Easy access to several top schools, and a wide range of available work paths and flexible hours, make cosmetology a top choice for many people preparing to enter the work market. To achieve state certification, cosmetologists must commit to completing several hundred hours of classroom instruction, as well as hands-on skills development in hair cutting, styling, coloring, chemical texturing, also known as perming. Students also have to study skin care, makeup application, and nail care. Cosmetology is perfect for those seeking dynamic and fast-paced employment working with a diverse clientele to improve people’s lives both visibly and through better self-esteem. Nail technicians, hair stylists, and makeup artists are just some of the specialty fields that fall under the umbrella of cosmetology. Students can also get hired as makeup artists in the entertainment and fashion industries. The minimum requirements to enter a cosmetology schooling program vary from state to state, but they generally require a high school diploma or GED, and a minimum age of 16 or 17 years of age.
While all cosmetology diploma and associate degree programs follow the state’s cosmetology licensing and certification requirements, not all will provide you with the same work opportunities upon graduation. The best cosmetology school programs provide experienced cosmetology instructors and a lower student-teacher ratio. This will help provide better course interaction and maintain close supervision during hands-on hair cutting, coloring, shaving, and nail care sessions. Students enrolled in schools with close ties to top salons will also benefit from improved employment prospects.
In order to successfully complete a diploma or associate degree program in cosmetology, it is important that students consider how they will finance their education or earn a living while completing their education. Many Cosmetology schools offer classes both during the day and in the evening. This allows students to tailor their program around other commitments, such as work, or accelerate their progress by combining both daytime and evening classes. For those that learn better by doing, a second route to obtaining their cosmetology certificate is to enroll as an apprentice under the supervision of an experienced cosmetologist at a certified teaching salon. Earning your cosmetology license through an apprentice program normally takes longer than attending school full-time. However, you will have the advantage of gaining real world work experience while you train. There are also several sources of financial aid available for cosmetology students. These include include government grants, student loans, aid to veterans, and several national scholarships available through private foundations.
Exceptional success and financial rewards have been achieved by a number of high profile beauty professionals, including Vidal Sassoon, Estée Lauder, Paul Brown, and Paul Mitchell. More modest success has been achieved by thousands of cosmetologists working at leading salons, as well as independent business people in small towns and big cities across the country and around the world. For those students wishing to expand their options, a 2-year associate degree in cosmetology includes additional general education courses in writing, speaking, math, and the humanities. This helps prepare them to pursue professions in sales, salon management, and marketing. With the beauty industry predicted to expand another 13% over the next decade, according to the US Department of Labor, now is an excellent time to pursue an education in the exciting field of cosmetology!