If you find yourself flipping through magazines and noticing the makeup gracing the faces you see, or if you appreciate the hairstyles of passers-by, cosmetic school might be the place for you. Whether you love to experiment with new looks or want to help people refine their beauty know-how and translate it into daily practice, a career in cosmetology awaits. Cosmetic school graduates provide a number of services: shampooing, cutting, coloring, and styling hair, and massaging and treating the scalp, states the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Cosmetologists are also trained in the art of "puttin' on the ritz," whether that takes the form of makeup, dress wigs, hair removal, or nail and skin care services.
Though the economy is struggling along, many people have given up expensive vacations and instead are splurging on beauty treatments. This bodes well for cosmetic school graduates. Another proof source: a 2003 Cosmetology Job Demand Survey administered by NACCAS (the National Accredited Commission of Cosmetology Arts & Sciences) confirms that cosmetologists are in high demand.
Cosmetic School Checklist
No matter what state you call home, all states mandate a license to practice cosmetology. (Shampooers or makeup artists are the only exceptions to this rule). A few of the standard pre-requisites are as follows: cosmetic school applicants must be at least 16 years old, possess a high school diploma (or GED), and have graduated from an accredited cosmetic school. After graduation, applicants must complete the licensing exam in their state of residence. Typically, exams are in written form but may also include an oral exam or a hands-on test demonstrating their styling skills. In most states, a separate licensing exam exists for those seeking a career as a manicurist, pedicurist or skin care specialist.
To prepare graduates for the licensing exam, cosmetic school curriculum offers a well-rounded list of programs and courses in biology, chemistry, nail artistry and spa treatments, to name a few. If you wish to operate your own spa or salon in the future, taking a few courses in business or sales and marketing truly enhances the cosmetic school experience.
Cosmetic school students will also acquire a great deal of on-the-floor training. This is a huge part of cosmetic school training because it's essentially the key to success in a cosmetology career: you need to know what to do to keep your clients coming back.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a slightly faster than average growth rate for cosmetologists, with a favorable projection for opportunities in entry level positions. Cosmetic school graduates must be prepared for evening and weekend work, the hours of greatest activity in most salons. According to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, cosmetologists make about $7.47/per hour on the low end and $20.41/per hour on the high end (annual wages fall between $15,530 and $42,460). While salaries for manicurists and pedicurists are comparable, shampooers make slightly less.
Helping others look and feel beautiful is a priceless gift, so make the investment in an accredited, renowned cosmetic school and start your dream career now!