Educational requirements to become a cosmetologist do vary by state, however every state does require a cosmetologist to have a valid license which is obtained by graduating from an accredited cosmetology school. An apprenticeship may be substituted for graduation but do be prepared to prove your knowledge and skills in cosmetology by passing an exam.
They typical cosmetology training program lasts from 9 months to one year and students are taught hair cutting and styling, chemical services such as perms, hair color preparation and application as well as facials, massages, eyebrow shaping, manicures, pedicures and acrylic nails application.
Some cosmetology courses may also include training in hair and scalp analysis and scalp disorders as well as further education on color application techniques, principles of hair design, hair removal, chemistry and safety for nail enhancement, massage techniques, safe work practices and cosmetology law. Many courses also provide instruction on salon management.
Cosmetology Career - Employment
Once you have completed cosmetology school and have acquired your license your next goal would be to find employment. (Most cosmetologists specialize in one area such as hairstyling or as a nail technician, you can find out more about the different areas of Cosmetology by reading our article on Cosmetology Job Descriptions.) Most schools of cosmetology help their students find jobs and some schools may even offer a lifetime placement service so that graduates may return and receive assistance in finding work and/or continuing their studies. The reputation of your cosmetology school can also greatly enhance your job opportunities.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2010-2011 "Barbers, cosmetologists, and other personal appearance workers held about 821,900 jobs in 2008. Of these, barbers and cosmetologists held 684,200 jobs, manicurists and pedicurists 76,000, skin care specialists 38,800, and shampooers 22,900." Of these numbers, 44% are self employed while the rest work for establishments such as beauty salons and spas.
It is expected that employment in all areas of cosmetology are to grow much faster than average over the years and that cosmetology workers will grow by 20 percent from 2008 to 2018. These trends will vary among different occupations in cosmetology with hairdressing and hairstylists coming out at the top, expected to increase by 20%.
Job prospects are considered to be quite good, especially for licensed, entry-level positions. However, it is said that for higher end and higher paying salons, competition will be tougher as these positions are relatively few and those with previous experience and whom are licensed to provide a broad range of services have a better chance at obtaining these positions.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Barbers, Cosmetologists, and Other Personal Appearance Workers, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos332.htm
Written by Erin @ Giell Beauty Supply