top five cosmetology schools in atlanta

Get Educated: Top Five Cosmetology Schools in Atlanta

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Should I Go to Cosmetology School?

Education is essential in every field even when it comes to hair and beauty. That’s why you should consider cosmetology school.

The world of cosmetology is so vast. There are so many things to learn and many are thinking about attending cosmetology school.

You may be thinking, “Why do I need to go to school for cosmetology? I can learn this on my own!” Yes, it is true that you can learn these skills on your own just like you can pretty much learn anything on your own these days. Thanks to Google, Youtube and the entire internet learning anything you want is now available at the click of a button!

Nowadays, the internet is giving us access to so much information! In result, even more than ever everyone is questioning why they should go to school especially when there is so much information readily available online.

Going to cosmetology school is like going to any other school. You will be able to learn in a way that is guided and carefully watched. With the deadlines and due dates of school, you will be learning at a pace that will challenge you. At the end of intense learning, you will receive a degree that will stamp and qualify you as a professional in your field.

Going to school allows you to learn from others and it also allows you to make friends in your upcoming industry. You never know when you will need a recommendation or a friend or business partner in your field. Your teachers and classmates will become that for you.

Portrait of beautiful young redheaded woman with esthetician making makeup

Atlanta is A Hub for Hair & Beauty

Atlanta is one of the hottest cities in the world for hair and beauty! The city is home to many salons and the hottest hair shows. Atlanta is a hub for Black business, and many of them are in the hair and beauty niche.

If you are looking to go to cosmetology school, Atlanta is the perfect city for you. Not only are there so many cosmetology schools to choose from, but there are also so many opportunities when it comes to starting a cosmetology business.

The city is the home to many celebrities who want always to look their best making it a great place to get high paying clientele. The city is home to great colleges such as Spelman, Georgia State, Emory, Agnes Scott and so much more. If you’re going to get another degree while getting your cosmetology degree that is an option as well.

Best of all, the city is extremely affordable with so much to do. You can save money on living expenses and invest that money into your schooling instead.

With all that said, let’s take a look at the top 5 cosmetology schools in Atlanta.


Paul Mitchell

Paul Mitchell is not only in Atlanta, but it is nationwide. The school has over 100 locations in the United States and has been training industry leaders for almost 20 years.

The school started as a product line in the 80s between good friends John Paul DeJoria and Paul Mitchell. Later on, the brand expanded into a school to train up those who were passionate about the world of cosmetology.

What makes Paul Mitchell great is their emphasis on business and creativity. The school wants all of its students to graduate with some business acumen. It is not just enough to know about the world of hair, beauty, and skin. It is also vital for students to be knowledgeable in business as well. Being knowledgeable in business will allow them to scale their skills and turn their love for cosmetology into an empire as their founders did.

The school is very open when it comes to creativity. Paul Mitchell encourages its students to be creative and think outside of the box. Students are often testing out funky hair colors and unconventional makeup to take their creative skills to new heights.

Paul Mitchell is not your regular old boring school, and it is a school that will push you to take your business and creativity to new heights. They train you to think like and become a professional.

Beautiful young hairdresser giving a new haircut to female customer at parlor


Aveda is just as popular as Paul Mitchell, as it is also known nationwide. What makes Aveda so great is that it also has an online program making it one of the first cosmetology schools to offer such a program.

Like Paul Mitchell, Aveda has schools and salons nationwide. Their salons make room for their current and former students to practice their skills on clients. According to Salon Today Magazine, Aveda salons are the fastest growing salons in America.

Out of all these schools what makes Aveda different from the rest is their range of programs. Aveda does not just limit student’s learning options to traditional cosmetology. The school offers other programs in esthiology, massaging, and barbering in addition to traditional cosmetology.

This is perfect for students who want to work in the field of cosmetology but don’t want to do traditional skills such as hairstyling, makeup, nails, hair color, business, etc. The school allows students to see that there is room for every beauty skill in their educational program.

aveda salon and spa

CEI Hair Schools

If you are looking for an affordable option, then CEI Hair Schools may be for you! CEI offers affordable cosmetology programs. The school prides themselves in graduating debt free professionals.

Another great thing about CEI is that they offer flexibility when it comes to scheduling. If you are a single mother, dually enrolled in another school or you have a hectic work schedule this program can be convenient. Whatever the case may be CEI makes it easy to schedule in school with your life. They also offer classes on the weekends.

CEI offers classes that cover a variety of skill sets. They have programs covering barbering, nail technology, and even esthetics. Check them out, and you can get licensed in 7 to 9 months!

Teacher Helping Students Training To Become Hairdressers

Industry Makeup Academy

The Industry Makeup Academy is a cosmetology school that focuses on the creative aspects of cosmetology as well. The college is specifically a makeup school for those looking to do all types of makeup. IMA prepares you for Print, Freelance, Bridal, TV & Film makeup, etc. by teaching you the foundations of makeup application.

They offer classes in 60 or 100 hours, and you can choose either one depending on your desired level of learning. They even offer weekend and one on one lessons. What makes IMA great is that all of its programs give you the opportunity to build your portfolio through photo shoots.

contour makeup

Empire Beauty School

Empire beauty school is another hair school on this list that is nationwide. Empire has 88 locations in 21 states all across the USA and Atlanta is one of them.

Empire Education Group has been training future beauty professionals since 1934. The beauty school offers training and education in hairstyling, cutting, color, primary skin care, business & retail training, makeup, and even salon management.


Is Cosmetology School For You?

So which schools from our list have your interest? If you are still on the fence or can’t make a decision, it is always a good idea to ask current and former students of each school questions. Asking students about the learning style, opportunities and what their career paths are post grad are all questions that can help you navigate which path is best for you.

If you still are not sure check and see if the schools have an open house. This will allow you to get a feel for each school and their learning environment.

At the end of the day all education no matter the format, allow you to gain knowledge and mastery in a skill. Education is necessary for all industries even in the world of cosmetology.

About Fennella Miller

Fennella Like Whoa is a Sierra Leonean American model, blogger and creative entrepreneur based in Atlanta Georgia. She graduated from Spelman College and currently creates creative digital media content in the areas of fashion and hair. [email protected]

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10 thoughts on “Get Educated: Top Five Cosmetology Schools in Atlanta

  1. Kaycee says:

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    It’s a good feeling to see the choice I made for my Cosmetology journey at the top of this list. Paul Mitchell was the obvious choice with the goals I have set for myself. They also touch on other areas like makeup, nails, and business. It was a huge blessing my financial aid was able to cover the majority of the cost.

  2. Nathalie W. says:

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    Could we wait until everything is all in order and just go back to school for it? Or should we just take that experience to learn more so we can boost/ advance everything in our business?

  3. Inger Johns says:

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    Cosmetology is good for the young generation. Cosmetologists may decide to open their very own salon one day once they have people that support their business. It gives the stylist the right to make their own decisions of their work hours and their own fees.

  4. Rayvynne Rebelle says:

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    Any form of education is really a big plus towards your entrepreneurial goals. But formal schooling can really give you an edge, as it is a great way to network and you can gain clients trust with a certificate as they know you put in the hours.

    I had a friend that went to Paul Mitchell school and it was an awesome experience for her and me. I went to get my hair colored by her and her instructor was very knowledgeable about what colors would compliment my skin tone, the best. The color I received was absolutely gorgeous and added an extra spark to my look.

    So if it is something that interests you go for it!

  5. Brittany BELL says:

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    School, School, School! I loved when I was in cosmetology school man oh man the memories…..Out of the schools that are listed I would go with Paul Mitchell I have heard so many great things about it and that’s convincing I think.

  6. Rayvynne Rebelle says:

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    Also, Aveda and Paul Mitchell schools have great student services, where you pay way less than a salon or spa because the service is done by students and an instructor will give insight and feedback.

    I especially love Aveda, the only one I have been to is in NY but they offer great esthetician services, like facials and back treatments for a great price, and you can buy packages and add-ons.

    So if you choose to go to these schools, they are very hands-on in learning and applying what they know to real clients.

  7. charlene Fair says:

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    I enjoyed learning that going to cosmetology school is not always because you want to actually be a nail tech or do hair, it would also help you to understand the business side of things, like owning a salon or nail business. I had started attending cosmetology school but financially could not continue.

  8. Azhane says:

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    This post was very helpful to me because I am currently struggling with the decision of going to cosmetology school in order to better understand and promote my hair business. On one hand I think that to sell extensions I don’t need to know all of the curricula of cosmetology school but on the other hand, I believe that it could definitely help with certain aspects of the business to know about cutting, coloring, etc. I also have just relocated to Georgia and I have been researching schools to attend. This helped me narrow down my potential choices.

    Something I want to look more into is the online courses. I’m definitely going to do more research into that because I’m having a hard time wrapping my mind around how students would receive actual hands-on practice and guidance. Is the online just a portion and then there is an actual hands-on portion? Is it completely online? #QuestionsThatNeedAnswers

  9. Shonte Perry says:

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    I have always wanted to go to cosmetology school. They are just so expensive and quitting my 9-5 for school just doesn’t look feasible for my future. These are some great schools for those interested.

  10. Ashley Daniels says:

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    I started cosmetology classes and didn’t finish due to personal reasons, but I really want to go back. Thanks for sharing, especially about Aveda as I had no idea you could take cosmetology online. Will definitely be looking into that!

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