Cosmetologists practice hair-care skills (including washing, cutting, coloring, perming, and applying various conditioning treatments), esthetics (performing skin care treatments), and nail care (grooming of hands and feet). Barbers are not cosmetologists; they undergo separate training and licensing procedures. There are approximately 712,200 cosmetologists, barbers, and other personal care workers employed in the United States.

Quick Facts
Duties Recommend hair, face, and scalp treatment; discuss hair and skin care options; apply shampoo, conditioner, and color to hair; cut, dry and style hair; process payments; clean and sanitize tools and work area.
Alternate Title(s) Beauticians, Stylists
Salary Range Below $25,000 to $50,000
Employment Prospects Good
Advancement Prospects Good
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) All regions, with greatest opportunities in cities
Education and Training
  • High School Diploma
  • Some Postsecondary Training
Related School Subjects
  • Art
  • Business
  • Speech
Experience Completion of a cosmetology training program
  • Business Management
  • Drawing/Design
  • Interpersonal
Personality Traits
  • Artistic
  • Hands On
  • Social
Licensure/Certification Required
Special Requirements None
Career Ladder
  • Salon Owner
  • Shop Manager
  • Cosmetologist
  • Shampooer

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