Careers In Beauty

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What is cosmetology?

Licensed cosmetologists provide a variety of personal services that help clients look and feel their best. These services primarily include the care and treatment of hair, nails, and skin.

What is the difference between a beauty school, hair school or barber school?

In some cases, beauty schools and hair schools are the same. What is important to look at is the programs offered by each school to see if they fit your needs. Barber schools include programs for students interested in becoming a barber. Some barber schools are strictly for a barber license, while others also offer other cosmetology programs.

Does the label School, College or Academy make a difference?

Not really. The label an institution chooses has more do to with how they choose to brand themselves. What is important is to find out what programs they offer to see how those fit into your career goals.

What programs do cosmetology schools offer?

Each school is different, however common programs include:

  • Cosmetology: a full cosmetology program generally covers hair styling, skin-care, nail care, and make-up.
  • Esthetics: the study of applying make-up and performing facials, massages, waxing, and reflexology.
  • Nail Technology: the study of the art of nail art, design, tips, forms, wraps and gels.
  • Electrolysis: a medically recognized permanent hair removal method for face and body.
  • Teacher Training: a program of instruction to prepare a cosmetologist to teach future cosmetologists.
What does it mean if a school is accredited?

Schools that have been accredited have met specific academic and institutional requirements established by an accrediting organization. Some factors accrediting organizations review include curriculum, quality of instruction, facilities, staff and admissions policies. One reason a school will become accredited is to begin the process required by the US Department of Education to become eligible to offer Title IV government funding to students. Accreditation is a school’s choice and there are many good cosmetology schools that simply choose not to go through the accreditation process.

How long will it take to become a licensed cosmetologist?

There are three factors that will determine how long it will take you to complete a program: the program(s) you take, your state’s hour requirement and whether you enroll as a part-time or full-time student. A full cosmetology program is the most comprehensive and require the most hours. The national average is between 1,400 to 1,600 hours. The national average for Nail Technology is 300 hours; Electrologist is 500 hours; and Esthetics is 650 hours. Check with your state licensing board for the required number of hours. As a full-time student, many full cosmetology programs can be completed in less than two years while some of the shorter programs (nail technology, esthetics) can be completed within six months.

How much does it cost to complete cosmetology school?

Costs really depend on each school and their location. A school in or near a major metropolitan city will likely cost at least $10,000 for a full cosmetology program. The same program in a more rural setting could be as low as $6,500. If you are planning to complete a program to become a certified Esthetician or Nail Tech, this will cost more in the range of $3,000 to $10,000 depending on the program requirements and location of the school. Also, remember to factor in the cost of your student kits and supplies when looking at the cost to obtain your license.

Can I get financial aid?

Many schools offer various forms of financial aid. You will want to meet with the school’s financial aid office to find out what is available based on your needs and financial situation. Schools that are members of the American Association of Cosmetology Schools (AACS) also have scholarships available.

Do I need a high school diploma to attend cosmetology school?

It depends on the state requirements for the school your state is in. Some states do not require a high school diploma, but you may have to take an additional test to be admitted. Other states require a high school diploma or a G.E.D.

What are my career options after I complete cosmetology school?

There are a wide variety of professional careers you can pursue after earning a degree from a cosmetology school. These include Cosmetologist, Hairstylist, Haircolor Specialist, Perm Specialist, Esthetician, Nailcare Artists, Manicurist, Salon Owner, School Instructor, Salon Manager, Salon Coordinator, Salon Sales Consultant, Manufacturer Sales Representative, Makeup Artist, Director of Education, Distributor’s Sales Representative, Fashion Show Stylist, Photo and Movie Stylist, Platform Artist and Educator, Beauty Magazine Writer, Beauty Magazine Editor, Cosmetology School Owner, Beautycare Marketing, Salon Franchisee, Salon Chain Management, Beautycare Distributor, Salon Computer Expert, Beautycare PR Specialist, Research Chemist, Beauty Product Designer, Beauty Business Consultant, and Trade Show Director.

How much can I expect to make as a professional cosmetologist?

According to the United States Department of Labor, salon professionals can average up to $50,000 including tips. Some of the main factors that determine income include the size and location of the salon, hours worked, the tipping habits of clients and competition from other salons and shops. A cosmetologist’s ability to bring in and maintain regular clients is another factor in determining potential earnings. According to The United States Department of Labor, many cosmetologists and other personal appearance workers receive commissions based on the price of the service, or they earn a salary based on hours worked. Nearly every professional in the cosmetology industry receives tips and commissions for the products they sell. Some salons pay bonuses to employees who bring in new business.

In the field of beauty, which jobs are in the most demand?

According to the United States Department of Labor, employment of hairdressers, hairstylists, cosmetologists, skin care specialists, manicurists and pedicurists, and shampooers is projected to grow between 13 percent through year 2026.

How do I get started?

Your first step is to find out the requirements in the state you would like to attend cosmetology school. Go to the licensing page for state contact information. And begin researching the best school for you.

Resource Links:

Nails Career Handbook

Careers in Barbering