A cosmetologist is a career individual who provides skin and hair beauty-related treatments. They are required to be licensed professionals who possess a variety of specialties in various types of cosmetic treatments. The job adopts a large assortment of roles, but always deals only with skin and hair surface treatments.

Cosmetologist Opportunities

Although most cosmetologists are found in a beauty salon, a career in cosmetology provides for a range of options.


Most cosmetologists are hairdressers or perform hair related treatments. They can cut, style, and color hair for men, women and children. Some specialize in hair removal, electrolysis, or hair enhancement such as in toupees or wigs.


Better known as aestheticians, facial specialists are in high demand. Some of the common treatments they provide are:

  • Facials
  • Skin Care
  • Addressing Problem Areas
  • Spa Facial Massage
  • Dermatologist's aide


Cosmetologists also perform manicures and pedicures, often working in a beauty salon.


Working with makeup is great choice for a cosmetologist with some additional skills. Makeup artists can use their natural artist ability, retail salespeople can employ their people skills, and there is even the opportunity for journalists to write beauty advice columns for websites or magazines. Makeup artists are some of the most respected individuals in cosmetics. Many beauty brands hire those with a specialty in makeup for demonstrations, sales and research.

Research and Management

Some cosmetologists will open their own day spa or beauty salon. Most cosmetic businesses also hire a staff of cosmetologists for research and testing purposes. Dermatologists will often have some on staff to offer consultations or provide skin services like facials or hair removal.

Instructors and Education

Of course, teaching is also an option. Either at a cosmetic school or for on-the-job training at various skin treatment facilities and hair salons.

Career Development

In order to become involved in the field of cosmetology, you must graduate from a state-licensed school, be at least 16 years old, and pass your state's exam. Additional requirements can be necessary, but they vary from state to state. Check with your local state's standards for licensing arrangements.

After finishing school and completing the licensing exam, there are a lot of opportunities in this career. Most schools help beginners find employment through placement services. As it tends to be a job that caters toward higher income clients, there are more employment opportunities in large cities or expensive areas.

The job relies heavily on customer satisfaction and people skills are as important as job talent. As most employee arrangements are commission-based and income is entirely based on repeat clients and tips, a good business sense is critical to success.

External Links

The following organizations are extremely helpful websites to visit for more information on career paths in the beauty realm:

  • Cosmetology Advancement Foundation - A non-profit industry organization whose mission is to create a positive image of careers in cosmetology. They focus on setting skill standards and offer a variety of ways to volunteer in their efforts.
  • NCA - The National Cosmetology Association is the club for all involved in the beauty world. Membership is open to licensed professionals and they currently boast 25,000 associates. Including current industry news briefs, plus a complete job and resume database, it is a must visit site for anyone considering cosmetology.
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