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How to Become a Cosmetology Instructor in New York

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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth in cosmetology will continue through the year 2018 at a rate "much faster than average." To meet demand in this growth field, New York state schools offering cosmetology courses hire qualified cosmetology instructors to prepare students for licensure in cosmetology. Some cosmetology teachers work with students who plan to specialize in an area of cosmetology such as esthetician, nail services or natural hair braiding.

Private Schools

Apply for your New York state cosmetology license. According to the New York State Division of Licensing Services, you can obtain your license by attending a New York State-approved cosmetology program and passing a state practical exam. State law also allows graduates from out-of-state schools to sit for the NYS cosmetology exam, and grants licenses to qualified cosmetologists already licensed through endorsement or reciprocity.

Work for at least two years as a cosmetologist. Build a portfolio showcasing your best work. Join a professional organization to network with other beauty industry professionals, and stay current with the latest industry trends. Take continuing and advanced education courses to obtain expert knowledge to share with your future students.

Write a resume that documents your relevant experience and accomplishments as a cosmetologist. Search job websites and employment classifieds for cosmetology instructor positions at private cosmetology schools in your area. Apply for jobs that are a good fit for your experience and area of expertise. Most private schools specialize in adult students and may hire instructors on a full- or part-time basis.

Public Schools

Complete the required coursework to obtain your NYS teacher certification to teach cosmetology to public school students in grades 7 through 12. The NYS Education Department has a variety of pathways for cosmetologists to obtain teacher certification, depending on the type of cosmetology program you attend and your years of experience in the field. Associate's degree cosmetology teacher pathways may include coursework in subjects such as pedagogy, special needs students and human development. Some cosmetology teacher certification pathways also require student teaching.

Register for and pass the NYS Secondary Assessment of Teaching Skills exam to obtain a teacher certificate. Depending on your certification pathway, you may also need to take the Communicative and Quantitative Skills portion of the the state teachers exam to qualify for your certificate.

Fill out criminal background check forms to get the fingerprint clearance required for NYS teacher certification. Search the jobs section of school district websites for cosmetology teacher openings. Follow the school district's instructions to apply for jobs.


Based in Reston, Va., Lydia King has been a writer and editor since 1996, working with diverse subject matter including law, government contracting, philosophy and career guidance. She completed a Bachelor of Arts in history at National University, where she is pursuing a Master of Arts in English and comparative literature.

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