When you were a kid, do you enjoy styling your Barbies’ or friends’ hair? Did you dream of becoming a stylist?
When most people think about cosmetologists, they envision hairstylists or beauticians who offer hair cutting and styling options. While these are the most common services in the beauty industry, cosmetologists are also often trained in nail, hair removal, and makeup applications. They can also offer skin treatments, such as facials.
People who work in a salon or spa must be certified as a cosmetologist, which requires traditional schooling with hands-on training. You can’t learn how to be a cosmetologist by watching YouTube videos or reading guide books. This career field is for those who want to go to school to be a professional and continue their education as new techniques develop in the field.
Cosmetologists do much more than cut hair and trim bangs. Hair services include coloring, perms, extensions, relaxers, straightenings, blow outs, updos, and more. Many cosmetologists specialize in a hair service because they are very good at it, or they took continuing education classes in one specific field of hair service to become the most advanced or knowledgeable about the techniques used.
Hair colorists specialize in changing your natural hair color in a safe way that does not damage hair, like what happens sometimes when you get a box off the shelf at your local grocery store to color your greys away. The best colorists are qualified through the American Board of Certified Hair Colorists, and top-rated salons make this a requirement of their colorists. To be board certified as a colorist, you must pass a written and practical exam. Colorists don’t only just cover grey hair, they are trained in lightening, darkening, highlighting, lowlights, and color correction.
Skin Care Services
Aestheticians are professionals who are licensed and experts in making client’s skin healthy and beautiful. Most aestheticians are limited to procedures that affect the outer layer of skin, the epidermis. Not all aestheticians work in salons and spas. Many work in skin care clinics, have private practices, or work in dermatology offices.
A cosmetologist who is a licensed aesthetician provides various skin treatments, such as microdermabrasions, non-surgical face lifts, light or ultrasound treatments, and mechanical massages.
To become a licensed aesthetician, you must be licensed in the state you want to practice. There is no federal licensure required, which means if you move to a different state, you must get licensed in the new state.
Aestheticians are governed by the cosmetology board in their state. Guidelines and required education can vary from state to state, licenses are not always transferrable. Cosmetologists have to take an exam to pass the board certification process in the state. It is smart for a cosmetologist who wants to be licensed as an aesthetician in another state to check out the requirements for that state and try to take some continuing education classes, especially if there are requirements that you don’t have much practice with or experience.
Aestheticians can also take additional classes that qualify them to work in dermatology or doctor’s offices, as well as specialize in specific treatments, such as hair removal, permanent makeup, chemical peels, and eyelash extensions. Treatments for diseases, cancer, and other disorders are only administered by a dermatologist.
Best Cosmetology Schools
Cosmetologist salaries vary depending on the region they work in. Minimum wage differs from state to state, salaries in doctor’s offices may be higher than in a salon. You may have to pay booth rental fees if you are working in a salon, pay commissions, or work for tips. You can make more money depending on your educational background.
Because networking is very important in the cosmetology field, it is a good idea to go to a school in the same area that you want to work. Your teachers are your best job references, and many of your prospective employers may be familiar with your school or instructors.
Before choosing a cosmetology school, consider these factors:
- Is the school accredited? If the school or program is not accredited, you will not qualify for your license or state certification. Don’t waste your time on these programs, unless they are strictly for self-enrichment.
- Consider the cost of tuition and cost of living in the city where the school is located. You can get financial aid through FAFSA and Pell grants at many accredited cosmetology schools.
- Classes should be offered in many different cosmetology niches and not be just a hair school. The more areas you are trained in and certified to do, the more valuable you are to prospective employers and your salary negotiation edge is increased considerably.
The Regency Beauty Institute has 88 locations in the United States and has a curriculum that includes the entire cosmetology field. Students are given hands-on training in salon environments. New programs begin monthly, so you can jump into starting your education sooner than later. You don’t have to wait for a new semester to start.
Aveda Institutes is a worldwide institute with schools in Australia and Canada, as well as 66 in the United States. More than 7,000 students graduate annually from Aveda Institutes, many who specialize in massage therapy, nail technology, and spa therapy.
The Paul Mitchell School offers diverse training opportunities in many fields of cosmetology and is known for its program in barbering, Skin Academy, and Nail Academy. It also offers teacher training and help planning their career paths.
All these schools and others help you achieve your career goal of being a top-rated cosmetologist! Ready to turn your passion into a career?