Cosmetology Careers

Cosmetology is a vocational career centered on beauty techniques. The cosmetology field encompasses a wide range of specialties involving an even wider range of skill sets.

Most of these jobs require a steady flow of clientele, so good people skills are essential to success in each position. Creative talent is also essential to success in this field.

Each job within the cosmetology field requires a state-issued license. It is important to be aware of the licensing requirements of your state before applying for cosmetology jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the employment of cosmetology jobs will grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is a promising figure for aspiring cosmetologists.


Since most positions in cosmetology require a state-issued license, the first step to landing a career in cosmetology is obtaining the right education by finding a beauty school near you. Typically, beauty schools require you to be 16 years of age or older and have a high school diploma or GED. Other requirements vary between schools.

Aside from the completion of a minimum number of credit hours, most states require that students obtain hands-on training and complete the state’s board exam to get a license in cosmetology. Some states allow applicants to complete apprenticeships in lieu of school in order to get licensed.

Cosmetology licenses must be renewed regularly. Call the cosmetology licensing board within your state to learn more about licensing and renewal requirements.

Career Options

Most cosmetology schools and other consumer services programs offer all-inclusive programs and specialized areas of study. Students can choose whether they would like to focus on a specific field, such as aesthetics, or complete a program encompassing most of the beauty license options. Therefore, those who attend cosmetology school may be qualified to perform a variety of jobs.

Nail technician jobs are some of the most popular in the cosmetology industry. These workers must be personable and accommodating in order to create a relaxing experience for their clients. They must also have good eyesight and a steady hand. Nail technicians perform a number of nail services, including:

  • Cleaning.
  • Trimming.
  • Polishing.
  • Nail art.
  • Manicures.
  • Pedicures.
  • Acrylic.
  • Gels.
  • Cuticle care.
  • Hand, foot and calf massage.
  • Scrubbing.
  • Moisturizing.

Another popular job in the cosmetology industry is hairdressing. Hairdressers cut, trim and style hair. Styling includes coloring, shaping, blow drying, straightening and curling hair. Some hairdressers also provide facial grooming services for men.

Hairdressers must have extensive knowledge about hair care and be able to withstand long hours on their feet. They must have a steady hand with good dexterity, as well as good eyesight, creativity and organization. Marketing skills are also important, particularly for hairdressers who must do their own promotion. Hairdressers can work at salons or for themselves.

Cosmetologists are trained to perform a variety of jobs within the beauty industry, including nail technician jobs, hairdressing jobs, makeup artist jobs, esthetician jobs and others. As a result, cosmetologists must be able to wear many hats. Cosmetology licenses are recommended to those who are unsure about which specialty is most suitable to them.

Other Cosmetology Jobs

There are several other popular jobs in cosmetology that you should know about if you are considering a career in the industry. One such job is that of aesthetician. These are skincare specialists who provide either clinical or cosmetic skincare treatments, such as extractions and facials. They can also provide spa treatments and skin regimens. Their priority is to improve a client’s skin, help clients feel refreshed and give clients advice on the best skincare practices.

Aestheticians must have extensive knowledge about the skin and skincare practices. They must be personable in order to make clients feel comfortable and have a gentle touch. Estheticians work in spas, dermatology clinics and private businesses.

Electrologists are cosmetology professionals who are trained to do electrolysis, which is the removal of unwanted hair using an electric current that destroys hair tissue. Electrolysis is a permanent hair removal treatment that uses two main methods that can be performed separately or combined:

  • Galvanic eliminates hair growth cells through a chemical reaction.
  • Thermolysis eliminates hair growth cells using heat.

Electrologists work in salons, spas, medical offices or independently. They must have extensive knowledge of the skin and hair and of the machinery used to remove unwanted growth. They also must be able to make clients feel comfortable and safe.

Another popular cosmetology career is that of makeup artist. A makeup artist’s job is to use cosmetic products to enhance a person’s appearance. Most makeup artists use designated products to accentuate facial features and hide facial flaws. Other makeup artists, such as film and fashion artists, must create elaborate facial designs for characters in films or for models in photo shoots.

For this reason, specialized makeup artists must have general knowledge of lighting, cameras and special effects in order to capture the intended look. Other qualifications of makeup artists include organization, good vision, a steady hand and creativity. Makeup artists can work in salons, department stores, spas, amusement parks and other businesses. Many are also freelance artists that specialize in specific styles.

Massage therapists are skilled at giving medicinal and therapeutic massages. Their primary goal is to improve the condition of their client’s muscles and soft tissues. This includes pushing, kneading and pulling muscles and soft tissues, as well as applying pressure where it is needed.

Massage therapists work in spas, salons, sports centers or independently. Massage therapists must have extensive knowledge of the muscles and soft tissues and be able to make clients feel comfortable. They must have strong hands and the ability to withstand long hours on their feet.

All of the positions discussed here have different training and credit hour requirements. Remember that these licensing requirements vary by state. Cosmetology training can also be applied to other positions, including beauty magazine editor, salon and spa manager, cosmetology instructor, stylist and cosmetic sales and marketing specialist.

Helpful Tips

Most cosmetology jobs involve a variety of tools to conduct specific beauty services. It is important to keep these tools clean and organized at all times. Sanitation practices are especially important to be aware of when performing cosmetology services. Additionally, developing time management skills when organizing appointments and client information is vital. Doing so will help to ensure a cosmetologist’s success when working.

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