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Salon Stylist: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Salon stylists primarily perform hair cutting and styling, though may provide other services to clientele. All states require licensure for stylists, and most require graduation from a formal training program. Certificate and associate's degree programs are standard options for most salon stylists.

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Job Description for a Salon Stylist

Salon stylists provide a variety of hair care and beauty services. Found primarily in a barber shop, beauty parlor, or full-service salon, stylists may be employed for specialized treatments, regular appointments, or special occasions, such as weddings or graduations. To remain competitive, stylists may expand their repertoire to include other salon services. Salon stylists typically rely on repeat business and regular customers.

Duties of a Salon Stylist

Salon stylists perform a broad range of beauty services, from cutting hair to performing scalp treatments. Typical duties include shampooing, cutting, and styling hair, though they may also provide hair treatments, including deep conditioning, permanents, hair coloring, and weaving. Due to the number of services offered at most salons, stylists must be skilled at using a wide range of beauty products and tools.

Salon stylists must be able to work with a variety of hair lengths, types, and textures. Skilled stylists are able to recognize problems of the hair or scalp and recommend appropriate treatments. Other amenities a stylist may provide include:

  • Manicures
  • Pedicures
  • Waxing
  • Massage
  • Facials
  • Makeup application

Requirements for a Salon Stylist

Salon stylists and hair care technicians must acquire state licensure. Qualifications vary from state to state, though most require graduation from high school and a state-approved cosmetology program. Stylists interested in offering other salon services may need to obtain additional licensure. Continuing education courses are necessary in some states to maintain a valid license.

Most schools offer a completion or achievement certificate to graduates of each type of specialty, such as hair styling, nail care, or makeup artistry. Students may also opt to earn an associate's degree from a community or vocational college. Degree programs include general education courses in addition to the professional cosmetology program. Certificate and degree programs generally provide hands-on training in lab settings, and some schools offer public services for first- and second-year students.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the employment of hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists is expected to increase by about 16% between 2010 and 2020. Although the high rate of turnover in this career will ensure job opportunities, competition will be tougher to secure positions at higher-paying salons. The BLS published the median annual salary earned by hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists as $22,700 in May 2012. Those working in television, film, and for performing arts companies earned the most money, with the averages in these fields reported as more than $56,000.

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List of the Top Hair Stylist Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

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    • Wisconsin (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Milwaukee Area Technical College include:
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Cosmetology and Related Services
        • Hair Design
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    • Puerto Rico (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at D'Mart Institute include:
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Cosmetology and Related Services
        • Aesthetician and Skin Care
        • Barber and Hair Cutting Services
        • Hair Design
        • Nail Technician - Manicurist
        • Permanent Cosmetics and Tattooing
  • School locations:
    • North Dakota (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of North Dakota include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Geography and Cartography
      • Human and Social Services
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
      • Parks, Recreation and Leisure Studies
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Public Administration
      • Religious Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History
  • School locations:
    • Texas (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of North Texas include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Geography and Cartography
      • Human and Consumer Sciences
      • Human and Social Services
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
      • Parks, Recreation and Leisure Studies
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Public Administration
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History
  • School locations:
    • Tennessee (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at East Tennessee State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Geography and Cartography
      • Human and Consumer Sciences
      • Human and Social Services
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
      • Philosophy
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      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History
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    • Rhode Island (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Brown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
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    • Georgia (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Macon State College include:
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Human and Social Services
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
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    • Michigan (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Grand Valley State University include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
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      • Cultural Studies
      • Geography and Cartography
      • Human and Social Services
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
      • Philosophy
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      • Public Administration
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      • Social Studies and History
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    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at San Diego State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering
      • Biomedical and Medical Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Computer Engineering
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    • Michigan (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Michigan State University include:
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