Makeup Artist Schools in Tennessee

For many careers, it's easy to figure out where you need to go for training. If you want to become an accountant, you go to a business college; if you want to become a professional cook, you got to a culinary academy. But where do you go if you want to become a makeup artist?

Below, we've listed the most common places for people to increase their makeup skills--either to become professional makeup artists, or simply to learn a new techniques. After that, we've listed all the makeup artist schools in Tennessee that you can attend, and provided a quick exploration of licensing issues.

Your Makeup Education Options

Basically, you've got five excellent options to develop your skill set:

1. Cosmetology Schools and Esthetics Schools. These are a great way to break into a beauty career. Cosmetology schools provide a "well-rounded" beauty education, and students are taught how to cut/style/color hair, apply makeup, and perform manicures and pedicures. Esthetician schools focus more on the skin, and teach students about skin care routines, microdermabrasion, depilation (aka, hair removal), and makeup application. The best part about going to a cosmetology school or an esthetician school is that when you graduate, you'll be able to get a Tennessee state license.

This is definitely an option only for people who want to enter the beauty business--because a program takes hundreds of hours to complete, it's a little more of a commitment than some of the options below.

2. Makeup Artistry Schools. Cosmetology programs and esthetician programs are more "generalist" programs, where you get introduced to many different areas of beauty. Makeup artistry schools are much more focused, and teach ONLY makeup techniques. These are also a big time commitment--a full-time makeup school program can last anywhere from six months to a year, and can cost anywhere from $10,000 to a lot, lot more.

That said, they are a FANTASTIC way to break into the makeup business. Not only do classes teach makeup artistry, they also teach the business side of makeup artistry, such as how to get new clients, how to advertise using a portfolio, and how to stock your makeup kit.

​These are a little more rare--whereas there are many cosmetology schools and esthetician schools in the United States, there are only a few dozen makeup schools dedicated to the makeup arts.

3. Independent "Intensives." In the bigger cities, you'll be able to attend short-term workshops, known as "intensives." These classes pop up from time to time, and might be about a specific aspect of the makeup game (like how to start a bridal makeup business) or something a little more broad (ie, eye makeup techniques). Because workshops only cost a couple hundred dollars and because they only last a week or two (or sometimes a single day), these are a low-commitment way to learn about makeup.

You can check sites like Yelp,, Gig Salad, and Craigslist for workshops in Nashville, Memphis, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Murfreesboro, and any other city near you.

4. Private Training with a Makeup Artist. This is another way to pick up a couple of makeup lessons on the cheap (relatively cheap, anyway). Very often, a local makeup artist will schedule makeup classes, and invite ten or so people to a studio to learn a few new techniques. Here's the best part: if there are no classes in your area, just call a local makeup artist and try to get them to host a one-on-one class specifically for you. You'll be able to ask any questions that come to mind, and learn about the artist's business experience in the local community. PLUS, if you're charming, you'll probably make a business connection that you can use in the future!

5. Online Tutorials. This one seems obvious--after all, you made it to our website!--but it's worth mentioning. There are roughly a billion websites on the internet, and many, many of them are devoted to beauty techniques. Some are good, some are great, and a lot of them are awful, but many of them provide some really great information. We've gone through and curated some of the best sites--and some of the best how-tos--so be sure to check those out.

How Can I Earn A Living As A Makeup Artist?​

We wrote a lot about this on the front page, but here's a quick recap. There are many different ways that makeup artists make a living. They can:

  • Provide makeup services for people at live events, such as plays, musicals, concerts, and speeches;
  • Do makeup for models at a photo shoot;
  • Apply makeup to actresses and actors on the set of a TV show, movie, or commercial;
  • Make brides look great on their wedding days;
  • Provide classes for people in their community, and teach others how to look great;
  • Master special effects makeup (SFX makeup) and make people look like monsters, ogres, aliens, etc.

It's not uncommon for a makeup artist to do a couple of different things on the list above (except for special effects makeup artists, who tend to focus solely on special effects makeup).

There's also another area of makeup we'd like to mention, because it's often overlooked by people who want to get into the makeup business, and that's "corporate makeup" (for lack of a better term). Cosmetics companies are HUGE--like, huge on a global scale--and hire thousands and thousands of people to help them dream up new and exciting products, advertise and market those products, and sell those products to stores and salon owners. If you have a good mind for business, the corporate side of makeup can be a very lucrative way to build a career doing something you love.

Makeup Artist Schools in Tennessee

What Do I Need To Know About State Licensing?​

We've read all we could find on the Tennessee Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners website, and we can't find any laws or statutes related to the licensing of makeup artists. Because there are so many makeup artists working as "freelance" makeup artists, and providing makeup artist services for actors in movies and plays, musicians before they go on stage, brides before they walk down the aisle, and models before they walk down the runway, it would seem that you do not need a license from the state of Tennessee if you want to do freelance makeup. It's our prediction, though, that Tennessee--like most states--will probably at some point get a lot of more strict about licensing, and require freelance makeup artists to have a cosmetology or esthetician license.

On a related note, if you want to work in a Tennessee beauty salon or Tennessee day spa, you WILL need a cosmetology license or an esthetician license. Of that, we're absolutely certain. So if you want to work in any kind of beauty establishment, and do makeup or hair or skin care or whatever--you'll need a license. That's why having a license can be a great thing--because if your makeup career ever slows down and you want to find work in a salon, you'll have a license and be legally allowed to do so.

If you've got questions, contact the Tennessee Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners at (615) 741-2515. They're in charge of making sure people in Tennessee follow all the state rules related to the business industry, so if you have a question or a concern, they can help.

Tennessee Schools and Training Programs​

There are four makeup schools in Tennessee you can look into:​

Tennessee School of Beauty
4704 Western Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37921
(865) 588-7878

War Paint Academy
672 King Street
Knoxville, TN 37917
(323) 997-7655

Gould’s Academy
1203 Ridgeway Road
Memphis, TN 38119
(901) 767-6647

Academy of Makeup Arts (beauty makeup and special effects makeup)
830 Fesslers Parkway
Nashville, TN 37210
(800) 595-5490

It’s important to bear in mind that many professional makeup artists didn’t go to a makeup school, and instead went to a cosmetology college. If that’s the path you’d like to follow, here are some schools you can follow up with. As always, we wish you all the best life has to offer!

Regency Beauty Institute — Nashville
5383 Mount View Road
Antioch, TN 37013
(615) 916-2001

Paul Mitchell The School — Nashville
5510 Crossings Circle
Antioch, TN 37013
(615) 651-6145

Paul Mitchell the School — Memphis
8000 U.S. Highway 64
Bartlett, TN 38133
(901) 377-1701

Alternative Visions Hair Academy
6227 Lee Highway
Chattanooga, TN 37421
(423) 510-1886

Virginia College — Cosmetology Department
721 Eastgate Loop
Chattanooga, TN 37411
(423) 893-2000

Aveda Institute — Nashville
1765 Galleria Boulevard
Franklin, TN 37067
(615) 567-5417

EduMed Partners — Cosmetology Program
907 Rivergate Parkway
Goodlettsville, TN 37072
(615) 528-5443

Hair Design School
1433 Hollywood Drive
Jackson, TN 38301
(731) 256-0458

Paul Mitchell The School — Knoxville
8380 Kingston Pike
Knoxville, TN 37919
(865) 966-0400

Virginia College — Cosmetology Department
5003 North Broadway Street
Knoxville, TN 37918
(865) 745-4500

Career Beauty College
113 South Military Avenue
Lawrenceburg, TN 38464
(931) 766-9900

Genesis Career College
1505 Noah Court
Lebanon, TN 37087
(800) 639-7284

Lebanon Beauty and Style Academy
414 East Market Street
Lebanon, TN 37087
(615) 453-1464

Elite College of Cosmetology
459 West Main Street
Lexington, TN 38351
(731) 968-5400

Miller-Motte Technical College
1515 Gallatin Pike North
Madison, TN 37115
(615) 859-8090

Regency Beauty Institute — North Nashville
Northside Marketplace
2293 Gallatin Pike North
Madison, TN 37115
(615) 859-8981

Empire Beauty School
568 Colonial Road
Memphis, TN 38117
(901) 881-8766

The Hair Design School
3250 Coleman Road
Memphis, TN 38128
(901) 201-6643

The Hair Design School
804 South Highland Street
Memphis TN, 38111
(901) 881-8012

Last Minute Cuts School of Hair Design
2195 South 3rd Street
Memphis, TN 38109
(901) 774-9699

Plaza Beauty School
4682 Spottswood Avenue
Memphis, TN 38117
(901) 761-4445

Pyramid Beauty School
1292 Madison Avenue
Memphis, TN 38104
(901) 276-5325

Southern Institute of Cosmetology
3099 South Perkins Road
Memphis, TN 38118
(901) 363-3553

Arnold’s Beauty School
1179 South 2nd Street
Milan, TN 38358
(731) 686-7351

Tennessee Institute of Cosmetology
3211 East Andrew Johnson Highway
Morristown, TN 37814
(423) 587-5520

Remington College — Nashville Campus
441 Donelson Pike
Nashville, TN 37214
(800) 323-8122

Nestle Beauty School
210 North Brewer Street
Paris, TN 38242
(731) 642-0792

Styles and Profiles Beauty College
119 South 2nd Street
Selmer, TN 38375
(731) 645-9728

Buchanan Beauty College
925 Sevier Street
Shelbyville, TN 37160
(931) 684-4080

Coffee County Beauty Academy
211 West Coffee Street
Tullahoma, TN 37388
(931) 455-9060

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