Need help? Feel free to contact us.

General

  • Yes! An up-to-date calendar of courses to sharpen your skills can be found on our website.

  • This year we celebrate 45 years of continued joy of sharing with people whose hearts are one growing toward common professional goals, toward dreams come true.

    PCI Academy began as a Professional Cosmetology Institute, the realization of founder Marian Lokken’s dream. She opened the first school in Ames Iowa in June 1978. Since then we have gone on to open two additional campuses; our Plymouth Campus in 2002 and our Iowa City Campus in 2019. 

  • PCI Academy, Ames, Iowa, is accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences (NACCAS), 3015 Colvin Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314. Phone (703) 600-7600. PCI Academy, Plymouth, MN and PCI Academy, Iowa City, IA are both accredited branch campuses of PCI Academy, Ames, Iowa.


    NACCAS is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a national agency for the institutional accreditation of postsecondary schools and departments of cosmetology arts and sciences, including specialized schools.


     

General Program

  • We offer several different options when it comes to school to fit your work schedule whether you're working full-time or part-time! Click on the buttons below to discover our various schedule options offered at each campus:

    Ames Schedule Options iowa city schedule options plymouth schedule options

  • While you're in school you will be placed on a team and have a Business Coach who will meet with you twice a month and be apart of your journey here at PCI Academy the entire time! They will help you with any concerns you might have at anytime. For any questions regarding classes or grades you can always reach out to our Student Experience Coordinator!

    Email Ames Student Experience Coordinator Email Iowa City Student Experience Coordinator email plymouth student experience coordinator

  • You absolutely will! At PCI Academy we have great pride in our attention to teaching business building skills. We are a Summit Salon Business Center endorsed Academy and utilize their business curriculum in our everyday teachings, whether you're in a Personal Development Meeting with your Business Coach, in the Salon or Spa Area Classroom, or our Fundamentals or Post-Fundamentals Classroom. It is our goal to instill within each of our students the skills necessary to build their business as a successful Service Provider.

  • Ames: Cosmetology, Esthetics, and Massage Therapy

    Iowa City: Cosmetology, Esthetics, and Massage Therapy

    Plymouth: Cosmetology, Esthetics, and Advanced Practice Esthetics

    • The state of Iowa requires 2100 hours for cosmetology, 600 for esthetics, and 600 for massage therapy.
    • The state of Minnesota requires 1550 for cosmetology, 600 for esthetics, and 500 for advanced practice esthetics.

  • We understand that life happens and sometimes we need to make changes! Should there come a time that you need to make a change in your schedule you can apply to make a schedule change by working with both your Business Coach and Student Experience Coordinator. Approval or denial of schedule changes are based off of availability of desired schedule, current attendance progress, and current academic standing. If a schedule change is granted you will be unable to request another schedule change for a minimum of 3 months. 
     

  • For any questions that have in regards to making up hours, tests, or work that needs to be made up you can reach out to our Student Experience Coordinators. You can contact them by clicking on one of the buttons below:

    ames student experience coordinator iowa city student experience coordinator plymouth student experience coordinator


     

  • Between now and 2026, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects employment in this category to increase by 13 percent, with 87,600 jobs being added in this field during that time period. The BLS expects increases in the country's population to drive the demand for more beauty experts.

  • A transfer student may be accepted after careful evaluation of the student's academic records. Each transfer is evaluated individually. We do not recruit students already attending or admitted to other schools offering similar programs.

    • Complete our online Application Form and pay the $100 Application Fee
    • Schedule a Professional Planning Meeting with one of our Career Coaches in the Admissions Office
    • Submit your official, signed High School Transcripts or G.E.D. Certificate
    • Submit your U.S. government-issued, valid photo identification

    Apply Now 

  • PCI Academy provides you with your textbooks, kits, and access to additional educational resources at no charge to you. We also provide the products, tools, and equipment that you will need to perform the services offered to your guests. We do ask that students provide the following school supplies:

    • Pens
    • Pencils
    • Notebooks
    • Highlighters
    • Clip Board with attached Pen
    • Electronic Device (see system requirements in our course catalogue on page 57)
    • Apron
    • Bookbag

  • We take pride in being part of the Summit Business Academy network. The business-centric curriculum is incorporated into every aspect of the students learning, both in the classroom and on the clinic floor.

    PCI Academy utilizes the Summit Salon Systems which are a proven method for growth in the professional beauty industry. These business building skills mean that, if you choose to, you can build a long-term career doing what you love. Our students learn:

    • Business Skills to Grow a Clientele
    • Tools to Track and Measure
    • Mentorship and Personal Development
    • Graduates have used the Summit Salon Systems to earn $100,000 annually.

  • We use a blend of Pivot Point International, Milady-Cengage, and L'Oreal/Redken Access curriculum.

    • Pivot Point International, the driving force behind digital learning and development for hair and beauty education, has been pushing the industry forward for over 60 years.
    • For more than 95 years, Milady-Cengage continues to meet the needs of today’s learners, educators, and employers and sets the gold standard for our industry.
    • L'Oréal ACCESS brings together all 12 L'Oréal Professional brands' educational and inspirational content.

Massage Therapy Program

  • Our Massage Therapy Kit* includes Milady's Theory and Practice of Therapeutic Massage, Over the Top business text book, Summit Salon Business Center Planner, and massage oil holster. We also provide the products and tools necessary for you to perform the services offered to your guests.

    *- Subject to change or vary by location.

  • At PCI Academy we have a 600-hour course. The first 20 weeks are spent in class every day and in the last 10 weeks students start using their practical skills on clients.

  • In class, we spend a lot of time learning anatomy, medical terminology, kinesiology, and many other topics including business and the therapeutic effects of massage. Check out our catalog for the full breakdown.

  • Make sure to have a notebook, writing utensils and a device that can connect to the internet.

    You will receive your books on the first day of class, we recommend purchasing a Trail Guide to the Body book or Trail Guide flashcards for the musculoskeletal system.
     

  • Massage is more popular now than ever. It is no longer viewed as a luxury service and is respected as maintaining or improving overall well-being. You can expect job opportunities in many settings including chiropractic, hospice, gyms, spas and medical settings.

Cosmetology Program

  • Our Cosmetology Kit* includes your Pivot Point Cosmetology Fundamentals text books, access to Pivot Point's digital education platform, Over the Top business text book, Summit Salon Business Center Planner, blow dryer, curling iron, flat iron, manicure kit, tweezer, shear, texture shear, razor, clipper, trimmer, diffuser, and mannequins. We also provide the products and tools necessary for you to perform the services offered to your guests.

    *- Subject to change or vary by campus location.

Esthetics Program

  • Ames & Iowa City Campus: During our Esthetics Program you will be learning Custom Blend Facials, enhancements for facials, full body waxing, facial waxing, HydraFacial Certification, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, lash extensions, lash lifting, brow lamination, lash tinting, brow tinting, makeup services, and body treatments. 

    Plymouth Campus:  During our Basic Esthetics Program you will be learning Custom Blend Facials, enhancements for facials, full body waxing, facial waxing, lash extensions, lash lifting, brow lamination, lash tinting, brow tinting, makeup services, and body treatments. To enhance your license and treatments you offer, our Advanced Practice Esthetics Program would be perfect for you!
     

  • Our Ames and Iowa City Campus Esthetics Kits* includes Pivot Point Esthetics Fundamentals text books, access to Pivot Point's digital education platform, Over the Top business text book, Summit Salon Business Center Planner, tweezers, 5 piece took kit, and brow scissors. We also provide the products and tools necessary for you to perform the services offered to your guests.

    Our Plymouth Campus Esthetics Kit includes Pivot Point Esthetics Fundamentals text books, access to Pivot Point's digital education platform, Over the Top business text book, Summit Salon Business Center Planner, tweezers, and brow scissors. We also provide the products and tools necessary for you to perform the services offered to your guests.

    *- Subject to change and vary by location.

Advanced Practice Esthetics

  • Our Advanced Practice Esthetics Kit* includes Milady's Standard Advanced Esthetics textbook and workbook, exam review book, Over the Top business textbook, Summit Salon Business Center Planner, 5 piece took kit, and derma blade handle. We also provide the products and tools necessary for you to perform the services offered to your guests.

    *- Subject to change.

Financial Assistance

  • Federal Financial Aid is available to students who qualify for Cosmetology and Esthetics. We participate in Pell Grants, Direct Student Loans and Parent PLUS Loans. Subsidized loans and Pell Grants are a need-based options. Unsubsidized and Parent PLUS loans are a non-need-based option.  State Financial Aid is available to students who qualify for all programs. We participate in Minnesota SELF Loans for our Minnesota Campus students.

    Reduce your Financial Aid and student loan debt by borrowing as little as possible. PCI Academy offers 0% interest on tuition payments. Tuition must be paid in full before graduation.

    Other options to help reduce your student loan debt:

    • High School Scholarships
    • Beauty Industry Scholarships
    • 529 Plan
    • ETV Grant
    • VA Benefits
    • Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits

    PCI Academy is approved by the Department of Education and NACCAS to offer financial aid to those who qualify. PCI Academy offers quality education for future professionals who desire to be in the top of the beauty industry. Our friendly, knowledgeable team is here to assist you during the various stages of the financial aid process and will help answer questions regarding financial aid options and costs of tuition.

    Federal Financial Aid options available to help with tuition and living expenses:

    • Federal Pell Grants (does not need to be repaid)
    • Federal Direct Loans
    • Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loans (for dependent students)
    • MN SELF Loans (Plymouth campus ONLY)

    You can complete a FREE Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.gov.

    The school codes are:

    • PCI Academy – Ames  #015245
    • PCI Academy –Iowa City  #E40493
    • PCI Academy – Plymouth  #E01054


    The U.S. Department of Education provides grants and loans to eligible students attending participating colleges or career schools. The Department is the source of nearly 70 percent of all student aid awarded in the U.S. each year. The vast majority of the Department’s aid is not based on academic merit. For further information, visit the Department’s website: www.studentaid.gov.

    You may call the Federal Student Aid Information Center: 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243)
    TTY for the hearing-impaired is 1-800-730-8913.

    If you are not interested in using financial aid to cover the cost of tuition, PCI Academy offers interest-free monthly payments for the duration of the program you are enrolling in.

  • The FAFSA school codes for PCI are:

    PCI Academy – Ames #015245

    PCI Academy –Iowa City #E40493

    PCI Academy – Plymouth #E01054
     

Guest Services

  • We offer a variety of services including:

    • Hair design, color, texture, & treatments.
    • Manicures, pedicures, and acrylic nails.
    • Waxing, facials, hydrafacials, chemical peels, and microdermabrasion.
    • Body treatments and microtreaments.
    • Makeup application, lashes, and brow tinting.
    • Massage and Heated stone massages with a variety of upgrades. (Iowa locations only)

    To see our full services, visit our salon and spa services page 

  • Yes! We absolutely do take walk-ins! We do encourage securing your desired spot by booking your appointment either by calling our Guest Services Team or booking online!

    Call Ames guest services call iowa city guest services call plymouth guest services

    book online

  • PCI Academy has an exclusive relationship with Redken that includes avant-garde education, competitions, and creative opportunities for PCI students. We're also partnered with high-performance professional lines such as Mizani, Pureology, CND, Bioelements, and SkinCeuticals.

  • Of course! Your stylist will walk you through the product selection for your services at the time of your appointment. They may be purchased during your appointment, or online here.

Iowa Programs

  • We have monthly start dates for Cosmetology and Esthetics. For Massage Therapy we have start dates in March, June and October.

  • The only things you'll need for enrollment are the following items:

    • Copy of your official, signed High School Diploma or G.E.D.*
    • US government-issued, valid photo identifications
    • Complete our Online Application Form and pay the $100 Application Fee

    apply now

    *If educated outside the U.S., education documents must be evaluated by SpanTran at student expense (effective July 1, 2016). Complete the online application at https://www.spantran.com/application/and attach a copy of the credential report to the application. This report must verify the completion of an education equivalent to a U.S. high school diploma. If it does not, a GED will be required for admission. For more information, contact SpanTran at 713-266-8805 or spantran.com.

  • Absolutely! At PCI Academy we have great pride in our attention to business building. We consider ourselves a business school as a well as a beauty academy. Our Summit level system can inspire people to grow the business while they are in school. You will grow yourself as well and take this with you when you graduate.

  • At our Ames and Iowa City campuses we teach Cosmetology, Esthetics, and Massage Therapy.

  • The state of Iowa requires 1,550 hours for cosmetology, 600 for esthetics and 600 for massage therapy.

Minnesota Programs

  • Yes, and we offer assistance for a life-time. PCI Academy students have access to monthly coaching sessions with one of our Business Coaches.

  • Yes! PCI Academy teaches the business systems created and taught by Summit Salon Business Center has been providing business education for over 20 years.
    An up-to-date calendar of courses to sharpen your skills can be found on our website.  

  • It is the policy of PCI Academy to comply with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act which are Federal laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. PCI Academy does not discriminate on the basis of disability against a qualified person with a disability in regard to application, acceptance, grading, advancement, training, discipline, graduation, or any other aspect related to a student’s participation in a program at PCI Academy.

    This applies to all students and applicants for admission to the school and PCI Academy will provide reasonable accommodations to students with learning differences.


    Our school must provide academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities, that are necessary to ensure students are not denied the benefits of, or excluded from participation in, the school’s program. Our school must make modifications to its academic requirements that are necessary to ensure that the requirements do not discriminate against students with disabilities. Our school must ensure that it provides physical access to students with disabilities. It is also the responsibility of PCI Academy to permit students with disabilities to use service dogs on campus. However, due to State Board regulations, an evaluation of the type of dog may take place.
     

  • Application Fee $100 is due when student completes the enrollment application.

    The application fee is waived if a student takes another program with PCI Academy. If a student needs to move their start date more than 1 time, they may be charged another $100 application fee.  We will waive the application fee for Wright Tech cosmetology Students and STEP* Cosmetology Students if they attend PCI Academy within one calendar year of graduation from the Wright Tech or STEP* program.

    *The STEP program is only for out Plymouth, MN campus.
     

  • PCI Academy does not provide on-campus student housing or dorms; however, our Admissions team can help direct you to housing options.

  • Not at this time.

  • You have 3 options for the Cosmetolgy program:
    19 month program with 20 hours per week
    14 month program with 30 hours per week
    11 month program with 40 hours per week

  • You have 2 options for the Esthetics program:
    8 month program with 18 hours per week
    7 month program with 24 hours per week

  • This program is 7 months with 18 hours per week

  • In order to become a cosmetologist in Minnesota, you must hold a high school diploma or GED and complete the required number of hours of based on your training program at a school that is approved by the Minnesota Board of Cosmetologist Examiners (BCE). Upon completion of hours, you will schedule to take a practical and written exam, proctored by a state approved testing facility. You will send your passing exam results with a license application and fee to the BCE and await a physical license sent by mail, which can take up to 15 days.

Schedule a Tour

  • Fill out our contact form and let us know in the comments if you would like to schedule a tour.

  • You tour will be about one hour and you'll be accompanied by one of our career coaches from the admissions team.

  • During a PCI campus tour:
    1. You'll receive information that will help you decide if a career in Cosmetology and or Esthetics is the best path for you.


    2. We will take you "behind the scenes" to the classrooms, the salon clinic floor, the spa clinic rooms, the dispense area, and more.


    3. You’ll learn how students in different parts of the program spend time in different parts of the school. You’ll also have the chance to see how students work and how instructors interact with their class.
    1. We encourage you to ask questions! We want you to leave feeling informed, confident, and excited to begin your career journey.