Working as a hair stylist, barber or nail technician requires a license and to get that license, you need to complete an educational program. Costs of such programs at cosmetology schools vary depending upon where and what you study, but according to the U.S. Department of Education, tuition ranged from about $2,600 to $24,650 in 2012-2013.

What the Programs Cost

Of schools with cosmetology programs listed by the U.S. Department of Education, the most expensive is the International Beauty School in Cumberland, Maryland, at $24,650 for a 13-month program. The least expensive full program is available through the Pioneer Technical Center in Ponca City, Oklahoma, at $2,625 for an 18-month program. The USDE also figures net prices, factoring in student financial aid received as well as costs for textbooks, supplies and living expenses. Of the available figures, the Robert Fiance Beauty Schools of West New York in New Jersey rate the most expensive, at $31,571, with the Hairitage Hair Academy of Saint George, Utah, at the other end of the scale of full programs, costing only $476. The average cost comes out to about $17,000 for a complete program.

Other Cost Considerations

Focusing on a specific aspect of cosmetology, such as nails, can reduce costs tremendously, with program tuition as low as $250 and averaging about $5,000. Schools near big cities typically cost more than those in other areas. Some of the highest tuition on the USDE list is for beauty schools in places including Portland, Oregon, and Las Vegas, Nevada, while lesser expensive programs are in technical schools in smaller cities in Oklahoma and Florida. Besides tuition, students need to pay for salon equipment, uniforms and textbooks, which may add up to between $1,000 and $3,000 for the program.