Hair Stylist Certification and Diploma Program Information

A hairstylist is certified to perform many types of hair services such as cutting, coloring, and perming, and to work with both men and women. Community colleges and technical schools offer programs that train students to earn their hair stylist certification.

Essential Information

All states require that hair stylists be licensed prior to practicing, though certification standards vary. Community colleges and technical schools offer certificate and diploma programs in cosmetology or barbering. These programs provide students with the fundamentals of hair styling, sanitation and chemical treatments. Students receive instruction in hair technology theory and practical application. Successful stylists possess excellent manual dexterity, artistic talent, a personable demeanor, good listening skills and effective speaking skills

Upon completion of the program, graduates earn a Certificate of Achievement, Certificate of Completion or Technical Diploma. Although the process directly prepares hair stylists to take state licensing exams, successful completion of a certificate or diploma program does not equate to certification or licensure. Individuals must obtain a cosmetology or barber license from the state in which they plan to practice hair styling.

  • Prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent commonly required.
  • Program Length: 1-2 years.
  • Experiential Learning: Internship or apprenticeship can be required.
  • Online Availability: Online courses and programs are available.

Hair Stylist Certification and Diploma Programs

Program curricula typically take 12-18 months to complete. Students hone the ability to visualize hair styles and follow through with their implementation.Hands-on experience is gained by working on mannequins and other students in a simulated environment. Instruction may also include hair bleaching, nail care, hygiene, skin care and scalp treatments. Additionally, an externship or apprenticeship at a licensed salon or barber shop may be required.

Courses may include:

  • Advanced hair styling
  • Men's hair styles
  • Cosmetology theory
  • Basic business management
  • Hair color treatments
  • Permanent treatments
  • Chemical relaxing
  • Hair tinting

Continuing Education Information

Hair stylists seeking to further their beauty and business skills may pursue an associate's degree in cosmetology. Those who wish to open a hair styling salon or barber shop may consider a certificate or college degree in business management. Certification training programs are also available for aspiring instructors and salon managers.

State Licensure Requirements

Licensing requirements vary from state to state, but most candidates are expected to have high school diplomas or GEDs. Some states require individuals to complete hair stylist programs from accredited colleges or technical schools. Upon program completion, graduates are eligible to take written state licensing exams.

Additional state licensing requirements may include completing a set number of apprenticeship hours, an oral exam and a practical skills test. Continuing education hours may be required by some states to maintain licensure.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job prospects for hair stylists are expected to grow at an average rate of 13% during the 2012-2022 decade. But positions are very competitive. The BLS reported that the annual mean wage for hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists was $27,940 as of May 2014. Entry-level positions typically merit lower annual salaries.

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