May 28, 2021

College VS Beauty School: Which is Right for You?

graphic with text reading "traditional college vs beauty school"

Whether you’ve just graduated or if you’re considering a career change, a question that might be on your mind is if traditional college or beauty school is right for you. There is a lot to consider between the two, as they are very different. You’ll want to consider what you’re passionate about, where you’d like to be in the future, and how flexible your schedule is. Find out more about what makes the two different and see if beauty school might be perfect for you!

What Are Your Passions?

smiling woman standing outside in a garden

Before you make any decisions, sit down and think about what you’re passionate about. Before you consider anything else regarding time, money, or your schedule, your passions are paramount. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What am I passionate about?
  • What do I enjoy?
  • What do I see myself doing in the future?
  • How happy would I be on my path right now?

If you’ve always enjoyed styling others, doing hair and makeup, or exploring skincare, a future in the beauty industry might be perfect for you. It is important to recognize what makes you happy, and to pursue a future in that. Your passions can take you a long way in the beauty industry!


If you’re planning on going to a traditional college, there are many requirements that go into every application. They can ask you for your high school GPA, SAT or ACT scores, AP class scores, and much more. The application process for college is lengthy, and can take weeks for everything to be processed and mailed in.

If you’d like to apply at Salon Success Academy, here are our requirements:

  • Be at least 17 years old
  • U.S. completion of 12th grade (diploma or transcripts), GED, or pass results for the HiSET or TASC exam

If you are a foreign graduate, foreign transcripts/diploma must be translated and verified of its equivalency to a U.S. high school diploma. Students can log into or use another qualified agency of their own selection.

While the requirements can vary between colleges and beauty schools, oftentimes it is easier to apply to a beauty school, and can require fewer formal test scores. If you have a high school diploma or GED, you don’t have to worry about your GPA when it comes to applying to beauty school! Beauty school can be a great option for many, and can be a more flexible option.

What Are Your Future Goals?

Depending on the type of school you go to, your future goals can vary greatly. If you’re interested in a future in the beauty industry, a traditional college or a beauty school could work for you. If you’d like to work hands-on in the industry in a salon, spa, or in teaching others, a beauty school would probably be a better fit for you. If you’re interested in the marketing aspect of specific beauty brands and products, a traditional college could give you the background you need for beauty marketing.

As a licensed beauty professional, there are so many options for your future. Yes, you could work in a salon or spa, but you could also own one! You could create a space that is exactly what you envision where you provide unique services to the clientele you’ve built over years and hire people with a similar vision. The beauty industry could also take you outside of the salon, to work in television, movies, with celebrities, or as a beauty influencer. A foundation in the beauty industry can take you many places, and give you so many opportunities in your future.

Sit down with a trusted friend or family member, talk about your future, and get some feedback on your goals. It always helps to talk about your goals and to hear another perspective. A future in the beauty industry is possible, but your path there is your choice! Our admissions team is also happy to discuss your goals with you and help you make a decision that could be best for your future.

Types of Training

hands holding hair styling tools

When it comes to training, you’ll want to think about how you like to learn. Are you an auditory or book learner, or do you prefer to work with your hands and learn in a practical setting? While colleges can vary in learning styles, you can usually expect to learn in a classroom setting, and out of a book or from a powerpoint.

At a beauty school, you can learn from a variety of techniques. While there are classroom settings, a lot of your education can come from working in a student salon. This practical, hands-on experience can help you learn in an effective way as you practice your skills on wigs, and eventually real clients in a salon setting.

The way you learn has a huge influence on your education, so the manner in which you’re trained can change the course of your education. Think about how you enjoy learning, and work from there!

Your Cost of Education

Another huge factor of your future education is the cost. Cost is a lot to consider, and there can be quite a few differences between college and beauty school. If you are considering a future at a four-year college, that can often come with a greater cost than beauty school. The average beauty school program takes about 13 months, whereas a degree can take about four years on average. The longer you’re in school, typically the greater the cost is.

Luckily, there is financial aid available to those who qualify for beauty schools just like college! Financial aid is available as:

Federal Financial Aid

We strongly recommend that all students start by filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. FAFSA can help you determine if you qualify for federal assistance, such as loans, pell grants, and more!


Scholarships can be a great way to help pay for school! Scholarships frequently do not need to be paid back. It is always a good idea for future students to apply for as many scholarships as they can. Our financial aid team can help you determine what scholarships are available and what you might qualify for. We also suggest all students look at scholarships through Beauty Changes Lives to see what’s available!

What Scheduling Options are Available?

How flexible is your schedule to pursuing a secondary education? We understand that fitting school into your busy life can be challenging, and not always as accessible as we’d like it to be. While a four-year college may offer different class times, overall, it is a huge time and scheduling commitment. This is, on average, four years of classes to work into your schedule.

We know that real life has to continue, as many of our students have other jobs, commitments, and families. That is why at Salon Success Academy, we offer flexible scheduling options to make beauty school a reality for our students. We offer day, evening and even flex-scheduling options for our students. Contact us for more information about our schedules and see how beauty school could fit into your life!

What Programs Are Available?

women picking out nail colors at a salon

Choosing a beauty school program is very similar to choosing a college major. Both will determine what you’re studying, and what the prerequisites could be. No matter the college major, there are a lot of hours that have to be dedicated to general courses that may or may not have anything to do with your major. If you’d like to study only what you’re interested in, a beauty school program might be a better fit for you. While everyone learns theory, it’s tied directly into your program and will be the foundation you’ll use for your future in the beauty industry.

At Salon Success Academy, we offer programs in:

-Nail tech
-& More!

Every program varies in length and what you might learn, so we encourage you to read about each and see which stands out to you. You can also contact our admissions team to learn more about our programs and see how fast you might be able to graduate!

Get Started at Salon Success Academy

If you have more questions, contact us! We are more than happy to help you on your journey in secondary education, and would love to answer any questions you might have. Reach out today and see if Salon Success Academy might be the perfect fit for you!

*Financial aid is available to those who qualify.

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