Cosmetology Career Facts

Cosmetologists recommend scalp treatments for customers.
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Should you wish to become a cosmetologust, you could work in a number of different capacities, as your education would prepare you for hair styling, nail treatments, facials, skin analysis and more. The most important thing is to know your customers likes and dislikes, according to "The Princeton Review," as people rely on cosmetologists to improve their appearances and images. You need creativity as well as interpersonal and time management skills to perform the job of a cosmetologist.

Job Description

    Your duties as a cosmetologist would depend on the services of your employer. At a full-service salon, you may study customers' scalps and hair texture, and then recommend treatments and styles. You may also perform facials or skin treatments, or provide tips on makeup application. An important part of your job is equipment maintenance, which includes cleaning your hair clippers, brushes, curlers and other equipment. You may also answer phones, schedule appointments and take payments from customers; maintaining an inventory of supplies might also be part of the job description, particularly if you manage or own the establishment.

Work Life

    You must have physical stamina to work as a cosmetologist, as you spend many hours on your feet. Expect to work days, evenings and weekends, as cosmetologists' schedules often vary. Managers alternate days, evenings and weekends to increase their employees' earnings. Evenings and weekends may be busier, for example, giving you more earning potential with tips. While many cosmetologists work with a salon or spa, about half of all cosmetologists were self-employed as of May 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you choose to open your own salon, or operate independently out of an existing salon, consider taking some courses in marketing and accounting to successfully manage your business.

Education & Training

    To become a cosmetologist,you need a minimum of a high school diploma. Most states require that you complete a program at an approved technical or cosmetology school to learn your trad; most take an average of nine months to complete, according to the BLS. Some programs lead to an associate's degree, depending on the school. A cosmetologist also need to be licensed by the state in which she practices. Earning a licences entails passing both written and practical exams.

Salary Ranges

    Cosmetologists earn a mean annual income of $26,460 per year, according to the BLS. If you fall in the top 10 percent of earnings, expect to earn more than $41,490 per year. As for industries or employers, you would earn the most working for movie and video companies--$69,780 per year. Cosmetologists earn the most in the District of Columbia and Hawaii, with median salaries of $48,720 and $34, 670 per year, respectively.

Employment Outlook

    In general, there are ample job opportunities for cosmetologists. The BLS reports that the number of cosmetology jobs is expected to increase by 16 percent between 2010 and 2020. Much of this job growth will be spurred by increased demand for hair coloring and straightening and other services.

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