Hair braiding is a traditional African art that has gained popularity in the United States, especially among African Americans. It is a painstaking, meticulous form of hair design that leads to a distinctive look that is neat, orderly, attractive, and easy to maintain. Many African Americans are choosing to braid their hair rather than submit to hair straightening procedures that require strong chemicals.
Hence, hair braiding has become a hair design specialty that is offered in some salons and spas, as well as in free-standing hair braiding studios. If you enjoy fine detail work that is also artistic, you like working with people, and you are looking for a career in the beauty industry, then hair braiding in Iowa may be a good career choice for you!
Braiding hair in Iowa requires that you be licensed as either a cosmetologist or a hair dresser. For the cosmetology license, you will need 2100 hours of coursework in an accredited program. For the hair dresser license you will need to complete 1650 hours of coursework. Both courses of study are available in beauty schools across that state as well as in some community colleges offering two year associates degrees. When you have completed your coursework, you can sit for the licensing exam which is composed of two parts: theoretical (written) and practical. You will gain practical experience first by watching videos of licensed professionals practicing the various skills, then watching actual professionals perform them on clients. Eventually you will get to practice the skills on each other and eventually on live clients.
Your coursework will prepare you for the full range of activities performed by hairdressers and cosmetologists including shampooing and conditioning, perming and straightening, coloring and highlighting, as well as cutting and hairstyling. Your courses will focus on skin and hair, techniques for taking care of both, sterilization and sanitation procedures and regulations in Iowa, customer satisfaction, and current styles. You may also learn something about the business side of the beauty business.
Hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists in the state of Iowa earned an average wage of $22,400 in 2013, which is the most recent year for which these statistics were recorded. While a bit lower than the national average wage for hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists, which was $23,100, the cost of living in Iowa is low relative to other areas of the country. Also, if you develop a specialty area like hair braiding you may be able to charge more for your services. And if you eventually go out on your own and open your own hair braiding studio, devoted exclusively to hair braiding, you may be able to earn even more as a small business owner. The field of hairdressing, hairstyling, and cosmetology is expected to grow between 8% and 14% from 2012 to 2022, meaning jobs should be there for individuals graduating from beauty school.
Hair braiding, particularly when it involves braiding the whole head, is one of the most time consuming of the beauty arts. As a result, you may see fewer clients during the course of a day, and spend more time with each of them, relative to other hair dressers and hair stylists. It is necessary that you have excellent hand-eye coordination, a good design sense, and the ability to develop rapport with people. The opportunity exists for people to talk while they are having their hair braided, and many people like to do that, so you will need to be a good listener with empathy and compassion for your clients. You will also need to know how to weave hair extensions, as many people use hair extensions in their braiding designs. When you are finished braiding an entire head of hair, your client will have an attractive, easy to manage hair style, free of chemicals, that is easy to maintain and lasts a relatively long time. Most hair braiding clients, but not all, are women and girls. Most hair braiders begin their careers working at a spa or beauty salon, usually in a private area or room where it is easier to concentrate without being distracted. Some go on to open their own hair braiding studios, making them small business owners, with all the responsibilities that entails, but also with the possibility of much greater reward. If the idea of a specialty niche within the hair styling field appeals to you, and you are quite dexterous and have an eye for design, a career as a hair braider in Iowa may be a good career choice for you.
Iowa Board of Cosmetology Arts & Sciences
Lucas State Office Building, 5th Floor
321 E. 12th Street Des Moines, IA
Phone Number: 515-281-0254
Fax Number: 515-281-3121
The Iowa State Board of Cosmetology can help you with any additional questions you may have about the licensing process.
Personal hair grooming on a whole has seen a boom in Iowa thanks to
more professionals opening their own salons. Customers there expect
to receive a diverse amount of services, including unique styles of hair
braiding. For those who want to add this skill or pursue a career, they
find information through these resources.
Iowa Department of Public Health
National Interstate Council of Boards of Cosmetology
Professional Beauty Association