Advancement Opportunities for Cosmetologists

Jun 27, 2018

The work of cosmetologists can help clients look their best. After working as a cosmetologist, some professionals will wish to utilize their skills in other positions in the beauty world. Explore a few other job options and their outlook.

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Career Growth Opportunities for Cosmetologists

Cosmetologists provide a range of beauty services, typically within a salon setting. After working as a cosmetologist, some individuals may wish to consider other careers in the beauty industry. They could consider working on productions as a theatrical makeup artist, helping individuals with various medical conditions as a medical aesthetician or permanent cosmetics technician, or transitioning to the retail world as a beauty advisor. Some information on these careers is presented below. All of these jobs offer higher salary potential than a cosmetologist position, which had a median annual salary of $24,728 as of 2018, per

Job Title Median Salary (2018) Job Growth (2016-2026)*** Education or Experience
Licensed Medical Aesthetician $44,660* 14% (skincare specialists) Postsecondary certificate
Theatrical and Performance Makeup Artist $49,293* 12% Cosmetology license and experience
Permanent Cosmetics Technician $68,435** 6% (craft and fine artists, including tattoo artists) Varies by state, commonly tattoo licensure
Beauty Advisor $35,056* 2% (retail salespersons) High school diploma

Sources: *, **Glassdoor, ***U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Career Information

Licensed Medical Aesthetician

Cosmetologists who wish to work with clients suffering from skin conditions may consider moving into a position as a licensed medical aesthetician. These professionals work with clients whose skin is affected by trauma, surgery, or other medical procedures such as chemotherapy. The aesthetician teaches the patient how to care for their skin and helps them choose products to meet their needs. They may need to consult with physicians to determine which products are appropriate for the client. Training requirements to become a licensed medical aesthetician vary by state, but the typical requirements include completing a program in skin care at a licensed cosmetology school and passing a national examination termed the National Esthetics Practical Examination. Some work experience in a medical setting may also be helpful in securing a position.

Theatrical and Performance Makeup Artist

Some cosmetologists may enjoy applying makeup in different styles. These individuals may consider moving into a position as a makeup artist for theatrical shows. Theatrical and performance makeup artists focus on applying makeup to performers in a specific way to meet the style of the performance. During the course of a show, the makeup artist may be required to apply touch-ups or change the style of the makeup on a performer. They must be conscious of specific needs regarding skin sensitivities of any of the performers. Theatrical and performance makeup artists typically are licensed cosmetologists with experience applying makeup for performances.

Permanent Cosmetics Technicians

Cosmetologists enjoy helping people look their best. Those who wish to work with those who cannot or do not want to apply makeup on a daily basis might consider training as a permanent cosmetics technician. Permanent cosmetics technicians apply tattoos to the face to mimic the appearance of natural makeup. This is beneficial for individual such as those who are disabled and cannot apply makeup, or who have allergies to the ingredients in makeup. Requirements for this position vary by state, and the job may require a license specific to permanent cosmetics or may fall under a tattoo license. Specific programs are becoming available in this emerging field.

Beauty Advisor

Many cosmetologists enjoy helping their clients choose products that make them feel and look good. Those that enjoy this component of their work may consider working as a beauty advisor. Beauty advisors work for higher-end department and cosmetics stores. They meet clients who wish to purchase cosmetics and help educate and sell them the best products. Beauty advisors must be up-to-date on the latest beauty trends. They may work on commission. Beauty advisors typically have a minimum of a high school diploma.

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