Many women, and men for that matter, rely on their cosmetologist to help them look and feel their best. Cosmetologists cut and style hair, give manicures and pedicures and depending on their training, give facials, massages and other body treatments. Because cosmetology requires specialized skills, cosmetology students undergo dedicated training that generally takes six months to one year to complete. Cosmetology degree programs include many hands-on practice hours and in some cases, an internship or apprenticeship.
Several different providers sponsor internships for cosmetologists, including cosmetology educational sources such as cosmetology schools, vocational and tech schools and even some high schools. Many beauty salons, spas and cosmetology providers also offer internships; some intend to hire the interns full time after the internship period. Several states regulate cosmetology internships, with rules regarding the timing of internships, who may intern and what duties an intern may perform.
Some internships concentrate on one cosmetology specialty, such as hairdressing, manicures and pedicures, massage or body treatments. Others incorporate all the different specialties to offer the student a well-rounded set of training and experience. The internship experience can also let the student see if that specialization is a good fit for her interests and skills before she decides to pursue that career full time.
To obtain an internship, the cosmetologist must meet certain qualifications and fulfill particular requirements, such as holding a cosmetology license for those taking part in an internship after completing school. The cosmetologist may also have to provide the internship provider with a portfolio showcasing her previous work. For students taking part in an internship while still in cosmetology schools, requirements include completing a certain number of credit hours, having a minimum grade point average and receiving permission or recommendation of an instructor.
Depending on the internship provider, the cosmetologist may receive a salary or hourly pay while interning. Generally, internships that are part of a school's curriculum do not allow the cosmetologist to earn a paycheck or accept tips; rather the student receives college credit for her time as an intern. After-schooling cosmetology internships generally require the intern to work full-time hours, year-round. Internships that occur as part of a cosmetology degree program generally require the student to intern part time while taking classes.
The exact responsibilities of each intern vary depending on whom the intern works for and what specialty they pursue, if any. Beyond cutting and styling hair, giving manicures and pedicures and providing massages and body treatments, a cosmetology intern may also have to run the receptionist desk and perform other administrative tasks. Some companies ask the intern to answer phones and email, make appointments, run errands and take care of other business-related duties associated with running a salon. Other responsibilities include washing hair, hair coloring, perms, waxing and makeup application.
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