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Cosmetology Instructor Job Description and Career Options

A cosmetology instructor is trained in the teaching methods needed to impart a variety of skills used by hairstylists, manicurists, make-up artists and other workers in the beauty industry. They are licensed professionals who teach in junior and community colleges, cosmetology schools, and vocational and technical schools. An aspiring cosmetology instructor needs to be personable and knowledgeable in the field of cosmetology in order to pursue a teaching career.

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Job Description of a Cosmetology Instructor

A cosmetology instructor teaches a variety of courses in nail technology, hair styling and other beautifying arts. Instructors typically teach in 2-year colleges and cosmetology schools. Record keeping is a vital part of a cosmetology instructor's routine, both in teaching and in managing a cosmetology practice. Cosmetology instructors also teach business skills, such as management and marketing, since cosmetologists often run their own businesses.

Education Requirements

Cosmetology instructors usually begin their careers as licensed cosmetologists or beauticians and then take further coursework to enter a career in education. A cosmetology license and six months to two years of field experience are common prerequisites for admission to an instructor training or certificate program. Coursework typically includes teaching methods and theories, teaching theory, and developing evaluation techniques. A typical cosmetology instructor certificate program takes about a year to complete, depending on the program and the school.

Licensing and Certification

Most states require cosmetologists to be licensed, and some states require additional licensure for cosmetology instructors. Typical requirements include two years of on-the-job experience or 1,000 hours of training at an approved cosmetology arts and science school. Most license exams are administered by the National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC), with prerequisites varying depending on the state in which the cosmetology instructor wishes to practice (www.nictesting.org). Once employed, cosmetologists often need eight hours of continuing education credits per year to maintain their licenses.

Career Options

With teaching experience, a cosmetology instructor may advance to the position of education director at a cosmetology school. An education director is in charge of a school's entire instructional program and may also be responsible for business and enrollment concerns. Another career option for a cosmetology instructor is to become a platform artist and educator, teaching and demonstrating the latest beauty techniques and styles at trade shows and other venues.

A cosmetology instructor may choose to go into a related occupation, such as fashion consulting or salon product sales. Some even take positions as examiners for state cosmetology licensing boards. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for all personal appearance workers, a group that includes cosmetologists and related occupations, is bright. Jobs are expected to grow by 20% between 2008 and 2018, a rate far speedier than average (www.bls.gov).

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  • School locations:
    • North Carolina (1 campus)
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    Areas of study you may find at Empire Beauty School include:
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Cosmetology and Related Services
        • Cosmetology, Hair, and Nail Instructor
  • School locations:
    • Illinois (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at American Career College include:
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Cosmetology and Related Services
        • Cosmetology, Hair, and Nail Instructor
        • Nail Technician - Manicurist
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    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Informatics and Illustration
      • Medical Residency Programs
  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Harvard University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Dental
      • Medical and Health Preparatory Sciences
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Public Health and Safety
  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Dental
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Ethics and Bioethics
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Mental Health Services
      • Nursing Professions
      • Public Health and Safety
      • Veterinary Medicine and Clinical Sciences
  • School locations:
    • 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
      • Medical Ethics and Bioethics
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Public Health and Safety
  • School locations:
    • North Carolina (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Duke University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nursing Professions
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
  • School locations:
    • Indiana (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Notre Dame include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Medical and Health Preparatory Sciences
  • School locations:
    • Columbia (D.C.) (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Georgetown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nursing Professions
      • Optometric and Ophthalmic Services
      • Public Health and Safety

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