Cosmetology is a profession that has an artistic and a personal touch. It takes patience and can be trying at times, as any job that deals with people can be. For people considering cosmetology as a profession, one of the best techniques to make a decision on whether it’s right for you is to weigh the pros vs. the cons.
Employment Opportunities — Pro
Selling services, instead of products, cosmetologists tend to be less affected by economic crises compared with other, product-based businesses and professions. With several options to get into, like nails, skin and hair, cosmetologists can choose from a variety of fields. A licensed cosmetologist also can be self-employed — which roughly 44 percent of them are as of 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) — and start their own stores or make house calls. The versatility doesn’t end there. Cosmetology allows part-time work, making it flexible for irregular hours.
Degrees can also be obtained in a short time — usually ranging from six to 12 months at a vocational school or community college.
Intimacy with the Client — Pro and Con
Cosmetology works hand in hand with people. Unlike most customer-interactive professions, cosmetology provides a much more personal experience because it requires physical contact. There are two sides to the coin: The upside is that creating relationships with customers can be personally rewarding and it extends your social circle as well; the downside is that, ultimately, you will have to show effort in communication, even if you don’t feel like it, which creates extra work. Also dealing with customers means taking the bad with the good; some customers will be disgruntled, while others can be rude and criticize your work.
Job Satisfaction — Pro and Con
For the extrovert, cosmetology can be a self-rewarding profession. Working with different people every day increases the chance of rubbing elbows with interesting personalities. As well as leading to tips for added pay, it can also lead to developing a vast network of client-friends. Cosmetology can also be rewarding for artistic personalities who are creative with their hands.
The downside is that it is a very low-paying profession, averaging about $27,000 per year as of May 2009, according to the BLS.
Lack of Benefits for Self-Employed — Con
Cosmetology often lacks the usual benefits of other professions. Self-employed cosmetologists do not get paid vacation or sick leaves and must provide their own health coverage as well as retirement plan. These cosmetologists also are paid on a per-job basis, meaning that they do not necessarily get hourly, daily or monthly rates. Because competition can be fierce, keeping a steady flow of income requires constant self-promotion and advertising or relying on regular and consistent customers.