Over 20 Top Cosmetology Schools in Tennessee|Tuition&Duration

If you want to learn how to become a makeup artist, hairstylist, or esthetician in Tennessee, you’ll need to attend an accredited cosmetology school.

In this article, we’ll tell you about the top cosmetology schools in Tennessee.

We’ll also give you some information on what it takes to get your license and work as a licensed cosmetologist in Tennessee.

If that sounds good to you, keep reading.

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What is Cosmetology School?

Cosmetology school is where future beauty professionals learn everything they need to know about hairstyling, makeup artistry, and skincare.

To get started with your career as a beauty professional in Tennessee (and most other states), you will need to complete a qualification program approved by your State Board of cosmetology and obtain your license.

Most programs last between 9 months and 2 years depending on the full-time or part-time status of the student and whether they choose an associate degree or just a certificate program.

Cosmetology schools in Tennessee are licensed by the state’s Department of Commerce and Insurance, and Division of Regulatory Boards. Its mission is to provide its licensees with quality educational resources and continuing education opportunities that increase competency and professionalism.

In these cosmetology schools in Tennessee, you can train to become a cosmetologist, nail technician, or esthetician. Below we have listed some of the top cosmetology schools in Tennessee.

What Do You Learn in a Cosmetology School?

Aspiring cosmetologists may wonder what they can expect from their future careers, so here’s a brief overview:

In school, you’ll learn how to cut hair and use salon chemicals like perms and dyes. You’ll also learn about the importance of sanitation, hair anatomy, and business skills related to the beauty industry.

Depending on your school, you may also learn about makeup and nail techniques. You will receive a certificate once you finish your studies.

Cosmetologists are responsible for cutting or styling hair, coloring it, using chemicals to change its texture (both permanent and temporary), giving manicures, doing pedicures, performing facials, waxing skin, and applying makeup.

While many cosmetologists specialize in one service (like nails), most become generalists who perform all of these services in salons or spas. Cosmetologists can also choose between working as independent contractors or setting up their businesses.

How Long Does a Cosmetology Program Take in Tennessee?

There are different cosmetology schools in Tennessee. The length of the program depends on your career goals and the type of program you choose.

If you want to do hair, for example, a shorter program is available. If you want to become an esthetician or nail technician, some schools offer these as standalone programs that can be completed within a few months.

What is the Average Cost of Cosmetology Schools in Tennessee?

The average tuition for cosmetology schools in Tennessee is $4,790. Also, you may find the average cost of books and supplies to be $1,050. While the average cost of supplies needed for cosmetology school is higher than the national average at $600.

The average cost of tools and equipment for cosmetology school in Tennessee is $270. This amount is lower than the national average which is $400.

The kits that are required in certain programs can cost between $500 to over $1,000 depending on the program and school you choose to go with. Equipment costs vary but could range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a couple thousand depending again on your program and school choices.

Most schools have enrollment fees, application fees, or some sort of initial fee ranging from around fifty dollars up to a couple of hundred dollars, depending on the school you choose.

So, be sure you factor these things into your total budget when choosing your top choices for cosmetology schools in Tennessee, as well as when trying to estimate your total potential student loan debt load at graduation time.

How Do I Become a Cosmetologist in Tennessee?

Now that you’ve decided to become a cosmetologist, you need to figure out how to begin your career in Tennessee.

The first step is establishing a career plan. This will help you evaluate the best ways to prepare for your future and determine where you want your cosmetology career to take you. The key steps include:

  • Finding a school that trains in the best techniques and offers advanced classes.

  • Getting licensed and building an impressive resume of work experience.

  • Deciding whether or not pursuing an advanced degree is right for you.

You can get started on your journey by looking at some of our featured schools below.

The List of Top Cosmetology Schools in Tennessee

Although Tennessee doesn’t require post-secondary education in cosmetology, it can be beneficial to learn at a school or college. The cosmetology schools in Tennessee below come up frequently in online search results and have been ranked based on their respective reputations.

The Salon Professional Academy, Nashville

  • Programs offered: Cosmetology, Esthetics, Nail Technician, Barbering/Styling, and Instructor Training.

  • Tuition fees: $22,090.

  • Duration: 1,500 clock hours.

When you view their catalog, you will find that there is a non-refundable registration fee of $200. A kit ($2,430 for cosmetology students/$250 for esthetics students) must also be purchased and will be provided as a loan during the study.

There are no dormitory facilities available at this school but the information is provided to help students find accommodation in the area they can afford. 

Financial aid is available to those who qualify through federal financial aid and scholarships are also provided based on merit or need to applicants that qualify based on certain criteria.

One scholarship opportunity exists in conjunction with The Salon Professional Academy-Nashville’s partnership with Empower Me Corporation to provide scholarships to women escaping domestic violence situations who wish to take part in any one of the school’s programs as a way out of difficult circumstances.

We have ranked the Salon Professional Academy due to its favorable reviews. It is one of the best cosmetology schools in Tennessee if you ask us.

Tennessee School of Beauty, Knoxville

  • Programs Offered: Cosmetology, Esthetics, Mud-makeup, Skincare, Hair, and lash extension courses.

  • Tuition fees: $15,995.

  • Duration: 45 weeks.

Tennessee School of Beauty prepares graduates with the skills they need to succeed in several cosmetology fields. In addition to providing affordable tuition and flexible scheduling, Tennessee School of Beauty offers hands-on training led by instructors who are working professionals.

The school boasts small class sizes, and financial aid is available for students who qualify.

Located on Western Avenue in Knoxville, this cosmetology school in Tennessee provides career placement assistance for graduates seeking jobs in a new field.

The Tennessee School of Beauty is also accredited by NACCAS (National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences).

Shear Perfection Academy of Cosmetology, Nashville

  • Programs Offered: Cosmetology, Esthetics, and Nail Technician programs.

  • Tuition fees: $17,900.

  • Duration: 1,500 clock hours (11 months for full-time study, and 14 months for part-time).

Shear Perfection Academy of Cosmetology is a cosmetology school in Tennessee located in Nolensville Pike. It has a student population of about 60 students. They offer both full-time and part-time scheduling options for the cosmetology program and the manicuring programs.

Tuition costs $17,900 at Shear Perfection Academy of Cosmetology. Financial aid is available to those who qualify. The school does have an admissions test, but it’s not mandatory for admission into the program. Additionally, the school is accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences (NACCAS).

Douglas J Aveda Institute, Knoxville

Programs Offered: Cosmetology, Esthiology, Massage Therapy, And Barbering classes.

Tuition fees: $23,900.

Duration: Not specified.

Located in Knoxville, Tennessee, the Douglas J Aveda Institute is a cosmetology school in Tennessee that provides students with a wide variety of programs that teach the skills necessary to thrive in the world of cosmetology.

The school offers courses in esthiology, hair design, and makeup artistry. In addition to hands-on training, students will receive classroom instruction on subjects like chemistry and anatomy. The program is accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences (NACCAS).

Students who graduate from this school are prepared for several careers including makeup artist, cosmetology writer, and hairstylist. Some potential employers include salons and spas.

This institute offers financial aid through federal grants and loans for those who qualify. Students may also apply for scholarships through organizations such as Sephora or Paul Mitchell Cares.

The Paul Mitchell School – Nashville & Johnson City

  • Programs Offered: Cosmetology, Esthetics, Nail Technician, Barbering, Makeup, and Instructor Program.

  • Tuition fees: $22,400.

  • Duration: 1,100 clock hours.

The Paul Mitchell School is one of the oldest and most well-known cosmetology schools in Tennessee and the country. It has been in business for almost three decades, during which time it has expanded to 42 different campuses across the United States.

The Paul Mitchell School’s Nashville campus offers two programs for students interested in a career in cosmetology or esthetics: an 1100-hour course that can be completed either full time or part-time and an 1800-hour dual program that combines both fields into one long course.

Both programs are designed to teach students everything they need to be successful hairdressers and/or estheticians, and they culminate with a physical salon experience where students will get the opportunity to serve real clients under the supervision of a licensed professional.

The school also offers scholarships designed to make education accessible even for those who may not have the financial means to pay tuition out of pocket.

Empire Beauty School | Memphis, Jackson, and Nashville Campuses

  • Programs Offered: Cosmetology, Esthetics, Educator Training, and Nail Technician programs.

  • Tuition fees: $20,274.

  • Duration: 11 months (full-time).

Empire Beauty School, like The Paul Mitchell School, is also one of the oldest cosmetology schools in Tennessee, and in the US.

With this school’s convenient locations across the United States, you’ll be able to take part in all the benefits that Tennessee’s cosmetology scene has to offer.

You’ll also have access to a large student salon, where you can work with real clients one-on-one and get hands-on experience working as a stylist.

Jenny Lea Academy, Johnson City

  • Programs Offered: Cosmetology, Nail Technician, Esthetics, and Barbering.

  • Tuition fees: $18,000 (including book, supplies, and application fee).

  • Duration: 1,500 clock hours (10 – 12 months for full-time program; 15 – 17 months for part-time).

Jenny Lea Academy is a top cosmetology school in Tennessee located on East Unaka Road, in Johnson City. It enrolls a total of around 100 students and has five cosmetology instructors. The school can be a good option if you’re looking to study cosmetology in Tennessee as tuition fees in this school are relatively low.

Student satisfaction ratings are high at Jenny Lea Academy (88%), and the job placement rate after graduation is around 30%.

The average salary for graduates is $20K per year. There are two classrooms and one lab available for use. Also, financial aid may be available for those who qualify. 

Brillare Beauty Institute, Cleveland

  • Programs Offered: Cosmetology and Esthetics.

  • Tuition fees: $18,775.

  • Duration: 1,500 clock hours.

Brillare Beauty Institute is a cosmetology school in Tennessee. At Brillare, you can get the training you need to become a licensed cosmetologist.

The school offers basic and advanced cosmetology programs in an intimate setting, with a low student-to-teacher ratio that allows for individualized attention and support.

The cost of tuition at Brillare is $16,500 for the basic program. You can choose to pay with cash or financial aid if you qualify.

Brillare specializes in hair styling services including haircuts, highlights, blowouts, and more. They also offer spa treatments like manicures and makeup applications for special events like weddings or proms.

Brillare takes pride in its job placement rate of 100%. Students who successfully complete the course are guaranteed to find work after graduation.

They have partnerships with leading salons across Tennessee to give students opportunities to launch their careers as soon as they graduate from Brillare Beauty Institute.

Sweetwater Institute of Cosmetology, Sweetwater

  • Programs Offered: Cosmetology., Esthetics, and Hair Design.

  • Tuition fees: $12,000 – $14,000. 

  • Duration: 9 months.

Sweetwater Institute of Cosmetology is a cosmetology school in Tennessee that offers a nine-month program that is both challenging and rewarding. You can choose from three different specialty programs (cosmetology, esthetics, or hair design) that all help you master the latest styles and techniques as well as learn how to run a successful salon business.

The school features state-of-the-art facilities like modern classrooms with multimedia equipment, spacious lounge areas, and fully operational salons where students practice their skills on real clients under the watchful eye of experienced instructors. Students also enjoy access to mobile labs so they can learn the latest technology in a real-world environment.

If you’re looking for a great vocational school near Sweetwater that offers job placement assistance from employers like Ultra Beauty and Unique Nails & Spa at affordable prices then look no further than SIC.

Queen City College, Clarksville

  • Programs Offered: Cosmetology, Esthetics, Manicure/Nail Technician, Barbering.

  • Tuition fees: $8.95 per clock hour ($13,425 for the Cosmetology program).

  • Duration: 1,500 clock hours.

Queen City College is one of the top cosmetology schools in Tennessee. The school’s mission is to provide a comprehensive, highly effective education that prepares students for their state licensing examinations so that they can become licensed cosmetologists.

In addition to the 1,500 clock hours of training required by the state’s Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners (the total number of hours varies from state to state), Queen City College offers its students additional training in customer service and salon management skills.

Students at this school learn how to perform hair services like haircuts and coloring, skincare services such as facials and makeup application, nail care techniques like manicures and pedicures, and even business skills like marketing and retailing.

If you’re ready to enroll in one of the best cosmetology schools in Tennessee, Queen City College will help you get started on your path toward becoming a successful career professional with fulfilling work.

Tennessee Institute of Cosmetology, Morristown

  • Programs Offered: Cosmetology, Esthetics, Nail Technician, and Instructor Program.

  • Tuition fees: $5,600 ($5,500 tuition and books & supplies fee + $100 registration fee).

  • Duration: 1,500 clock hours or 45 weeks.

With a tuition fee of $5,500, TIC may just be the cheapest cosmetology school in Tennessee. Tennessee Institute of Cosmetology is a cosmetology school in Tennessee that offers a full range of cosmetology services to the public at a very reasonable price.

The school teaches the latest techniques in hair, skincare, and nail technology. A variety of courses are offered at the Tennessee Institute of Cosmetology, including cosmetology, advanced esthetics, and advanced nail technology.

Training for these courses is available either online or on-campus. The school also offers training in makeup artistry and sales.

Georgia Career Institute, McMinnville

  • Programs Offered: Cosmetology, Esthetics, Nail Technician program, Massage Therapy, and Instructors’ program.

  • Tuition fees: $20,085.

  • Duration: 1,500 clock hours.

The Georgia Career Institute was established in 2003 with a mission to provide every student with a quality education; which they define as “a union of knowledge, experience, and practical application.” This is accomplished by limiting the number of students in each class.

There’s a teacher for every ten students. The school offers financial aid and job placement assistance to eligible students. Besides McMinnville, GCI also has a campus in Murfreesboro.

Without any doubt, GCI is one of the best cosmetology schools in Tennessee, as past students have testified.

View their tuition schedule.

Premier Cosmetology Academy, Johnson City

  • Programs Offered: Cosmetology, Esthetics, Nail Technician, and Instructors’ program.

  • Tuition fees: $10,000 (including a down payment fee of $2,400).

  • Duration: 1,500 or 10 – 12 months, depending on your schedule and learning pace.

Students who graduate from Premier Cosmetology Academy are well-prepared for the state board exams and go on to successful careers in their chosen fields of cosmetology or esthetics.

Studio 75 Hair Academy, Millington

  • Programs Offered: Cosmetology, Esthetics, and Nail Technician programs.
  • Tuition fees: Estimated to be around $6,000 – $20,000 on Indeed.
  • Duration: 1,500 clock hours.

Studio 75 Hair Academy is by far, not among the popular cosmetology schools in Tennessee. However, it makes a decent choice for prospective students who want to become cosmetologists. The Academy’s goal is to offer a well-rounded education in cosmetology that leads to a stable career in the beauty industry.

  • Accreditation: Yes
  • Admissions Requirements: Must be at least 17 years old and have a high school diploma or GED.

Love Beauty School, Murfreesboro Hwy, Manchester

  • Programs Offered: Cosmetology, Esthetics, Nail Technician, and Instructors’ programs.

  • Tuition fees: $17,450.

  • Duration: 1,500 clock hours.

Love Beauty School is a private beauty school that opened in Murfreesboro in 1981. The school offers cosmetology training, as well as courses for estheticians and nail technicians. Financial aid is available to students who qualify, and the school maintains an active job placement program for its graduates.

Granted, this cosmetology school in Tennessee will not win an award for the best beauty school website, but they have put together a well-rehearsed curriculum that covers all aspects of hairstyling and cutting, skincare, manicure and pedicure techniques, and makeup application.

Students can also learn about salon business practices through the school’s management course. It takes 1,500 hours to complete this program, which is required before you can take the state licensing exam for cosmetologists.

Other Top Beauty Cosmetology Schools

Aveda Arts & Sciences Institutes – Accredited

With over 30 years of nurturing beauty, environmental leadership and responsibility, AVEDA sources organic, plant-based alternatives to synthetic chemicals and packaging, providing high-performing, award-winning products that are good for professionals, our guests and the earth.

1765 Galleria Boulevard
Franklin, TN 37067

Programs: Cosmetology, Esthetics

Arnolds Beauty School – Accredited

1179 South Second Street
Milan, TN 38358

Austin’s Beauty College Inc – Accredited

585A South Riverside Drive
Clarksville, TN 37040

Bakers Barber and Cosmetology College – Accredited

3983 Brainerd Road
Chattanooga, TN 37411

Bella Donna’s Academy

401 Commerce Street
Kingsport, TN 37660

Chattanooga College Medical Dental and Technical Careers – Accredited

248 Northgate Mall Drive
Chattanooga, TN 37415

Elite College of Cosmetology – Accredited

459 North Main Street
Lexington, TN 38351

Fayetteville College of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences

201 West College Street
Fayetteville, TN 37334

Franklin Academy

1605 Professional Park Drive Northwest
Cleveland, TN 37312

Franklin Hair Academy School of Cosmetology – Accredited

595 Hillsboro Road Suite 325
Franklin, TN 37064

Genesis Career College – Accredited

880-A East 10Th Street
Cookeville, TN 38501

Find More cosmetology schools HERE.

Choosing a cosmetology school in Tennessee

Choosing a good cosmetology school in Tennessee is an important decision. It’s where you will invest your time and money to gain the skills necessary for a career in cosmetology.

Do your research. Find out about the school’s reputation, accreditation, career placement, tuition and fees, and financial aid offerings. Depending on what type of license you want to earn, make sure you’re choosing a school that will meet those requirements.

Look at the programs they offer. If you’re looking to specialize in something like being an esthetician or nail technician rather than becoming a hairstylist or makeup artist, it may be best to choose any of these cosmetology schools in Tennessee with great options for your specialty instead of just focusing on cost or location.

Wrapping It Up

So, there you have it, the 15 top cosmetology schools in Tennessee. It can be difficult to determine exactly which school is the best fit for your needs, but with a bit of research and due diligence, you’ll be able to find a program that’s right for you.

Be sure to pay attention to any details about tuition, fees, or other expenses when making your decision. If your chosen school has an active blog or social media feed, give it a follow and see if they post inspiring photos of their students and faculty that will help you gain some perspective on what life as a student at their institution will be like.

In addition, look at what industry certifications might be available upon graduation—the more valuable these are, the better.

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