How to Become a Beautician in 5 Steps

Research what it takes to become a beautician. Learn about education and licensure requirements, key job skills, and average salary to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Culinary Arts degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Beautician?

Beauticians are experienced and well-trained professionals who seek to use their knowledge and skills to provide hair care, beauty treatments and advice to their customers. Beauticians can provide a variety of services to the hair of clients, such as shampooing, coloring, styling, and cutting. They can also give scalp treatments and massages. They are also skilled with makeup, both applying it, training others to apply it, and giving advice to clients. They can conduct hair removal, such as waxing, as well as dress wigs. They are also trained to give perfect manicures and pedicures.

The following chart gives you an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Education Required High school diploma or equivalent required for most positions, additional beautician training
Licensure Requirements Required to practice in all states
Key Skills Client hair and cosmetology services, creativity, physical stamina, customer service skills, time management skills
Job Growth (2014-24) 10% (for barbers, hairdressers and cosmetologists)*
Average Salary (2015) $28,770 (for hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Research Beautician Career Duties and Education

Beauticians provide various personal care treatments such as hair styling, makeup, waxing, massages, skin care, eyelash and eyebrow treatments, and nail care. They may also provide advanced treatments such as electrolysis, laser therapy and permanent makeup. Beauticians sometimes offer advice related to skin care, hair care, makeup and possibly even fitness and health. While the majority are trained in several areas, most focus on one specialty such as hair or nails. Beautician training occurs at a vocational or beauty school.

Step 2: Enroll in a Beauty School

Training to become a beauty professional is not typically offered as a major at 4-year colleges and universities. Rather, aspiring beauty professionals can find relevant programs at independent vocational cosmetology schools, technical schools and community colleges. These programs can be focused on one area of beauty, such as hairdressing, or they can be all-encompassing cosmetology programs, which can include nail care, hair cutting and dressing and skin care. Full-time students can generally complete programs in nine months.

Step 3: Complete an Apprenticeship

Apprenticeships allow beauticians to receive additional hands-on training in various beauty specialties. An apprenticeship may last from 1 to 3 years. Even after completing an apprenticeship, beauticians must stay up-to-date on the latest techniques, trends and products. Many attend seminars, beauty shows and training programs.

Step 4: Take a Business Management Course

A majority of beauticians are self-employed, so a business management or accounting course may be beneficial for future entrepreneurial efforts. Courses can be found at community and technical colleges, and you can even find business courses designed specifically for cosmetologists.

Step 5: Become Licensed

All beauticians must be licensed by the state in which they plan to work. Licensing involves passing a practical and written exam. Licenses typically need to be renewed every few years.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you like the idea of becoming a beautician, you might also like the idea of becoming a barber or electrologist. A barber typically works in a barber shop rather than a salon, where men may be more frequent customers. Barbers tend to focus on hair cutting and styling as well as facial hair grooming. Barbers typically must have a high school diploma or the equivalent in order to enroll in a training program at a beauty school or barber school, then pass a state exam to get a license. An electrologist is trained to use electrical stimulation or needles to damage the hair follicle so that hair does not grow in the same location again. To become an electrologist, students must attend an accredited electrology school as well as complete the number of hours required for licensing as determined by each state.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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Popular Schools

  • Virginia College

    Virginia College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Virginia College:

    • Certificates

    Campus-Based Programs Available:

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    • Georgia: Augusta, Columbus, Macon
    • South Carolina: Augusta, Columbus, Macon, Columbia, Florence, Greenville
  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

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    Online Programs Available

  • Schoolcraft College

    Campus Locations:

    • Michigan: Livonia
  • Ohio State Beauty Academy

    Campus Locations:

    • Ohio: Lima
  • Oakland Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Michigan: Bloomfield Hills
  • Northeast Alabama Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Alabama: Rainsville
  • Mott Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Michigan: Flint
  • Delta College

    Campus Locations:

    • Michigan: University Center
  • State College of Beauty Culture Inc

    Campus Locations:

    • Wisconsin: Wausau
  • Stanford University

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Stanford