Career Outlook

Cosmetology Program

Work Environment:

Cosmetologists usually work in pleasant surroundings with good lighting. Physical stamina is important, because they are often on their feet for most of their shift.  Many cosmetologist work part time. However, some self-employed workers may have long hours.

Work schedules often include evenings and weekends, which are times when salons are generally busiest. Those who are self-employed usually determine their own schedule.

How to become a Cosmetologist:

All states require cosmetologists to be licensed. Qualifications for a license vary by state; but generally a person must have a high school diploma or GED, be at least 16 years old, and have graduated from a state-licensed cosmetology school. After graduating from a state-approved program, students take a licensing exam. The exam includes a written test and a practical exam of styling skills. 


The median hourly wage of cosmetologists was $10.82, in May 2010. The median wage is an average of a worker’s income. Half of all workers in the field earned more than that amount and half earned less.

This can be a very rewarding field both personally and financially for those with an aptitude for style. Practitioners who keep pace with style and techniques can remain relevant throughout a long career.

Career Outlook:

Overall job opportunities for cosmetologist are expected to be good. A large number of job openings will stem from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations, retire, or leave the occupation for other reasons. However, workers should expect stiff competition for jobs and clients. At higher paying salons, of which there are relativity few and for which applicants must compete with a large pool of experienced hairdressers and cosmetologists that competition will be at its highest.