Cosmetology 101

That person you visit regularly to cut, style, or color your hair is a cosmetologist. Commonly, we refer to them as hairdressers. Cosmetology also includes nail technicians, esthetics and skin care, barbering and cosmetic laser technology. It is a fairly stable career because one thing people need year-round is to look their best! When a person finds a good cosmetologist, she will keep returning plus give referrals to all of her friends and acquaintances. Being a cosmetologist is also a good way to be self-employed if one desires.

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Baltimore School of Massage’s Steiner Institute of Esthetics is a member of the Steiner Education Group, which is a subsidiary of Steiner Leisure Limited, a global provider of spa services. Steiner Leisure Limited operates more than 175 spas and salons on cruise ships and at resorts worldwide. Steiner spas recruit from the Steiner Education Group schools.


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Prepare for a Career That You Will Love!

Do you want a career that offers the satisfaction of helping people and a work environment that is positive and exciting?  With the education you will receive at the Steiner Institute of Esthetics at UCMT, that career can be yours. 


  • The Professional Esthetics Program
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Get hands-on training with Vista College. We offer certificate, diploma, and associate degree programs in a wide variety of fields at our campuses in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and Amarillo, Beaumont, El Paso, Lubbock, Longview, and Killeen, Texas.


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Dorsey Schools are postsecondary institutions that provide short term comprehensive training to prepare students for promising career opportunities in fields such as cosmetology, culinary arts, healthcare and skilled trades.


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Get your career started with training from Austin's School of Spa Technology. We offer programs in cosmetology, barbering, nail technology, and esthetics.


  • Tattoo Artistry
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The Milan Institute of Cosmetology offers the hands-on training you need to launch an exciting career in the beauty industry. Study Cosmetology, Esthetics, Massage Therapy and more.


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Locations: FairfieldEl PasoRenoMore...

Get hands-on training with Ridley-Lowell Business & Technical Institute. Our campuses in New York and Connecticut can help give you career training in a wide variety of fields, including accounting, cosmetology, criminal justice, electrical systems technology, HVAC, IT, legal assisting, massage therapy, allied health, office administration, and more.


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Whether you’re looking for a new career, or searching to enhance your current position, Midwest Technical Institute (MTI) can help kick-start your educational goals. Through a diverse, innovative mix of mechanical trades, transportation, health and wellness, as well as allied health programs, MTI has earned a reputation for excellence in meeting local community needs, in regards to its workforce.


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Jolie Hair and Beauty Academy can give you the skills, professional instruction, and hands-on training and you'll need to launch your career the rewarding cosmetology field.


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Start your career with training from Blake Austin College - Beauty Academy. We offer programs in cosmetology, massage therapy, and holistic health, plus a combination esthetics/massage program.


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At a Glance

Cosmetology SchoolOther Job Titles: Hairdresser, hairstylist, cosmetic laser technician, nail technician, esthetician
Salary Range/Pay: [1] 
Median $22,500 per year ($10.82 per hour)
Education/Training Required:
High school and state-licensed cosmetology school
Desired Skills/Aptitude:
Communication skills, good listeners, creative, stand for long periods
All states require a license following an approved training program
Locations with Best Opportunities:[2]
New York, Texas, Pennsylvania, Florida, California
Employment Outlook:
Expected growth by 14% through 2020 (average growth)
Opportunities for Advancement:
Cosmetologists can advance from working in a salon to opening up their own business.

What a Cosmetologist Does

The main job of a cosmetologist focuses around the styling, coloring, and cutting of hair. Their jobs also entail washing, drying, and conditioning hair. They recommend and carry out special treatments for the scalp, hair, and face. Facial treatments can include recommending makeup that best fits the client. Today, they also do more in the way of scalp and facial treatments to include promoting products that improve the skin. Their objective is to make clients look their best when it comes to facial appearance and hair style.

A good cosmetologist gets to know her clients and keeps records to remember what services they have performed for them and what products were used. For example, if a client uses a certain hair coloring product, the cosmetologist keeps record of this. This provides a higher level of personal service and keeps clients returning.

The tools used by the cosmetologist are typically scissors, curling irons, hair dryers, and hair brushes. They are also responsible for keeping tools sanitary for the health and safety of clients.

Although cosmetologists know how to shampoo and condition hair, some have used other staff known as shampooers to do this. This would be the case for cosmetologists working in larger salons. A self-employed cosmetologist working alone would do these tasks herself.

The Workplace

Many cosmetologists are self-employed and work from their own salon, lease booth space in another salon, or work out of their homes. Most that work as employees in salons are hired part-time.

The only hazard in the job is exposure to the various chemicals that are used in hair coloring and other hair treatment applications. These chemicals have the potential to cause skin irritation thus the cosmetologist will oftentimes wear gloves and aprons to protect the skin as well as the clothing.

A cosmetologist needs to be physically fit because she must stand on her feet for many hours in a typical day. This is especially true for those who are self-employed and schedule as many clients as they can in any given day.

Education and Certification

Licensing of cosmetologists is required in all states. The path to licensing begins with a high school diploma and then successful completion of a cosmetology training program that is state-accredited.

States may have minor variations on their licensing exams but in general these exams involve a written portion and possible a hands-on section that tests the ability of the cosmetologist to style hair. Those interested in this field should consult with the appropriate state government agency to determine what is required for licensing.

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[1] Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Barbers, Hairdressers, and Cosmetologists, on the Internet at

[2] Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists, on the Internet at