About the Cosmetology Program

Enjoy the freedom, flexibility, and creativity that come with a career in cosmetology. Work hands-on, build a portfolio and advance your career in the in-demand beauty industry. You will take classes specifically designed to help you pass both the practical and written portions of the California State Board of Cosmetology licensing examination.

Licensed cosmetologists can perform hair care, skin care, and nail care services in salon or spa settings including:

  • Hairstyling
  • Hair cutting
  • Scalp and hair treatments
  • Hair coloring and bleaching
  • Permanent Waving
  • Chemical straightening
  • Facials
  • Tweezing
  • Waxing
  • Makeup application
  • Manicures
  • Acrylics, nail tips, and nail wraps
  • Pedicures

All students who complete the cosmetology program at SMC earn a Certificate of Achievement and become eligible to take the California State Board of Cosmetology licensing exam. To qualify to take the California State Board of Cosmetology exam, you must complete a minimum of 1,600 hours of training. Santa Monica College offers many opportunities to fulfill your training hours as you work toward your cosmetology license.

Degrees and Certificates

Associate of Science Degree Icon Associate in Science More information on the Associate in Science Degree

Get a foundation in general education, then gain the skills needed to excel in your desired field.

Completion of an Associate degree usually will not satisfy transfer major requirements. Meet with a counselor to develop an academic program best suited for you.

Estimated Timeline:
2+ years, 60 units

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Certificate of Achievement Icon Certificate of Achievement More information on the Certificate of Achievement

Gain the skills needed to excel in your desired field without completing general education requirements.

Estimated Timeline:
1+ years, 24+ units

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Associate in Science Degree - CosmetologyAssociates in Science icon

25.5 units + General Education

Certificate of Achievement - CosmetologyCertificate Achievemebt icon

25.5 units

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to demonstrate professional level skill in hair cutting, hair coloring, hair styling, nail care, and skin care. Additionally, the student will be proficient in health and safety procedures in common use in salons. Upon completion, the student will be eligible to take the California State Board of Cosmetology and Barbering licensure exam.

PDF FileView Requirements Associate in Science Degree and Certificate of Achievement - Cosmetology

Other Programs You Might Be Interested In

SMC Resources

Potential Career Options

Click on any job title to learn more.

Job Title Typical Education Median Wage
Vocational Education Teachers, Postsecondary A Certificate $84,335
First-Line Supervisors of Personal Service Workers A Bachelor's Degree $40,944
Spa Managers A Certificate $40,944
Skincare Specialists A Certificate $27,644

Learn more about becoming a cosmetology instructor, cosmetologist, hair stylist, hairdresser, or a beautician.