No matter what kind of job you are applying for or what professional field you wish to enter, it is always crucial that you take the time to carefully plan your career path and develop a strategy to help you start that career. With cosmetology, there is plenty of planning that you can do to make your dream of becoming a cosmetologist a reality.
But planning can’t be done without asking yourself a few things first:
1) Am I Prepared And Able-Bodied Enough For The Physical Demands of The Job?
Unlike a desk job, cosmetology requires long hours of being on your feet, working with your hands, and positioning yourself in uncomfortable positions sometimes in order to apply makeup perfectly or style hair a certain way.
If you have some sort of physical limitation or medical condition, you will want to carefully evaluate whether your body can handle the physical demands of the job.
If you style hair, for example, the majority of your work will be done standing. But as a nail technician, you will be sitting long hours. Determine whether or not you can handle these conditions and decide which field would be best for your physical abilities.
2) Do I Have Everything I Need to Get a Job as a Cosmetologist?
Of course, you understand that you can’t just walk into a salon and get hired on the spot with no job experience or credentials. But do you know exactly what you need in order to pursue a cosmetology career? All working cosmetologists have attended beauty school, passed their exam, and obtained their license.
First, evaluate the different school options available to you. Don’t just look at one and pick that.
Check the training and educational programs offered at each school in your area, compare the prices, and review what others who have attended have to say about the schools.
Before you can attend any cosmetology school, you will have to be at least 16 years of age, possess a high school diploma or an equivalent (in most cases), and have the tuition money to attend.
After your training, all 50 states require that you take and pass your licensing exam. Once you have received your license, you can look into apprenticeship programs or begin applying for jobs in cosmetology.
3) Where Do I Want to Work?
Not every cosmetologist who has newly received his or her license intends to work in a beauty salon.
Before applying for jobs, consider what area you want to work in specifically. Do you want to work strictly as a wedding stylist? Or maybe work on a cruise ship? Or perhaps in a nursing home? Do you want to work in a full-service spa or eventually start your own business?
Define your goals in cosmetology and determine what field you want to work in in order to make your application process easier.
Should you choose to work in a more specialized field (such as working solely as a wedding stylist or working on a cruise ship), there may be added coursework that you are required to take and other licensing stipulations, particularly for anyone who plans to work on open waters.
4) Do I Want to Work For Someone Else or Take a More Entrepreneurial Route?
Although this is not as much of a high priority question as some of the others, it is still worth asking yourself. Do you prefer working for a salon or being employed by someone else or do you have entrepreneurial aspirations?
Should you decide to start your own business in cosmetology, it is, of course, the most sensible option to first work several years in the industry before setting something up independently.
If you do decide to do that, spend plenty of time building up your credentials and experience, researching everything in both the cosmetology and business worlds and considering having a mentor to help you get your footing.
5) Do I Possess The People Skills Needed For The Job?
While some jobs allow for autonomy and solitude, cosmetology is not one such job. You will be working with people all day from your manager to your colleagues to clients.
Not only will you be doing a lot of work on your feet and using your hands all day long, but you will also be talking for a majority of that time as well. If you are easily irked by people who enjoy long conversations (as some clients might), cosmetology may not be the job for you.
Alternatively, some customers may not be interested in small talk or any conversation; so a good cosmetologist will have to quickly be able to read their clients and know whether or not to keep the conversing to a minimum.
Regardless of what kind of personality type you encounter, you will have to speak with every client about what their preferences are for their hair, nails, makeup, or another service that you are providing.
6) Can I Navigate a Fast-Paced Work Environment?
Indisputably, you are going to encounter more than a handful of difficult clients who will never be satisfied with their look or who are extremely specific about what they are looking for.
You have to be prepared to handle these situations with tact and patience. As you continue to work as a cosmetologist, you will get better at dealing with these situations and more skilled with the way you respond to such clients.
In addition to encountering different temperaments, you will have some clients who come in for a five-hour hair coloring while others are coming in for a fifteen minute trim. Your schedule will vary, sometimes having to move very fast and other times having to take your time.
You will have to learn how to be unphased by the demanding task of balancing a strange schedule each day.
7) Do I Have What I Need to Land a Job?
Having what you need to be a cosmetologist and having what you need to land an actual job as a cosmetologist are two different things. After spending hundreds to thousands of hours training, studying, and taking exams, it’s time to start the job hunt.
The best thing that you can do for yourself after getting your schooling and license is to establish professional connections. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to start doing some networking and making contacts with practitioners in the industry while you are still receiving your schooling.
As with any other job, you might also have to consider the possibility of relocating for a job. In addition to establishing connections, draft and polish an excellent resume.
Start looking for openings in your community or in the field of cosmetology that you desire to work in. These niche areas can be found on online forums and job postings. Lastly, after compiling a list of places you plan to apply to and submitting a resume, it’s wise to follow up with a phone call or email a few days later.
Requirements for Working in the Field
When you are going to study cosmetology, the three main fields are hair, skin, and nails. You can focus on several areas that are of interest to you, or you can specialize in one of them. For example, if you are interested in skincare, then you could focus on becoming a makeup artist or a medical esthetician.
Your skills and the career you envision for yourself after completing your training will drive the education that you receive. Because naturally, secondary education is imperative, and getting a certificate or associate degree is vital to succeed in the industry.
An associate degree will take two years to complete and provide you with in-depth training and education, while a certification is attainable in as little as nine months. Of course, as with most jobs, the higher your degree and more experience you bring with you, the more desirable you’ll be.
Once you’ve received your training and education, getting accreditation from the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences is also a splendid idea.
Lastly, in all states, you are required to take an exam to get your license, which will allow you to work in the industry. Of course, before applying to any school, be sure to find out what your particular state looks for when it comes to getting your certification. The certification often goes by class work hours completed, education, and age.
Cosmetology does involve science. Biology is important when it comes to discussing skin, hair, and nails. Meanwhile, chemistry plays into mixing hair coloring, as you need to understand the chemicals that are used in order to explain their purpose to your clients.
Studying to Work With Hair
First of all, you’ll learn about the anatomy of hair. Here, you’ll begin to understand the science behind coloring hair along with its effectiveness. You’ll learn the science behind hair coloring, and the variety of formulations.
Additionally, you’ll learn how to cut short and long hairstyles and of course how to style. Braiding and learning how to do updos are both parts of the process.
In the course of learning how to cut hair, you’ll also become familiar with the tools used, such as shears and razors. Naturally, you’ll also learn how to do men’s haircuts and styles. This part of your education is exciting because hair trends are always changing, and you will be able to be creative and help people achieve the look they want.
Learning to Work With Nails
In this field, you’ll learn about how to perform pedicures and manicures correctly. These are the basics of nail care, along with learning about the variety of tools necessary to complete the job and shaping nails. Additionally, you’ll learn how to take care of a station, because sanitation is crucial.
Now, if you are focused on being a nail technician, then you will learn a great deal more such as nail designs, tips, wraps, forms, gels, and even how to massage hands, feet, and calves.
Becoming a Medical Esthetician
This part of cosmetology requires learning all about the skin, from its structure to properly taking care of it. This focus of the training is all about helping to make people feel better and more confident in their own skin.
You’ll learn how to diagnose a variety of skin issues and treatments, such as facials, laser treatments, peels, and even hair removal. After graduation, you will find work in a medical facility. You’ll be helping people that have issues and trying to help them achieve clearer, younger, more healthy skin.
In this field, you may also help individuals with makeup and the techniques they can use to hide problems areas, etc.
The Subtlety of Makeup
When you learn about makeup, you’ll learn about trends, how to pair looks with eye color, hairstyles, etc. You’ll be taught proper applications, and what products are best for what type of skin.
When it comes to makeup, knowing your clients’ skin problems is paramount.
For example, you don’t want to use products that will make skin look dewy if they already have oily skin. Instead, you’ll want to use more mattifying products in order to give them long-lasting and beautiful makeup.
Additionally, you’ll learn how to hide and correct problems areas so that you’ll be able to create flawless looks on any person. You will also learn the right ways to apply makeup, along with the sanitary processes to avoid spreading germs and bacteria.
What Schools To Consider
When you are looking for a great school to attend, you have a lot of factors to consider. Accreditation, class sizes, cost, career assistance, and a variety of courses should all be variables playing into your decision. Here are five schools you should give closer consideration.
Here are three of the more popular beautician schools in the country.
This is a worldwide institute in 64 locations that will give you plenty of experience with a variety of nuance, from working in a salon to acting as the owner.
The name speaks for itself; attending this school will equip you with the skill and knowledge needed to excel in the cosmetology field. As a graduate of this school, you’ll be ready to work right away.
Having existed for over 80 years with more than 100 locations, chances are you’ll be able to find this school close to you. Thanks to whiteboard technology and digital books, you’ll get a state-of-the-art education along with excellent training and experience.
Requirements to Enroll
You will be required to have either a high school diploma or a GED in order to attend cosmetology school. Additionally, in most states, you need to be at least 16 years old in order to attend. If you are applying and under 18 years of age, then you may need to bring a parent with you when you are enrolling.
You’ll also need a form of identification, which is especially important when you fill out paperwork for financial aid. And lastly, different schools may have you submit additional items like essays, aptitude tests, or even short answer questions; however, they are not always mandatory. So it’s important to do your homework, understanding the requirements before you make the decision of what school to attend.
When you are looking to enroll, you should also know exactly what your state’s requirements are for getting your cosmetology license. Each state requires a different amount of time in training, typically somewhere between 1,000 to 2,000 hours, along with a passing grade on state exams.
Understanding Salaries in Cosmetology
The route you choose take with your career will impact your earnings. Additionally, where you work will also affect your salary; naturally, you will earn more working in New York City then you would be working in a rural town in Pennsylvania.
Below are the national averages of four fields in cosmetology.
National Annual Salary:
Makeup Artist: $20,590 to $84,772
Hairstylist: $15,582 – $47,935
Nail Technician: $15,761 – $45,390
Medical Esthetician: $25,898 – $53,180
These numbers can be found at https://www.payscale.com/
The field of cosmetology is undoubtedly exciting. New products, techniques, tips, and trends turn it into a professional of continuous learning. That makes it is a wonderful field for people who want to help others.
Whether it’s giving people the perfect haircut and color they’ve been searching for, beautiful nails, or helping them to treat their problematic skin you’ll be making a difference in people’s lives. And of course, the great part about the cosmetology field is that it will never diminish because service jobs are always in demand.
Now go out there and make people beautiful!