If you want to make your mark on the beauty world, a career as a cosmetologist could be the right choice for you. A cosmetologist is someone who helps people look and feel their best by taking care of their hair, nails, eyelashes, and more. Many cosmetologists work full-time at a salon, but many others choose to work independently. Whether you want to begin a career as a cosmetologist or start your own salon, you need to take a few steps beforehand. Becoming a cosmetologist isn’t just something you can do without any experience or formal training—it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to become a professional. Here are the steps to becoming a cosmetologist.
Make Sure You Meet the Requirements
To become a cosmetologist, you’ll need to enroll in cosmetology school. But before this, double-check that you meet the minimum requirements. Enrollees need to be at least 16 years old and have either a high school diploma or a GED. However, some vocational programs also exist that allow high schoolers to get a head-start on their training. If you don’t currently meet the requirements for cosmetic school, you may want to look into these programs instead.
Complete Your Training Courses
The next step to becoming a cosmetologist is completing your training courses. Most courses take anywhere from nine to 15 months to complete. This means you can earn your associate’s degree or certificate of completion in under a year.
In cosmetology school, you’ll learn about a wide variety of subjects. These include anatomy; business bookkeeping; customer service; how to use, clean, and maintain equipment; and more. You’ll need to demonstrate your knowledge and skills in these subjects by passing written exams and performing demonstrations on either models or real people.
During your time at cosmetology school, you might decide you want to focus on a specific area of cosmetology. Maybe you want to become an esthetician or set up your own eyelash extension business in the future, for example. Taking specialized classes on these subjects will require more coursework, but it’ll also help you secure a job or start a business in your desired field after graduation.
Pass the Licensing Exam
In most states, with the exceptions of Alabama, Delaware, Idaho, Maryland, Missouri, and Wisconsin, you need to pass a licensing exam before you can start working as a cosmetologist. These exams ensure that you have the knowledge and skills to provide customers with high-quality care. The exam varies from state to state, but it should be similar to the tests you had to take in cosmetology school. After you pass it and pay the fee required to obtain your documentation, you’ll finally be at the end of the process. Congratulations! At this point, you’ll have everything you’ll need to succeed as a professional cosmetologist.