How to Expand Your Skills with a Crossover Program

If you are a cosmetology professional who wants to expand your skills and provide additional services that require a license, you may consider a crossover program. This guide can help you learn more about what crossover programs are, what options may be available to you, and these programs work.

What is a Crossover Program?

Programs available for licensed cosmetologists who want to broaden their skills and master an additional specialty are called crossover programs. Completing a crossover program and passing the licensing exam enables a cosmetology professional to provide a greater variety of services, build a bigger clientele, improve marketability, and increase earnings.  

Crossover Program Options

When it comes to crossover programs, there are several possible options to pursue. You may choose to combine a cosmetology specialization with esthetician training. Similarly, you may decide to cross over cosmetology and barbering, which is the most popular type of crossover program.

The fields of barbering and cosmetology have much in common. As an example, in both fields, the professional must have the knowledge, experience, and capability to wash, cut, and style hair. Other daily tasks for barbers and cosmetologists are similar, too. For this reason, if you hold a cosmetology license and want additional skills licensures, a cosmetology to barber licensure crossover program could be an excellent next step.

While there are fundamental differences and areas of expertise in both fields that require diligent study and practice, crossover programs build on the things you've already learned in school and give you the knowledge and skills needed to pass your additional licensure exam.

Every state requires licensure for cosmetologists and barbers for them to legally provide their services. License requirements are set by regulatory boards and vary from state to state, so it's important to always check with your state to find out precisely what it requires before committing to any program.

Similarly, each state's regulating board decides which services barbers and cosmetologists may offer. Neither profession can offer all the services the other can provide, which is why crossover licensure is so appealing to many professionals. For example, In Florida, a licensed cosmetologist can provide hair and facial services, including waxing and nails, but cannot perform face shaving. Similarly, a barber licensed in Florida can shave faces with a straight razor but cannot do waxing or nail services.

How Crossover Cosmetology and Barber Programs Work

If you already have a cosmetology license, a barber crossover program may prepare you to have the information and expertise you need to pass your state's barber licensing exam. Crossover programs generally take less time than a full program. In some cases, completing a crossover program can save you a significant amount of time and money.

Take Texas as an example: the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) allows someone who holds an active cosmetology license in the state to complete a 300-hour barber crossover program at an approved school. By comparison, a full barbering program requires 1,500 hours of training to be eligible to take the Class A barber written and practical exams.

As with licensure programs, each state's crossover requirements vary, so be sure to carefully research the requirements in the state where you plan to practice.

In general, the benefits of a barber crossover program may include:

  • Increasing your permitted skill set, such as being able to provide facial shaving
  • Spending less time in school
  • Spending less money on certification requirements
  • Gaining the ability to work in a variety of settings
  • Serving a broader clientele who are looking for both cosmetologist and barber services
  • Potentially earning more money

Crossover options also exist for those who already work in barbering and want to become licensed in cosmetology. In either case, if you can commit full-time to a program, you'll be able to complete the required training faster. That said, many training programs offer schedules that allow students to study either full- or part-time.

Some states may offer crossover programs for different fields, but cosmetologist/barber crossovers are by far the most common. Again, it's always important to check licensing regulations for your state.

Crossover Programs without Cosmetology Licenses

If you are not a fully licensed cosmetologist but work in a different beauty field, you'll find crossover options for you as well. Some possibilities include hair design/esthetics, esthetics/nail technology, and hair design/nail technology. These programs provide instruction in useful, productive activities that can help you enhance your value to clients and employers, potentially furthering your career.

Learn more about esthetics
Learn more about hair design
Learn more about nail technology

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