Cosmetologist Job Description & Information
Jump to Your Question:
- Where can I find cosmetology schools?
- What is a cosmetologist?
- How much money does a cosmetologist make?
- How do I become a cosmetologist?
- How long is the cosmetology program?
- How much does cosmetology school cost?
- What are cosmetologist career opportunities?
If you're considering becoming a cosmetologist, the first step is to talk to cosmetology schools about their programs, cost of tuition, curriculum and any other questions you have.
In the beauty industry, a cosmetologist is more than just a hairsylist - they are someone on the cutting edge of trends and styles in hair and beauty techniques, and they can transform their clients from average to spectacular in one sitting. According to the Princeton Review, "Cosmetologists are the fairy godmothers of style and change." As a cosmetologist, you must learn to cut, color and style all types of hair, as well as do straightening, permanent waves, curling, weaves, extensions and more. Cosmetologists may also do manicures, pedicures and nail services, and they learn to apply makeup. They should also be knowledgeable in the field of esthetics, the division of cosmetology which focuses on skin care and includes services like facials, extractions and wraps. Also important to a cosmetologist's job is maintaining a safe, clean and sanitary salon environment. Also, a cosmetologist must feel comfortable consulting with hair and nail clients, asking questions and offering suggestions to deliver the best beauty services possible. A successful cosmetologist is outgoing and personable, can work well with their hands, does not mind standing for lengthy periods of time, and is willing to put in the work to market themselves to keep clients coming back and referring their friends.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics 2010 data says that cosmetologists earn a median pay of $22,500 per year, but cosmetologist salary depends on a number of factors. Many cosmetologists choose to work part-time instead of full-time, and salary has the potential to grow with experience, growing clientele, and increasing hours worked. Another thing the BLS data often does not account for accurately is the tips a cosmetologist may receive for the hair, nail and makeup services. For more information about beauty wages, check out the average cosmetologist salaries data.
The first step in becoming a cosmetologist is finding a cosmetology or beauty school that fits your needs. At cosmetology schools, students learn the skills and techniques needed to pass the state licensing exam for hair, nails, makeup, safety and sanitation. Courses for a cosmetologist degree can include hair cutting, styling, coloring, and permanent waving, as well as manicures and pedicures, facials, makeup application, shampooing, nail technology, and more. Cosmetology schools may also offer courses in salon and spa management or business, professionalism and ethics courses, and most also include elements of chemistry, anatomy, biology and physiology in their curriculum.
Most beauty and cosmetology schools require a high school diploma or a GED equivalent to enroll, but check with the state in which you plan to enroll to be sure, and always contact the school directly to find out their regulations. Many schools offer flexible scheduling that allows you to take night or weekend classes to accommodate work and family life. State beauty license requirements vary by state. Our 2012 survey of all the licensing boards across the U.S. shows that most states require 1600 training hours to get licensed, but some states require as few as 1000 hours and other require as many as 2300 training hours. Take a look at our state cosmetology license requirements page to find out more. We recommend you contact the licensing department in your state to check for changes to requirements or curriculum.
Cosmetology school tuition costs vary depending on the types of courses, hours of instruction needed, location of the school, as well as their facilities and equipment. The cost of cosmetology school can also be affected by what's included in the price of tuition, like books, supplies, cosmetology kits or smocks or aprons. Our 2012 survey of 55 cosmetology schools says that the cost of cosmetology averages between $10,000 and $20,000. If you choose a more specific program, like esthetics, nail technology or makeup artistry, the cost of beauty school could be lower, often anywhere between $3,000 and $5,000 depending on the beauty program and location of the cosmetology school.
A career in cosmetology can lead to a variety of professions. Some of the cosmetology career options including hairstylist, nail technician or salon or spa manager, just to name a few. Many cosmetologists also choose careers in the beauty industry as beauty magazine editors or consultants, while others become sales or marketing specialists in the cosmetics industry. Regardless of what direction your cosmetology career takes you, check out the My Social Beauty Cosmetology Jobs Board to find job openings across the U.S.
Still have questions?
Not to worry! We have tons and tons and tons of information about cosmetology, even answers to questions you never thought to ask. As a starting point, get more cosmetology information here.
FAQ Quick Links
- Vital Statistics
- Is Cosmetology School for Me
- Choosing the Right School
- School Programs
- Tuition and Financial Aid
- School Requirements
- Finding Your First Job
- Professional Careers in the Cosmetology Industry
- Laws and licenses
- State-by-State License Requirements
- Cosmetology School Tools and Supplies