Certified Cosmetologist Education and Requirements

Certified Cosmetologist Education and Requirements

A cosmetologist must be licensed in order to work in the cosmetology field. A certification program can help a student prepare for the license exam. Once a person becomes a licensed cosmetologist, she can find employment in many settings such as salons, spas and manicure shops.

Certification Program Overview

Cosmetology programs provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to have a successful career as a cosmetologist. During a program, students learn about hair care, facials, manicures and other basic beauty techniques through a series of laboratory classes and lectures.

In order to qualify for a particular state’s licensing exam, cosmetology programs require students to successfully complete 1,400 to 1,600 hours of coursework. Students who are enrolled on a full-time basis usually finish the program in one or two years. A lot of schools offer day classes and night classes, so students can attend school while managing their other responsibilities such as children and jobs.

Required Skills and Courses

The length of any given cosmetology program varies by the specific state’s licensing requirements and school. However, most certification programs take two semesters for students to complete. Each school differs as to the course names in their cosmetology program, but some of the required courses include aesthetics, biology, chemistry, hair design, hair coloring, cosmetology skills, entrepreneurship and salon concepts.

Students must display a comprehensive grasp of certain skills in order to graduate from the program and receive a cosmetology certificate. These skills are essential for performing daily on-the-job tasks as a cosmetologist. Students are required to show proficiency in skills such as antisepsis, beauty salon operations, career requirements, chemistry principles, grooming, personal hygiene, safety requirements and salesmanship.

In order for prospective students to legally perform the duties associated with cosmetology, they must have a high school diploma or GED, meet their state’s age requirement, complete state board-approved program and pass a licensing exam. Once students complete a cosmetology program, they can take a junior license exam. With a junior license, cosmetologists can complete an apprenticeship under the training of a master hairdresser, which usually takes 960 hours. Cosmetology certification graduates may also further their education by obtaining advanced degrees of cosmetology or working as a cosmetology specialist, hair dresser or manicurist. A cosmetology license must be renewed every one or two years, depending on the particular state board’s requirement.

Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, predicts a 13 percent rate of growth from the years 2012 to 2022 in the cosmetology field, which is considered average. Several of the main driving forces behind this prediction are an increase in consumer demand for hair coloring, hair straightening, hair styling and other personal appearance services. The cosmetology field is highly competitive. Therefore, it is recommended that those who wish to become a cosmetologist complete job continuing courses when those courses are available and regularly refine their beautician skills. According to the BLS, the current median pay for cosmetologists is $10.95 per hour or $22,770 per year. Top pay in this field is $20.39 per hour.