A two-year associate's program is generally considered the highest required education for cosmetologists; this field is not studied at the Ph.D. level. These programs are offered at private specialized beauty schools and some community colleges and technical colleges.
Prerequisites for an associate's degree in cosmetology includes a high school diploma or its equivalent. Hands-on salon practice is required as a part of the coursework, which may also be specialized in areas of focus like hair styling, manicures and pedicures or skin care.
Associate's Degree in Cosmetology
Cosmetology associate's degree programs prepare students for entry-level careers in the field, and they include business training that can foster advancement into management or leadership roles. Students in cosmetology train in the classroom and in a simulated salon environment.
Common courses discuss:
- Manicures and pedicures
- Skin care
- Hair styling
- Hair cutting
- Hair coloring
- Makeup application
Popular Career Options
Graduates of cosmetology associate degree programs are prepared for work in salons and spas, with many going on to manage their own businesses. Graduates may earn careers as:
- Hair stylists
- Nail technicians
- Makeup artists
- Salon managers
- Spa owners
According to the BLS, employment opportunities for cosmetologists are expected to increase 10% from 2014 to 2024. The BLS states that the median annual salary for barbers, hairdressers and cosmetologists as reported in May 2015 was $23,710.
Continuing Education Information
Cosmetologists are required to be licensed in all states, though requirements for licensure vary. In most places, a cosmetologist must be at least 16 years old, possess a high school diploma or GED and have completed a state-approved training program, such as an associate's degree program. To earn a license, an individual must complete a written test. In some cases, a practical test is included.
Since cosmetology is not a field of study available at the Ph.D. level, the most common training for cosmetologists is an associate's degree. Cosmetology programs are available from private beauty schools, community colleges and technical colleges and provide the training necessary for graduates to enter the beauty industry as makeup artists, hair stylists and nail technicians.