WHAT IS COSMETOLOGY? Definition, Duties & All You Need to Know

What is Cosmetology

Cosmetology can be the ideal career for you if you have a passion for the beauty business or are fascinated by hairstyle and nail design. Practitioners of cosmetology assist clients in looking their best by enhancing their hair, skin, and nails. To practice their craft, cosmetologists are required to complete significant study and training and obtain a license from the state’s certifying body. In this piece, we will clarify what cosmetology is, its branches, its salary, course, and license.

What is Cosmetology?

The art and science of beautifying hair, skin, and nails is known as cosmetology. With an average growth of 19%* (*BLS.gov), it is currently one of the most in-demand jobs in the U.S.A. That is a lot quicker than the national average for all jobs. Have you ever been curious about what a cosmetology job entails?

In addition to giving you creative freedom, flexible work schedules, and the chance to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others, cosmetology also helps each client you take care of gain confidence. An easy way for a cosmetologist to sell themselves electronically, use their creative brilliance, and establish a really well-known reputation for themselves is because the beauty sector is currently one of the most well-liked topics on all social media platforms. One guest at a time, as a cosmetologist, you will have the chance to improve the beauty of the entire planet.

What Do Cosmetologists Actually Do?

The wide range of talents you can acquire as a cosmetologist is one of its best features. If you have a love for hair, you can train to be a cosmetologist and work as a hairstylist. You can train to become a cosmetologist and offer manicures and pedicures if all you want to do is work on your nails. In reality, a cosmetologist might have created the most recent makeup fad or might have assisted you in getting wonderfully colored hair at your upcoming hair appointment. Just a handful of the services that cosmetologists with a license can offer are listed below.

#1. Hair Services

Have you ever wanted to work in the hair industry? Are you interested in finding out how to get the ideal curls? Perhaps you’re curious about how to choose the hair color that looks best on you. The first step is to work toward becoming a cosmetologist. A cosmetologist could become proficient in the following services:

  • Haircuts
  • Hairstyles
  • Perms
  • Chemical Treatments
  • Shampooing
  • Straightening hair
  • Bleaching
  • Coloring

#2. Skin Services

Cosmetologists can also assist people in achieving flawless, bright skin. Would you rather concentrate on skincare and how to provide your clients with healthy-looking skin? Estheticians can apply, however, licensed cosmetologists can also submit an application:

  • Facials
  • Makeup
  • Waxing
  • Tweezing

#3. Nail Services

Do you enjoy the way newly painted nails look? Do you wish to learn how to put them into practice? Cosmetologists with licenses can:

  • Manicures
  • Pedicures
  • Gel Nails
  • Acrylic Nails
  • Silk Nails

Branches of Cosmetology

Hair styling, skincare, cosmetics, manicures and pedicures, non-permanent hair removal techniques like waxing and sugaring, and permanent hair removals techniques like electrology and intense pulsed light (IPL) are all branches of the cosmetology specialization.

Cosmetology specialties

#1. Cosmetologist

Cosmetologists are qualified and licensed for cosmetic procedures on the skin, nails, and hair. This can be expanded into a variety of areas, such as hair cutting and chemical hair treatment, chemical hair removal, fashion trends, wigs, nails, and skin care, skin and hair analysis, relaxation techniques like head, neck, scalp, hand, and foot massages, and aromatherapy, as well as the ability to expertly apply makeup to conceal dark spots or promote and can expand into further specialties like reflexology, theatrical applications, cosmetics, and other areas.

#2. Hair color specialist

A hair color specialist, often known as a hair colorist, is an expert in changing natural hair color using various application techniques and colorant products from reputable businesses. Some hair colorists in the US are certified by the American Board of Certified Hair Colorists. Through a written exam and a practical exam, this distinction is designed to recognize colorists who have a higher level of expertise in the field. Basic color applications, including hiding gray and lightening or darkening natural hair color, may be among a hair color specialist’s responsibilities, but they are not the only ones. A color expert can also apply corrective colors and provide unusual effects by using foiling procedures or any other sophisticated color application techniques.

#3. Shampoo technician

Prior to the hairstylist, a shampoo technician shampoos and conditions the client’s hair. For many people fresh out of cosmetology school, this is a first step and typically an apprentice position.

#4. Aesthetician

Professionals with a license who specialize in preserving and enhancing skin are known as aestheticians. The epidermis (the top layer of skin) is the sole area of practice for an aesthetician. Salons, medispas, day spas, skin care clinics, and private offices are just a few of the various settings where aestheticians work.

Additionally, aestheticians may focus on procedures like microdermabrasion, microcurrent (also known as non-surgical “face lifts”), cosmetic electrotherapy (galvanic current, high frequency), LED (light-emitting diode) treatments, ultrasound/ultrasonic (low level), and mechanical massage (vacuum and G8 muscle vibrating).

What is Cosmetology Salary

The average yearly salary for this Cosmetology profession is $29,590, or $14.23 per hour without tips, which can increase a cosmetologist’s base pay by another 15 to 20 percent. The annual salaries of cosmetologists range from $17,930 for the lowest paid to more than $49,050 for the most paid.
You have a lot of control over how much money you make as a cosmetologist. It depends on the number of hours you put in each year.

What is Cosmetology Course

Students who enroll in cosmetology courses learn how to apply cosmetics, perform facials and other beauty procedures, and take care of various skin, hair, and nail types. Along with learning about the chemistry underlying cosmetics, herbal remedies, and dyes, students also study the biology of skin, hair, and nails.
With a cosmetology degree, you can work as a makeup artist, manicurist, esthetician, or hairstylist. Professionals in the field of cosmetology might find work in sales, salons, resorts, hotels, the entertainment business, as instructors, and as consultants.

What Kinds of Cosmetology Courses Are There?

Undergraduate degrees, certifications, and diplomas are all offered in cosmetology programs. Students should take into account both their personal and professional interests and aspirations when selecting a cosmetology course. While associate’s and bachelor’s degrees offer advanced coursework in particular subfields, certificates, and diplomas offer the core information and skills required for cosmetology professions.

#1. Certificate in Cosmetology

The basics of caring for one’s hair, skin, and nails are covered in a cosmetology certificate, sometimes known as a diploma, and frequently emphasizes one of these disciplines. For instance, a certificate for nail technicians may only be valid for six months.

Integrated curriculum and hands-on training are included in comprehensive cosmetology certificates that last no more than a year. To assist students in becoming eligible for a professional cosmetology license, the majority of certificates include at least 1,500 hours of training. Professionals can work as nail techs, hair stylists, and skincare experts with a cosmetology certificate.

#2. Cosmetology Associate Degree

Cosmetology associate degrees require two years of coursework and hands-on experience. Students also take general education courses in math, physics, English, and the humanities in addition to cosmetology-specific courses in dermatology, color chemistry, and haircutting and styling. Then, during laboratory exercises, students put those skills into practice.

Jobs as nail technicians, skin experts, and hair stylists are all possible after earning a cosmetology associate degree. There are professional options for salon owners, spa managers, and cosmetic salespeople thanks to the inclusion of coursework in salon communication, management, and safety in the associate degree curriculum.

#3. Bachelor’s Degree in Cosmetology and Beyond

An associate degree, typically provided by private beauty schools and community and technical institutions, is the highest cosmetology degree that is currently accessible. The ability to pursue a bachelor’s degree in a related profession, such as business or hospitality management, exists for people who already hold an associate degree in cosmetology. This certification is particularly helpful for individuals who want to run a sizable resort or spa or create their own salons.

Cosmetology associate degree holders can graduate in as little as two years by transferring to a bachelor’s course. An associate degree’s general education curriculum can fulfill the non-major requirements of a bachelor’s program.

#4. Accreditation for Cosmetology Programs

Technical, vocational, and community colleges may be regionally or nationally accredited. The level, prestige, and quality of an institution’s educational programs are attested to by its accrediting status. Because accreditation status might affect transfer options and financial aid prospects, students should always examine it when selecting a school.

The National Accrediting Commission for Career Arts & Sciences (NACCAS) is one of the national organizations that accredit cosmetology programs. Around 1,300 colleges with programs in more than 30 categories are accredited by NACCAS.

How to Become a Cosmetologist

The relatively quick length of time it takes to finish your training is one fantastic aspect of being a cosmetologist. Your training will be finished more quickly, and you will gain practical experience.

In your early years of school, you will offer a variety of beauty classes, and your final year of school will focus on practical work and capstone projects. You’ll be able to obtain useful experience this way. This experience can be quite beneficial because it may speed up your job search and help you launch a career after graduation.

Skills Required to Become A Cosmetologist

Your future may be filled with many chances if you choose to become a cosmetologist. There are a few things to think about, though, before you get ready for this thrilling voyage. You must first determine whether a cosmetologist’s essential abilities and traits mesh with your strengths. These abilities include:

  • Creativity
  • Time management
  • Physical stamina
  • Customer service skill
  • Organization skill

What is Cosmetology License

Schools grant certificates in cosmetology while professional organizations and government authorities offer certifications and licenses. Professionals must fulfill the requirements for a license in their own city or state in order to practice cosmetology. These qualifications are frequently completed by a cosmetology certificate, but not always.

A board of cosmetology, barbers, and hairdressers regulates training and licenses in the industry in each state. These organizations are overseen by the National Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology, which also provides resources for both aspiring and working cosmetologists.

A minimum number of hours in the classroom and a minimum number of practical hours make up the most typical cosmetology requirement. A license exam must be passed, and there are about 1,500 hours of training needed to become a professional cosmetologist.

In most states, certification is valid for two years, however, this can change. Cosmetologists must fulfill the continuing education criteria set forth by their state’s licensing organization in order to renew their certification.

Accreditation and License Requirement for Cosmetologists

You must prove to the relevant licensing body that you are prepared to enter the sector as an active professional in order to receive a cosmetology license. Training in cosmetics, which can take up to two years, serves as both a prerequisite and preparation for requesting a license to practice.
It is crucial to comprehend the licensing procedure, which means that each country will have different standards.

Education, Training & Certification

Depending on the area of cosmetology you want to work in and state laws, different states may have different training and education requirements.

  • Education:  a high school diploma may be necessary for some jobs.
  • Training: you must successfully complete a cosmetology or barbering school that is state-approved and lasts at least nine months to become a hairstylist. Barbers are required to complete a training program. A makeup artist typically spends several months to a year in cosmetology school. The state in which they wish to practice must approve of a two-year training course for aestheticians.
  • Licensure: Every state in the U.S. requires hairstylists to hold a valid license. Additionally, barbers must have state-issued licenses. In some places, graduating from cosmetology school will grant you a barbering license; but, in other states, you will need to complete specialized barbering training. Some states combine cosmetology and barbering licenses. State-by-state licensing requirements for makeup artists might vary greatly, but in the majority of cases, estheticians must also be licensed.

Job Outlook

The need to look well will always exist as long as there are people. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in cosmetology will increase by around 8% between 2018 and 2028, which is faster than the average for all occupations.

Where Do Cosmetologists Work?

Beauticians can be found working in a variety of places. Most cosmetologists are employed by salons or spas that provide cosmetic services. They may also work for businesses that manufacture cosmetics, sell products, or manage salons.

You can start your own business if you have an innovative spirit and want to make a splash! Numerous salon owners hold cosmetology degrees.
One of the wonderful aspects of cosmetology is the broad range of professional options and employment possibilities. Although attending a beauty school will teach you a lot, you can concentrate on one subject early in your career.

What Does a Cosmetologist Do

A cosmetologist is a specialist in maintaining beautiful skin, hair, and nails. Hairstyling, skincare, nail care, hair removal, artistry, a pro at using cosmetic procedures and skin care, and many more are specialty areas!

What Career in Cosmetology Makes the Most Money?

Top Paying Cosmetology and Esthetics Careers:

  • Hair salon owner.
  • Theatrical makeup artist.
  • Microdermabrasion specialist.
  • Permanent makeup artist.
  • Hair product sales rep.
  • Cosmetology business owner.
  • Skincare specialist.
  • Manicurist.

What Is the Difference Between a Beautician and a Cosmetologist?

Cosmetologists typically have more in-depth training and more knowledge of beauty treatments than beauticians, including but not limited to hair, cosmetics, skincare, nail treatments, and more.

What Are the Disadvantages of a Cosmetologist?

The fact that it may take some time for a cosmetologist to start making a respectable salary is one of the drawbacks of the profession.

What Is the Hardest Thing in Cosmetology?

Passing your cosmetology licensing exam

If you want to keep all of your options open throughout the course of your career, obtaining licensing is crucial even if you reside in a place where it is not needed. One of the most challenging aspects of any beauty school is usually passing the license exam.

Can a Shy Person Be a Cosmetologist?

Yes, even a “painfully shy person” can work as a makeup artist. For the first year after starting, I stumbled when speaking to practically every client.


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