Make Up Artist: Education Requirements & Career Summary

Those seeking formal training in the application of make up and related cosmetics may wish to enroll in a cosmetology program. Theater degree programs also typically include stage make up courses. Make up artists may work in a variety of entertainment or personal beauty service careers.

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Educational Requirements for Make Up Artists

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that most beauty professionals complete formal training through programs that require at least a high school diploma or its equivalent for admission. Some states may require cosmetologists and make up artists to have a state license, especially when they also work with hair. Licensing requirements vary for each state.

Cosmetology Program

Make up artists can receive professional training through a cosmetology associate's degree program offered at a community college. Cosmetology students learn a broad range of beauty services including make up application, hair cutting and styling, skin care treatments and nail care. Students also learn state regulations, sanitation, bacteriology and business skills. More concise programs, without general education stipulation, are prominently available through privately owned beauty schools.

Theater Degree

Those who aspire to work as make up artists for film and theater can earn a bachelor's degree in theater. Many of these programs incorporate make up into the curriculum, and some offer concentrations in make up. Students learn basic make up application, special effects (like wounds and aging) and corrective make up. Students may put their knowledge to the test during school productions.

Career Overview

Job Description

Make up artists start out by discussing and planning the clients' desired end result. They may directly apply make up to models and actors or work with a team who helps implement the look. In some cases, the talent may be taught to apply some of the product on their own face and body as well.

Duties

Make up artists analyze the skin to figure what type it is and to study the face's natural curves and shape. They prep the skin for make up application by cleansing and moisturizing to prevent any adverse reactions. Using various cosmetic substances like powders, creams, gloss and lipstick, make up artists create the client's preferred results.

For clients who are actors, make up artists use make up to transform them into a different character. Make up is used to age someone, make them a different race, create mock-up wounds and create other special effects. Wigs, false eyelashes and prosthetics are also used by make up artists. Theatrical make up artists sometimes research time periods and settings, read scripts and consult with directors to ensure the make up is appropriate for the character.

Outlook

Performance-related make up artist jobs are expected to grow only 3% between 2010 and 2020 according to the BLS. Cosmetologist, hairdresser and hairstylist jobs are expected to increase 16% between 2010 and 2020, due partly to the need to replace those who leave the occupation, reported the BLS. The source notes that candidates may have to compete for the highest-paying positions.

Salary

In May 2012, theatrical and performance make up artists brought home an annual mean income of $67,580, stated the BLS. The same source revealed that cosmetologists earned an annual mean income of $26,790 as of May 2012.

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