Cosmetology Instructor Job Description, Career Options & Salary

Cosmetology Teacher Job Description

Considering becoming a cosmetology instructor?

As the cosmetology industry continues to grow, so does the demand for cosmetology instructors to teach and train those who are pursuing careers in the beauty business. Cosmetology instruction is a career best suited for people who not only have interest in beauty care, but also in developing skills in others. Teaching beauty school is a fantastic way to impart your wisdom, knowledge and experience on aspiring young professionals. If you like the sound of becoming a beauty school teacher, simply enter your zip code in the box to the right and choose "Teacher Training" to find schools near you.

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How do I find, compare and contact cosmetology instructor training schools?

If you are considering taking your career to the next level, the first step is to find and compare cosmetology instructor schools in your area. Compare the program curriculum, cost of tuition, availability of financial aid, scheduling options and other criteria when choosing which school is right for you. As you will learn in your educator training, everyone has a different learning style and has different priorities when choosing the right school for them. To help make you make a confident, educated decision about which cosmetology teacher training is the best fit for your needs, we created this “How to Choose a Beauty School” guide. Though the number of schools that offer cosmetology instructor training is slimmer than a more basic program, we still advise you to compare and contrast as many schools as possible – 3 to 5 schools is ideal – before making your final selection. Cosmetology instructor programs are enrolling now! So find schools near you to get started.

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What are the responsibilities of a cosmetology instructor?

Cosmetology Instructor in Front of ChalkboardCosmetology instructors are responsible for teaching beauty school students the basics of cosmetology, and leading the class through the required coursework that prepares them for board exams and to work professionally in the field. In order for beauty school students to gain full understanding of the art and science of cosmetology, instructors must also be able to explain aspects of physiology and anatomy of the body as they relate to cosmetology. Furthermore, it is the cosmetology teacher's responsibility to ensure their students grasp the importance of safe practices for their clients, themselves and their work environments. This may be accomplished through a variety of teaching techniques and methods. You must supervise students as they learn new skills, and especially closely when they begin taking on real clients in the student salon.

A core responsibility of the cosmetology instructor is to prepare lesson plans and demonstrations for their classes that align with the state’s curriculum requirements. The course of study should include objectives for the program and the students, as well as structured daily lesson plans. Cosmetology instructors are often required to prepare and submit program budgets each year, as well as request materials and supplies for the classroom within that budget. Many schools ask their educators to get involved in the community and make connections with salons, representatives from the beauty business, conferences and other relevant people to help students network and learn from real working professionals.

You must ensure the proper equipment, tools, textbooks and supplemental materials are available to students so you can properly prepare their students for cosmetology exams and careers. It is the duty of cosmetology teachers to monitor and track the progress and performance of each of their students. You must be able to identify problem areas for students and provide the necessary support to help their students master their lessons throughout the course of the program. You must be comfortable offering constructive feedback to students to help them improve, and you must be firm in implementing the policies and procedures in place for the school.

Beauty school teachers are expected to prepare students for entry-level employment in the business. As an educator, you must help students develop the skills, knowledge and professional traits to be successful in the trade. Some schools offer job placement services to recent graduates, and educators may be expected to facilitate those connections or provide letters of recommendation for students.

If you think you have the aptitude to become a great educator, classes are enrolling now! Click the button below to find schools and get started.

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How much experience do I need to become a cosmetology instructor?

Training requirements to become a cosmetology school educator differ from state to state, but typically candidates pursuing a career in teaching cosmetology are expected to have a number of years of experience working professionally in the field. Some schools that offer courses in teaching cosmetology may lessen the number of hours required in course study and training if their work experience is extensive.

So as an example, the state Texas Dept. of Licensing and Regulations requires cosmetology instructors to have their cosmetologist operator license, and then 750 hours of additional cosmetology instructor training. New York’s Dept. of State Division of Licensing Services requires instructors to have their cosmetology license, and then a set amount of work experience. In California, the Board of Barbering & Cosmetology requires instructors to get accredited through post-secondary education. As you can see, each state is dramatically different in how they regulate this profession, so visit the state instructor license requirements page for your state to find out the required hours for becoming a cosmetology teacher in your state.

Does teaching cosmetology school require a special degree or certification?

In order to be a cosmetology teacher, you must first be a licensed cosmetologist. The same applies if you want to teach esthetics and skin care – you must have your esthetician or cosmetology license. After complementing your license with work experience, candidates are then eligible to enroll in a cosmetology teacher training program. Candidates must complete a specific number of hours in a cosmetology teacher training program before you will be permitted to take a board certified exam to obtain their license to teach. Each state has different minimum work experience, training and exam requirements for being eligible to teach beauty school. Some states require a minimum number of hours or years of working experience. Some states require education in a cosmetology instructor training program. Still other states require you to have your cosmetology license, and then get post-secondary education (like an Associate’s Degree or Bachelor’s Degree) in teaching. Nearly all states license cosmetology instructors, and require a written and/or practical exam be eligible to teach.

What is the working environment of a cosmetology instructor?

Beauty School Teacher in Front of ClassOnce you get licensed to teach at a beauty school, you can expect to work in typical air-conditioned classrooms and hands-on student salon settings. Just like any other college teacher, you will lead a classroom for in-class lecture and discussion to teach the material in the curriculum, but then you will perform demonstrations and offer students practice opportunities as you oversee the work and guide them on how to improve their skills. Instructors may supplement the curriculum with online courses as more and more states are allowing this kind of training within the standard curriculum (though each state’s regulations are unique, so be sure to talk to your local board of cosmetology). Cosmetology teachers may spend long periods of time on their feet throughout a typical work-day and work fluctuating hours depending on the school you work for. Often there will be multiple educators at a school, so you will need to work on a team to ensure students are getting the most valuable, high quality education possible to prepare them for the board exams.

What skills do I need to be a successful cosmetology teacher?

Pull QuoteCosmetology instructors must possess a thorough understanding of the cosmetology industry and hair, nail and skin care services. In addition, you must be able to effectively communicate to deliver lessons and be able to practice patience with students as they learn new skills and lessons. It is also important that cosmetology teachers are well-organized individuals as you will need to maintain accurate student attendance and performance records, and keep track of multiple lesson plans. You should also be prepared to handle multiple classes, possibly with students of different experiences and skill sets. This is an extensive, but not all-encompassing, list of the skills, knowledge and aptitudes a successful cosmetology instructor must have:

  • Knowledge of multiple teaching methods, and education principles, practices and methodologies
  • Understanding of competency-based curriculum, evaluation and grading
  • Competency in administering tests and recording grades
  • Good organizational skills for recording and reporting attendance and performance data
  • Proficiency in developing a curriculum and creating daily lesson plans
  • Credibility and authority as an expert in the beauty trade you’re teaching
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to demonstrate hair, makeup, nails and/or skin care services and walk students through the procedures step-by-step
  • Ability to lead class lectures and student discussions, coach and critique hands-on skills, and guide students through book learning and assignments
  • Comfort and confidence delivering constructive and critical feedback to students
  • Comfort interacting with many personality types, including angry, indifferent, challenging or emotional students or parents.
  • Understanding of inventory management and budgeting for required materials
  • Ability to recognize when students need more advanced training because they’re picking up the material quickly, and alternatively, when students are struggling and need additional help and could benefit from a beauty tutor.

Beauty school professors must also be open to feedback – both positive and constructive – from students and fellow instructors on how to improve their teaching abilities. Being teachable is one of the most powerful assets a cosmetology teacher can have. If you are truly open to feedback, you may even consider asking your classes to anonymously give feedback on a site like RateMyProfessors.com. Your students will appreciate you asking for insights and feedback on what you do well and what you could improve.

If you don’t have all of these skills yet, or have areas you feel you could improve – not to worry! The whole purpose of attending a cosmetology instructor training program is to prepare you to be able to successfully lead a class at a beauty school.

Is there room to advance as a cosmetology instructor at a school?

Pull Quote 2There is always a need to continue your education even after you’ve reached cosmetology instructor status. Most states require beauty school teachers to complete a minimum number of continuing education hours during each licensure period in order to renew and maintain their instructor license. This advanced training keeps teachers abreast of the latest trends and advancements within the cosmetology industry, and ensures that you can teach to the latest techniques, trends and topics in the business. The world of beauty is an ever-evolving thing, and cosmetology instructors simply can’t afford to become outdated. The future generations of cosmetologists depend on you.

There are also opportunities to advance professionally as a cosmetology instructor. Many beauty school educators aspire to manage or own their own schools and student salons, become guest speakers at other schools or in professional beauty organizations, or juggle owning their own beauty business in tandem with teaching at the cosmetology school. Often beauty schools also have advanced job titles like “Senior Educator” or “Beauty School Manager” that teachers can actively pursue.

What is the average cosmetology instructor salary?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics categorizes this job under "Career and Technical Education Teachers." As of May 2012, the mean annual wage for vocational education instructors is $52,770, or $25 per hour. (Job-hunting site Indeed.com shows that the range of salaries specifically for beauty school educators is from $27,000 to $53,000 annually, but SimplyHired.com estimates that $34,000 is the average starting salary.) Annual wages will vary by state and metro area, and level of experience. Your starting salary as a new educator will likely be on the lower end of the scale, and as you grow in experience and skill as a teacher, your salary will probably grow toward the higher end of the range.

Still have questions?

Not to worry! We have tons more information about how to become a cosmetology instructor, even answers to questions you never thought to ask. Please contact us with your questions. No question is dumb, and we're here to help you find all the information you need to make an educated, confident decision to start your career off right.

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