Cosmetology Job Description
A cosmetologist provides enhancements of the hair, nails, or skin. Although most commonly associated with professionals who are involved in hair styling, specific job roles assigned to cosmetologists may vary. Depending on the specific training or degrees obtained by the professional, someone in the cosmetology field may work as a shampoo professional, wedding stylist, nail technician, barber, cosmetic sales professional, or salon manager. Those working as cosmetologists may also be known as “beauticians.”
Professionals in the cosmetology industry work in multiple types of environments. Many professionals enjoy self-employment, while others earn a salary through unisex salons. Other industries that employ these individuals include hotels, spas, resorts, and hospitals. In a typical day, professionals in this field will stand for long periods while styling hair, though those who focus on the skin and nails may have to sit for prolonged periods instead. The work environment is typically a comfortable one temperature wise, but professionals may be exposed to strong smelling chemicals such as those used in nail products and perm solutions. In addition to working with clients, most professionals in the field are expected to be able to work as sales people for the beauty supplies that their employer endorses.
Skills and Requirements
Each state has their own standards regarding the certification that a cosmetology professional must complete in order to sit for the state board exam. As a general rule, most schools for cosmetologists take up to 15 months to complete and offer classes that cover hair styling, shampooing, manicures, facials, makeup, nail styling, pedicures, and color application. Other programs may offer courses that cover management, ethical business practices, and human biology. Beyond the classroom, one of the most important requirements for a cosmetologist is the ability to enjoy working with people. To be successful in the field, cosmetology professionals must be outgoing and friendly with clients. The ability to work long hours, the desire to provide excellent customer service, and the ability to tell what styles look the best on individuals are additional traits needed by those working in the field.
Potential Salary and Job Outlook
In 2012 the median hourly wage for all the cosmetologists in the United States was $10.92, which translated to a median annual salary of $22,700. This monetary figure may not accurately reflect the amount of tips earned by professionals in the field. Additionally, salary opportunities may vary for professionals depending on their specific focus, the region they live in, and whether they work in an upscale place of employment. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects that employment opportunities for the professional will grow as fast as average through the year 2020.
Professionals who work as cosmetologists are employed in a demanding and challenging job field. Those who enter the profession often serve as confidantes and counselors. At the end of the day, a good cosmetology professional is responsible for making sure that their customers not only leave looking better than when they came in, but feeling better as well.