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Cosmetology, Barbering & Beauty Schools

Hairdressers, stylists and barbers play an important role in keeping people looking their best. Students who complete training programs at cosmetology schools or vocational schools for cosmetology often go to work in salons, where they rent stall space and more or less work as self-employed contractors doing haircuts, manicures, pedicures and skin treatments. Others find their niche working as professional stylists in luxury resorts, hotels and spas. A lucky few crack the ranks of the entertainment industry to command some of the highest salaries in the industry.

Specialty careers in the field of cosmetology

Working as hair cutters or barbers is a common career path for students who enroll in vocational schools for cosmetology, but there are several specialties in the field that students can pursue, including:

The most common educational path for students in each of these fields is to complete non-degree certificate or diploma programs at cosmetology schools and earn state licensure or certification, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov) reports.

Cosmetology and hair cutting certifications and degrees

According to the BLS, every state requires cosmetologists to complete a state-approved education program and pass a licensing examination. The same was true as of 2014 for skin care specialists in all states except Connecticut, the BLS says. Students of cosmetology schools often gain valuable work and customer-service experience from school clients who enjoy the tradeoff of receiving beauty treatments and haircuts from students at rates much lower than upscale salons or hair-cutting retail chains.

Information for each state's licensing requirements can be found through the National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology, the Professional Beauty Association and the American Association of Cosmetology Schools, the BLS reports.

Curriculum at cosmetology schools typically focuses on proper ways to perform client services, such as hair cutting, shampooing and coloring techniques, among others. Coursework usually is a mix of classroom study and hands-on lab work. Students also should expect to learn about the physiological properties of the hair and scalp, as well as product and chemical knowledge. Curriculum for estheticians and other specialty fields is more specific to working in nail or skin care and the products used in those fields.

Cosmetology salaries and career outlook

Hairdressers and stylists earned national median hourly wages of $11.12 in May of 2013, the BLS reports. National average hourly wages were highest in the greater San Francisco Bay Area ($18.86) and the Greater Seattle area ($18.84). Areas and states with the highest average wages were:

  • Washington, D.C., $21.07
  • Hawaii, $17.35
  • Delaware, $17.16

Barbers earned national median hourly wages of $12.03 in May 2013. Employment is highest in the country's most populous states, such as New York, Texas and California, the BLS reports. Illinois, Minnesota and Colorado were the top-paying states for barbers.

Estheticians enjoyed national median hourly wages of $13.92 in May 2013, as reported by the BLS. Wages were highest in the following states during that time:

  • New Hampshire, $20.34
  • Washington, D.C., $19.14
  • Arkansas, $18.87

Students who enroll in vocational schools for cosmetology should enjoy helping people look their best. The job also requires knowledge of standard business management practices, such as scheduling, record keeping, inventory control and advertising.

Sources:

Barbers, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes395011.htm

Barbers, Hairdressers and Cosmetologists, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/personal-care-and-service/barbers-hairdressers-and-cosmetologists.htm

Hairdressers, Hairstylists and Cosmetologists, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes395012.htm

Skin Care Specialists, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes395094.htm

Skin Care Specialists, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/personal-care-and-service/skincare-specialists.htm

Cosmetology, Barbering & Beauty Schools
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Caribou: 30 Skyway Drive Caribou, ME 04736

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State College: 206 W. Hamilton Avenue State College, PA 16801

Pottsville: 396 Pottsville-St. Clair Highway Pottsville, PA 17901

Henrico: 9049 West Broad Street, #3 Henrico, VA 23294

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Littleton: 8996 W Bowles Ave Littleton, CO 80123

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Boston: 30 West Street Boston, MA 02111

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Waterville: 251 Kennedy Memorial Drive Waterville, ME 04901

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Lebanon: Cedar Crest Sq. 1776 Quentin Rd. Lebanon, PA 17042

Morrow: Southlake Pavilion II, 1958 Mt. Zion Rd. Ste. 205 Morrow, GA 30260

Minneapolis: University IV Shopping Center 8205 University Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55432

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Peekskill: 19 Bank St. Peekskill Peekskill, NY 10566

Pittsburgh: 4768 McKnight Road Pittsburgh, PA 15237

Brentwood: 7106 Moores Lane, Ste A Brentwood, TN 37027

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Prescott: 410 W Goodwin St Prescott, AZ 86303

York: Kingston Sq. Shop Ctr., 2592 Eastern Blvd York, PA 17402

Bangor: 639 Broadway Bangor, ME 04401

Eden Prairie: 964 Prairie Center Drive Eden Prairie, MN 55344

Florence: 7285 Turfway Road Florence, KY 41042

Hyannis: 259 North Street Hyannis, MA 02601

Malden: 347 Pleasant Street Malden, MA 02148

Lancaster: Wheatland Shop Ctr., 1801 Columbia Ave. Lancaster, PA 17603

Fort Lauderdale: Boulevard Shoppes, 4806 N. University Drive Fort Lauderdale, FL 33351

Elizabethtown: 554 Westport Road Elizabethtown, KY 42701

Rochester: Elmridge Center, 340 Elmridge Center Drive Rochester, NY 14626

Manitowoc: 1034 South 18th Street Manitowoc, WI 54220

Monroeville: 320 Mall Boulevard, The Plaza Monroeville, PA 15146

Indianapolis: 5750 A Crawfordsville Rd. Indianapolis, IN 46224

Owings Mills: 9616 Reisterstown Road, Suite 105 Owings Mills, MD 21117

Flagstaff: 1790 E Rt 66 Flagstaff, AZ 86004

Tucson: 3030 E Speedway Blvd Tucson, AZ 85716

Arlington Heights: Arlington Plaza, 264 West Rand Road Arlington Heights, IL 60004

Buffalo: Walden Place, 2190 Walden Avenue Buffalo, NY 14225

Concord: Shops @ Kings Grant-10075 Weddington Rd Concord, NC 28027

Chandler: 2978 N Alma School Rd Chandler, AZ 85224

Wyncote: Cedarbrook Plaza, 1000 Easton Road Wyncote, PA 19095

Shamokin Dam: 30 Baldwin Boulevard, Suite 50 Shamokin Dam, PA 17876

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Mobile: 3725 Airport Blvd., Ste. 165 Mobile, AL 36608

Macon: 1901 Paul Walsh Dr. Macon, GA 31206

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