The cosmetology field offers rewarding careers for those interested in beauty and helping make others feel more attractive and confident. The first step to becoming a licensed cosmetologist is to research education options and begin training at an accredited cosmetology school. After successfully completing a cosmetology program, many students can complete part of their cosmetology certification online and begin a career as a cosmetologist.
Preparing for Cosmetology Certification
Students interested in becoming a certified cosmetologist will need to look into a number of different education options. State requirements vary, but a high school diploma or GED is required to enter into a training program designed to prepare students for certification. Although there are no online schools that offer 100% online cosmetology programs, students will find that a number of courses are offered online in conjunction with a certificate or degree program. Courses dealing with sanitation practices and the business of cosmetology are most likely to be found online; the majority of cosmetology training, however, must take place in a classroom to give students hands-on experience. Cosmetology training programs typically take nine months to complete and provide the minimum education requirements for becoming a licensed hair dresser or cosmetologist. Associate of cosmetology degrees are a more in-depth education option; earning an associate’s degree typically takes two years, and these programs are commonly offered through vocational schools and community colleges.
Completing Cosmetology Certification Online
Cosmetology certification is granted on a state-wide basis, and each state has different requirements. In most states, students must pass both a written exam as well as a practical exam intended to prove a mastery of skills; in some places, an oral examination is also required. The practical portion of the exam must be done on-site, but some states allow prospective cosmetologists to take the written portion of the exam online both for first time certification or for licensure renewal. Once certification is obtained, it must typically be renewed on a biennial basis. There are several different types of licenses that students can apply for depending on the classes they took and what career path they choose to pursue.
Career Options with a Cosmetology Certification
Certified cosmetologists work as beauticians, barbers and manicurists depending on the type of training programs they attended and the certification they have completed. Many licensed cosmetologists fresh out of school begin working as a shampoo technician, prepping clients’ hair for a veteran stylist and generally working as an apprentice until the salon manager is confident in hiring them on as a cosmetologist. The average salary for a certified cosmetologist is around $28,000, but cosmetologists in larger cities generally earn higher salaries; for many cosmetologists, tips from clients make up a decent portion of salary. While a licensed cosmetologist can work as a jack-of-all-trades type performing haircuts, styles and colors, some may choose to specialize in a specific area of interest, taking additional classes to become an expert in this area. Working as a specialist can require additional training, but many specialists bring in higher income.