Consider These Scholarships for Cosmetology Students

For students interested in beauty school, there are a variety of scholarships opportunities.

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The legendary fashion designer Calvin Klein once said, "The best thing is to look natural, but it takes makeup to look natural." If your dream is to help others look and feel their best from head to toe, consider a career in cosmetology. Cosmetology schools provide training in hair design, nail technology, and skin care, and offer a hands-on approach to help you gain practical experience and knowledge about what it means to make people look pretty.

Like most degrees, cosmetology school doesn't come without a price tag, and can actually become quite expensive depending on which school you choose. Instead of struggling to make ends meet, scholarships can help prevent you from becoming a beauty school dropout. And since January happens to be National Careers in Cosmetology month, we wanted to call your attention to a few scholarship opportunities here.

[Learn how to choose a career that's best for you.]

Since 1992, Sally Beauty has partnered with the Professional Beauty Association/National Cosmetology Association (PBA/NCA) to provide $10,000 in scholarships each year. This year, seven $1,000 scholarships will be awarded to high school graduates who want to enter the field of cosmetology; six $500 scholarships are awarded to current PBA/NCA members for continuing education. Though the deadline for earning a scholarship passed in November, keep this scholarship in mind for next year.

If helping a face sparkle through facials and makeup is something you've always loved to do, then becoming an esthetician might be right up your alley. The National Coalition of Estheticians, Manufacturers/Distributors & Associations (NCEA) offers $1,000 incentive scholarships to eligible esthetician students. Applicants must be midway through an esthetician-only training program and maintain at least 80 percent attendance and at least an 80 percent grade average. Scholarships are awarded quarterly. The next deadline is March 1, so there's still time to apply.

The Beauty Schools Marketing Group awards multiple $2,500 scholarships to students who dream of a career in cosmetology. Winners must enroll in the beauty school of their choice within one year of accepting the scholarship. The application is fairly quick and easy to fill out, but it's due at the end of January, so if you'd like to apply, you need to do it soon.

[Read about 9 signs of scholarship scams.]

Sponsored by Great Clips, the Alice Madden Barton scholarships are awarded twice a year to current students, high school students, and anyone interested in a career in cosmetology or barbering. Applicants must demonstrate a passion for the craft and dedication to developing their skills. The next deadline for the scholarship is June 30.

The Joe Francis Haircare Scholarship Foundation's mission is "to help deserving students receive financial assistance for the professional training necessary to build successful long-term careers in the cosmetology industry." In 2011, 22 students received scholarships worth $1,000 each. To be considered for the scholarship, you must be actively applying for or enrolled in a cosmetology/barber school. (Esthetician or nail training students are not eligible.) Applications are being accepted through June 1, and scholarships are awarded in September.

Kathy Jager & Associates offers $250 scholarships to beauty school students and seasoned professionals. To apply, share what your focus will be within the cosmetology field and how you plan on building a successful career. Applications are accepted between April 1 and June 1.

Michelle Showalter joined Scholarship America in 2007 and is an alumna of Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.