Education Requirements to Become a Cosmetologist
Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a cosmetologist. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.
Cosmetologists help customers change or update their physical appearance. Many cosmetologists focus on cutting, coloring and styling hair. Other cosmetologists specialize in fields such as skincare or nails.
All cosmetologists and specialists have to complete a cosmetology training program to be eligible for state licensing exams. Cosmetology programs generally take 9-12 months to complete, but specialist programs can be completed in about six months.
|Required Education||Postsecondary training program|
|Other Requirements||State licensure|
|Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)*||13% for hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists|
|Median Annual Salary (2013)*||$23,140 for hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Cosmetologists are required to complete training at a certified cosmetology school to get licensed. Most cosmetology schools base their curricula on state licensing requirements, but every state has different requirements. Nevertheless, common cosmetology coursework includes hair cutting and styling, safety procedures and business management. Most cosmetology programs also provide basic training in makeup application, manicures, massage therapy and skincare treatments. Cosmetology programs range from 1,000-1,500 hours.
Students can choose to specialize in individual cosmetology fields. Estheticians, or skincare professionals, take courses that cover facial treatments, body wraps, skincare chemicals and body hair removal techniques. Nail technicians, also called manicurists, participate in coursework that covers manicures, pedicures, artificial nails, nail color treatments and nail diseases. Specialist programs typically require around 600 hours of coursework.
Both cosmetologists and specialists have to adhere to state licensing requirements. Most states have age restrictions, as well as minimum education requirements. To be eligible for licensing exams, individuals must complete a set number of training hours during cosmetology school.
Licensing exams can include written or practical tests, and sometimes both. Written exams cover questions about sanitation rules, chemical usage, hair styling techniques and state laws. Practical tests involve applicants following directions to style a mannequin or model. Some states also administer an oral examination in which applicants must provide verbal answers to cosmetology-related questions.
Many states have licenses for each cosmetology specialty. Some states combine specialties under one unified license. After cosmetologists obtain their license, they might have to renew it by periodically paying a fee and filling out appropriate paperwork. Cosmetologists who hold a license in one state might have to get additional licenses to work in other states.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
In 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted 13% job growth for cosmetologists, hairdressers and hairstylists, through 2022. In 2013, the BLS reported an annual median wage of $23,140 for individuals in these occupations.
Related to Education Requirements to Become a Cosmetologist
- Recently Updated
A certificate from an accredited school of beauty or cosmetology can get you started on an exciting career as a hair stylist,...
Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a cosmetology manager. Get a quick view of the requirements for...
Find out what types of skills can be learned in an associate's program in cosmetology. Learn about the job and salary forecast...
Find out how to become a nail technician. Research the education and training requirements, and learn about the experience you...
- Become a Salon Manager: Step-by-Step Career Guide
- How to Become a Beauty Department Manager
- Associate of Cosmetology: Management Degree Overview
- Aircraft Maintenance Engineer: Job Description and Requirements
- Career Info for a Degree in Radiological Science & Technologies
- Ethnobotanist: Job Description, Duties and Requirements
- Cardiac Sonographer: Job Description, Duties and Requirements