Growth Trends for Related Jobs

The 5 Steps to a Successful Career in Cosmetology

careertrend article image

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the field of cosmetology will grow about 19 percent during the period from 2020 to 2030. Cosmetologists provide a variety of beauty services, but as they advance in the field they tend to develop a specialty in one area.

1. Beauty Industry Basics

The first step to entering the field of cosmetology involves completing the training that your state requires to become licensed. Cosmetology schools, vocational schools, beauty colleges or beauty schools, and community colleges offer cosmetology programs that will help you complete these requirements.

If you enter the program full time, it will last about nine months. Then the state will require that you take a written and practical exam to prove that you have mastered the skills necessary to become a licensed cosmetologist and officially enter the beauty industry.

2. Advancing Your Cosmetology Career

Once you start working you will be responsible for building and retaining your own clientele and advancing your cosmetology career. To successfully do this, you will need excellent people skills.

Savvy marketing techniques will help you to implement plans such as referral programs and client bonuses.

The more in demand you become, the more likely clients will pay more for your hairstyling and skin care services. Therefore, advancement in the field of cosmetology is directly linked to gaining experience and working with a large clientele.

3. Job Outlook Problems

Most cosmetologists find securing an entry-level position an easy task. But competition for positions at the most popular salons may be challenging. New cosmetologists may find starting out discouraging, since it takes time to build a clientele and find advancement opportunities in this career path. Some end up entering another field of employment to earn a steady income and work part-time at each. Additionally, when the economy takes a downturn, many people look for ways to lower their expenses, and clients may visit the salon less often, becoming their own hairstylists during that time.

4. Solutions

Make sure you keep your cosmetology license current once you receive it. Additionally, you can make yourself a more attractive candidate for employment by regularly participating in workshops and advanced cosmetology programs to improve your skills. Get hands-on practice under skilled cosmetologists and constantly be on the lookout for advancement opportunities to learn different styling techniques.

You may find it worthwhile to work as an apprentice for a well-known cosmetologist or cosmetology instructor, learning the techniques that helped them to build a strong clientele. Once you have built a clientele, you can open your own salon or get into salon management, even explore new careers like image consultants.

5. Considerations

Cosmetologists who specialize in a single area of the field may have an easier time finding work. Most cosmetologists specialize in styling hair. Some choose to concentrate in the area of nail care and build successful businesses providing manicures, pedicures and nail enhancements. Others may work as an esthetician and work as a skin care specialist, offering facials and other skin care services.

According to a report by the Dominican University of California, “Nail care is the fastest growing sector in the beauty industry, generating more than $6 billion annually.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects esthetics to see the biggest growth in the cosmetology sector, about 22 percent from 2020 to 2030. A cosmetologist may also advance her career by becoming a sales representative or demonstrator for a product manufacturer. A cosmetologist may also choose to advance her career by working as a makeup artist.


I'm a junior at the University of Missouri studying strategic communications! In my free time I love to play soccer, cook, and read!

Photo Credits