woman holding hair dryer

A cosmetologist’s goal is to make every client feel confident about themselves. Whether they’re cutting your hair to match the latest styles or giving you a full-on glam look, cosmetologists have to be at their best. That’s why they get specialized training to perform their many services.

5 Things You Should Know About a Career in Cosmetology

If you want to become a cosmetologist, there are many things you should know about the industry before jumping in, like the education requirements, career path, and salary.

1. Cosmetologist Career Path 

A hair, color, and cosmetology program will cover four basic elements: hair, nails, skin, and makeup. This skill variety opens the door to multiple career opportunities, but cosmetologists usually start off as hairstylists, barbers, nail technicians, estheticians, or makeup artists.

Cosmetologists can even explore less popular but fruitful career choices. For example, you can be an electrologist or laser hair treatment specialist, a manager, an entertainer, an FX makeup artist, a beauty product marketer, a business coach, a salon operator, or a cosmetology teacher.

2. Cosmetologist Salary 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for barbers, hair stylists, and cosmetologists was $29,680 per year or $14.27 an hour in 2021. Washington is the state that pays hairstylists the most ($53,087 per year), whereas New Mexico pays the least ($25,325).

It’s very possible to become a six-figure hairstylist if you receive a journeyman certification and open your own salon or work out of your home. There are also cosmetology careers that pay more than others such as celebrity hairstylists or makeup artists, or beauty product marketers.

3. Cosmetologist Education

All cosmetologists require a high school diploma or GED to enter a cosmetology school. Most cosmetology programs last a little less than a year or a year and a half; it depends on the number of hours you put in each week. Specialty barber programs always last over a year.

A cosmetology curriculum includes practice training for haircuts (male and female), hair coloring, hairstyles, facials, and manicures. You’ll learn about the health and safety practices within the industry. Cosmetologists must pass a state exam to obtain their cosmetology license. 

4. Cosmetologist Responsibilities

A cosmetologist’s responsibilities will vary based on your employer and expectations. One salon may expect you to perform secondary beauty procedures on clients, such as eyebrow waxing, eyelash extensions, and makeup application. In contrast, others may only want to hire you as a hairstylist.

If you’re solely a hairstylist, you’ll be responsible for inspecting and analyzing hair, skin, and scalp to recommend certain treatments. You’ll discuss hairstyle, color, conditioning, drying, cutting, and styling options with clients and clean, stock, or disinfect the shop on slow days.

5. Cosmetologist Expectations

A great cosmetologist is a people person who maximizes customer retention, sales, and bookings. You’re an equal parts marketer and hairstylist, so your customer service training has to be top-notch. In this industry, the client-cosmetologist relationship is very, very important

To help make your customers and clients feel comfortable, you should have communication and listening skills. You should be able to make your guests feel comfortable. Stamina is another great quality to have, as you’ll be on your feet all day cutting hair and speaking to clients.

In Conclusion…

The beauty industry is an exciting place filled with possibilities for the right people. If you’re great with people and you love to cut, style, or color hair, cosmetology is a fantastic career choice. A cosmetology license can also be a great jumping-off point for other great careers.

Published by HOLR Magazine.