Cosmetology/Cosmetologist, General

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About the Cosmetology/Cosmetologist Major

Students who are interested in working in an industry where they can express their sense of style and creativity while helping others look and feel their best might consider studying cosmetology. Cosmetology students study professional techniques in hairstyling, nails, skin care, and make-up, and leave their programs prepared for certification and entry into the beauty industry.

Most students pursuing a career in cosmetology choose to attend a specialty school or pursue a two-year degree in the subject at a career, junior, or traditional college. After such training, students are prepared to apply for a cosmetology license through the state they wish to work in.

Cosmetology programs often take place in actual salon environments where students develop and perfect their skills through lots of hands-on practice on both mannequins and real people. In fact, many cosmetology schools and programs function as full-service salons open to the public, giving students plenty of real-world practice. Cosmetology is more than just hairstyling: along with hair cutting, color, chemical, styling, and shaping methods, students also explore manicure and pedicure techniques, facial and cosmetic science, skin care, make-up theory, and even business, sales, people, and management skills.

Students are either provided with or required to purchase their own salon tools, such as shears, dryers, and curling and straightening irons, to use throughout their education. On average, programs last between nine to 15 months, and students are often required to obtain a certain number of practice hours before graduating. Some programs even allow flexible hours and the ability to attend full- or part-time.

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