Make-Up Artist Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

In a make-up artist program, students learn to assist clients with skin care techniques and the application of facial cosmetics. Certificate and diploma programs can typically be earned in a year, while an associate's degree may take up to two years to complete. A state-issued license exam is required for employment in this field.

How to Select a Make-Up Artist School

Programs for aspiring make-up artists can be found at community colleges, technical schools and some universities. Make-up artistry classes are often offered as part of a school's summer intensive or continuing education program. Schools located in commercial cities, such as Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston may provide greater networking opportunities and invaluable training. Other considerations include the following:

  • Some public and private institutions offer certificate programs that focus solely on the application of make-up, while other schools include make-up artistry courses as part of cosmetology diploma or associate's degree programs.
  • Programs accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences (NACCAS) or state-licensed beauty schools often provide the highest quality training.
  • A state-issued exam is required in order to obtain a cosmetology license, so students should look for programs that prepare them for licensure.

Make-Up Artist Program Overviews

Certificate in Make-Up Artistry

Participants may meet the qualifications for a certificate after completing as few as six courses. Students take both theoretical and practical courses in preparation for careers as make-up artists. Courses include:

  • Make-up application fundamentals
  • Character make-up
  • Fashion make-up
  • Advanced make-up techniques

Some vocational or technical schools may have their own salons in which students can work under supervision to gain additional experience. Some programs incorporate an internship into the curriculum.

Diploma in Cosmetology

At the diploma level, prospective make-up artists typically complete courses within the broader cosmetology field as well as within their specialization. Diploma programs commonly involve both coursework and externship opportunities at salons. Students may take courses in:

  • Skin care
  • Cosmetic art
  • Product knowledge
  • Client services

Associate's Degree in Cosmetology

An associate's degree program in cosmetology involves extensive coursework and training; students fulfill general education course requirements in addition to specialized courses. Practical training is also common at this level of schooling. Those who are interested in make-up artistry careers can specifically benefit from associate's-level courses in:

  • Sanitation and safety
  • Beauty tools
  • Business management

These programs may also focus on state licensing preparation. They may result in an Associate of Arts or Associate of Applied Science.

Ten Schools with Make-Up Artistry Programs

College/University Institution Type
Montclair State University 4-year, Public
Mt San Antonio College 2-year, Public
Santa Monica College 2-year, Public
Cosmix School of Makeup Artistry <2-year, Private-for-profit
Milwaukee Technical College 2-year, Public
Augusta Technical College 2-year, Public
Emerson College 4-year, Private not-for-profit
Boca Beauty Academy <2-year, Private-for-profit
Cameo College of Essential Beauty 2-year, Private-for-profit
Empire Beauty School <2-year, Private-for-profit

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