Have you been thinking about starting a career as a cosmetologist?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, cosmetology continues to be one of the highest growth occupations in the United States. With the option for flexible hours and becoming your own boss, a cosmetology career will provide you with an attractive quality of life as well as steady earnings.
That being said, if you’re ready to get started as a cosmetologist, you’ll need to be licensed to practice in your state. The prospect of getting more education and training may be overwhelming, but the payoff will be worth it. Now is a great time to start making moves towards a new career, and these tips will help you get started on the path to earning a cosmetology license.
Education Requirements For A Cosmetology License
Your first step towards getting your cosmetology license is to fulfill education requirements by attending a school approved in the state you want to practice in. Licenses vary state-by-state, so it’s essential that you’re learning from a place that can lead to a successful career where you want it. For the majority of schools, you’ll need a GED or high school diploma to apply.
If you plan on attending school full-time, you can likely finish a full program in less than two years. If you are studying part-time, the process will take a little longer. Will you need to work during school? You’ll want to find a program with flexible or evening hours.
A significant benefit of the education requirement – in addition to teaching you about the field – is that you’ll be able to home in on a specific area of focus that appeals to you. You may start school wanting to focus exclusively on makeup application, and come out with those skills and more. You may even have the option to add additional training hours to expand your knowledge base and qualify for other licensed specialties.
Hands-On Experience Hours
How long you’ll spend in cosmetology school will vary, although most states require schools to have between 1,000 and 2,000 training hours for a full cosmetology program. These hours are completed as part of your education, and you’ll be performing actual services on actual people. Many salons and cosmetology schools offer discounted rates for clients who are willing to have a student work on them, so you may even start building a potential client book before you’ve finished school.
The Costs Of Cosmetology School
What do most people fear when starting a new program or making a big change? The cost. You need to be honest with yourself about your current earnings and future earning potential in your location, and whether the time and money spent in school will help you meet your goals.
The good news is, when it comes to getting a cosmetology degree, you have choices. Shop around for schools that fit your interest and your budget, and seek out options for financial aid or scholarships where available. When you’re researching costs, don’t forget to take into account supplies and books, most of which you’ll need to provide.
Think about your immediate location as well. If you live in a big city, your costs for school may be potentially double what they would be in a less-populated area. Since licensing is done on a state level, you can see if there is a nearby school in a quieter area that costs less.
How Long Does It Take To Get A Cosmetology License?
You’ve finished school in a year or two – now what? You’ll still have to wait a bit before you can start practicing, as you’ll likely have to sit for a state licensing exam. The material you’ll need to know for these exams will be drilled into you by the end of your studies, so no need to start to fret about taking a test.
Most exams come in two parts: a written section and a practical section where you are showing what you know. The written part will focus on regulations and business-side knowledge and usually can be graded immediately, whereas the practical part will take more time and you’ll typically have to wait a few weeks before you have your results.
State Licensing Differences
Cosmetology licenses are granted by the state you want to work in, not on a federal level, so you’ll need to ensure you follow the correct state regulations. Depending on what your focus is, you may need to comply with additional rules in your area; for example, some states will offer specific makeup artist licenses while others may bundle this into an overall general cosmetologist license.
But what happens if you might relocate in the near future?
Each state is different, but some do offer reciprocity which means your license oan be transferred to your new state. It’s always good to know which states offer reciprocity to people from your home state, and what you might need to do to get it transferred. For example, in some cases, you made need to take an additional course or two to be recognized in your new state.
You can also be licensed in multiple states, but that means you’ll have to go through all of the requirements for each one. However, if you spend part of the year away or would like to start serving clients in a particular region, this additional effort up front can open the door for new opportunities.
Your cosmetology licensing process isn’t complete once you receive your license in the mail; you’ll need to stay up-to-date with continuing education, keep your license renewed, and ensure you aren’t missing out on any additional state requirements. Make it easy on yourself with Beauty Academy, and check out our Cosmetology courses to get started on your path to becoming a cosmetologist.