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How to Become a Cosmetologist

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Cosmetologists enjoy helping their clients feel good about themselves by beautifying their hair, skin, and nails. They focus on hair design, nails, esthetics, makeup, barbering, and more. The road to becoming a cosmetologist isn’t easy, but it leads to fulfilling work. We’ll walk you through the steps to becoming a cosmetologist, so you can reach your goals.

Steps to Becoming a Cosmetologist:

  1. Have a high school diploma of GED
  2. Enroll in a state-licensed cosmetology school
  3. Complete courses and required hours
  4. Pass the state licensing exam
  5. Apply at salons
  6. Acquire Insurance

Let’s dive in!

1. Have a High School Diploma or GED

Many cosmetologists decide that they would like to pursue this profession after they have graduated high school. However, the minimum age to apply to most cosmetology schools is 16, but some schools require the age of 18. It is also required that you either graduate from high school or obtain a GED. Don’t be surprised if a beauty school asks for a copy of your high school transcript, and any college transcripts or coursework.

2. Enroll in a State-licensed Cosmetology School

After you have graduated from high school or have your GED, you can then enroll in an accredited cosmetology school. The requirements differ by state, but it’s common to acquire an associates degree in cosmetology or earn a cosmetology training certificate. Some states, like Ohio, require you to take 8 hours of continuing education credit every 2 years to keep your license. Nevada requires 1,800 hours of courses or 3,600 of an apprenticeship. Take a look at this list to get detailed cosmetology information on what your state requires.

3. Complete courses and required hours

You may be asking yourself, “How long does it take to become a cosmetologist?” The average answer for this is about 1,500 hours, or two years. However, the amount of time depends on your state and your school. You will need to work long hours to complete the required amount of training hours and the courses that you’ll need to take.

4. Pass the State Licensing Exam

After putting in hours and hours of learning and training, it is now time to take your licensing exam! Whichever school you choose to attend will have the requirements of the test and will prepare you to succeed. Some common questions on this exam are about state cosmetology laws, hairstyling techniques, sanitation regulations, and more. After you have taken the exam and successfully passed, you are ready to start working!

5. Apply at Salons

You’re now ready to find a job as a professional cosmetologist! You can work in a salon full-time, work in a salon as an independent contractor, or you can work for yourself. There are pros and cons to each of these options. Working in a salon allows you to use the salon’s tools and supplies, which means less money out of your pocket. However, if you rent a booth in a salon, you will be responsible for providing your own equipment. If you work for yourself, you have a lot of flexibility with your schedule. Ask any cosmetologist friends for any advice, so you can decide what’s best for you and your situation. You can also join Facebook groups to be in the loop with fellow cosmetologists.

6. Acquire Insurance

If you plan on working independently or doing any work outside an insured salon, you will want to consider purchasing a cosmetology insurance policy. As a trained professional, you do your best to make sure that accidents don’t happen. However, those accidents do happen, and when they do, you’ll be grateful that you’re insured.

Perhaps you’re putting eyelash extensions on a client and they didn’t know they are allergic to the glue—you are responsible for any harm caused, which could cost you thousands of dollars. Beauty and Bodywork Insurance provides cosmetologist insurance for $96 per year. Whether you need mobile cosmetology insurance or coverage as an independent contractor in a salon, BBI has coverage for you. Take a look at our website to learn more.

Chase Your Dreams!

Now that you know what it takes to become a cosmetologist, you are ready to get started! Completing your courses and your required training hours may seem like a daunting task, but it will all pay off in the end. Enroll in a cosmetology school today to begin your goal of becoming a professional cosmetologist.

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