7 Best Esthetician Schools in San Diego 2023 | How to Apply

Each cosmetology student has their learning style and personal goals, and each of the esthetician schools in San Diego has different strengths. 

Whether you want to work somewhere with specialized training or want to focus on networking, San Diego has a school for you.

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How Long are Esthetician Schools in San Diego?

Certificates and associate degree programs are available at 2-year Esthetician schools in the San Diego area; licensed cosmetologists can also obtain the necessary credentials to teach cosmetology courses. 

High school graduates who meet minimum reading and writing standards are eligible to apply to a list of cosmetology schools in San Diego; attendance at an orientation session is also usually required. 

You will attend lectures and laboratory sessions.  Graduates prepare for state licensing exams.  Read on to learn more about these program options.

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What are the Esthetician Jobs in San Diego?

Many students studying cosmetology in California hope to work in the entertainment industry.  San Diego may not be known for its film presence, but it is home to many theater and opera companies. 

Many people like to dress up and do their hair for the opera, and of course, the presence of theaters means potential opportunities for stage work.

In addition, San Diego is known for its art galleries. A gallery opening is usually a glamorous event requiring a showroom trip for both the artist and the art viewer. 

Having so many galleries in town means more events (and more events means more beauticians!) San Diego also has one of the largest cruise ship industries in California. 

Cruise ships usually have beauty salons and spas on board, so if you love to travel, this is a great way to incorporate it into your career.

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How to Prepare for Esthetician School

Preparation to become an esthetician in California begins with a Board-approved esthetics program, which can be found at medical esthetician schools in San Diego or cosmetology schools in San Diego.

An approved esthetician program consists of at least 600 hours of training in all aspects of esthetics, such as chemical treatments, skin treatments, hair removal and makeup application, and skin analysis. 

Many makeup schools in San Diego offer full-service student clinics that allow students to practice their newly acquired skills on real clients under the supervision of instructors.

Several esthetician schools in San Diego also offer blended programs that allow students to gain valuable experience while simultaneously earning licenses in other areas of cosmetology, such as electrolysis and massage therapy.

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What are the Best Esthetician Schools in San Diego 2023?

After thorough research, rankings, reviews, and value offers, we have curated a list of the best esthetician schools in San Diego, their requirements, cost and how to apply. Below is the list.

#1 San Diego City College

The Esthetician program at San Diego City College provides students with entry-level skills to pursue a career in the esthetics industry.  Students will learn the basic practices and procedures necessary to provide aesthetic services to the public. 

Course modules: Beginning Esthetician, Beginning Esthetician Laboratory, Advanced Esthetician, and Advanced Esthetician Laboratory. 

Students will also receive serious preparation for success on the state exam.  A grade of C or better is required to progress through the program. 

Students who successfully complete the modules will receive a certificate of completion and be eligible to take the California State Board Licensing Exam.  There are full-time and part-time jobs.


#2 Bellus Academy

The Bellus Academy offers a comprehensive esthetician program that strives to raise industry standards through premium products and offers in-depth education and training related to skin rejuvenation and skin care. 

Experienced instructors use methods that engage students in visual, oral, written, and hands-on learning to prepare them for success on the state licensing exam. 

Through the partnership with CIDESCO, students are preparing for a specialized skin care certification that will allow them to improve their skills and gain hands-on experience. 

Training includes European methods using modern American technologies.  Graduates will demonstrate competency in the use of professional tools and will be eligible to take the State Board exam. 


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#3 Jasmine Beauty School

The cosmetologist program at Jasmine Beauty School consists of technical and practical training covering all aspects of skincare. The faculty will use lectures, demonstrations, and interactive classroom sessions to cover the necessary theoretical training. 

Course topics include laws and regulations; manual, electrical, and chemical facials; health and safety issues; disinfection and sanitation; anatomy and physiology; eyebrow beauty, make-up, and preparation for practice, including professionalism, record keeping, and before and after surgical treatment. 

During hands-on sessions, students will learn how to analyze pre-service skin, skin disorders, procedures and terminology, application and day and evening makeup, and conventional and electric facials. 

Students must complete theory and operations with an average of 70% or higher to graduate from the program.  Day and evening classes are offered.  The program is taught in English and Vietnamese.


#4 American Beauty Institute

The Esthetician program at the American Institute of Beauty teaches adults the basics of skin care as defined by the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology. 

Students will learn to analyze a client’s skin care needs, discuss treatments and products with clients, apply chemical peels to reduce fine lines, perform simple exfoliations to remove blackheads, remove unwanted facial hair, tint eyebrows, sterilize equipment, perform facial massages, and more another more. 

To complete the program, students must have a theoretical grade of 75% and pass a final written and practical exam. 

Graduates will be prepared to take the practical and theoretical exams required to obtain a cosmetology license in California.  Part-time and full-time schedules are available.


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#5 California Hair Design Academy

The esthetician program at California Hair Design Academy provides students real-world experience working with clients using state-of-the-art equipment and products. 

Students will use the DERMALOGICA product line and tools from the extensive student kit.  In addition to the basics, students will learn advanced techniques such as hot stone therapy, body wraps, Jessner chemical peels, microdermabrasion, Brazilian waxing, and more. 

Instructors will guide students through Pivot Point LAB’s educational and interactive system using the stylized books and tablets provided in the student’s kit. 

More than 150 hours of the curriculum will prepare students to pass the state exam successfully. To graduate from the program, students must attend classes regularly and pass assigned tests with a 70% or higher grade. 


#6 Palomar Institute of Cosmetology

Palomar Institute of Cosmetology offers a cosmetology program that encompasses the art and science of true spa service. 

The school allows students to study in a modern aesthetic laboratory equipped with hydraulic beds. 

They will use the Pivot Point Esthetics curriculum while working with leading skin care lines. Training areas include skin analysis, hair removal, facials and exfoliation, and makeup application. 

The training will cover extensive preparation for the state exam. Graduates will be prepared to succeed on the licensure exam and begin a successful career in the skin care industry. Day and evening schedules are offered.


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#7 Paul Mitchell School of San Diego

The esthetician program at Paul Mitchell includes preclinical training and clinical service experience. The first 262.5 hours for full-time and 225 for part-time students will be devoted to classroom instruction covering aesthetic principles, technical information, and professional practice. 

The remaining hours will be spent in the clinic classroom, where students will develop hands-on experience in skincare. 

Areas of study include laws and regulations, anatomy and physiology, disinfection and sanitation, manual, electrical, and chemical facial care, health and safety, eyebrow grooming, and make-up. 

Faculty will assess and evaluate students throughout the program using written, oral, and practical testing methods.

In theory, students must achieve a 70% or higher GPA to graduate from the program. A mock state exam will be held at the end of the program.



San Diego can be a great place to start a career as a cosmetologist in California. In a study of 150 major metros, the city ranked 106th for skin health and care, largely thanks to the likelihood of skin cancer and pollution levels. 

Because estheticians clean and rejuvenate the skin and help clients recognize the warning signs of skin damage and disease, they need professionals like you. 

Also, as a major tourist city, you can meet people from all over the country and the world who come for the sun and relaxation and spa treatments.

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Esthetician Schools in San Diego FAQs

Is San Diego A Good Place To Study Cosmetology?

San Diego is the second largest city in California (after Los Angeles) and one of the largest cities in the United States.  It is home to four highly-rated cosmetology programs, and the city has some of the most beautiful beaches in all of America.  This creates a picturesque background for your cosmetology classes.

What Do I Do After Completing the Commission-Approved Esthetics Program In San Diego?

After you complete your esthetics program at an approved facility, you must complete a cosmetologist exam application and submit it along with the initial license fee of $115 to the board.  You can also apply online here.  The institution where you received your education must provide the Council with a document confirming your education.

What Is The Requirement To Become A Licensed Skin Care Professional In California?

To become a licensed skin care professional, California requires completion of a licensed esthetician program, which consists of 600 hours of study and successful completion of written and practical exams to obtain a cosmetologist license.  If you are an aspiring esthetician in California looking to start your career in the esthetics industry, finding a reputable school with a dynamic esthetics program is a great first step!


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