The coursework in cosmetology school typically covers the important techniques for working with hair, nails, esthetics, and other areas of the industry. You also have the option to specialize in one or more of these areas, which most people do before starting their careers. It can be difficult to choose which one, but by asking yourself some important questions, you can determine the right fit for you.
Before asking yourself some questions, it helps to research the different specialties, including esthetician, nail technician, hair stylist, or barber. There are several places online with information about each career path, or you can talk to professionals at your local spas, salons and barber shops. Talking with a person often provides a better understanding of the career, helping you decide whether it is the best choice for you.
Some cosmetology schools also specialize in one area more so than others. If you have yet to enroll in a program, then it will be beneficial to first determine your specialty and choose a school that has a strong program in your chosen field. The program emphasis should be just one of several questions to ask to help you determine the right school for you, according to Beauty Schools Directory’s Checklist of Things to Consider in a Beauty School.
Why are You Attending Cosmetology School?
Most students who want to become cosmetologists already have some idea in mind of their chosen specialty. If you are unsure about your specialty, think about the reasons that have led you to choosing cosmetology school. This could be enjoying playing with other people’s hair, having fun designing new nail art, or having fond memories of visiting your salon, or you could have more practical reasons such as financial necessity.
What are Your Professional Goals?
Another important question to ask yourself when choosing your specialty is your career goals. If you just want job security, then you should look for the greatest need in your region and choose that specialty. However, if you have a desire to open your own salon one day, then you will want to choose the specialty in which you want to open your salon, whether hairstyling, esthetics, or nails.
How Important is Money and Job Security?
When you choose your specialty, you want to keep in mind your job security and potential earnings.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the average salary and employment outlook for various industries, including cosmetology. The latest data for barbers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists shows that the median pay is $22,770 per year, and the job outlook is 13 percent. Nail technicians make slightly less at $19,220 per year, but the outlook is higher, with a 16 percent job growth. Estheticians typically make more money, with a median salary of $28,640, and have better job security, with a 40 percent job growth.
When comparing these jobs, you should remember the BLS combines data from the entire country, so the outlook and pay in your community may differ, which will influence your decision as well.
Which Do You Like Best?
If you still are unsure on what specialty you want to focus, take classes in the different areas and see which one you like best. At the end of the day, you should choose the area with which you see yourself having the most enjoyment, as this will improve your overall job satisfaction. By enjoying your job, you will also find yourself succeeding because you will put in the extra effort in your education and go above and beyond for your clients.
You are the only one who can determine which specialty is the right one for you. The more time you take to ask yourself the tough questions and research the different types of jobs, the better decision you will make, ensuring longevity in your chosen field.