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What is a cosmetologist?

What does a cosmetologist do? How does one become a cosmetologist? Complete cosmetologist job description, definition, and the education and training required to become a licensed cosmetologist.

 How do I get training to become a cosmetologist and where do I find work as one?

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Cosmetologist Definition and Job Description

A cosmetologist is someone whose specialty is in the application of beauty or cosmetic treatments. Our English word “cosmetology” comes from a Greek word meaning “skilled in adornment.”

How do I become a licensed cosmetologist?

As with any area of study, gaining an education in cosmetology requires several hours of professional training—both in an academic setting as well as in “hands on” training. In the United States, all barbers and cosmetologists must be certified through a state licensed cosmetology school. Every state has its own specific licensing requirements. While each state varies, most of the requirements will be similar. Usually a written cosmetology exam must be passed and in most cases, you must be a minimum of 16 years old. To find out the requirements for your area, you can check your state licensing board or your local cosmetology schools. You may also be able to call a local beauty salon and ask for school recommendations from the licensed cosmetology technicians there.

What are the different areas of cosmetology?

Cosmetologists have several choices of study to specialize in:
  • Hair Stylist – this would include services such as shampooing, cutting, coloring and styling hair as well as scalp massage and treatments.
  • Manicurist – this includes fingernails, cuticle treatments, hand and arm massage, painting nails, applying or removing acrylic nails and skin care.
  • Pedicurist – this specialty deals with all of the same points as a manicurist, except that it pertains to toe nails and foot massage.
  • Facials – this includes the application of treatments to clean and purify the skin of the face, around the eyes, and the chin but includes the knowledge of treatments for various skin types and recommendations of products or regimens to encourage young, healthy skin.
  • Beauty Therapist – this is a broad specialty that includes many different procedures such as hair removal, skin care, hair care, and make-up application among other things.
  • Shampoo Technician – this includes the application of the correct shampoo and conditioner for the customer’s specific hair type. This person usually will prepare the hair for the specific procedure requested of the hair stylist.

Where do I find work as a cosmetologist?

There are many jobs available in various industries for cosmetologists:
  • Beauty salons
  • Department stores
  • Beauty supply stores
  • Nursing care facilities
  • Motion picture and video industries
  • Hospitals and medical care facilities

What education is needed to become a cosmetologist?

Becoming a cosmetologist is a worthwhile and exciting career choice! Whatever cosmetology area you choose to specialize in, you will need formal training to become a cosmetologist.
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