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Cosmetology Instructor License and Credential Information

Becoming a licensed cosmetology instructor would allow an individual to work in the field while teaching others to become cosmetologists. Find out about the certificate programs that are available for aspiring cosmetology instructors.

Cosmetologists who want to educate aspiring professionals must earn an instructor license, which requires the completion of an educational program and the passage of an exam.

What Are the Prerequisites for a Cosmetology Instructor Licensure Program?

Each state has its own prerequisites for individuals who intend to pursue instructor licensure. The two things every state requires are a copy of a current cosmetology license and a copy of a high school diploma or GED certificate. Some states mandate experience verification that details the required amount of hours accumulated for licensure; work experience might also be a prerequisite for some educational programs.

States might also require that applicants have no pending disciplinary actions by a certification board in the U.S. or foreign countries. States will also ask if the applicant has had any felonies or misdemeanor arrests outside of traffic violations.

What Does a Licensure Preparation Program Entail?

Cosmetologists who wish to become instructors enroll in certificate programs provided by community colleges and vocational schools. The certificate programs can take from three academic semesters to two years to complete. Because cosmetology licensing varies state by state, programs often contain coursework that is regionally relevant with regard to rules and regulations. However, most include courses that cover some of the following topics:

  • Teaching aids and methods
  • Educational theory
  • Evaluation and assessment methods
  • Lesson planning
  • Oral presentations
  • Student learning styles
  • Student motivational techniques
  • Sterilization and sanitation procedures

A practicum is often a part of the certificate program. Real-world experience helps aspiring instructors improve their instructional and supervisory skills, as well as their abilities to assess and evaluate student work and abilities. Upon completion of a certificate program, graduates are eligible to take the cosmetology instructor licensing exam.

What Does the Test Entail?

The licensure exam varies by state, but it usually consists of both a written and a practical component containing content that students are expected to have learned during their instructor training programs. Applicants may also be required to pay a fee for each examination, as well as a fee to the department of licensing.

How Do Cosmetology Instructors Maintain Licensure?

Depending on their state's requirements, cosmetology instructors must periodically fulfill continuing education requirements. For instance, in Nevada, licensure expires each year, and cosmetology instructors must complete 15 continuing education hours. Continuing education courses are often available online, and they may offer instruction in cosmetology theory and practice or teaching methodology. Like licensure exams, they are usually offered for a fee.

What Is the Job Outlook for a Cosmetology Instructor?

Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not give specific information on cosmetology instructors, it does provide information for vocational, career and technical teachers. These teachers teach skills to people who are pursuing a career and need specific training. Job prospects for vocational teachers at the postsecondary level were expected to grow by 7% from 2014-2024, according to the BLS. .

Experienced cosmetologists who want to become instructors need to complete a state-approved certificate program and pass a licensure exam. They must also fulfill continuing education requirements if they want to maintain licensure.

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