Beautician: Job Description, Outlook and Requirements

Sep 20, 2019

Beauticians work in various trades of the beauty industry, such as hair, skin or nail care. Most aspiring beauticians only need a training certificate while others may pursue an associate's degree, but all need to be licensed in their field.

Essential Information

Beauticians are licensed professionals who work to improve a client's personal appearance through external methods, including hair, nail and skin care. Some work in specialty areas such as personal styling and makeup application. Every state requires that beauticians be licensed, which calls for completing a state-approved certificate or degree program in cosmetology, aesthetics or a related field, as well as passing examinations of their knowledge and skills. Employment for hairstylists, hairdressers and cosmetologists is expected to increase at a rate that is faster than average for all professions over the next few years.

Required Education Certificate or associate's degree program in cosmetology or related field
Other Requirements Licensing required in all states
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028) 8% for hairstylists, hairdressers and cosmetologists*
Median Salary (2018) $24,730 for hairstylists, hairdressers and cosmetologists*

Sources: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Job Description

Beauticians may cut, color and style hair to enhance a client's appearance. Some beauticians, such as aestheticians, provide skin care, nail care and hair removal treatments. Beauticians may specialize in certain areas, such as makeup application, nail art, color analysis or personal styling services. Individuals who work in hair salons may spend a long day on their feet, with continuous exposure to cosmetic chemicals such as hair color, permanent solution and others. Those who work in day spas and resorts may experience a more comfortable work environment.

Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expected employment for hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists (including beauticians) to increase faster than average from 2018-2028 ( In May 2018, the BLS reported that workers in the 90th percentile or higher earned $50,110 or more per year, whereas the bottom 10th percentile earned $17,980 or less per year.

Education Requirements

Beauticians are typically required to complete a certificate or degree program in cosmetology, aesthetics or another specialty. The length of the programs may vary by state or degree level, but cosmetology generally takes longer than aesthetics, makeup or nail care training. The courses typically cover subjects such as hair, nail and skin care techniques, sanitation and salon business practices, depending on the program and degree level.

Career Requirements

Most states require beauticians to complete a state licensing exam in their field, such as cosmetology, aesthetics or manicuring. The exam typically covers the subjects and skills acquired during the training program. Beauticians typically must apply for the test and pay a fee to take the exam.

While not required, beauticians may want to maintain their personal appearance to project a good image to their clients. They must also possess adequate social and communication skills, as the industry typically requires frequent contact with numerous individuals.

Beauticians care for hair, nails, and skin, and can specialize in makeup or personal styling. While most beauticians require a certificate of completion or degree, a state license is also needed. Job opportunities, specifically for hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists, are expected to grow at a faster rate than average from 2018-2028.

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