10 Top Rated Cosmetology Programs in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania beauty schools have an interesting accomplishment they can collectively boast about: they have a higher on-time completion rate than those of any other state in the nation. All but two of the schools on our list graduate well over half of their students on time, in 14 months or less. Three of them have 100 percent graduation rates! Pennsylvania schools also have a solid track record for getting students out the door without huge piles of student loans to pay off. In short, the state is a great place to get a solid education in style without breaking the bank—average tuition cost is $15,471—and with a great chance of finishing on time.

View details here on the criteria we used to select top schools.

Here you’ll find our pick for the top ten beauty academies in Pennsylvania offering full cosmetology programs.

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Altoona Beauty School - Altoona


  • Tuition: $12,560
  • Kit Cost: $1,760
  • Program Length: 10 months

Halfway between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, the last thing you would figure sleepy little Altoona for is the best beauty school in the state. But something about the beauty of the Allegheny Mountains in which it is situated seems to have inspired excellence at this 59-year-old school, leading to a 100 percent on-time graduation rate, 87 percent job placement rate, and the least expensive tuition on our list.

The school has a solid business training program and puts students on the right track immediately by graduating them with very little loan debt. It’s not all nuts and bolts education, though; the school also teaches the advanced Sassoon cutting system, giving graduates a leg up in the style department over their big-city competition. VA benefits are accepted.

The Beauty Institute | Schwarzkopf Professional - Philadelphia


  • Tuition: $17,200
  • Kit Cost: $2,700
  • Program Length: 10 months

The clean, modern, stylish salon facilities of The Beauty Institute are some of the coolest school spaces in the entire state. Learning style is easy when the surroundings are this on fleek! Like many other Pennsylvania schools, the institute tends to graduate most students on-time and with little outstanding debt. The institute prides itself on adapting its curriculum to current market demands, making the skills they teach just as modern as the salon floor.

The Beauty School - Stroudsburg


  • Tuition: $15,850
  • Kit Cost: $2,700
  • Program Length: 14 months

The Beauty School’s curriculum is packed with over forty years of industry leading experience. Teaching methods at the school stress careful, step-by-step training with hands-on experience. This careful approach rewards students with high on-time completion and job placement rates. The school also has a career services department to help graduates get the jobs they want. VA benefits are accepted and scholarships are available to each class. Students typically leave the school with almost nothing left to pay on their student loans!

Chambersburg Beauty School - Chambersburg


  • Tuition: $17,360
  • Kit Cost: $1,175
  • Program Length: 11 months

The Chambersburg Beauty School is proud to have been training cosmetologists in the Tri-State area for more than 30 years. Learning by doing is the mantra here, putting students in front of real customers as soon as possible to develop their skills. The school has a strong business education curriculum. All students graduate the program on time, and most have very few loans left to pay off at the end of their education.

Divine Crown Academy of Cosmetology - Harrisburg


  • Tuition: $15,025
  • Kit Cost: Included in tuition
  • Program Length: 11 months

Divine Crown’s classroom and salon spaces live up to the name… students must feel like royalty, immersed in the divine purple and black decoration that helps this school stand out from the pack. The cool classrooms don’t mean extra costs, however; this school even offers below average tuition rates. The school also offers scholarships, making it that much easier for students to afford this divinely unique program.

Jolie Hair and Beauty Academy - Wilkes-Barre


  • Tuition: $16,142
  • Kit Cost: $1,590
  • Program Length: 12 months

The Jolie Academy’s mission is to guide students toward a fulfilling beauty career. They make good on that promise by graduating 72 percent of their students on time. Their student-centered approach includes a high proportion of business classes, getting graduates ready for a lasting and successful career in the beauty industry. Jolie accepts VA benefits.

Lancaster School of Cosmetology & Therapeutic Bodywork - Lancaster


  • Tuition: $12,600
  • Kit Cost: $1,000
  • Program Length: 10 months

The Lancaster School of Cosmetology & Therapeutic Bodywork was one of three on our list that boasts 100 percent on-time completion rates, graduating every single student within 10 months. But the school follows up that impressive statistic by also ensuring that students graduate with very little debt. 78 percent of the school’s graduates land a job immediately upon graduation. Strong business skills training prepare graduates for the business side of the salon industry. Add in a below average tuition rate as compared to the other school’s on our list, and you couldn’t ask for anything more!

Pennsylvania Academy of Cosmetology - DuBois


  • Tuition: $15,100
  • Kit Cost: $2,126
  • Program Length: 11 months

In addition to teaching cosmetology from a variety of well-established industry educational guides, the Academy teaches European style facials, giving this Western Pennsylvania school an exotic flair. But it also embraces some down-home American values: a below-average tuition rate, a 98 percent on-time completion rate, and minimal student loan debt all set students up for practical success in the beauty industry.

South Hills Beauty Academy - Pittsburgh


  • Tuition: $15,625
  • Kit Cost: $1,785
  • Program Length: 9 months

This Pittsburgh-based academy fits the Pennsylvania mold by having high on-time completion rates (75 percent) and low student loan debt ratios, but the comprehensive cosmetology education that attendees receive is delivered with heart: among other community charity events, South Hills Beauty Academy participates in Heart Health Awareness Month by donating proceeds to the American Heart Association. The school has many scholarship opportunities available and accepts VA program benefits.

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