Beauty Therapy Training, Certificate and Degree Program Options

Oct 10, 2019

In beauty therapy programs, students learn business principles and aesthetic applications through traditional coursework, laboratory sessions and internships. Graduates are prepared to meet state licensure requirements for cosmetologists.

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Essential Information

Beauty therapists, also known as cosmetologists, can earn a diploma or an associate's degree in cosmetology through 2-year community colleges and vocational schools, some of which offer online courses.

Diploma coursework combines practical and theoretical study. Lecture topics include depilation, day to night makeup, body massages, facial treatments, manicures and pedicures. Students also gain business and marketing skills.

In an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Cosmetology program, participants are able to practice what they've learned in on-campus salons, advanced salon labs or local spa internships.

Both program types take around two years to complete, and only a high school diploma or General Education Development (GED) equivalent is necessary for admission.

Cosmetology Diploma

Core subjects in a cosmetology diploma program include:

  • Deep cleansing and mask treatments
  • Eyebrow and eyelash tints
  • Facial massage
  • Classic massage techniques
  • Aromatherapy

Associate of Applied Science in Cosmetology

Associate's curricula includes general education classes and specialized training opportunities in:

  • Sterilization and sanitation
  • Shampooing and rinsing scalp therapy
  • Cutting and hairstyling
  • Hair coloring
  • Nail services

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for cosmetologists, barbers, hairstylists and hairdressers is expected to grow at a rate of 8% over the 2018-2028 decade. These professionals earned a median salary of $24,730 as of May 2018 (

Continuing Education Information

Nearly every state mandates that individuals be licensed before entering the industry. Requirements vary by state, but hands-on work experience and passing a state-issued examination are usually involved. Graduates can further their education in a business management bachelor's degree program, where they will study finance, marketing, entrepreneurship and other useful topics.

Aspiring beauty therapists can choose from a cosmetology diploma or associate's degree program in order to prepare for a career in the field. Both programs involve studying theory as well as engaging in practical experiences.

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