Cosmetologists, Hair Stylists, and Barbers Find Growing Career Opportunities

Do you enjoy helping people look and feel their best? Are you attracted to the world of fashion and glamour? Do you have an eye for style and a passion for chic? Perhaps a career in cosmetology is right for you.

Hairdressers, hairstylists, barbers, and cosmetologists provide hair care services to enhance the appearance of their clients. They’re the ones on whom people depend to create just the right personal “look.” Sometimes, especially in Hollywood, the right look can change a career, and show-biz clients often spend thousands of dollars to ensure their manes are trimmed and teased to perfection. After all, today’s hot hairstyle can quickly become yesterday’s news, so cosmetologists are often on the cutting edge of fashion as they keep their high-profile clients in the spotlight.

Of course, like the rest of us, most cosmetologists don’t work in Hollywood. They work in big cities and small towns all across the U.S.A. Some own their own beauty shops, while others work as part of a team at a multi-chair salon. Their clients are young and old, rich and poor. But every cosmetologist helps people look and feel their very best.

Cosmetologists may offer a wide range of beauty services including shampooing, cutting, coloring, and styling of hair. They may advise clients on how to maintain their hairstyle at home. Cosmetologists may also be trained to provide makeup analysis; to give manicures, pedicures, and scalp and facial treatments; and clean and style wigs and hair extensions.

How can you qualify to become a cosmetologist? Most states require that aspiring cosmetologists complete an education program at a state-licensed cosmetology school. Programs in skin care, hairstyling, and other personal appearance services can be found in both high schools and in public or private postsecondary vocational schools.

Full-time programs in cosmetology usually last nine months and may lead to an associate degree. To keep up with the latest trends, many working professionals take advanced courses in hairstyling or other personal appearance services. They also may take courses in sales and marketing to gain a greater understanding of the business of cosmetology.

Do you need a license? Yes! All states require barbers and cosmetologists to be licensed. Qualifications for a license vary from state to state, but generally a person must be at least 16 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, and have graduated from a state-licensed barber or cosmetology school. After graduating from a state-approved training program, students must pass a state licensing examination. The exam may include a written test, a practical test of styling skills, and an oral examination.

Are there jobs available? According to the U.S. Government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists could increase by a whopping 20 percent in the current decade from 2008 to 2018, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. This employment growth will be caused by population increases and from the rising demand for personal appearance services, particularly skin care services.

What are you waiting for? Maybe it’s time to jump into this dynamic career category. Imagine working for-or even owning-a glamorous hair and beauty salon. You could set your own hours, be creative, and make your clients happy. It can happen, but not without the right training and licensing. Thousands of other people enjoy rewarding careers in cosmetology, and perhaps you could, too!

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