Associate Degree in Cosmetology Business: Program Information

Oct 21, 2019

Essential Information

Cosmetology business programs consist of classroom studies, labs and practice sessions on real models and clients. Most courses in cosmetology programs focus on practical and theoretical training in salon techniques. Students learn about hair cutting, coloring and styling along with skincare procedures and manicures. Business training is usually integrated into cosmetology programs that award either the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) or the Associate of Arts (AA) degree. To apply to these 2-year degrees, students need to have a high school diploma or GED certificate.

For employment purposes, all states require that cosmetologists complete an approved training program and pass a state licensing examination. The exam includes written questions, and in many states may require a practical demonstration of skills.

Associate Degree in Cosmetology Business

In degree programs for cosmetology business, students can learn to cut and style hair, provide skincare and chemical treatments, perform manicures and manage salon businesses. Most programs simulate a salon environment via laboratory courses. Practice with live models and consultation with field professionals are common program features. Many programs train students in the skills needed to operate a successful independent salon, such as client retention, customer service and retail management. Since all cosmetologists must pass a state licensure examination, some programs also integrate relevant test review and preparation.

In an associate's degree program, students must also complete general education courses that generally include mathematics, science and English composition. Additional interdisciplinary coursework may cover topics in psychology, humanities and composition. Common course topics include:

  • Hair coloring
  • Hair cutting
  • Health and safety
  • Manicure and nail technology
  • Salon business
  • Skincare

Popular Career Options

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists are expected to see 8% growth in total employment from 2018 to 2028. In May 2018, the BLS stated that the mean annual wage for cosmetologists and related workers was $30,190. Individuals with business experience may become entrepreneurs in the field or managers of salons and other job titles may include:

  • Hairdresser
  • Hair stylist
  • Barber
  • Cosmetologist

Licensure Information

All states require cosmetologists to be licensed. Requirements vary by state, but typically stipulate that cosmetologists be at least 16 years of age, have a high school diploma and have graduated from a licensed cosmetology school. To obtain the license, applicants in all states must pass a written exam. Some states also require an oral exam and/or a practical styling exam.

There are many different career paths for graduates of cosmetology business degree programs, depending on whether they are interested in providing treatment for nails, hair or other services within the beauty industry. These associate's degrees require students to take general education courses and practical skill classes as well as providing them with a business education.

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