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.
Core subjects in a cosmetology diploma program include:
- Deep cleansing and mask treatments
- Eyebrow and eyelash tints
- Facial massage
- Classic massage techniques
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 10% over the 2014-2024 decade. These professionals earned a median salary of $23,710 as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov).
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.