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Cosmetology License Spotlight: Hair Color Specialist

There are many options for careers with your training and cosmetology license. One mainstay of the cosmetology industry is hair coloring, and the top people in that field become hair color specialists. These are the people who are experts in the techniques and procedures involved in altering the color of people’s hair, whether to hide gray or just create a different appearance. Although many hair stylists offer coloring as part of their services, a hair color specialist is someone who concentrates on coloring and thereby can offer more specialized and skilled services.

What Does the Job Entail?


You will work with the client to determine the best color for their coloring and style

As a hair color specialist, you will not only mix the color and dye or treat a person’s hair, but you also help to determine the right coloring for a particular person. One of the most important aspects of the job is to consult with a customer to find a color that best complement their natural coloring while also achieving the look and style they want, according to WiseGeek.

Once you know what color you will be using, it is up to you to mix the hair color product to match the specifications of the job. This typically involves mixing several colors in order to reach the intended shade, as well as adding adequate toner. Then, a hair color specialist will use various techniques to apply the color, such as frosting, highlight foiling, and all-over coloring.

What is the Average Salary?

A hair color specialist often performs other cosmetology jobs, and as such is lumped into the same category as hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine the median salary. The median salary is $27,940, but the top 10 percent make over $45,000. As a hair color specialist you have the opportunity to make higher than average, especially if you work in a top salon. The state in which you live, as well as the type of salon, will also affect the amount of money you can make. New York, Texas, California, Florida, and Pennsylvania are the top five paying states for cosmetology careers.

Is the Job Outlook Good?


Many people dye or highlight their hair, so the job outlook for specialists is good

The projected job growth for all cosmetology careers from 2012 to 2022 is around 13 percent, which is about the same as other occupations. This means that there will be job opportunities, but it may be competitive, especially in some areas. If you are able to specialize and become an expert such as becoming a hair color specialist, then you can increase your chances of finding a high paying job. Coloring and dying hair is a popular reason for people to visit a salon, so as a hair color specialist, you will find many more opportunities than some other cosmetology careers.

How Do You Become a Hair Color Specialist?

The first step to become a hair color specialist is to go to cosmetology school, where you will learn the basic coloring techniques as well as cutting and styling hair. You will have to get a cosmetology license, so you will need to check with your state how many hours of training is required. Most states require somewhere around 1500 hours, and if you go to school in the same state in which you plan to get a license, then your school should adhere to the requirements. After training, you will also have to pass your state’s licensing exam.


Specialty courses in coloring will help you become a hair color specialist

One you are licensed to practice cosmetology, you still have some avenues to help you become a hair color specialist. You can take certification courses in advanced hair coloring techniques, such as through the American Board of Certified Haircolorists. With a certification, you can better market yourself as a specialist and secure a job at the most lucrative salons. You can also work on training yourself in the various advanced techniques for hair color through self-education and apprenticeships. You should never feel complacent in you education even after you become an expert; however. You should always continue to take continuing education courses not only because they are required for you to retain your license but also because they will help you remain on top of the current styles, trends, fashion, and techniques in the industry.

What Does a Typical Day Look Like?

Most hair color specialists work in salons. You may work as an employee, or you may work on your own and just rent a chair in a salon. Those in the higher end salons may only concentrate on coloring hair, while those working in other salons may also shampoo, cut, and style hair. Although you may have more female clientele, men also get their hair professionally colored.


Before coloring hair, you will always consult with the client to determine their desires

You will see several clients in one day, with the amount of time spent on each client depending on the services he or she needs. You will start with a consultation to determine what is to be done with the client. Then, you will mix the color and apply it using the best technique for that situation. You may also shampoo, cut, and style the hair, or other workers in the salon may do that for you. You may work on several clients concurrently, applying the color on one client while another client waits for it to work.

Becoming a hair color specialist can be a lucrative career trajectory for someone with a cosmetology license. It may take you a few years of practice and extra training to be able to call yourself a specialist, but hair coloring is something you will work on while in cosmetology school, allowing you to start on your path right away.

If you need to get your continuing education credits for your cosmetology license, then check out Beauty Academy’s hassle-free online courses.

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