Cosmetology Careers

Considering a career in beauty? Here’s what you need to know.

Beauty school and cosmetology school  are basically interchangeable terms for the same type of well-rounded, comprehensive training in hairstyling, nail technology, makeup and cosmetics, and esthetics and skin care. The best beauty schools will prepare you in many ways for a career in the beauty field. A cosmetology school offers courses in a variety of areas related to cosmetology and beauty-related careers – including hair, nails, makeup, skin care, safety and sanitation, and sometimes also classes in business or ethics.

What You Learn in Beauty College

Beauty school teaches the how to best perform the techniques needed for hairstyling, what kind and how to use beauty and makeup products, and how to successfully use the tools of the trade like curling irons, flat irons, blowdryers, various types of brushes and combs, and so on to do the latest styles of the day for clients. Curriculums are a comprehensive program teaching students everything they need to know to work in the beauty field, including makeup artistry, esthetics, hair styling, skin care and nail technology. While graduates develop a comprehensive knowledge and skillset in all aspects of beauty and cosmetology, cosmetologists are free to specialize, and many graduates of cosmetology schools do choose to specialize in certain areas or niche beauty services.

What a Beautician Does

Some graduates become hairstylists, who specialize in cutting, coloring and styling hair. Others become nail technicians and specialize in manicures, pedicures and other nail services. Still others become estheticians and help clients with skin care regimens and products. Other graduates may remain beautician generalists (cosmetologists) and do all of these things at some point or other in their careers, or all at once.

Beautician Licensing Requirements

The licensing requirements to become a beautician or cosmetologist will vary by state. Most will include a written exam and practical exam, and proof that you have completed a set number of training hours. Beauty trends, techniques and best practices change often and a professional beautician will need to stay up-to-date on current practices. This may include taking beauty continuing education courses or workshops that teach new styles, tools, tips, trends and techniques.

Job Demand for Beauticians

Beauty school is an excellent career choice if you ask us. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), estimates that cosmetology careers will grow about 14% through the year 2020, with good job prospects for graduates of cosmetology schools. The Wall Street Journal also recently published a story saying that personal service careers like cosmetology are more stable in the U.S., even in a down economy, because it can’t be exported and everyone needs beauty services at some point. Anyone who enjoys helping people, working with their hands, is interested in beauty, cosmetics and hairstyles, and who wants to have the opportunity to be creative and make a living at the same time could be a good fit for a career in cosmetology.

What is cosmetology?

The American Heritage Dictionary defines cosmetology as “the study or art in cosmetics and their use”. They define cosmetics as “serving to beautify the body and improve the appearance of a physical feature.” Cosmetology is a broad term that is used to encompass a wide range of beauty mediums, including hair, skin, nails, and makeup. Schools that offer cosmetology degrees have crafted their curricula to address all of these categories. However, when you are obtaining a cosmetology education from a cosmetology school, chances are you will concentrate your studies in a particular area, such as nail health, manicures and pedicures, or hair styling.

When a school offers cosmetology careers or curriculum in cosmetology, it generally refers to the study of hair styling, skin-care, nail care, and make-up. It’s not always limited to these topics and often varies from school to school. To be sure, simply ask a school what their cosmetology program consists of.

What are some challenges for people pursuing cosmetology careers?

The ability to adapt your new found skills to different people. Every person will present a unique challenge to the cosmetologist as each individual will have a different combination of hair type, face type, nail type, etc. This is one of the greatest challenges in cosmetology careers. For instance, the kind of blush work a makeup artist performs will depend on the shape of the client’s face: a round face will require a fair amount of contouring while someone with well-defined cheekbones will only need to highlight this feature.

When it comes to cosmetology education, is there a difference between beauty schools and cosmetology schools?

The terms “beauty school” and “cosmetology school” are often used in the same context and essentially mean the same thing regarding cosmetology education. It’s similar to the way some institutions are called “cosmetology schools”, while others may be referred to as “cosmetology colleges” or “cosmetology academies.”