Cosmetology Training

Becoming A Cosmetologist

You, out of all your friends, are the go-to person for makeup and hair. You love experimenting with hairstyles and color. Not only do you have a natural talent for it, but you also have the passion and drive. This is it; cosmetology is the career for you. Nothing can stand between you and cosmetology school. Find out more about becoming a licensed cosmetologist.

What to Look For In Cosmetology School

Not all cosmetology schools are created equal. Even if they were, not all would be a perfect match for YOU. When beginning your search for the perfect cosmetology school, there are some things to ask yourself, and the admissions department, before making your final decision.

Here is a little mental checklist to use when talking to potential cosmetology schools:

  • What are the school’s accreditations?
  • Is there a tuition payment plan?
  • What type of financial aid options are there?
  • Are tools, books, supplies included?
  • Is it possible to shadow for a few hours?
  • What programs are taught? Nails, skin, barber, etc.
  • How well do they prepare their students for the state boards?
  • What’s the student to teacher ratio?
  • What’s the graduation rate?
  • Is there an opportunity to practice skills on people?
  • Is there any job placement program?

Some things to consider, on a more personal level, when picking your beauty school are things such as a location of the school, is it affordable even with financial aid, and what’s the school’s reputation. If you took a tour of the school, ask yourself how comfortable you were there. Is it a place you could see yourself going to every day because most beauty schools average 8-9 hours per day.

How To Get Your Cosmetology License

“Remember, it is not the box or the bottle that does the work, it is the hands and the mind using the color that is key.”-Rick Wellman, master colorist

Every state has its particular set of licensing requirements for cosmetology. Most states set the minimum prerequisites at 16-18 years old with a high school diploma or GED, and the passing of the cosmetology state board after completion of cosmetology school. Again, each state is different in its expectations for cosmetology.

As far as beauty school, every state has its set of minimum hours, along with specific courses that must be included with the education. Educational hours across the country range from 1,000-2,000. You can also choose to specialize. Average education hours for manicurists or nail technicians runs around 300 including coursework and hands-on training. Esthetician hours can be as little as 300 or as high as 1,500, depending on the state.

Cosmetology programs are located through community colleges, beauty schools, or vocational schools. There are certificates, diplomas, or associate’s degrees available for cosmetology. Certificates can take 9 months, diplomas 12-18 months, while associate’s degrees usually take two years.

Keep in mind, beauty schools and cosmetology schools are essentially the same thing. Also, they may have the words Academy, College, or any variation of those after their name. It’s strictly for that school’s branding purpose and has nothing to do with one type being any better than the other.

Licensing Requirements by State

  • Cosmetologist - 1500 hours or 3000 apprenticeship hours
  • Esthetician - 1500 hours or 3000 apprenticeship hours
  • Nail Technician - 750 hours or 1200 apprenticeship hours
  • Instructor - 1563 hours. Licenses for one year to receive a manager’s license

 

  • Barber - 1650 hours or 2000 apprenticeship hours
  • Esthetician - 350 hours
  • Hairdresser - 1650 hours or 2000 apprenticeship hours
  • Manicurist - 250 hours, plus 12 hours of additional instruction

 

 

 

  • Aesthetician - 600 hours
  • Cosmetology - 1600 hours
  • Manicurist - 400 hours
  • Cosmetologist Instructor - 500 hours
  • Aesthetic Instructor - 500 hours
  • Nail Technician Instructor - 350 hours

 

 

 

  • Cosmetologist - 1500 hours
  • Electrologist - 600 hours or 350 hours with 1500 cosmetologist hours
  • Esthetician - 600 hours
  • Instructor - 600 hours

 

 

 

  • Cosmetology - 1600 hours
  • Barber - 1500 hours
  • Electrologist - 600 hours or 2 year apprenticeship
  • Esthetician - 600 hours
  • Manicurists - 600 hours

 

 

 

  • Cosmetologist - 60 semester hours
  • Hairstylist - 40 semester hours
  • Barber - 50 semester hours
  • Nail technology - 20 semester hours
  • Esthetician - 20 hours

 

 

 

  • Cosmetician/Hairdresser - 1500 hours
  • Barber - 1500 hours
  • Electrologist - 600 hours

 

 

 

  • Cosmetologist - 1500 hours
  • Barber - 1500 hours
  • Electrologist - 300 hours
  • Esthetician - 600 hours
  • Nail Technology - 300 hours
  • Instructor - 250 hours with two years or more experience. 500 with less than 2 years

 

 

 

  • Cosmetologist - 1500 hours
  • Nail Technician - 350 hours
  • Skin Care - 125 hours

 

 

 

  • Cosmetologist - 1200 hours
  • Barber - 1200 hours
  • Electrologist - 320 hours
  • Hair Braider - 2 day course (16 hours)
  • Hair Wrapper - 1 day course (6 hours)

 

 

 

  • Cosmetology - 1500 hours
  • Barber - 1200 hours
  • Esthetician - 1000 hours
  • Nail Technician - 525 hours
  • Hair Design - 1000 hours
  • Teacher - 750 hours. One year experience at the master level
  • Cosmetology Clinic Teacher - 500 hours of teacher training and two years of experience, licensed or 100 hours of teacher training

 

 

 

  • Cosmetology - 1800 hours of 300 apprenticeship hours
  • Esthetics - 550 hours or 1100 apprenticeship hours
  • Nail Technician - 350 hours
  • Barber - 1500 hours

 

 

 

  • Cosmetology - 2000 hours or 4000 apprenticeship hours
  • Electrologist - 500 hours, plus 300 skin care hours of 1600 apprenticeship hours
  • Esthetics - 600 hours or 1200 apprenticeship hours
  • Nail Technology - 400 hours or 800 apprenticeship hours

 

 

 

  • Cosmetology - 1500 hours
  • Barber - 1500 hours
  • Electrologist - 600 hours
  • Esthetician - 750 hours
  • Massage therapist - 500 hours
  • Nail Technician - 350 hours
  • Hair Braider - 300 hours

 

 

 

  • Cosmetologist - 500 hours
  • Barber - 1500 hours
  • Electrologist - 300 hours, plus 1500 hours of beauty courses. 700 hours of esthetics course plus a license
  • Esthetician - 700 hours
  • Manicurist / Nail Technologist - 450 hours
  • Shampooer - 300 hours

 

 

 

  • Cosmetologist - 2100 hours
  • Electrologist - 450 hours
  • Esthetician - 600 hours
  • Nail Technologist - 325 hours
  • Cosmetology Arts & Science Instructor - 1000 hours

 

 

 

  • Cosmetology - 1500 hours
  • Esthetician - 1000 hours
  • Nail Technician - 350 hours
  • Electrologist - 500 hours

 

 

 

  • Cosmetologist - 1800 hours
  • Nail Technician - 600 hours
  • Esthetician - 1000 hours
  • Instructor - 1000 hours

 

 

 

  • Cosmetology - 1500 hours
  • Electrologist - 600 hours
  • Esthetician - 750 hours
  • Nail Technology - 500 hours

 

 

 

  • Cosmetologist - 1500 hours
  • Barber - 1500 hours
  • Aestheticians - 600 hours or 1250 apprenticeship hours
  • Electrologist - 600 hours
  • Manicurist - 200 hours or 400 apprenticeship hours

 

 

 

 

  • Cosmetologist - 1500 hours
  • Barber - 1200 hours
  • Esthetician - 600 hours
  • Electrologist - 600 hours
  • Nail Technician - 250 hours
  • Senior Cosmetologist - 2 years experience. Passing grades on Senior Cosmetologist Exam and the Cosmetologist Exam
  • Owner Salon - Submit approval of occupancy permit
  • Owner Limited Practice - Submit approval of occupancy permit
  • Apprentice Cosmetologist - Limited to 1 one-year original license and 2 one year renewal. Must complete application. Must complete 24 months of training with at last 20 hours per week. Licenses are required to mail monthly training reports to the Board each month.
  • Apprentice Esthetician - Limited to 1 one-year original license and 1 one year renewal. Must complete application. Must complete 24 months of training with at last 20 hours per week. Licensees are required to mail monthly training reports to the Board each month. Must complete 12 months of training with at least 20 hours per week. Licensees are required to mail monthly training report to the Board each month.
  • Apprentice Nail Technician - Limited to 1 one year original license. Must complete application. Must complete 8 months of training with at least 20 hours per week. Licensees are required to mail monthly training reports to the Board each month.

 

 

  • Cosmetologist / Hairdresser - 1000 hours
  • Barber - 100 hours
  • Aesthetician - 300 hours
  • Electrologist - 1100 hours, exams 2 times / year
  • Manicurist - 100 hours

 

 

 

  • Cosmetologist - 1500 hours
  • Electrologist - 400 hours or 6 month apprenticeship
  • Esthetician - 400 hours
  • Manicurist - 400 hours
  • Natural Hair Culturist - 400 hours
  • Cosmetology Instructor - 500 hours
  • Instructor - 300 hours

 

 

 

  • Cosmetology - 1500 hours
  • Esthetics - 600 hours
  • Manicuring - 350 hours
  • Wigology - 300 hours

 

 

 

  • Cosmetologist - 1500 hours or 3000 apprenticeship hours
  • Esthetician - 750 hours or 1500 apprenticeship hours
  • Manicurist - 400 hours or 800 apprenticeship hours
  • Instructor Training - 300 to 600 hours

 

 

 

  • Cosmetologist - 1500 hours
  • Barber - 2000 hours
  • Barber Supplemental - 150 hours
  • Electrologist - 600 hours
  • Esthetician - 650 hours
  • Manicurist - 400 hours
  • Microdermabrasion - 50 hours

 

 

 

  • Cosmetology - 2100 hours
  • Esthetician - 600 hours
  • Electrologist - 600 hours
  • Nail Technician - 300 hours

 

 

 

  • Cosmetologist - 1800 hours
  • Aesthetician - 600 hours
  • Electrologist - 500 hours or 1000 apprenticeship hours
  • Hair Designer - 1200 hours
  • Manicurist - 500 hours

 

 

 

  • Cosmetologist - 1500 hours or 3000 apprenticeship hours
  • Barber - 1500 hours or 3000 apprenticeship hours
  • Electrologist - 1100 hours
  • Esthetician - 600 hours
  • Manicurist - 300 hours

 

 

 

  • Cosmetologist - 1200 hours
  • Electrologist - 600 hours
  • Manicurist - 300 hours
  • Skin Care Specialist - 600 hours
  • Instructor - 600 hours

 

 

 

  • Cosmetology - 1600 hours
  • Barber - 1200 hours
  • Esthetician - 600 hours
  • Electrologist - 600 hours
  • Manicurist / Pedicurist - 350 hours
  • Manicurist / Esthetician - 600 hours
  • Instructor - 1000 hours

 

 

 

  • Cosmetology - 1000 hours
  • Esthetics - 600 hours
  • Nail Specialty - 250 hours
  • Natural Hair Styling - 300 hours
  • Waxing - 75 hours

 

 

 

  • Cosmetologist - 1500 hours
  • Esthetician - 600 hours
  • Electrologist - 600 hours
  • Manicurist - 300 hours
  • Cosmetologist Instructor - 800 hours, 5 years- full time work
  • Esthetician Instructor - 650 hours, 3 years full time work
  • Manicurist Instructor - 320 hours, 2 years full time work

 

 

 

  • Cosmetology - 1800 hours
  • Electrologist - 600 hours
  • Esthetics - 600 hours
  • Manicurist - 350 hours

 

 

 

  • Cosmetologists - 1500 hours
  • Managing Cosmetologist - 1800 hours
  • Electrologist - 600 hours
  • Esthetician - 600 hours
  • Hair Designer - 1200 hours
  • Manicurist - 200 hours
  • Natural Hair Stylist - 450 hours

 

 

 

  • Cosmetologist - 1500 hours or 3000 apprenticeship hours
  • Cosmetician - 600 hours
  • Electrologist - 600 hours
  • Esthetician / Facialists - 600 hours
  • Hair Braiding Technician - 600 hours
  • Manicurist - 600 hours

 

 

 

  • Hair Design - 1700 hours
  • Barbering - 1350 hours
  • Electrologist - 600 hours
  • Facial Technology - 500 hours
  • Nail Technology - 600 hours
  • Hair Design, Esthetics and Nail Technology - 2300 hours
  • Hair Design and Esthetics - 1950 hours
  • Hair Design and Nail Technology - 2050 hours
  • Nail Technology and Esthetics - 850 hours

 

 

 

  • Cosmetologist - 1250 hours or 2000 apprenticeship hours
  • Barber - 1250 hours or 2000 apprenticeship hours
  • Esthetician - 300 hours
  • Nail Technician - 200 hours
  • Massage Therapy - 600 hours
  • Educators - 500 hours

 

 

 

  • Cosmetology - 1500 hours
  • Nail Technology - 300 hours
  • Esthetics - 450 hours
  • Hair Braiding - 1 day course
  • Instructor - If a person has been licensed and practicing for less than two years, he/she must take a 750 hour instructor training program as well as 40 hour methods of teaching course.

 

 

 

  • Cosmetology - 2100 hours
  • Esthetician - 600 hours
  • Nail technician - 400 hours

 

 

 

  • Cosmetologist - 1500 hours
  • Esthetician - 750 hours
  • Electrologist - 600 hours
  • Manicurist - 600 hours
  • Natural Hair Stylist - 300 hours
  • Shampoo Technician - 300 hours
  • Instructor - 300 hours

 

 

 

  • Cosmetologist - 1500 hours
  • Barber - 1500 hours
  • Barber Technician - 300 hours
  • Manicurist -  600 hours
  • Facial Specialist - 750 hours

 

 

 

  • Cosmetology - 1600 hours
  • Barber - 1000 hours or 1500 apprenticeship hours
  • Electrologist - 600 hours
  • Esthetics - 600 hours
  • Master Esthetician - 1200 hours
  • Nail Technologist - 300 hours
  • Instructor - 1000 hours

 

 

 

  • Cosmetologist - 1500 hours or 2000 apprenticeship hours
  • Barber - 1000 hours or 2000 apprenticeship hours
  • Esthetician - 300 hours
  • Manicurist - 150 hours

 

 

 

  • Cosmetologist - 1500 hours
  • Barber - 1500 hours
  • Hair Braider - 170 hours
  • Nail Technician - 150 hours
  • Wax Technician - 150 hours
  • Esthetician - 600 hours
  • Master Esthetician - 600 hours

 

 

 

  • Cosmetology - 1600 hours
  • Barber - 1000 hours
  • Esthetician - 600 hours
  • Manicurist - 600 hours

 

 

 

  • Cosmetologist - 2000 hours
  • Barber - 2000 hours
  • Master Esthetics - 1200 hours
  • Esthetician - 750 hours
  • Manicurist - 400 hours

 

 

 

  • Cosmetologist - 1550 hours
  • Barbering - 1000 hours
  • Manicurist - 300 hours
  • Esthetician - 450 hours
  • Electrologist - 450 hours
  • Instructor Trainer - 150 hours

 

 

 

  • Cosmetology - 2000 hours
  • Nail Technology - 400 hours
  • Esthetics - 600 hours


 

Common Classes of Cosmetology/Beauty School

Even though every school in every area is a bit different, there are still similar courses across the board. They may have different names and use different textbooks, but the concepts are similar.

  • Basic Safety and Sanitation
  • Hair Care, design, shaping
  • Esthetics and hair removal
  • Nail care
  • Skin care, treatments
  • Management and sales
  • Makeup artistry
  • Wig care
  • Dyeing, frosting, highlighting
  • Anatomy and Physiology  
  • Product knowledge of shampoos, conditioners, gels, chemical relaxers and more

You will also learn how to perform all these services you’ll be learning, directly on a client. Many beauty schools allow for the public to come in for full services. You, the student, get practical skill credit for applying your skills on a living human being, instead of a beauty school mannequin. Typically, a specialization will add another 600 hours to your course load, but the classes and practical work will focus specifically and in more detail on your specialization.

Cosmetology Board Required Examinations

After you’ve graduated from your state-approved cosmetology/beauty school, you must take a cosmetology state board exam if you want to practice your chosen trade legally. Most states use the National-Interstate Council (NIC) of State Boards of Cosmetology for both the written and practical forms of the licensing exam.

When it comes to the licensing exam, each state has it’s own requirements. Some states call for just the written part of the exam while other states may insist on the whole shebang. It’s important to refer to your school; they’ll let you know that information as well as help you prepare for the exam.

The license must be renewed and, again, each state has its deal. Usually expect a minimal number of continuing education hours, and you must be able to show proof.

 

The Cost of Cosmetology School

“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” -Confucious

The cost of cosmetology school can vary wildly, depending on what school you choose and where it’s located. If you know you’re going to be needing financial aid, then you must attend an accredited cosmetology program; otherwise, government funds are not available.

Cosmetology school tuition costs anywhere between $5,000-$22,000. Cosmetology school tuition does not usually include extra costs like textbooks, cosmetology kids, uniforms, and when applicable, boarding. The average cost for cosmetology school textbooks runs between $2,000-$3,000. Supplies can add a few hundred dollars, as well.

Cosmetology school may seem like it’s expensive, but the costs can be offset by applying for financial aid. Learn more about financial aid here but also make sure to talk with school admissions regarding your financial aid options. Schools that are members of the American Association of Cosmetology Schools also have available scholarships.

 

Different Cosmetology Careers

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”-Nelson Mandela

Cosmetology is the umbrella heading and underneath; there are a variety of careers to choose from. While your cosmetology education should be well-rounded, learning every aspect of the field, you will probably decide to focus on one aspect of this career when you get out into the real world.

There is always a demand for hairdressers or stylists, barbers, skin care specialists, and cosmetologists. However, beyond those careers, there are a plethora of others to consider.

  • Hair color specialist
  • Manicurist
  • Salon owner
  • School instructor
  • Makeup artist
  • Research chemist
  • Salon chain management
  • Beauty care distributor
  • Beauty magazine editor/writer
  • Beauty blogger
  • Cosmetology school owner
  • Beauty care PR/Marketing
  • Trade show director

And those cosmetology careers listed are just a tip of the proverbial iceberg. If you can dream it up, you can achieve it! Whatever career you choose, and whichever school you attend, be sure to find out your state’s exact requirements by talking to the school admissions office.

 

Job Outlook

Employment growth for cosmetologists ranges depending on the profession. Barbers, hairdressers, and all other cosmetology careers, isn’t looking too bad. Between now and 2026, cosmetology jobs are expected to grow 11 percent which is faster than average when compared with all other occupations. Due to factors such as posting to social media channels, and perhaps the rise in population, more people will be looking for a professional to do their ‘do’s’. Highlighting, straightening, dyeing, you name it, we want and need it done. And, not just with anyone. Licensed, qualified cosmetologists. There is competition over available jobs, especially in busier salons.

 

Industries With The Highest Level Of Employment For Cosmetology:

Industry

Employment

Median Salary

Personal Care Services

314,130

$28,810

Department Stores

16,940

$27,200

Health & Personal Care Stores

7,540

$26,220

Motion Picture and Video Industry

1,240

Not Available

Amusement/Recreation Industry

1,180

$29,550


Salary

Cosmetology is a recession-proof career. No matter what’s going on in the economy, people still find the funds to get their hair and nails done. It’s those little pleasures that give peace of mind and self-confidence, regardless of what is happening in the world. The median pay for barbers is $12.38 an hour. Entry level barbers earn approximately $8.76 per hour, while the more established barber will bring in $43,756 annually which translates to $22.79 per hour. Hairdressers/stylists earn a little less annually than barbers. The average pay of a hairdresser is $11.66 per hour. Beginners will make $8.62/hour and those with a regular, long-time clientele will average $22.79/hour. These wages do not reflect tips which can add significantly to their bank accounts.

If you’re looking to make a bit more money working in the beauty industry, there are quite a few career options that make over $50,000 per year.

  • Esthetician: With an established client list, esthetician’s make well over $50,000 annually.
  • Salon/Spa Owner: The six figure income potential is perfect for successful salon and spa owners. There is a lot of work involved, but the rewards can be financially fruitful.
  • Product Developer: Consumers love their products. Product developers help create the look, smell, and feel of beauty products and their salaries can top $80k per year.
  • Theatrical and Performance Makeup Artist: Work with theater performers, creating their look for the stage and earn $60,000 per year.
  • Special Effects Makeup Artist: Create complete transformations with your makeup skills. Work on movie and stage sets and bring home over $50,000.
  • Celebrity Beauty Makeup Artist: This glamorous career has you working with the stars. This is an exceptionally competitive area of the industry and the salaries can be well over $90,000 annually.  

Top Paying Industries

Industry

Salary

Offices of Other Health Practitioners

$41.460

Accounting/Tax/Payroll/Bookkeeping

$39,900

Other Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

$39,480

Civic and Social Organizations

$37,820

General Medical and Surgical Hospitals

$35,210

 

Top Paying States

State

Salary

District of Columbia

$43,630

Washington 

$38,160

Hawaii

$38,080

New Jersey

$36,960

Virginia

$36,060

 

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