Cosmetology Overview

Students that earn a degree in cosmetology can become personal care and beauty professionals. You will learn the skills to provide various beauty services to customers. Cosmetologists work with customers all day long. Interpersonal skills are vital to the success of this career. Training and degree programs are relatively short and the future growth for cosmetology jobs is promising.

Cosmetology Degrees & Training

Most states require cosmetology students to have their high school diploma or equivalent. Every state requires barbers, hairdressers and cosmetologists to complete a training program from a state-licensed barber or cosmetology school. Some full-time barber and cosmetology programs can lead to an Associate’s Degree in Cosmetology. Common classes include:

  • Hair cutting
  • Hair styling
  • Nail care
  • Skin
  • Make-up application
  • State regulations
  • Salon management
  • Health and safety

Cosmetology Careers

Getting a cosmetology degree will prepare you for a wide variety of career options. Job growth is expected to increase by 13% between 2010 and 2020, creating more than 83,000 new jobs.

Cosmetology jobs are found in many different environments including nail salons, barber shops, department stores, shopping malls, and more. Some of the most common cosmetology careers include:

  • Cosmetologist
  • Esthetician
  • Manicurist

Is Cosmetology Right for Me?

Most cosmetology occupations require you to collaborate with other staff and provide customer service for the entire shift. Working with customers is the nature of the job and certain qualities will allow you to enjoy your job. Some of the qualities you’ll need to be successful in the cosmetology field include:

  • Creativity
  • Customer Service Skills
  • Listening Skills
  • Physical Stamina
  • Cleanliness/Tidiness
  • Attention to Detail
  • Creativity
  • Time Management Skills
  • Basic Math Skills


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the average salary for cosmetology jobs is $22,770 per year, or about $10.91 per hour. Cosmetology occupations are not generally high paying jobs. Because the educational requirements are so low, there is a lot of competition and the market can get saturated with people seeking employment.

2012 Cosmetology Salary