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What is Cosmetology?
The practice of cosmetology encompasses the whole of the beauty industry. Individuals in this field will style and treat hair, skin, nails. Cosmetology requires study, with some forms of care requiring an in depth or specialized education. Cosmetologists work in spas, salons, hotels and resorts, as well as any other location that may provide cosmetology service. Additionally, cosmetologists may choose to take an additional program of study that prepare individuals as instructors. Cosmetology provides a variety of services and specializations, with programs available nationwide. Individuals in this field may work for others or establish their own business.
Cosmetology programs teach students how to cut, trim and style hair, how to properly apply cosmetics, how to properly perform manicures and pedicures and provide the general education required for passing a state licensure exam. Programs will emphasize the importance of customer service, safety, and business management. Degrees in cosmetology are offered up to a master's degree, though most find an associate's degree sufficient as success in cosmetology is defined not just by education, but by experience and skill. Online programs are available for licensing exam preparation, but those pursuing an associate's degree or higher will most likely be required to attend a physical institution.
Cosmetologists have various career paths to choose from:
- Product Sales Representative
- Beauty Magazine Writer
- Salon Manager
Employment Opportunities and Licensure
A career in cosmetology will have graduates of cosmetology programs work under professionals for the first few years of their career. This is primarily due to the practical experience gained rather than any particular requirement. Cosmetology requires individuals to have good communication skills and high coordination. The ability to develop a rapport with a customer and to make them feel at ease while they are being worked upon will assist in developing a strong clientele. The cornerstone of a career in cosmetology is one's clientele, without whom any kind of long term business will be impossible.
All states require licensing to work as a cosmetologist, and a written exam will be administered based on a given state's requirements. Some states also require an oral exam and/or a practical exam. The requirements will vary from state to state and it is prudent for students to review their states requirements prior to entering a cosmetology program to ensure that the program will provide everything needed to assist in obtaining licensure after graduation.
Cosmetology is a constantly evolving field, students of cosmetology should consider returning to school to take continuing education programs every few years. By doing so, a cosmetologist will learn of new techniques or more efficient methods as well as burgeoning styles. Improving one's skill set is very important in maintaining clientele as well as growing one's customer base. The constant research of trends and attempts at new ideas will also assist in keeping one's business fresh, and possibly increasing traffic as a whole.
Job Growth and Related Fields
Cosmetology is a growing field, and is projected to grow further in the coming years due to a high demand for personal skin and hair care. Such care has seen a rise in demand due to widespread information regarding skin and hair damage due to various factors. Proper hygiene includes skin and hair care, and as such maintaining one's appearance has become extremely important. This is particularly important for individuals interested in becoming cosmetologists, as demand for such treatment is particularly high. Cosmetologists should be aware that oversaturation can occur in a given area, and should focus their business toward areas of dense population or lacking proper cosmetology resources.
For those interested in a career in cosmetologist, you may also want to consider a career as a barber, esthetician, or salon manager.
For additional information, check out the Complete Guide to a Career in Cosmetology on our blog.