• Careers and Employment Outlook

    Cosmetologists shampoo, cut, and style hair, but they also provide a number of other services. They are trained to give manicures, pedicures, and scalp and facial treatments; provide makeup analysis for women, advise patrons on how to care for their hair, straighten or permanent wave a customer's hair, or lighten or darken hair color.

    Persons who want to become cosmetologists must have finger dexterity and a sense of form and artistry. They should enjoy dealing with the public and be willing and able to follow the patron's instructions.

    Cosmetologists are expected to keep their work area clean and their hairdressing implements sanitized. They may make appointments and keep records of hair color and permanent wave formulas used by their regular patrons. A growing number actively sell hair products and other cosmetic supplies. Cosmetologists who operate their own salons have managerial duties that include hiring, supervising, as well as keeping records and ordering supplies. Because hairstyles are constantly changing, cosmetologists must keep abreast of the latest fashions and beauty techniques.

    Cosmetologists generally work in clean pleasant surroundings with good lighting and ventilation. Good health and stamina are important, because cosmetologists usually have to be on their feet for most of their shift. Cosmetologists work 40 hours a week, but long hours are common in this occupation. This often includes evenings and weekends when salons are busiest. One of every three cosmetologists works part time. The abundance of part-time jobs attracts many persons who want to combine a job with family, school, or other responsibilities.

    Overall employment of cosmetologists, and other personal appearance workers is projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through 2018, but the amount of growth will vary by specialty. For example, job growth for skin care specialists is projected to be faster, through 2018, than it will be for other occupations requiring post-secondary training or an associate degree (The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).