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Different Careers in Cosmetology

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Cosmetologists help people improve their appearance. In the beauty industry, different types of professions fall under the term cosmetology. These occupations include hairstylists, nail technicians barbers, estheticians and makeup artists. Every state requires cosmetologists to graduate from a state-approved cosmetology school as a prerequisite to obtain a cosmetology license. Job opportunities are expected to grow 20 percent between 2008 and 2018, which is faster than the average of all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Barbers and hairstylists are trained to shampoo, cut and style hair. Nearly all hairstylists, and some barbers, can lighten and darken hair. Barbers typically focus only on trimming and cutting hair, and some barbers are trained to perform hair replacement services, facial massages and hair and scalp treatments. However, individuals who desire personalized hair care services, such as hair care treatments and colors seek licensed hairstylists.


Estheticians and make-up artists are provide skin care. However, most makeup artists manipulate products, such as eye shadow, lipstick and foundation to beautify the face, while some makeup artists focus on enhancing the beauty of the whole body by performing services such as skin darkening treatments. Estheticians provide facials and full body treatments as well as hair removal treatments and laser treatments. Also, some estheticians are trained to apply makeup.


Nail technicians provide hand, foot and nail care through manicures and pedicures. Additionally, most nail technicians can apply nail extensions and nail designs. Some nail technicians are trained to provide hand and foot massages.


Cosmetologists must be licensed in each state; most states require cosmetologists to obtain formal training from an accredited beauty school. Cosmetologists earn the license after graduating from a state-approved cosmetology school; however, specific licensing qualifications vary from state to state.

Work Setting

Cosmetologists work in different settings, including department stores, barber shops and salons. The environment is well lit, and cosmetologists are surrounded by beauty supplies and accessories. Many cosmetologists work 40 hours a week or more, and some maintain part-time schedules. The work hours for cosmetologists may vary depending on the company and customer demands.


Wages for cosmetologists may vary depending on a variety of factors such as experience and job setting. As of 2010, the median hourly rate for cosmetologists is between $7.56 and $10.29 excluding tips, profit sharing and overtime, according to Payscale. The yearly salary including tips, overtime and benefits is between $17,207 and $31,148.


Cosmetologists are exposed to chemicals that may cause skin irritations. Additionally, barbers and hairstylists work long hours on their feet before taking a break.


Marie Huntington has been a legal and business writer since 2002 with articles appearing on various websites. She also provides travel-related content online and holds a Juris Doctor from Thomas Cooley Law School.