Beautician: Educational Requirements to Be a Beauty Professional

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a beautician. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training programs, job duties and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

Essential Information

Beauticians and beauty professionals offer personal care services that enhance physical appearance. Beauty professionals usually complete a training program before obtaining their license. Beautician education is available at community colleges and other postsecondary institutes. Training programs, which may culminate in a certificate or an associate degree, can last for 9-24 months and cover one or more specific practices, such as cosmetology or hairstyling.

Required Education State-approved training program
Other Requirements Licensure
Projected Job Growth 13% between 2012 and 2022 (for hairstylists, hairdressers and cosmetologists)*
Median Salary (2013) $23,140 per year*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Details

A cosmetology program typically provides a well-rounded knowledge in hair, skin and nail care. Students learn how to cut, dye and style hair, as well as give manicures and pedicures. Programs may also train students on skin treatments and makeup application. The beauty industry includes the use of several different chemicals, and students receive instruction on using these chemicals safely. Cosmetology students also learn to identify different hair, skin and nail conditions and how to practice proper sanitation.

Because self-employment is common in the beauty field and employees of established salons may be responsible for acquiring their own clientele, cosmetology students may also consider taking classes in marketing, accounting and selling techniques. Communication classes may also help beauty professionals to develop their persuasive skills and sell specific products or treatments to their clients.


According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), it's mandatory for beauty professionals to obtain licensure before they can begin practicing (www.bls.gov). All states set their own licensing requirements; however, in general, applicants must have a high school diploma or its equivalent, be of a minimum age, have graduated from a state-licensed training program and pass a state exam. The exam usually includes written questions in addition to practical portions that require applicants to apply their skills to real-life situations.

Job Description

Although beauty professionals may have a specialization, such as nail care or facials, they can also perform a broad range of beauty practices. Beauticians style hair, apply makeup, analyze skin, prepare and apply skin treatments, give manicures and pedicures and provide clients with professional beauty advice.

Career and Salary Information

According to the BLS, hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists earned $23,140 as a median annual wage in 2013. In addition, the BLS estimated a 13% job growth for these professionals in the years 2012 through 2022. Job opportunities were expected to be most competitive at high-end salons.

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