Cosmetology Jobs & Careers

Learn Which Cosmetology Career Is Right for You

Now is the time to prepare for the cosmetology career you’ve been dreaming about. There’s a strong demand for hairdressers, hairstylists, cosmetologists and other beauty professionals throughout most of the United States.

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A “Bright Outlook” for Beauty Professionals

The demand for hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists nationwide is projected to grow by 8 to 14 percent between 2012 and 2022, according to O*Net Online, the Web-based career overview site sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The DOL projects cosmetology job openings nationwide to be more than 220,000.(1)

For manicurists and pedicurists, the Department of Labor projects a 10-year growth rate of between 15 and 21 percent, which it describes as “faster than average.” Nationwide, more than 20,000 manicurist and pedicurist jobs should be created over the next 10 years.(2)

The Department of Labor expects the demand for skincare specialists to be even greater still. Projected growth for skincare specialists nationwide is projected to exceed 22 percent. Total cosmetology job openings between 2012 and 2022 is forecast to be more than 21,000.(3)

Why Work in Cosmetology?

There are many reasons people choose a cosmetology job and other beauty industry specialties. The most popular reasons for working in the cosmetology field include:

  • High demand. As discussed above, demand for trained hairdressers, beauticians and skin care specialists remains high throughout much of the United States and Canada. Many beauty school graduates discover they have multiple job opportunities at salons, hotels, resorts and spa in their area.
  • It’s fairly recession proof. In hard economic times, people may delay getting haircuts, manicures, hair coloring, etc., but few can put these essentials off for long. Hair and nails grow regardless of economic trends, and few people — men or women — are eager to see their appearance suffer. Many people will prioritize grooming over many other monthly expenses.
  • Job security. Unlike jobs in manufacturing, customer service, etc., cosmetology jobs can’t be shipped overseas. People need these services performed locally. And it will likely be many years — perhaps even decades — before robots threaten anyone in this job sector!
  • Portability. Cosmetology is a trade you can practice literally anywhere in the country. Even the smallest of small towns has salons employing hairdressers and other beauty specialists. (Note: If you plan to work out-of-state, you will have to be re-licensed in the jurisdiction where you choose to live.)
  • Flexibility. Many cosmetologists, hair stylists, etc., don’t have traditional 9-to-5 schedules. Some work just part-time. Some choose to work weekends. This is a field that is perfect for parents or anyone else who needs job flexibility.
  • Independence. After graduation, you have the option of going to work as an employee for an established salon, spa, etc., splitting all income with your employer, or working for yourself, renting space at a salon and then keeping all the proceeds for yourself. Both options come with their own set of risks and benefits. While self-employment means you sacrifice benefits, paid vacations, etc., being our own boss also provides significant independence and opportunities for long-term growth.
  • It’s social. Cosmetology is definitely a job for “people people.” As a beauty industry professional, a lot of your success will depend on your ability to socialize with your customers and make them feel relaxed and pampered. In a way, a professional beautician is part technician, part best friend and part therapist. As much as you need to be a good hairstylist or skin care specialist, you also need to be a good storyteller…and even better listener.
  • It’s creative. Cosmetologists are artists. Their canvases are the customers who come to be made beautiful. Cosmetology and its related fields reward practitioners with creative vision and the knowledge and skills necessary to turn those inspirations into walking works of art. Every customer you meet will present new and unique challenges, as well as opportunities to add joy to people’s lives.
  • It’s fun! Like all occupations, cosmetology can be hard work. But it’s work that comes with a whole lot of fun! You’ll spend your day talking, meeting old friends, making new ones, and making people feel good about themselves. And when you make people feel great, you’ll feel great, too!
  • It’s a calling. For many people, beauty isn’t just a job — it’s a passion. And unlike art, music, ballet, acting and most other creative vocations, it’s a field that enjoys high demand and virtually universal portability. If beauty is your passion, why not pursue it? You only live once.

Many Types of Beauty Industry Jobs

Confused as to the many types of jobs and careers available in the beauty industry? Here are some quick definitions of the most popular beauty industry career specialties you can train for:

Barber: The traditional term for someone who cuts men’s hair.

Beautician: A general term for someone trained to style and dress hair, apply cosmetics, or manage a hair salon.

Cosmetologist: Someone trained in the art and science of selecting and applying makeup.

Electrologist: Someone trained in the removal of hair using electrolysis.

Esthetician: A person with special training in administering facials, aromatherapy, hair and skin care, makeup, etc. Sometimes spelled “aesthetician.”

Makeup Artist: A professional who designs and applies makeup, usually working in the entertainment industry.

Manicurist: Someone trained in cutting and coloring fingernails.

Pedicurist: Someone trained in cutting and coloring toenails.

Stylist: Short for “hairstylist,” someone who cuts and dresses hair for women and/or men.

Train for the Beauty Specialty of Your Choice

Whatever cosmetology job, makeup artist job or other beauty industry job you’re seeking, there is a beauty school near you with the courses you need to get started. Use our search engine to locate the school with the cosmetology program that works best for you.