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Beauty School: Adult Education Programs in Cosmetology

You can enroll in a cosmetology program at a community college or a vocational or trade school in order to learn the basic skills necessary to succeed as an industry professional. Learn about required courses, licensing, and career opportunities.

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In order to find work in cosmetology, most adults seek education at a beauty school. Learn about what to expect and preview some basic course content for a cosmetology education.

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

Schools and Programs

A career in the cosmetology industry - as a hair stylist, makeup artist, skin or nail care technician - can be yours if you enroll in a cosmetology program at a community college or trade school. Programs usually last between one and two years and involve many opportunities for hands-on learning. You will need to complete such a course of study to be licensed by your state. More information is found below.

Program At a Glance

Cosmetology/Hairstyling

  • Most programs last 1-2 years and must be taught on campus.
  • A high school diploma or GED is required for admission.

Coursework for Beauty School Adult Education Programs

In order to begin your studies at a cosmetology school, all that is typically required is a high school diploma or its equivalent in addition to a desired interest to learn about this specialty. Coursework for beauty schools in adult education cosmetology programs might include fundamentals of cosmetology, manicuring, hair styling, hair coloring, hair design, skin care, and salon management. Additionally, hands-on work is required to build real skills, and most programs also cover some barbering work to give students a well-rounded education. Safety and sanitation are discussed as well. Students should learn the theory behind the skills they are practicing so they will understand why they are taught certain procedures.

A cosmetology program will prepare you to pass your state's licensing program - and without a license to practice cosmetology, in many states you cannot be employed in a salon. If you do obtain licensure, you may choose to work as a self-employed stylist or perhaps work towards owing your own salon. You may also work as a beauty product sales consultant, in the entertainment industry, in a spa, or even on a cruise ship.

Salary Information and Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that, as of May 2016, the median annual salary for hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists was $24,260. Earnings will, of course, vary subject to the location and the size of the salon and customer tips.

Cosmetology is considered a fairly 'recession-proof' industry, as women (and, these days, quite a few men) are always willing to spend a little money to look good, and getting a new hairstyle or having nails done is seen as a fairly inexpensive indulgence. The BLS reported that job growth for barbers, hairdressers, and cosmetologists was projected to increase 10%, from 2014-2024.

Cosmetology and beauty school teach adult learners the skills necessary to succeed in the beauty industry. Courses cover a variety of hair, skin, and nail techniques combined with hands-on training to prepare graduates for licensure.

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