Jobs that Require a Cosmetology License

Feb 27, 2019

There are a number of different jobs that require employees to have a cosmetology license. These careers are similar in that they involve providing clients with various types of beauty, grooming and skincare treatments.

Career Options that Require a Cosmetology License

For individuals who are interested in working in the world of beauty, grooming, or makeup, they have a number of options to choose from depending on their specific interests and skills. Many of these service-oriented positions have high standards for the training of employees who work in this industry, meaning that state-issued cosmetology licenses are often required to find work in this field. We will discuss five different career paths, below, that typically require individuals to have a cosmetology license.

Job Title Median Salary Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Barber $25,760 (2016)* 9% to 13%
Hairdresser/ Hairstylist $24,260 (2016)* (hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists 9% to 13% (hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists)
Skincare Specialist $30,270 (2016)* 12%
Manicurist/Pedicurist $22,150 (2016)* 10%
Makeup Artist $39,718 (2017)** 14% (makeup artists, theatrical and performance)

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **

Career Information about Jobs that Require a Cosmetology License


A barber typically provides clients with haircuts, shampoos, beard trimming/shaving and styling tips. They may also perform color treatments on hair. To become a barber, you generally will need to complete a barber or cosmetology program and then obtain a license by taking and passing a state-issued licensing exam.


Hairdressers and hairstylists work with both women and men in helping them achieve new haircuts and styles. Some of their daily job tasks could include providing hair style consultations, washing clients' hair, and cutting and styling hair. Many hairdressers and stylists also perform color treatments and may offer special services like formal hairstyling for events like weddings. To become a hairdresser or hairstylist, you will need to complete a cosmetology program and become licensed by the state in which you intend to work.

Skincare Specialist

A skincare specialist, also called an esthetician, is an appearance professional who provides clients with different types of skincare treatments depending on their needs. Some of the treatments they provide often include masks, waxing, facials, peels, massages, and consultation sessions for clients who have specific skin problems they would like to address. Skincare specialists receive their training by completing state-approved esthetician or cosmetology programs, after which they must also obtain a state license.


Manicurists and pedicurists provide hand and foot treatments to clients. Depending on what the client wants specifically, they may clean and trim nails, moisturize and exfoliate hands and feet, and paint and style nails. To become a manicurist or a pedicurist, you will need to complete a cosmetology or nail technician program to learn the necessary skills and safety procedures. After completing a program, you will generally need a cosmetology license to work as a manicurist or pedicurist, though requirements do vary by state.

Makeup Artist

Makeup artists work with clients who want guidance regarding their makeup routines or who are in need of a special look for a specific event like a party, wedding, runway modeling or performance on the stage or in film. Makeup artists work with clients to find the kind of products that will work best with their skin tone and create the look that they want, and they will also walk clients through the makeup application process to teach them proper skills. To become a makeup artist, you can attend a cosmetology program and earn a cosmetology license, although licensing requirements may vary.

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