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Cosmetology Careers

Cosmetology careers refer to several different beauty-related jobs.

Multiple skills are necessary to succeed as a cosmetologist. Some are more important than others depending on your chosen career. No matter what job you are interested in, communication is key. Beauticians must maintain a positive relationship with their clients.

Beauticians must be able to clearly communicate to get a better idea of what exactly the client wants. Creativity is important for beauticians. As clients grow more comfortable with a beautician, they give the beautician more freedom to experiment with different styles and techniques.

The requirements for cosmetology careers vary, but a few similarities exist no matter what the profession. Beauticians always require state licensing or certification. While it is not technically required, many employers place additional requirements on their employees, while others prioritize work experience. More details about becoming a cosmetologist are listed below.

Cosmetology Career Education Requirements

To get the necessary certification to work in a cosmetology career, you must complete a course at a beauty school. Most beauty schools have minimal requirements to enroll, such as being at least 16 years of age and having either a high school diploma or a GED.

How long the course takes changes based on both your state and the school you enroll in. The type of cosmetology career you are interested in may change how long it takes to become certified. Most classes are relatively short, last at most a few months.

Additional requirements exist depending on your state. Some states allow you to get certified once you finish the necessary credit hours, while others require you to get practical experience before receiving your certification. Other states allow you to waive the educational requirements by working as an apprentice cosmetologist instead.

Once you receive your cosmetology certification, you must keep it up to date. When you receive your license, you are told how long it is valid for and what you must do to renew it annually. Contact your state licensing board directly if you need more information.

Career Options

When you enroll in cosmetology school, choose what programs you specialize in based upon your preferences. If you are unsure where you want to specialize, take a general program to learn a wide range of beautician skills.

Typically, specialists make more money than general students. You can always become specialized at a later date once you find an area you are interested in pursuing long-term. Having a general set of beautician skills is not a bad idea because it lets you apply for a number of different jobs.

A common option for beauticians is to specialize as a nail technician. Nail technicians are typically in high demand across the United States. Nail technicians must have good social skills in addition to their beautician training. Good eyesight and a steady hand are important traits for a nail technician. Common services provided by nail technicians include the following:

  • Cleaning and trimming.
  • Polishing.
  • Nail art, including applying gels and acrylics.
  • Moisturizing.
  • Manicures.

The second most popular cosmetology career is hairdressing. The most basic duties of a hairdresser include cutting and styling hair. Styling includes simple techniques like straightening or curling hair, but it includes more advanced techniques like shaping or coloring as well. Good eyesight and dexterity are important skills for hairdressers.

Hairdressers spend most of the day on their feet, so endurance is important as well. If you do not want to work at a salon, you must have strong marketing skills to advertise your services.

Most cosmetology jobs are either through a salon or spa. Even freelance cosmetologists frequently operate out of these spaces, renting salon space to use as their own.

More advanced cosmetologists work in different spaces, such as a makeup artist working in a production studio. These jobs require not only a strong knowledge of makeup techniques but of lighting, cameras and special effects used on set. These jobs are more demanding than typically cosmetology careers, as many shoots require heavy makeup, which must be reapplied consistently throughout the day.

Other Types of Cosmetology Careers

In addition to nail technicians and hairdressers, several other popular cosmetology careers exist as options. One career to consider is working as an aesthetician. Aestheticians are skin care specialists who provide their clients with either cosmetic or clinical treatments, including facials or extractions.

Aestheticians commonly work in a spa setting. In addition to providing skin care treatment, aestheticians offer clients skincare advice and come up with specific routines for their clients to follow.

Aestheticians need strong customer service skills. Marketing knowledge helps aestheticians pitch specific treatment plans or products. Aestheticians who do not work in a spa may find employment in a dermatology clinic instead.

Beauticians who perform electrolysis, the act of removing hair through an electric current, are known as electrologists. Electrologists utilize one of two methods to remove hair. The first is the galvanic method, which uses an electrical chemical reaction to eliminate the cells responsible for hair growth. The second method is thermolysis, which gets rid of hair growth cells by applying heat. Because they use specialized equipment, becoming an electrologist requires a little more training than other cosmetology careers. In addition to working at salons and spas, electrologists work in medical offices.

If you are interested in a cosmetology job that does not involve applying makeup, work as a massage therapist. Massage therapists provide both medicinal and therapeutic massages to clients. Many massage therapists work in spas and salons, as well as medical facilities or sports centers. It is easier for massage therapists to work independently, since being a massage therapist does not require extensive tools like other cosmetology careers.

Helpful Tips

Appearance is important to cosmetologists. You must maintain a clean and professional looking workspace. If you work in unsanitary conditions, clients do not want to visit you. Whether you work independently or for a salon, time management skills are important. Avoid booking appointments back to back if you think one session might run longer than the other. Make sure you give yourself enough time to clean your supplies as well.