Starting your new line of work can be so exciting. You’ll have classes to schedule, friends to make, and hundreds of things to learn in the industry you love. And while you’re eager to get started, everything may seem almost scarily new at the beginning. Don’t worry; within a few weeks, so much will seem old hat.
In the meantime, here’s how your job path might look. Check out the following cosmetology career opportunities that are available to you as you grow in skills throughout the years, and “meet” your coworkers in the salon.
He or she is the face of the salon: If receptionists are friendly and helpful, clients feel good about the business. In this position, you’re the first person to greet each client. This is an essential role in the functioning of a great salon, and it’s a great way to start working in the beauty world before you have your license.
Providing customer service, comfort, and attention, you will care for the clients before they are called back for their appointments. Other responsibilities include answering calls and inquiries, making appointments, handling transactions, managing product inventories, and attending to other administrative tasks.
The shampooist is responsible for shampoo services as well as the cleanliness of the salon, which can include sweeping up hair, stocking products and towels, and making tea and coffee. In your time with the client, you will apply shampoo, conditioner, and other treatments, such as deep conditioner or toner. You will also rinse clients’ hair once bleach or dye has done its work. In some salons, shampooists are encouraged to provide relaxing head, neck, and shoulder massages.
Perhaps surprisingly, you may need a license to do your work: Tennessee is one state that requires 300 hours of training and you to pass an exam to wash hair professionally.
For many, a junior stylist position may be the first step to becoming a hairdresser. Junior stylists work with senior stylists to learn the trade and are often hired to work as an intern. At this point in your career, you’ll be confident in specialty cutting, coloring, and salon services. Being a junior stylist doesn’t mean clients will receive less than perfect work, it just means you are newer to the industry and have more openings in your schedule. In some salons, stylists advance as their customer bases grow, while in others they are required to pursue continued education and earn several years of experience.
Senior stylists typically fill in the middle tier of the stylist hierarchy. When you reach the senior level, you require little to no supervision and have the knowledge and skills that usually equate to a higher cost for a customer. Senior stylists see an increase in job duties: In addition to previous duties as a junior stylist, you may advise on hair and scalp problems, order materials, and make sure products are used and stored correctly.
In most salons, the master stylist title is the ultimate goal when becoming a hairdresser. You help train and mentor junior stylists, moving them up the ranks to senior stylists. Your experience helps you use a variety of cutting and styling methods that those with less experience may not know. Master stylists typically have a large customer base and log regular continuing education credits. Haircuts by master stylists are often the most expensive in the salon.
Learn “Off The Record”
If you can, take a position in a salon before you start classes or while receiving your education. Even if you aren’t working in your dream role yet, the experience will be a great learning tool. It will also make it easier to snag a job later—salon managers and owners like to see you have firsthand knowledge of how everyone in a salon works together.