These days, an increasing number of young adults have begun to question the notion of attending a four-year college straight out of high school. In fact, today’s young people are beginning to start their careers earlier. As a result, many of them have begun exploring post-high-school education options that don’t require four years of their lives to complete.
For those interested in a career as a cosmetologist, hairstylist, esthetician, or nail technician, the good news is that there are many beauty school programs that prepare students for these positions. The best part? Many of these programs take a year or less to complete.
Is There a Demand for These Jobs?
According to a Chicago Business article, the demand for beauticians, nail technicians, hairstylists, and esthetician is on the rise and has been for years. Despite the recent recession, people still place a high priority on looking their best, so they need these professionals in their lives. Furthermore, the same Chicago Business article projects that the demand for these specialists is only going to continue to rise in the future.
As a result, there’s perhaps never been a better time to consider attending beauty school. Those who are interested in helping people look and feel their best can make a decent living in one of these rewarding positions. Furthermore, with enough experience, it may even be possible to open one’s own salon.
Most people have a pretty good idea of what hairstylists and nail technicians do for a living. However, what about cosmetologists and estheticians?
Typically, a cosmetologist specializes in makeup and general beauty (That’s why they’re also commonly referred to as beauticians.) In many ways, a cosmetologist is a “catch-all” position because they’re trained to do it all. Specifically, they take on many of the job responsibilities that a hairstylist, nail technician, and esthetician would do on a regular basis, such as:
- Giving manicures and pedicures
- Plucking or shaping someone’s eyebrows
- Cutting and styling hair
- Applying makeup to a person’s face
Because a cosmetologist has to know how to do it all, the required program of study typically lasts around 14 months, which is a little longer than the average beauty school program. Still, working as a cosmetologist can be a rewarding career that provides plenty of variety in one’s workday. Furthermore, cosmetologists often have an easy time finding work due to their diverse skill sets.
For those who are interested in a more specialized career, working as an esthetician may be a great choice. Estheticians specifically focus on the skin; as such, they perform tasks such as:
- Providing facials
- Assisting with pore cleansing
- Providing exfoliation treatments
- Removing hair through waxing
Essentially, estheticians are skin-care professionals. However, it’s important not to confuse the profession of estheticians with that of a dermatologist. A dermatologist is a doctor who specializes in treating conditions of the skin, such as acne and rosacea; these doctors aren’t concerned with a person’s beauty.
Perhaps one of the best things about becoming an esthetician is that the required schooling only takes about six months for most people to complete. This is wonderful for those who want to get through school, get licensed, and begin making money doing something they love as soon as possible.
More About School and Licensing Requirements
Depending on the specific position one is interested in, there are some strict schooling and licensing requirements that will need to be followed before one can begin legally practicing in their state.
Since each state is responsible for coming up with its own requirements, there’s really no blanket answer to the question of how many hours of training experience a person will need or which specific courses he or she will need to complete in school. However, cosmetologists nail technicians, estheticians, and hairstylists alike usually need a minimum of 250-300 training hours before they can be licensed. In some states, however, the number of required hours could be as high as 1,000.
When it comes to formal schooling, the length of a program of study can vary depending on the specific career a person is looking to get into. Furthermore, the length of a program will also fluctuate based on whether the student is attending full or part-time.
Still, there are some general guidelines one can keep in mind when determining how long one can expect to be in school. As a disclaimer, these figures are all based on a student enrolled full-time:
- Cosmetologist: 14 months
- Hairstylist: 12 months
- Esthetician: 6 months
- Nail technician: 6 months
However, becoming a beauty professional doesn’t happen as soon as one finishes school and has enough practice hours under his or her belt. All professionals need to be licensed in the state they work. Generally, a person will be granted a license after passing a state-written exam. Once a license is granted, it’s good only in that particular state. Those who move to another state will need to take that state’s exam to get certified there.
Even once a worker is certified, however, licenses typically don’t last more than a few years. At this time, it may be necessary to take another exam, which is meant to ensure that all beauty professionals stay up-to-date on the latest techniques and innovations in their industries. To stay on top of things, beauty professionals are encouraged to take continuing education classes. In fact, some employers may even require employees to take these classes.
Working as a beauty professional takes a lot of practice, training, and schooling. However, many working in the field agree that it’s more than worth the effort and that their jobs are truly rewarding. Generally, people who like making others look and feel their best make for great beauty professionals. Some other qualities that tend to make up a successful beauty professional include:
- Being hardworking
- Being willing to try new things
- Being a “people person”
The possibilities when working as a beauty professional are endless as well. When starting out, these workers typically make an hourly wage from the salon at which they’re hired. However, as time goes on, these workers may be able to find their own private clients. Ultimately, they may even choose to open up their own salons.
Anybody looking for a great career that doesn’t require years of schooling to complete should consider the option of going to school to become a hairstylist, esthetician, nail technician, or even a cosmetologist. After all, the demand for these beauty services is there and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.