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

Make-up artists assist clients with skin care techniques and the application of facial cosmetics. These specialized cosmetologists work with clients in the beauty salon environment or provide services to performers in the television, film or theater industries. Aspiring make-up artists can earn certificates, diplomas and associate's degrees in make-up artistry or cosmetology.

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.

Summary of Important Considerations

  • Accreditation
  • Career goals
  • Program level and length


When selecting a make-up artist school, individuals should start by seeking accredited programs. Because every state requires cosmetologists and personal appearance workers to pass a licensing examination before starting their careers, make-up artistry students will want to enroll in agency-approved colleges or state-licensed beauty schools in order to receive high-quality training in their field.

Career Goals

Prospective students evaluating programs in make-up artistry should select programs according to their individual interests and career ambitions. 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 degree programs. Cosmetology programs often require students to complete additional courses on skin care, hair cutting, hairstyling and basic business practices.

Program Level and Length

Aspiring make-up artists should also consider the length and level of study that they wish to pursue before deciding whether to earn a diploma, certificate or associate's degree. Diploma and certificate programs typically last a year or less in duration, while associate's degree programs can take up to two years to complete.

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.

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