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

Lowell: 231 Central Street Lowell, MA 01852

Charlotte: Tower Place Festival 8700 Pineville-Matthews Road Charlotte, NC 28226

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

Bangor: 639 Broadway Bangor, ME 04401

Aurora: 16800 E Mississippi Ave Aurora, CO 80017

Philadelphia: 1522 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19102

Greensboro: 1312 Bridford Parkway Suite 105 Greensboro, NC 27407

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

Littleton: 8996 W Bowles Ave Littleton, CO 80123

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

Matthews: 11032 East Independence Boulevard Matthews, NC 28105

Lisle: 2709 Maple Avenue Lisle, IL 60532

Paramus: Neptune Plaza, 332 Route 4 East Paramus, NJ 07652

Malden: 347 Pleasant Street Malden, MA 02148

Louisville: 151 Chenoweth Lane Louisville, KY 40207

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

Denver: 3811 E 120th Ave Denver, CO 80233

Framingham: 624 Worchester Road Framingham, MA 01702

Chandler: 2978 N Alma School Rd Chandler, AZ 85224

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

Hanover: Clearview Shop Ctr, 1000 Carlisle Street, S4 Hanover, PA 17331

Green Bay: 2575 West Mason Street Green Bay, WI 54304

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

Exton: 454 W. Lincoln Hwy, Festival at Exton Exton, PA 19341

Springfield: Springfield Shopping Center, 799 West Sproul Rd Springfield, PA 19064

Williamsport: 1808 E. Third Street Williamsport, PA 17701

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

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Prescott: 410 W Goodwin St Prescott, AZ 86303

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Reading: 2302 N. 5th Street Highway Reading, PA 19605

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Hyannis: 259 North Street Hyannis, MA 02601

Flagstaff: 1790 E Rt 66 Flagstaff, AZ 86004

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

Portland: 319 Marginal Way Portland, ME 04101

Caribou: 30 Skyway Drive Caribou, ME 04736

Waterville: 251 Kennedy Memorial Drive Waterville, ME 04901

Hanover Park: 1167 East Lake Street Hanover Park, IL 60133

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

Astoria: 38-15 Broadway Astoria, NY 11103

Whitehall: 1634 Macarthur Road Whitehall, PA 18052

West Mifflin: Century Sq. Mall, 2394 Mountainview Drive West Mifflin, PA 15122

Bordentown: 610 Route 206 Bordentown, NJ 08505

Moosic: 3370 Birney Avenue Moosic, PA 18507

Atlanta: Briarcliff Village, 2190 Henderson Mill Road Atlanta, GA 30345

Phoenix: 12827 N Tatum Blvd Phoenix, AZ 85032

Boston: 30 West Street Boston, MA 02111

New York: 22 West 34th Street New York, NY 10001

Avondale: 9945 W. McDowell Rd (Gateway Shopping Center) Avondale, AZ 85323

Glen Burnie: 6320 Ritchie Highway, Suite F Glen Burnie, MD 21061

Midlothian: 10807 Hull Street Road Midlothian, VA 23112

Savannah: 7400 Abercorn Street Suite 901 Savannah, GA 31406

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

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

Lawrenceville: 1455 Pleasant Hill Road, Suite 105 Lawrenceville, GA 30044

Kennesaw: Town Ctr Plz, 425 Ernest-Barrett Pkwy, S H-2 Kennesaw, GA 30144

Bloomington: 9749 Lyndale Avenue South Bloomington, MN 55420

Warwick: 1276 Bald Hill Rd Warwick, RI 02886

Manitowoc: 1034 South 18th Street Manitowoc, WI 54220

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

Grand Rapids: 455 Standale Plaza NW Grand Rapids, MI 49544

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Portage: 6091 Constitution Boulevard Portage, MI 49024

West Palm Beach: Cross County Plaza, 4258 Okeechobee Blvd., (Inters West Palm Beach, FL 33409

Cincinnati: 8419 Colerain Avenue Cincinnati, OH 45239

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Madison: 6414 Odana Road Madison, WI 53717

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