Special Effects Makeup Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

Special effects makeup is used in theater, television and film to transform actors into characters. Training programs commonly offer opportunities for participants to practice makeup techniques on fellow students and models.

How to Select a Special Effects Makeup School

Nearly all makeup programs with a special effects focus are available through private, for-profit beauty schools and makeup academies, which award certificates upon completion. However, students may also learn to apply special effects makeup through the theater departments of some community colleges and 4-year colleges and universities.

Students interested in attending a special effects makeup school may want to consider the following:

  • Program type and emphasis tends to vary by program, so students may want to consider what specialty, if any, they want to pursue and if a specific program is best suited for them.
  • Since this is a highly competitive field, students may want to take into account whether or not a program offers internship opportunities and if there are any production companies nearby.

Special Effects Makeup Program Overview

Certificate in Special Effects Makeup

Completion of a special effects makeup program can vary from a short, intensive course to a 1-year program. Students typically need to purchase their own makeup supplies. Courses focus on performance makeup techniques, including those used to simulate a certain age or expression. Students learn to apply prosthetics and other body alteration molds. They also create fake hair, bruises, wounds and skin textures and learn how these skills vary between film and the stage. Other subjects instructors may teach include:

  • Skin care
  • Color theory
  • Traditional makeup applications

10 Special Effects Makeup Schools:

College/UniversityInstitution Type
Blue Ridge Community College2-year, Public
California Institute of the Arts4-year, Private, not-for-profit
Carnegie Mellon University4-year, Private, not-for-profit
Greensboro College4-year, Private, not-for-profit
Marymount Manhattan College4-year, Private, not-for-profit
Montclair State University4-year, Public
Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas2-year, Public
Shenandoah University4-year, Private, not-for-profit
Stephens College4-year, Private, not-for-profit
Webster University4-year, Private, not-for-profit

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