Cosmetology Continuing Education Requirements

Explore the role of continuing education in a cosmetology career, and find out what types of topics are covered in continuing education courses for stylists, nail technicians and cosmetology instructors. Schools offering Culinary Arts degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are the Continuing Education Requirements for Cosmetology Professionals?

All 50 states require licensure for cosmetologists to work, so once you've completed training you'll likely need to complete continuing education (CE) classes to renew your license. Licensing and the number of CE hours needed vary by state for both cosmetologists and cosmetology instructors. For example, Kentucky-based cosmetologists need to complete six hours of CE annually, but there are no CE requirements for apprentices. For an instructor in Kentucky, you'd need to complete 14 hours of CE, while in Tennessee, you'll have to submit proof that you've completed at least 24 hours of CE courses every two years.

Professional RequirementsLicense renewal, which varies from state to state
Course TopicsSanitation, salon technology, styling, highlighting
Career AdvancementClient retention, understanding of trends, higher earnings
Median Salary (2016-2026)$24,830 (Barbers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)13% growth (Barbers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Can I Expect from a Continuing Education Course?

CE courses usually cover sanitation, safety and health standards for the state you're looking to renew your license in unless you're taking courses in a college outside of the state you work. You might also learn about hair shaping, salon technology, styling and highlighting. Instructor-specific coursework typically addresses lesson planning, teaching styles and presentation skills.

How Does Continuing Education Fit into Career Advancement?

To maintain employment in the cosmetology profession, you'll need to understand hair design, nail care, beauty treatments for the face and current fashion trends. You'll also need business skills to make sure that your operation complies with regulatory requirements while remaining profitable. As you complete continuing education courses, you'll receive the latest instruction in these areas.

Advancement in the cosmetology profession usually comes in the form of retaining more clients and higher earnings over time. Maintaining a current license is essential to staying in business. You might also find opportunities working for consulting firms or state licensing boards, in which case you might need to understand and meet the requirements of working as a cosmetology instructor.

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