9 Best Esthetician Schools in South Carolina 2024 | How to Apply


Finding the best esthetician schools in South Carolina for the right training program is essential to getting your SC esthetician license. 

You want a school that fits your learning style and fully trains you in the most popular services in your area. 


At licensed schools in South Carolina, you can plan to cover specific core topics during your studies.

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How Much Do Esthetician Schools in South Carolina Cost?

The average tuition for cosmetology schools on our top 10 list is about half that at $15,743. For 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that cosmetologists in South Carolina earned an average of $24,610.

That doesn’t include stipends, or most cosmetologists, who continue to operate as independent contractors.  The programs on our list stand out above the rest. 

They are distinguished because they offer scholarships to their students and help their graduates find employment.


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How Long is Esthetician School in SC?

In South Carolina, cosmetology programs are most commonly found in 2-year technical schools.  You can earn a certificate in cosmetology or esthetics (skincare) in about 2-4 semesters or a diploma in cosmetology in about 2-3 years. 

Programs can give you hands-on practice in various services, such as hairdressing, manicuring, and hairdressing, and prepare you for the state licensing exam. 

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How to Become a Licensed Esthetician in South Carolina

The South Carolina State Board has selected Professional Credential Services (PCS) as the state licensing exam provider. 

You must register to take the licensing exams directly with South Carolina PCS. You are expected to pass these exams within twenty-four (24) months of completing your cosmetology training program.

You will need to apply first.  To apply, you must be at least sixteen (16) years old, have completed at least the tenth (10th) grade, and then you can complete the following steps:

  You will need to submit the following materials with your online application:

  • Current passport photo 2×2
  • Copy of photo ID (driver’s license, state ID card, passport)
  • A copy of the social insurance card
  • A copy of the certificate of secondary education (proving completion of the tenth (10) grade)
  • Notarized confirmation of compliance with the requirements
  • Notarized confirmation of training in aesthetics (including dates of enrollment and graduation, as well as a breakdown of hours by subject)
  • Certificate of completion of training

Once you have applied for the exams, you will receive two letters from PCS informing you that you have been approved for the test: a theory test clearance letter and a notice of admission to the practical test.  Using these documents, you plan your theory and practical exams separately.

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South Carolina Esthetician Requirements

Those who want to work as a cosmetologist in South Carolina must be at least 16 years old and have a 10th-grade education. 

Licensees must also complete 1,500 hours of training in an approved program.  Applicants must then take the South Carolina State Board of Cosmetology exam and pay a fee.

All programs prepare students to take the state licensing exam; however, not every program requires all 1,500 hours of instruction as a prerequisite for licensure.

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What are the Esthetician Jobs in South Carolina?

With experience in skin care, you will be able to work in different areas of beauty.  Spas are one of the main employment options for beauticians, ranging from fast-paced spas that focus on efficiency to resort spas that treat clients to a full day of relaxation. 

You can also work in local hair salons as more and more are offering separate aesthetic services to attract clients.  Overall, cosmetology jobs in South Carolina are expected to grow 15% through 2026 (2020).

What are the Best Esthetician Schools in South Carolina in 2023?

#1 Academy of Nail Technology and Esthetics 

The Academy of Nail Technology and Aesthetics is a stronghold of health, beauty, and elegance in society.  Although esthetics is a secondary subject in most beauty schools, it is the main focus here! 

For over two decades, the Academy has been a leading name in nail technology training and, since 2001, has offered its esthetician training program.

Academy students benefit from an inclusive curriculum beyond the surface level to include important business principles for estheticians. 

This South Carolina esthetician school also earned a spot as one of the most affordable schools in SC on our top list.


#2 Aiken School of Cosmetology – Aiken

The faculty at this school have decades of teaching experience and are passing on their industry expertise to the next generation of skin care professionals.

This school wants to remove funding hurdles, so it offers scholarships and accepts veterans’ education benefits. 

In terms of value, this school has the distinction of offering the most affordable tuition plus enrolment compared to the other top esthetician schools in South Carolina.


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#3 Aveda Institute – Charlotte, North Carolina

Using only products made with pure flower and plant essences, Aveda students learn to become skin care professionals under one of the industry’s most recognized and respected names. 

The Aveda name includes 8,000 facilities worldwide with advanced skin care services and education on a macro level.

As an esthetics student, you’ll learn everything you need to succeed, from products to business acumen.  You will have access to employment opportunities and resources at any Aveda location worldwide. 

As a school based on purely natural substances, you can expect your education to inspire and motivate in this South Carolina esthetician school.


#4 Charleston Cosmetology Institute – Charleston

People, people welcome… The Cosmetology Institute of Charleston wants to help you develop your skills in a career that allows you to express yourself artistically. 

Students from this school have been finding successful careers in the beauty industry since 1984.  As a graduate of Charleston Cosmetology Institute, you’ll enjoy lifetime employment assistance, and a Pivot Point curriculum taught in a low student-to-faculty environment.   

The school has 50 workplaces, 4 classrooms, and a student hall.  Eight instructors call this school home.

This school impressed us by having the highest percentage of students who graduate on time and the highest percentage of graduates who find employment shortly after graduation – 100 percent for both; no small feat!


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#5 International Spa Institute – Bluffton

What began as a massage school in 1998 has expanded into an esthetician hot spot with three departments and an esthetics program with more than 15 years of history. 

International Spa Institute students have an exciting curriculum and passionate teachers. Graduates of this program have access to employment assistance.

After traveling to Bali and learning about its culturally rooted natural healing culture, the owner of International decided to combine traditional aesthetics with a uniquely individual approach. 


#6 Kenneth Shuler School of Cosmetology – Greenville

The Kenneth Shuler School of Cosmetology describes a career in health and beauty as offering virtually unlimited income, flexible work hours, and the opportunity to be your boss. 

Students here can invest in their education with scholarships at this location, incorporating business development skills into the curriculum and graduate placement services.

Local events and philanthropic activities give students many opportunities to get involved in the local community.  With four locations across the state, this school has its pulse on the beauty industry in South Carolina and the nation.


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#7 Miller-Motte Technical College – Charleston

Celebrating its centennial in 2016, Miller-Motte stands on a long tradition of academic excellence.  Since its inception, it has expanded to 17 campuses in six states. 

The curriculum includes the foundational topics required to pass the state esthetician licensing exam and also covers important business topics that will help ensure your success in the health and beauty industry.  

84 percent of Miller-Motte students graduate on time, and 92 percent of graduates find employment soon after graduation!


#8 Southeastern Esthetics Institute – Columbia

The owner of Southeast Aesthetic Institute promises to go “to teach you what you need to take your career to the next level.”  While most schools major in cosmetology, with esthetics as a subcategory, esthetics is Southeastern’s major.

The Institute goes above and beyond through its commitment to students. 100 percent of students graduate on time, and 90 percent find jobs in their specialty shortly after graduation. 

While specializing in aesthetics, students also receive an education that includes important business principles.  Graduates can access employment assistance, and veterans can take advantage of the GI Bill here. 

As a student, you can also enjoy the inspiration that comes with studying in a modern, stylish facility with shelves stocked with the latest designer beauty products.


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#9 Strand College of Hair Design – Myrtle Beach

Strand College was founded in 1993 to raise the beauty industry’s standards.  This goal is still being achieved today with each graduating class of estheticians. 

The teachers here prepare each student to achieve his personal and professional goals.  Strand College faculty combine industry expertise, expert pedagogy, and a strong commitment to their students – achieving a 90 percent on-time graduation rate! 

The curriculum here covers all important topics in aesthetics, including business know-how.  Students also have the opportunity to interact with the local community through charity fundraisers and social events.



To meet the education requirements to become an esthetician, you must be at least 16 years old and have a 10th-grade education.  The South Carolina board requires you to complete at least 450 hours of esthetician training. 

This training includes dermatology and human skin science courses and theoretical practice in waxing, body wraps, and makeup application.  There is also a ten-hour study of South Carolina rules and laws for skin care technicians.

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Esthetician Schools in South Carolina FAQs

How Much Does A Beautician Make In South Carolina?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, cosmetologists earn a median income of $31,540 per year (2020).

Where Can Estheticians Work In South Carolina?

Those looking for a job in this industry have flexible work environment.  Some options may include working in a doctor’s office, salon, or spa.  Employment rates for careers in this field are projected to increase significantly throughout the state.

How Do I Get Esthetician License in SC?

Once you have completed the required study hours, you must apply for the exams.  Your institution will provide an affidavit that you have completed your studies. 


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