A career as a beautician requires completion of a state-approved training program, certification and/or licensure. Find out about these requirements as well as salary, job growth projections and typical job duties as a beauty professional.
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|
|Projected Job Growth (2028-2028)||8% (for hairstylists, hairdressers and cosmetologists)*|
|Annual Median Salary (2018)||$24,730 (for hairstylists, hairdressers and cosmetologists)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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. 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.
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 were expected to grow faster than the average through 2028. Job opportunities were expected to be most competitive at high-end salons. The majority of these professionals work in personal care services and general merchandise stores. In May 2018, professionals working performing arts companies earned the highest mean wage of $66,830 per year.
Beauty professionals can specialize in a wide range of areas, including hair, nails or skin. All beauticians must have a current state license, and completing a program at a beauty school or community college is a typical prerequisite for a career in this field. The beauty field has good projected job growth through 2028.