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 A career in cosmetology can be exciting and lucrative, and can offer you a chance to work creatively as well as meeting lots of people. Cosmetology is a broad term that covers a wide variety of different types of work. It essentially refers to working as an expert in the use of cosmetics and cosmetic treatments, and covers all kinds of roles in the world of beauty.

Hair stylists, manicurists, colorists, make up artists and beauty therapists specializing in skin care are all cosmetologists, and cosmetologists can work at salons or spas, or work on a mobile, self employed basis. There are also cosmetologists who work in fashion or in the television and movie industries, and those who do specialized work such as bridal hair and make up.

How do you get into cosmetology as a career?

Cosmetologists are required to be certified, and the requirements are state specific, so if you are interested in a career in cosmetology the first thing to do is to find out what the qualifications you’ll need are in the state you want to work in and the field of cosmetology you are interested in.

The field you are interested in will also determine what sort of courses you should look for. Some people do general beauty therapy work, and learn how to do all different cosmetology related things, whereas others specialize in hair, nails, make up or skin. If you really want to be a make up artist and don’t want to study hair, then a general course that includes all areas of cosmetology wouldn’t be right for you. Equally, if you want to be a barber, you may not want to have to learn about acrylic nails!

Once you know the qualifications you need and have identified what you want to study, you can look for courses. You can study full time, or part time alongside high school or even a job. How long it takes to qualify will depend on your specific course and how many hours a week you can spend in class.

How much can you earn as a cosmetologist?

Because cosmetology is such a diverse industry, it is hard to put a number on what your potential earnings will be when you get your first job, or as you move up the ladder of your chosen beauty profession. The average earnings across the beauty therapy and cosmetology industry, according to a review by the National Accrediting Commission Cosmetology Arts & Sciences are between $30,000 and $48,000 a year, however these are median averages meaning there are plenty of new cosmetologists who earn significantly less, and of course celebrity hair stylists and beauticians who earn much, much more!

How much you earn in your chosen field of cosmetology will also be largely dependent on where you work. In a prestigious, expensive salon or spa you will obviously earn more, both in terms of wage and in tips, and as you rise up through the ranks within your chosen professional discipline your wages will increase too. Some cosmetologists also study management and business topics at beauty school, with the intention of opening their own salon or getting a job in a salon management position.

What are the benefits of being a cosmetologist?

As a cosmetologist, hopefully you will be doing something you are interested in and enjoy, but there are some other benefits to working in the beauty industry that you may not have considered.

  • There are jobs in cosmetology everywhere, so if you want to move to another city or even another part of the world, you’ll have skills that will help you find a new job (you may have to do a conversion course of some kind to get the required qualifications for the place you want to work).
  • Cosmetology is always in demand, even when the economy isn’t doing well, so you have a secure skill base that will always be in demand.
  • There are so many different technical beauty disciplines and new products to work with, that you should never get bored.
  • You can work flexibly, or become self employed, making it an easy career to fit around your family life.