How to Become a Cosmetology School Instructor

Thinking about enrolling in instructor training?

If you are considering enrolling in teacher training, you are probably curious about how much the program costs, how long it will take to complete, what you will learn in the program, and more. Beauty Schools Directory has answered many of the most common questions about the education that helps you become a beauty school instructor, so you can decide whether taking the next step in your career is the right decision for you. If you think training to become a cosmetology teacher sounds like the right fit for you, just enter your zip code in the box to the right. Choose "Teacher Training" as your program to find schools near you that offer this program.

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How do I become a cosmetology (or esthetics, barber, nail, etc.) instructor?

Teaching Cosmetology Theory to StudentEach state’s training and licensure requirements to be allowed to teach beauty school or a specific program are different. Some states require you just to have a minimum amount of real work experience, and then you can be eligible to teach, whereas others may require you to get post-secondary education at a traditional college in a teaching program. Most state boards, however, require you to have both a set number of years of work experience as a licensed professional, in combination with getting additional cosmetology instructor training hours, to be able to sit for special board exams to get licensed as an instructor. Some states don’t even have instructor licenses, and other states have theirs managed by the Dept. of Education instead of the Board of Cosmetology.

Beauty Schools Directory knows of at least 21 states that only require future teachers to have their cosmetology license, plus additional hours of cosmetology instructor training, to be able to get licensed as teachers – but no work experience. In those cases, the average required hours of training is 850, but it varies from state to state. For example, Alabama and Indiana require 1000 hours of instructor training on top of having a cosmetologist’s license, but no work experience. At least 17 states require some combination of both work experience and instructor training to become a teacher. For example, in New Hampshire you can become a teacher if you have 800 hours of training and no work experience, 500 hours of training and 1+ years of experience, or no additional training and 8+ years of experience. Still other states require you to have some junior instructor or student instructor experienced to get licensed.

Because these licensing requirements vary so widely from state to state, we highly recommend checking your state’s instructor license requirements on our list, and contacting your local board directly if you have any additional questions. In the meantime, don't hesitate to find cosmetology instructor training programs near you so you can start comparing your options. Click the "Find Schools" button below to get started.

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What classes will I take to become a cosmetology teacher?

Whether you want to teach cosmetology, esthetics and skin care, nail technology or another specialty area of the beauty trade, almost every state requires you to already have a license for that particular field, and most states require you to have some kind of work experience. In addition to that background and experience in the field, the training and courses you can expect to take to become a cosmetology or beauty school instructor may include, but are not limited to:

  • Curriculum & Course Outline & Development
  • Lesson Planning
  • Teaching Techniques & Theory
  • Classroom Management & Leadership
  • Teaching Aids, Tools & Technology
  • Skill Observation & Practice
  • Student Motivation
  • Administering & Grading Examinations
  • State Laws & Regulations
  • Student Record-Keeping
  • Hands-On Junior/Student Instruction

Sometimes the training programs include refreshers of the actual beauty skills and theory you will be teaching in the beauty school classroom, however the training should be mostly focused on the teaching aspect. It is assumed that if you enter a training program to learn to become a cosmetology instructor, you already have the skills and techniques from your work experience to be able to effectively teach them in the classroom.

What are the knowledge and skill requirements for teacher training?

Beauty School Instructor in front of chalkboardOf course esthetics, cosmetology, barber and other instructors are expected to be knowledgeable, skilled and experienced in their specific trade. If you are going to teach hairstyling, you should be an expert hairstylist. If you’re going to be teaching esthetics, you should have mastered your skin care skills. You must also know all about the laws and regulations in your state pertaining to that specific field. In order to help others, you must help yourself first and truly become an expert at the top of your field before you can pass that onto others.

The knowledge and skills required to be a good beauty school teacher include the natural inclination and ability to train and teach others, and identifying others’ educational needs, strengths and weaknesses. You must be comfortable speaking in front of at least small groups, in an almost performance-like environment. You should have a knack for coaching and developing those around you, such as peers, employees or students. Good instructors can help motivate students, and provide guidance to them. You must be comfortable giving both positive and critical feedback in helpful, constructive and tactful ways. Communication should be one of your strongest skills, not just to your students, but also to your peer instructors, and the school managers/owners. You should be dependable, have great self-control, a sincere concern for others, have an excellent attention to detail, and be highly adaptable to change.

View our complete cosmetology instructor job description for a more detailed outlook on what you can expect if you decide to pursue this career path. Does it sound like a good fit for you so far? If so, find teacher training schools near to learn your options.

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What are cosmetology teacher job opportunities?

Of course the main job opportunities for people who get the training and practice to get licensed as cosmetology instructors will be in beauty schools, esthetics schools, nail schools and other institutions. But as a licensed cosmetology teacher, you are not limited only to the classroom! Your cosmetology instruction training can give you freedom to not only teach new beauty school students, but to have more options in the beauty industry. Some of these options for you could include:

  • Cosmetology School Instructor
  • Esthetics, Nail, Barber or Makeup Instructor
  • Advanced Beauty Course Instructor
  • Beauty School Manager
  • Beauty School Owner
  • Salon or Spa Manager
  • Platform Artist
  • Independent Educational Consultant
  • Public/Circuit/Conference/Guest Speaker
  • Workshop Leader

What is the job outlook for beauty school teachers?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists employment data for “Vocational Education Teachers, Postsecondary,” but not specifically for the cosmetology trade. The BLS (2015) says that job demand for postsecondary vocational education instructors is expected to increase 12% between now and the year 2022, adding approximately 16,100 jobs during that time.  Currently, there are approximately 121,200 vocational educators employed nationwide.

For information about the wages you could expect to earn as an instructor, check out our cosmetology instructor salary page.

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