Cosmetology Overview

Have you ever dreamed of doing the hair and makeup for a celebrity on the red carpet? Major in Cosmetology and your dream may become a reality.

Cosmetology experts help people look and feel good about themselves. You will be equipped with the skills to tame bad hair days and accentuate natural features with makeup. Classes in areas such as hair cutting and coloring, skin care, manicuring, and salon business practices will also teach students how to follow safety and health standards and run a salon or spa while giving clients the best experience possible.

Degrees in general Cosmetology are available, but due to the vastness of the major, students decide to concentrate in a specific area. Some of the many concentrations you may choose from include: Barbering, Electrology and Electrolysis Technician, Make-Up Artist, Hair Stylist and Hair Design, Facial Treatment Specialist, Aesthetician and Skin Care Specialist, Nail Technician and Manicurist, Permanent Cosmetics and Tattooing, Salon Management, Cosmetology, and Barber/Styling.

Required Skills

Cosmetologists work directly with people, placing a high value on strong interpersonal and customer service skills. Professionals must pay close attention to detail and be good listeners when the customer explains the service and final result they want. Cosmetologists must also be creative and up to date on the newest trends.

Many jobs in cosmetology are part time with hours both during the week and on weekends. Those who decide to be self-employed may work more weekly hours and set their own schedule. Hairdresser, stylists, and some other specialists can expect to spend a lot of time on their feet.

Most cosmetology programs are available as associate's degrees. Once students finish the degree, they must become licensed in the state they wish to practice. An internship in the field is helpful to students who wish to gain hands-on experience while working towards their degree.


The majority of Cosmetology graduates work in a salon, spa, or barbershop. Some graduates are self-employed and work out of their home or rented space. The Cosmetology field is growing at an average rate. Jobs are opening as older professionals begin to retire. This average turn-over rate should make jobs available for graduates especially those with previous, relevant experience.

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Related Majors

Explore all the majors withing the field of Personal & Culinary Services

Example Careers

Here is a small sample of the careers that a degree in Cosmetology might open up.

First-Line Supervisors of Personal Service Workers
Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists
Makeup Artists, Theatrical and Performance
Manicurists and Pedicurists
Skincare Specialists
Salary data is estimated by College Factual using 2013 data provided by PayScale.
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