How to Become a Cosmetologist
A cosmetologist is a beauty expert. When you become a cosmetologist, you will be trained in tasks like hairdressing, make up, skin care, and nail care. To be successful as a cosmetologist, you must have a good eye for design, great coordination skills, along with strong interpersonal skills.
Education Requirements to Become a Cosmetologist
The best educational start when you decide to become a cosmetologist is to complete your high school diploma. Studying a wide range of subjects will help. If you can, having a part time job that allows you to mix with a lot of different people, or work within the beauty industry will help.
After high school, there are two different paths you can take to become a cosmetologist. The first is through practical experience. You can attain an apprenticeship with a salon, where you will learn the ropes from other cosmetologists.
The second option is to attend vocational college or a specialist cosmetologist school. Here you will experience a combination of classroom theory as well as practical experience.
Your choice of education will likely depend on what qualifications you wish to end up with. For example, if you wanted to specialize as a hairdresser, then you could do this by completing an apprenticeship. If you wanted to be qualified in more than one area, it would be easier to do this by attending cosmetology vocational school.
After you complete the required education, you will also need to be licensed to practice within your state. Each state has different licensing requirements. In some places you can be registered as a cosmetologists and be allowed to provide a range of different services. In others you will need to register separately for each service. For instance, you will need a different license to provide skin care than nail art.
To become licensed, you will need to also complete the state set exam. This will be part theory, as well as part practical. If you attend vocational school or a cosmetology college, your school will set up mock exams for you to prepare.
It's a good idea to start building up a portfolio of your work while your studying. Taking photos of hairstyles you create, or make up you apply, will be helpful later on when you are looking for a job.
Cosmetologist Job Description
Depending on your specialization as a cosmetologist, your tasks can vary. One of the benefits of this job is that you are quite active, and spend a good part of the day standing. A pair of comfortable shoes is a must. You'll spend most of your time one on one with clients, so you will need to be excellent with people. Being a good listener can really help, as you'll find many clients will like to have a chat with you while you work. Here are some of the tasks a cosmetologist may complete:
- Cut and color hair
- Apply make up
- Complete facials and skin treatments
- Complete manicures and pedicures
- Communicating with clients
- Providing clients with beauty advice
- Operating a cash register
- Appointment setting and management
Cosmetologist Salary and Career Path
Cosmetologists work in clinics, small studios, and sometimes from home. Others will be mobile, and visit people in their own homes. Cosmetologists can also be employed within film and television.
When you become a cosmetologist, starting out you can expect to earn around $18,000 a year. With a few years experience you could expect this to increase up to $30,000+. Cosmetologists that own their own businesses have the potential to earn more.
Most will start working for another company, over time many go own their own businesses. One of the benefits of this role is that there is opportunity to work for yourself later on. Many choose cosmetology as a career because it fits in well with their family life. There is also scope to move into other areas of beauty if you become bored with your role, or simply want to expand your skills.
Cosmetology is a career that offers lots of variety, a good choice of working environments, as well as flexibility. For those that enjoy a busy working day spent with people from all different walks of life, this can be a very satisfying career choice.
*Salary Information provided by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics