Hair Dresser Education Requirements and Career Information

Hairdressers are responsible for styling and maintaining the appearance of a customer's hair following the customer's wishes. They may own a business or work as employees and independent contractors in beauty salons, spas and nursing homes.

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Education Requirements for Hairdressers

Postsecondary public vocational schools and private beauty schools have certificate programs in hairstyling and other forms of personal appearance training, sometimes offered as cosmetology programs. High schools may also offer classes in styling. A hairstyling program is is typically completed in nine months. Introductory courses teach techniques for coloring, cutting, styling, as well as covering styling chemicals and sanitation. More advanced courses go into greater depth, and add courses in laws, regulations and salon management. However, relatively little class time is spent on desk work. Students spend much of the training time working with artificial hair.

Duties and Skills

Hairdressers cut, shape and style hair with tools, including scissors, combs, curling irons, curlers and hair driers. They also apply gel and coloring for additional effects. During or after a styling session, hairdressers may advise clients on caring for their hair at home. Hairdressers who run their own businesses also need to manage employees, order supplies and maintain billing and inventory records. A hairdresser needs an eye for personal aesthetics, manual dexterity to implement a hair design and good verbal communication skills both to discuss with customers what they want and establish a rapport that brings repeat business.

Licensing Requirements

All states require hairdressers and most other personal appearance workers to be licensed. Licensees must have a high school diploma or GED, complete a state-approved educational program and pass a licensing exam. The licensing exam may include a written portion and either a practical skills test or oral exam.

Career Information for Hairdressers

According to Payscale.com, as of February 2010, the median salary of hairdressers with 1-4 years of experience was $24,248. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) foresaw highly favorable prospects for personal appearance workers as a category and hairdressers specifically, projecting employment growth of 20% over the years 2008-2018, driven by demand for basic and advanced hair care services from an expanding population. Job competition at high-end salons was expected to be more intense.

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  • School locations:
    • Mississippi (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Pearl River Community College include:
      • Non-Degree: Coursework, Diploma
      • Undergraduate: Associate
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Cosmetology and Related Services
        • Barber and Hair Cutting Services
  • School locations:
    • 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
      • Political Science
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History
  • 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
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Human and Social Services
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Public Administration
      • Religious Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History
  • School locations:
    • 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
  • School locations:
    • Michigan (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Grand Valley State University include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Cultural Studies
      • Geography and Cartography
      • Human and Social Services
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Public Administration
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History
  • School locations:
    • 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
      • Cultural Studies
      • 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:
    • Michigan (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Michigan State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • 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
      • Religious Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History

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