Special Effects Makeup Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

Special effects makeup is used in theater, television and film to transform actors into characters. Training programs commonly offer opportunities for participants to practice makeup techniques on fellow students and models.

View Popular Schools »

How to Select a Special Effects Makeup School

Nearly all makeup programs with a special effects focus are available through private, for-profit beauty schools and makeup academies, which award certificates upon completion. However, students may also learn to apply special effects makeup through the theatre departments of some community colleges and 4-year colleges and universities.

Summary of Important Considerations

  • Program type and emphasis
  • School location and internship opportunities

Program Type and Emphasis

Special effects makeup training is available for film and television or theater production. Because some schools emphasize one mode over the other, individuals may wish to decide what medium they prefer before they choose a school. Most programs result in a certificate. But standalone courses in special effects makeup are also offered at some cosmetology schools.

Individuals who are interested in theatrical makeup can look for a degree program in production technology and design, or they can choose a school that is focused exclusively on special effects makeup. They can also learn to apply special effects makeup through a general theater degree program, but these lessons are usually limited in scope and show up in only one or two classes over a 4-year degree program. They also learn set design, lighting, playwriting and directing, which can help them get ahead in their careers and understand how makeup professionals relate to other creative team members in the production. Graduates receive a bachelor's degree rather than a certificate.

School Location and Internship Opportunities

Because it's a competitive field, prospective students should look for a school that offers internship opportunities with local production companies. They may also want to consider attending a school in New York or Southern California, which are the most popular locations for production companies and studios.

Special Effects Makeup Program Overview

Certificate in Special Effects Makeup

Completion of a special effects makeup program can vary from a short, intensive course to a 1-year program. Students typically need to purchase their own makeup supplies. Courses focus on performance makeup techniques, including those used to simulate a certain age or expression. Students learn to apply prosthetics and other body alteration molds. They also create fake hair, bruises, wounds and skin textures and learn how these skills vary between film and the stage. Other subjects instructors may teach include:

  • Skin care
  • Color theory
  • Traditional makeup applications
Show me popular schools

Related to Special Effects Makeup Schools

  • Related
  • Recently Updated
  • Popular
Schools for Theater Makeup Artistry: How to Choose

Aspiring makeup artists who want to work in theater, movies or television can pursue studies in theater makeup artistry....

Special Effects Make-Up Training Programs and Course Information

Special effects make-up training programs provide students with the skills and knowledge needed to make actors appear to be the...

Become a Makeup Consultant: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Research the requirements to become a makeup consultant. Learn about the job description and duties, and read the step-by-step...

Special Effects Animation Education and Training Program Info

Bachelor's degree programs in special effects animation train students to use their artistic and technical skills to do things...

How to Become a Special Effects Animator: Career Guide

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Chemistry Sciences
      • Natural Resources Conservation
      • Physical and Environmental Science
      • Physics
  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Harvard University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Chemistry Sciences
      • Forestry and Wildlands Management
      • Natural Resources Conservation
      • Natural Resources Management
      • Physical and Environmental Science
      • Physics
  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Chemistry Sciences
      • Natural Resources Conservation
      • Natural Resources Management
      • Physical and Environmental Science
      • Physics
  • School locations:
    • Rhode Island (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Brown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Chemistry Sciences
      • Natural Resources Conservation
      • Physical and Environmental Science
      • Physics
  • School locations:
    • North Carolina (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Duke University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Chemistry Sciences
      • Forestry and Wildlands Management
      • Natural Resources Conservation
      • Natural Resources Management
      • Physical and Environmental Science
      • Physics
  • School locations:
    • Indiana (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Notre Dame include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Chemistry Sciences
      • Natural Resources Conservation
      • Physics
  • School locations:
    • Columbia (D.C.) (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Georgetown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Chemistry Sciences
      • Physics
  • School locations:
    • Tennessee (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Vanderbilt University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Chemistry Sciences
      • Physical and Environmental Science
      • Physics
  • School locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Florida include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Chemistry Sciences
      • Forestry and Wildlands Management
      • Natural Resources Conservation
      • Physical and Environmental Science
      • Physics
  • School locations:
    • New York (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Cornell University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Culinary Arts and Culinary Services

Popular Schools

Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics