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Cosmetology School Basics

Cosmetology not only offers a number of creative and diverse career choices, it also weathers well during hard economic times. According to USA Today, beauty salon sales grew 5.4% in the past few years, compared to only a 2.3% increase in 2009.

People always want and need to feel beautiful…We make such amazing changes in people’s lives. Never, ever forget that. -Anthony Cole, firstchair.com

Before you can begin to bring out the outer beauty in others you need to first complete a cosmetology program best suited for you.  Cosmetology schools vary greatly from one to another, with most programs requiring 9 to 12 months to complete.  If you are looking to get into the beauty field right away, cosmetology school is just what you need.

Since all cosmetologists must be licensed in the state where they choose to work, cosmetology schools will prepare you to pass your state’s exams. Basic cosmetology courses include training in hair cutting and styling, in addition to color and permanent wave treatments. Nail care, makeup, and skincare are also part of the curriculum. Some cosmetology schools also offer specialized programs if you are interested in one area, such as esthetics. Cosmetologists often choose continuing education courses to stay current about fashion and beauty industry trends as well as innovative treatments, techniques and products new to the market.

If you attend a school accredited through the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences (NACCAS), you may qualify for federal financial aid funding, including Pell grants and Stafford Loans.

Typical day-to-day responsibilities

As a cosmetologist, you may be responsible for nail care and treatment, cutting and styling hair, applying makeup, and educating clients about skincare. Once licensed, you are the artist inspiring and helping individuals feel confident in the way they look. Cooperation, attention to detail and initiative are essential traits in the field. Active listening, critical thinking and complex problem solving are also important skills vital for success in cosmetology so that you can provide clients the best look for them.

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Necessary skills and abilities for being a cosmetologist

When you start cosmetology school you will soon find that being in good physical health, including strength and agility, is a must because you will be on your feet for hours at a time.  Working in the beauty industry though is worth it!  Other good traits to have include  cooperation, attention to detail, initiative, active listening, critical thinking and complex problem solving abilities.  These will help you to provide the best service to your clients and ultimately allow you to have a successful career.

Career Opportunities After Cosmetology School

Career opportunities include a broad spectrum of choices for licensed professionals. If you enjoy fast paced energy you can pursue opportunities in the entertainment and high-fashion industry as hairstylists and makeup artists. Business-savvy professionals often take on managerial roles in spas and salons, while those interested in sales and networking may choose to represent cosmetic or skincare lines. Abundant opportunities for self-employment provide an attractive incentive for individuals interested in managing their own consultation services or working as a freelancer in the entertainment and high-fashion industries. In fact, 35 percent of all cosmetologists choose to work independently. Self-employment requires additional skills in administration, sales, and record-keeping. Business courses included in cosmetology programs should provide a good foundation for students with entrepreneurial aspirations.

Job Outlook

According to the latest edition of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics handbook, cosmetology rebounded quickly during the unstable economic downturn in 2008 and 2009, while a large percentage of other businesses declined. Job-growth projections of 34 percent for the period between 2008 to 2018 are some of the highest among U.S. businesses. Jobs for skincare specialists, or estheticians, are expected to increase by 51 percent during the same period. Cosmetology is a rapidly growing profession with exciting and potentially lucrative rewards for those who excel in the field.

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