Beginning a Career in Cosmetology

Interest in pursuing specialized and personal services as a career path is gaining more and more popularity. For those who are looking into acquiring the necessary knowledge and training needed in providing skin care, hair care and styling, nail care and other spa services, attending schools offering courses on cosmetology may be the best decision to make. The cosmetology or beauty industry is one that may be joined by anyone, at any age and with or without any employment experience.

Choosing which cosmetology school to attend is the same as choosing any other college. Students should consider details such as location, costs of enrolling, and the quality of hands-on training and education they may receive. It is also best to ensure a cosmetology school’s accreditation with the National Accrediting Commission of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences (NACCAS), an agency sanctioned by the US Department of Education in ensuring that standards in teaching cosmetology are met and implemented.

The NACCAS also publishes studies related to the field of cosmetology. In its 2007 national survey, it was reported that more than half of businesses offering cosmetology services had job vacancies and that the shortage in the number of professionals who may fill the openings continue to increase. Such results, including a possible average salary of at least USD 25,000 per year, point to cosmetology as a lucrative profession and with jobs easily available, may be a good course to take.

Requirements in taking up cosmetology vary from state to state; some may require a high school diploma while some may not. There are several programs available in many colleges, universities, and specialized schools in cosmetology, such as the following:

Barbering and Hairstyling are programs that deal with hair care, techniques in hair cutting, chemical applications, and coloring. Barbering courses may also include training on shaving, facial skin care, among others. Hours required may reach up to 1800 in total.

For less than 400 hours worth of coursework, a program in nail technology maybe completed and is ideal for part-time students. Hands-on training is usually provided for nail sculpting, manicures, pedicures, as well as hand and foot massage.

Requiring about the same amount of hours, Make-up artist programs are for students that are interested in the professional application of cosmetics and prostheses for costuming, hairpiece application and design, among others. There are also schools for Permanent Make-up and Facial Treatment Specialist courses where training includes the study of facial shapes and features, eye and skin anatomy, and pigmentation.

Electrolysis may require coursework of up to 500 hours and involves mainly hair removal and determining what contributes to hair problems. The process of thermolysis and electrolysis equipment operation are main points in this program.

Studying Esthetics usually requires 750 hours worth of coursework in preparation for administering skin care and massage therapy. Training includes classes on hygiene, bacteriology, chemistry, skin analysis and disorders, therapeutic massage, and physiology.

Cosmetology programs encompass most of the other specialized courses. On the average, a total of 1500 hours of coursework are needed to receive certification. These hours will include basic instruction on chemicals, sanitation and hygiene, anatomy, and physiology; also, lessons in salon management, ethics, safety, labor laws, and marketing. Graduates who wish to undergo continuing studies in cosmetology may consider enrolling in a Cosmetology Instructor program, consisting of about 300 hours, covering curriculum development and clinical supervision. Salon Management is another viable option for those that are interested in managing or putting up their own salons.

After finishing any course in cosmetology, graduates are required to retain licenses from their respective state cosmetology boards before practicing. The process requires passing a licensure examination and proof of having completed the necessary coursework in an accredited institution. Hours of apprenticeship may also be required depending on which state the student seeks a license from.

Practicing cosmetologists can choose to work among a variety of opportunities. Traveling may be an added incentive for those who prefer to work on cruise ships that offer salon and spa amenities. Theater companies and media outfits require cosmetology service providers as well. Those who prefer to stay in their localities may look up salons and spas in their areas of residence or nearby cities in the same state. Better yet, explore the realm of entrepreneurship and have a cosmetology services business to run.

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