students can take electives in haircoloring, design applications and trichology. The diploma program includes all of the core cosmetology and salon courses in the certificate program along with a couple general education courses and the option to choose from two different sets of electives. The cosmetology instructor certificate program also is available and consists of two practicum and two concept courses for instructors.

Catawba Valley Community College

Hickory's Catawba Valley Community College has a diploma program in cosmetology. The program is designed to provide students with fundamental knowledge of the scientific artistry principles to facilitate a career in the industry. The hands-on salon environment aids in the instruction of professional imagery, such as hair design, coloring, skin care, nail care, business and product knowledge. Like with many cosmetology schools, the courses are divided into core cosmetology concepts and salon courses. This program is offered in day and evening formats. Full-time students can complete the program in four semesters of study, and part-time students can expect to take classes for at least nine semesters.

Fayetteville Technical Community College

Fayetteville Technical Community College is a two-year school that offers associate degree and diploma programs in cosmetology. Students can expect to take core cosmetology and salon courses in the associate degree program. Mathematical modules, oral communication and public speaking courses are also required. The diploma program differs slightly, as it doesn't require a few of the courses that are included in the associate program. The associate program can be completed in five semesters, and the diploma program only takes four semesters to finish. Students pursuing the diploma can also select from day and evening program offerings.

Gaston College

Although the main campus of Gaston College is found in Dallas, its Lincolnton campus features a cosmetology program. The diploma program is comprised of four semesters and covers fundamental cosmetology and salon concepts. Other required courses include applied communications, digital salon operation and psychology. Students can gain experience in simulated salon environments, which are provided by the school. The school may offer morning, afternoon and evening sessions for students to choose from.

Guilford Technical Community College

Guilford Technical Community College is located in Jamestown. Students seeking programs in cosmetology can choose from an associate degree, diploma or certificate program. The associate degree program requires students to complete four levels of cosmetology and salon courses. This degree program also requires communications and behavioral science courses. The diploma program contains three levels of core salon and cosmetology courses along with courses in communications and computerized salon concepts. The certificate option only contains the three levels of cosmetology and salon courses that are found in the diploma program.

Pitt Community College

Winterville's Pitt Community College (PCC) offers a cosmetology program through the Mitchell's Hairstyling Academy in Greenville. Students who complete the program at the academy along with the required general education courses at PCC receive a diploma from PCC. The cosmetology program contains 1,500 hours of training that's divided into two sections. The first 300 hours of the program are allocated for in-class instruction time, where students are taught on mannequins. The second portion gives students supervised practice with real clients. The program covers hair styling, cutting, permanent applications, coloring and facial treatments.

Rowan - Cabarrus Community College

Rowan - Cabarrus Community College in Salisbury has a cosmetology program that includes instruction on hair design, chemical processes, nail care and skin care. Students have the option of pursuing a certificate, diploma or associate degree. The school offers a daytime program for full-time students and an evening program for part-time students. The simulated salon allows students to practice in a hands-on environment. The school accepts 40 students to the cosmetology program each semester, so incoming students may face some competition for openings.

Wake Technical Community College

Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh offers a diploma program and associate degree program in cosmetology. The associate program can be completed in four semesters (plus one summer session) and is offered during the day, evening or online. The diploma program is only offered during the evenings and is intended for part-time students. Both programs cover cosmetology and salon concepts, and the associate program includes additional coursework on hair coloring, design and interpersonal communication.

Career Requirements

The North Carolina Board of Cosmetic Art Examiners requires cosmetologists to complete a 1,500-hour training program and pass the State Board of Cosmetic Arts examination before they can become licensed.

The non-profit learning institutions outlined below have programs designed to prepare students to take the State Board of Cosmetic Arts examination.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Cosmetology Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)
Alamance Community College Two-year; public; fringe rural Cosmetology Certificate,
Cosmetology Instructor Certificate,
Cosmetology Diploma
$2,190 in-state; $7,950 out-of-state*
Asheville - Buncombe Technical Community College Two-year; public; small city Cosmetology Diploma,
Associate in Applied Science in Cosmetology
$2,419 in-state; $8,563 out-of-state*
Cape Fear Community College Two-year; public; midsize city Cosmetology Certificate,
Cosmetology Instructor Certificate,
Cosmetology Diploma
$2,654 in-state; $8,798 out-of-state*
Catawba Valley Community College Two-year; public; small city Cosmetology Diploma $2,195 in-state; $7,571 out-of-state*
Fayetteville Technical Community College Two-year; public; midsize city Cosmetology Diploma,
Associate in Applied Science in Cosmetology
$2,394 in-state; $8,538 out-of-state*
Gaston College Two-year; public; midsize suburb Cosmetology Diploma $2,562 in-state; $8,708 out-of-state*
Guilford Technical Community College Two-year; public; midsize suburb Cosmetology Certificate,
Cosmetology Diploma,
Associate in Applied Science in Cosmetology
$2,064 in-district; $2,208 in-state; $7,056 out-of-state*
Pitt Community College Two-year; public; midsize suburb Cosmetology Diploma $2,317 in-state; $8,376 out-of-state*
Rowan - Cabarrus Community College Two-year; public; midsize suburb Cosmetology Certificate,
Cosmetology Diploma,
Associate in Applied Science in Cosmetology
$2,506 in-state; $8,650 out-of-state*
Wake Technical Community College Two-year; public; large suburb Diploma in Cosmetology,
Associate in Applied Science in Cosmetology
$2,768 in-state; $8,912 out-of-state*

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics.

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