Becoming a Cosmetologist: Things You Should Know Before You Enroll

Whether you’re considering going to cosmetology school or want to learn more about the industry, here are things you should be aware of.

Cosmetologists make a big difference in people’s lives by providing haircuts, makeup and nails. However, they also work with a lot of people and have to be able to get along well with clients and staff.

Education Requirements

If you’re curious about how to become a cosmetologist, this guide will help you answer all your questions. You’ll need to attend an accredited beauty school and obtain your professional state license. This is essential to establishing your career in cosmetology and will give you the skills you need to get hired by salons.

As a cosmetologist, you’ll work on your client’s hair, nails and skin to help them achieve their ideal physical appearance. You’ll need to master different styles and use various tools to accomplish your tasks.

Once you’re licensed, you can put your new skills to use at a salon or spa, and your salary will depend on your skills and experience. In New York, cosmetologists’ employment is expected to grow by 6% between 2018 and 2026.

During your time in cosmetology school, you’ll learn about skin and nail health, salon management, and state regulations. You’ll also gain business knowledge to prepare you for a successful career.

License Requirements

Getting a cosmetology license can be an exciting path to a career in the beauty industry. But you’ll need to meet specific education and training requirements for each state you plan on working in.

In New York, for example, you’ll need to attend a licensed beauty school and complete the minimum required training hours. Then you’ll take exams to receive your license.

You can also take a course from one of these schools or complete an apprenticeship with a licensed cosmetologist. You’ll need to pass a written exam and a practical exam.

A cosmetology license isn’t just about making money—it’s about serving the community. In fact, New York ranks 17th in overall charitability and 45th in volunteerism, so knowing how to provide services that address the beauty needs of different populations can be invaluable.

Work Environment

Cosmetologists perform hair, makeup and skincare treatments in a beauty salon. They also shampoo, condition and treat their clients’ hair and help them choose the right color or cut.

A cosmetologist can work in a salon or as an independent contractor. Some work as employees for a salon; these usually collect an hourly salary and tips while using the supplies provided by the salon.

Others operate their own small salons. They often need to invest in loans or equipment for their businesses.

Those who are self-employed determine their own schedules. Most work about 40 hours per week, including evenings and weekends when beauty salons are most active.


The salary associated with being a cosmetologist can vary widely depending on the type of job, industry and geographic location. Some factors can be fixed, such as a set hourly wage, while others can change with experience and reputation in the industry.

Generally speaking, the higher you become in this career, the more money you earn. This is because you can charge more for your services and receive more client tips.

As a cosmetologist, you will provide cosmetic treatments to your customers, often involving hair cutting and styling, pedicures, and manicures. You may also offer other personal care services, such as facials and waxing.

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