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Cosmetology Certification: Certificate Program Outline

Students enrolled in a cosmetology certificate program study beauty topics including hair care, nail care, and personal hygiene, as well as business courses specific to salons. Apprenticeships are also required following completion of the program.

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Essential Information

A cosmetology certificate program curriculum is often 2 semesters long and a combination of lectures and laboratory sessions designed to prepare its graduates for licensing. Students learn about basic beauty techniques, hair care and coloring, manicures, facials, personal hygiene, design and grooming. Coursework also covers business principles, like salon operation, salesmanship, antisepsis and safety requirements.


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  • 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

Cosmetology Certificate

While course names and number of laboratory sessions may vary by program, common topics often include:

  • Aesthetics
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Salon concepts

Employment Outlook and Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), overall employment of hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists is expected to grow at a rate of 10% between 2014 and 2024, with a mean annual wage of $28,770, as reported in May 2015.

Continuing Education

In order to become a cosmetologist or legally perform any of the associated duties, students must complete a program approved by the state and meet age requirements. After which, one may apply for a junior license by taking an exam. Successful candidates begin a 960-hour apprenticeship under a master hairdresser. Graduates of a certificate program can expand their skills by earning an advanced cosmetology diploma or simply going to work in the field as a hairdresser, manicurist or other cosmetology specialist.

Cosmetology certificate programs are generally 2 semesters long and prepare students to sit for state licensing exams. Upon graduation, students must also complete an apprenticeship under a master hairdresser to become professional cosmetologists.

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