How to Become a Cosmetology Instructor Online

Jan 28, 2020

If you like teaching others to excel in the beauty industry, pursuing a career as a cosmetology instructor may be an option for you. This article discusses the steps and criteria to become a cosmetology instructor through online methods.

Cosmetology Instructor Overview

Cosmetology instructors combine their knowledge of cosmetology with their ability to teach others. Instructors may teach students how to style and color hair, apply makeup, maintain clean and safe environments, and handle payments from clients. Due to the required hands-on experiences, becoming a cosmetology instructor strictly through online methods is relatively difficult. The table provided below lists information for cosmetology instructor careers.

Required Skills Customer service, leadership, creativity, and time-management
Job Growth (2018-2028)* 8% (for barbers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists)
-3% for 2018-2028 (for postsecondary vocational education teachers)
Median Salary (2018)* $24,830 per year (for barbers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists)
$53,120 per year (for postsecondary vocational education teachers)

Source: *U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics

How to Become a Cosmetology Instructor Online

Becoming a cosmetology instructor begins with attending a cosmetology school that features hybrid coursework and then using online resources to help prepare for a licensing exam. In addition to applying to open cosmetology positions online, you will also need to gain hands-on experience and attend in-person schooling for cosmetology instructing.

Step 1. Complete Cosmetology School

Before you can begin teaching, you will need to graduate from a cosmetology school that is approved by your state's licensing board. Typically, a high school diploma or equivalent is needed prior to attending one of these schools. Because several skill sets require hands-on learning, most cosmetology programs will not be offered online; however, select hybrid programs are available. These programs combine distance learning courses with on-campus training. You can about learn cutting, styling, skin care, makeup, and manicuring/pedicuring.

Step 2. Obtain Cosmetologist Licensure

After you have completed an approved cosmetology program, you must take a state licensing exam. Licensing laws vary depending on your state of residence, so it is important to review those requirements online before applying. These exams may require a fee and may also include a combination of written and practical tests that measure your styling skills and abilities.

More than 35 states use the National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC) exam as part of the licensure process. The NIC provides online information to prepare you for this licensing exam, including an online practice test and study guides. The study guides include topics such as equipment use, procedures for maintaining a sterile and safe environment, and working with a variety of clients. Typically, continuing education is required to obtain license renewal; however, the exact requirements may vary from state to state.

Step 3. Acquire Work Experience

Before you can begin a cosmetology instructing program, you will need experience working in the cosmetology industry. These experience requirements may vary depending on the state and program you apply to. Finding available careers may be accomplished through an online search. From there, you can apply to job openings via online methods.

Step 4. Complete a Cosmetology Instructor Training Program

After you have met the experience requirements, you may apply for an instructor program in cosmetology. Most programs will not be offered online, as you will need to gain hands-on experience and skills. Likewise, program requirements and costs may vary from state to state. Training may teach you how to guide students and evaluate their performances, as well as prepare them for licensure.

Step 5. Obtain Instructor Licensure

Some states also license cosmetology instructors, which can involve passing two-part written and practical exams. Several online prep resources, including candidate information bulletins and practice tests, are also available for these exams.

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