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.

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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.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Aesthetician and Skin Care
  • Barber and Hair Cutting Services
  • Beauty Salon Management
  • Cosmetology, Hair, and Nail Instructor
  • Electrolysis
  • Facial Treatment Specialist
  • Hair Design
  • Make-Up Artist
  • Nail Technician - Manicurist
  • Permanent Cosmetics and Tattooing

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 10% between 2014 and 2024 (for hairstylists, hairdressers and cosmetologists)*
Median Salary (2015) $23,660 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. 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 $23,660 as a median annual wage in 2015. In addition, the BLS estimated a 10% job growth for these professionals in the years 2014 through 2024. Job opportunities were expected to be most competitive at high-end salons.

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 2024.

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