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Become a Salon Manager: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Learn how to become a salon manager. Research the education and career requirements, licensure, and experience required for starting a career as a salon manager. View article »

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  • 0:03 Salon Manager Career Info
  • 0:47 Complete Cosmetology Program
  • 1:27 Obtain Licensure
  • 1:49 Gain Experience
  • 2:28 Consider Salon…

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Video Transcript

Salon Manager Career Info

Salon managers operate and oversee salon operations by hiring hair stylists and cosmetologists, determining which services are offered, and marketing the business. Managers are typically licensed cosmetologists who must have several years of experience and training. These professionals often work long hours to maintain the upkeep of a salon and may have cosmetology duties along with business-related responsibilities.

They should have strong communication skills, management skills, and the ability to work in a high-pressure environment. In 2016, PayScale.com reported that salon managers in the U.S. earned a median annual salary of $34,665.

Career Requirements at a Glance

Degree Level A training program, certificate, diploma or associate degree program from a state-licensed cosmetology school
Degree Name Cosmetology or barbering
Licensing State licensing is required
Experience Experience as a cosmetologist or barber is typically required; management experience may also be required for some positions
Key Skills Strong communication and management skills; high-level of professionalism; able to work in a high-pressure environment
Salary (2016)* $34,129 yearly median wage

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Job Postings from CareerBuilder.com in July 2012, *PayScale.com (2016)

Complete Cosmetology Program

In order to become a cosmetologist or barber, an individual must complete a cosmetology program that is licensed by the state. Cosmetology programs will include courses in tinting, hair coloring and styling, manicures and pedicures, contemporary styling, and tanning. In addition to courses, students will receive practical training and apply what they have learned in the classroom.

Cosmetology training requirements vary by state, and you may need to complete anywhere from 1,000-2,000 hours of training. When researching prospective schools, aspiring cosmetologists and salon managers should make sure that the school meets the licensing requirements of your state.

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

Obtain Licensure

In order to obtain licensure, graduates of a cosmetology program need to complete a practical and written examination. Applicants must send in their transcripts of the hours and courses they have completed. A cosmetology license will qualify individuals to cut and style hair, perform waxing services, and apply oils and lotions to the hair and body.

Step 3: Gain Experience

Aspiring salon managers must typically gain experience as cosmetologists to learn the ins and outs of the business. Working as a cosmetologist will give prospective salon managers an opportunity to interact with customers and discover what methods work best when operating a salon. In addition to cutting and styling hair, cosmetologists will learn how to meet customer demands, set schedules, and market services.

While working as a cosmetologist in a salon, an aspiring salon manager might perform some duties that a manager would perform in order to gain experience working in a management role. This experience could be useful when attempting to advance in the field.

Step 4: Consider a Salon Management Program

While students may take some courses related to business during their cosmetology program, those who want to become salon managers may want to consider completing a salon management program. This is an opportunity for cosmetologists to focus more on business topics, including small business management and business math. These programs are typically designed for students who are licensed cosmetologists and who have experience in cosmetology. Salon management programs could also include coursework and experience in nail technology. A salon management degree is not typically required for managers, but the experience and education gained here could be advantageous to these professionals.

To quickly recap, a salon manager should be a licensed and trained cosmetologist, though taking on management courses or salon management responsibilities could help someone move up to the position as well.

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