What It's All About

In the cosmetology program, you will learn the art, science, and business of the beauty industry. Students who complete the program can choose to work in a specific area of the cosmetology field or advance their training to become a Cosmetology instructor. Students in the cosmetology program will receive a combination of classroom and laboratory work, with opportunities to practice their skills on mannequins and actual customers in the campus salon/studio. Students will learn hair shaping, hair coloring, chemical texturizing, design, and artistic principles. Additional subjects include: artificial nails, bacteriology, decontamination, infection control, manicures, and pedicures as prescribed by the Michigan State Board of Cosmetology Laws and Rules. 

In their first semester, students will purchase books, and a cosmetology kit consisting of items such as manikins, shears, clippers, combs, and rollers. This is a one-time cost for the program. For current kit pricing, contact the NMU Barnes & Noble Bookstore.

Job Outlook

Projected Job Growth

to 2029
+12% (Michigan)

Education Levels

of current workers
44% high school diploma
32% some college
12% associate degree
6% bachelor's degree

Earnings, job growth and education levels noted are from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (National), and CareerOneStop/U.S. Department of Labor (Michigan).


Licensure Information

To learn more about the state licensure requirements, visit our licensure page.

cosmetology students doing clients hair

“Recently I have been making TikTok videos about what my Cosmetology class is like, sharing with the viewers what I do during the day. People are excited to learn about this program in general but they are extremely excited to learn that it is offered at the university level where they too could enjoy college life - living in dorms, meeting great friends, and attending sporting events.”

Lucy Seitz



Two Year Certificate

The Cosmetology program prepares students for careers as cosmetologists, manicurists, estheticians, and natural hair culturists. This four semester program begins with foundational instruction on working with the public. Subsequent semesters increase knowledge with training on practical theories, applications, and advanced techniques. In the final fourth semester, students complete a review of all theory in preparation for the Michigan State Board Examination and receive additional instruction on owning and operating a business.  


Program Outline


One Semester Certificate

The Esthetics program is the study of the skin as it pertains to the head, face and neck, and is for those interested in pursing a career focused entirely on skin care. Students will gain skills through guided practice by knowledgeable faculty, training on topics including sanitation, safety, general anatomy and physiology, disorders and diseases of the skin, artistic principles, skin care techniques, and temporary hair removal. After completing the esthetics certificate, students will be eligible to take the Michigan State Board Examination. 


Program Outline


One Semester Certificate

The Manicure program is a comprehensive training that equips individuals with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in the art of nail care and design. Through hands-on learning, students will master techniques in nail shaping, cuticle care, hand and arm massage, and the application of nail polish and nail enhancements. Additionally, the program covers topics such as sanitation, safety protocols, customer service, and business fundamentals, providing students with a well-rounded education to pursue a successful career as a professional manicurist.


Program Outline

Cosmetology Instructor

One Semester Certificate

Students enrolled in the Cosmetology Instructor program receive training about the Michigan laws governing the cosmetology profession, teaching techniques, record keeping, and administration of a school of cosmetology. They will work closely with the instructors, students, and visiting customers, and gain additional skills allowing graduates to teach cosmetology and have an increased understanding of the science of cosmetology.


Program Outline

Natural Hair Cultivation

One Semester Certificate

Students in the Natural Hair Culturist program learn to care for natural hair using techniques that put tension on hair strands such as twisting, wrapping, weaving, extending, locking, plaiting, or braiding by hand or creating a hair system through wig construction.  In order to do this, students develop an understanding of human anatomy, physiology and nutrition as it pertains to the scalp and hair, common disorders, and a variety of hair types.

Program Outline



cosmetology student curling a customers hair

The Salon

Northern Michigan University’s Cosmetology students gain essential experience within a full salon setting. After completing the necessary theory and practical applications (350 hours working with mannequins), cosmetology students increase their skills by working with customers. The Cosmetology Salon operates in a new space in the Northern Center on Northern Michigan University's campus.

Students, faculty, staff, and members of the community are invited to schedule an appointment to take advantage of the following services:

  • haircuts
  • braids/extensions
  • coloring
  • perms
  • manicures/pedicures
  • facials
  • conditioning treatments
  • styling (i.e. proms, weddings)

The Salon follows the academic calendar year with appointments available Mondays through Thursdays between 10:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. 

Call (906) 227-2383 for appointments



Contact Information

The NMU Cosmetology Program and Student Salon 

Both the Cosmetology Program and Student Salon are located at:

Northern Center at Northern Michigan University
1401 Presque Isle Ave.
Room 1205


Phone: 906-227-2383

Cosmetology Faculty & Staff


Denise Hudson | Instructor, Program Coordinator

Phone: 906-227-2386
Email: dehudson@nmu.edu



Michelle Whitaker | Instructor

Email: mihendri@nmu.edu


Kelsey Jordan | Instructor

Email: kroy@nmu.edu