The Santa Monica College (SMC) Cosmetology Program, which college officials say has a 98-percent pass rate for students taking the state licensing exam, will offer night classes for the first time this fall.

With demand growing for a program whose cost is less than one-third that of some commercial cosmetology schools, the college is seeking to attract students who need night classes, college officials said.

“This will help those who are working during the day who want to change careers, or those taking care of children or who for any reason cannot attend school during the day,” said Helen LeDonne, chair of the Cosmetology Department.

The program trains students to become cosmetologists, estheticians and manicurists. Students can earn an Associate of Arts degree or take the required courses and put in enough hours to qualify to take the state exam without the degree.

Attending full time, a student can complete the required coursework in 16 weeks to be a manicurist, 18 weeks to be an esthetician and a little more than a year to be a cosmetologist.

LeDonne said the program will offer beginning and salon classes in the evenings this fall, allowing the public for the first time to have the opportunity to receive salon services at low cost in the evenings.

“We really have dedicated, passionate teachers who make the program successful,” LeDonne said. “They really care about their students.”

Classes are $20 a unit for California residents.

Information, (310) 434-4906.