Master Cosmetologist: Education Requirements and Career Info

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a master cosmetologist. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

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Master cosmetologists apply makeup, cut hair and perform manicures for clients. Some experience and completion of a master cosmetologist training program are required. Master cosmetologist must also pass a licensing exam following their training program.

Essential Information

Master cosmetologists care for a client's hair, nails and skin. Some of the services they may offer include hair coloring, makeup application, manicures and hair cutting. Master cosmetologists have more advanced knowledge and skills in this field than regular cosmetologists. They obtain their education through a master cosmetologist training program and take exams to become state licensed. They need to have some work experience in the field, and they must continue to learn about new products and techniques within the cosmetology industry through continuing education.

Required Education Completion of a master cosmetologist training program
Other Requirements State licensure, work experience and continuing education
Projected Job Growth 10% for all hairdressers and cosmetologists from 2014-2024*
Median Salary (2015) $23,660 annually for all hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Education Requirements for Master Cosmetologists

Cosmetologists provide various types of hairstyling and cosmetic services to clients, such as coloring, cutting, manicures and applying make-up. Master cosmetologists must complete continuing education courses and have hands-on experience to earn the title of master cosmetologist. Master cosmetologists must graduate with a high school diploma or GED, complete a training program, hold a cosmetology license and have at least one-year of work experience. After completing all educational requirements, prospective master cosmetologists must take an additional licensing exam. This exam consists of both a written test and a practical demonstration of skills.

Master cosmetologist programs require five semesters of study. Coursework is taught by licensed professional instructors and consist of lectures and labs covering bacteriology, sterilization, customer service and business. Additional coursework includes anatomy, physiology and chemistry as they apply to cosmetology. Graduates become proficient in chemical waving, straightening, haircutting, hair coloring, hair treatments, waxing, makeup, facial treatments and manicures.

Career Information

Master cosmetologists work in beauty salons, hotels and spas. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, career opportunities for hairdressers and cosmetologists are expected to increase by 10% from 2014-2024. This increase is due to a growing population using cosmetology services. The best opportunities will be for those who have a variety of skills and offer a broad range of services. In 2014, about 50% of barbers, hairdressers and cosmetologists were self-employed and able to set their own hours. Opportunities are also available to pay a weekly or monthly booth rental fee to the salon owner. Cosmetologists are required to display their credentials at their workstation.

According to the BLS, hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists earned a median wage of $23,660 in May 2015. Because master cosmetologists have more experience and advanced training, they typically have more career options and a higher salary than regular cosmetologists.

Master cosmetologists must complete a five-semester program and a licensing test entailing a written exam and a display of skill. They work in salons, hotels and spas, working on clients' hair, nails and skin. Master cosmetologists are expected to see a steady increase of job opportunities over the next decade due to an increased interest in cosmetic enhancement from the general population.

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