Spotlight on Schools: Riverside CC Cosmetology

Courtesy of Riverside Downtown Partnership

RCC Cosmetology was established at Riverside Community College in 1940 and has seen tremendous growth over the years. RCC Cosmetology students learn the necessary skills needed to be successful in the industry and pass the California State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology. The Program curriculum includes hair, skin, and nail care in addition to best industry business practices. The RCC Cosmetology Program offers day and night courses. Day courses require students to attend 40 hours a week and the night classes require students to attend 25 hours a week. Students can complete the State required coursework in a year to 18 months.

RCC Cosmetology has plans to expand in the near future. The College's strategic plans include a new facility. The Program also plans on expanding its curriculum in barbering, esthetics, manicuring, and more.

Currently, there are 300 students in the Program. Despite the State's recent budget cuts to education, the RCC Cosmetology Program continued to add more classes and tools to assist students. Instructors in the Program have a minimum of six years of field experience, pedagogical training, and various industry licenses. Two of the RCC Cosmetology fulltime instructors have been awarded Instructor of the Year by national associations.

Peter Westbrook has been the Program Director for the last 10 years. He is also a RCC Alumni and Alumni of the RCC Instructors Program. "After nearly 20 years in the field, I returned to RCC as an instructor trainee and immediately found my new home where I could give my experience to the eager minds of the new cosmetology student. I shouldn't say I accepted the position … I begged for the position. It's been an awarding experience," says Westbrook.

RCC assists students with finding jobs in the community upon completion of the Program. Their employment rate is nearly 90%. Students are introduced to community members and have the opportunity to work with groups like the Riverside Downtown Partnership for additional experience. RCC partnered with the Riverside Downtown Partnership for the Fashion District Downtown Riverside Fashion Shows by providing hair and makeup services for the models. "The shows have engaged students in the real life aspects of working with show producers, fashion designers, and the public," says Westbrook.

To apply for the RCC Cosmetology Program, visit