Cosmetology Instructor: Career, Outlook and Education Information

Explore the career requirements for cosmetology instructors. Get the facts about education programs, job skills, licensure and employment outlook to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Nail Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Cosmetology Instructor?

Cosmetology instructors are licensed beauticians who've received the additional training needed to help students prepare for their own cosmetology careers. In addition to the tasks of a beautician, cosmetology instructors also need to be able to create lesson plans and assignments, and demonstrate how to use the tools of the trade. Like any instructor they must also evaluate students' progress and develop and enforce classroom rules and safety procedures. Take a look at the following table to get a brief overview of this career's education and employment info.

Education Required Cosmetology instructor certificate program
Key Skills Communication and organizational skills, problem-solving abilities
Licensure State licensure required
Job Growth (2014-2024) 4% (for all postsecondary vocational education teachers)*
Median Salary (2015) $49,470 (for all postsecondary vocational education teachers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are a Cosmetology Instructor's Duties?

Cosmetology instructors are licensed beauty professionals who work in vocational and technical schools instructing students how to perform cosmetology practices. If you're an instructor, you'll typically have extensive knowledge of these practices, such as facials, body waxing, hair removal, skin rejuvenation and nail care. A cosmetology instructor must have these skills in order to lecture about cosmetology and to perform tasks required by entry-level beauty shops and businesses.

What Is the Job Outlook?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that job opportunities for all postsecondary vocational education teachers would grow 4% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). Instructors with related work experience and those living in rural areas or regions with higher enrollment rates should face the best employment prospects.

What Are the Educational Requirements?

Cosmetology instructors must possess at least a GED or have a high school diploma. Most cosmetology schools offer a cosmetology instructor training certificate, which typically takes two to four academic semesters to complete. A certificate program may include courses in lesson planning, oral presentations and visual equipment operation, as well as evaluation and testing methods. The primary emphasis in these programs is giving future instructors the tools to teach, since you'll be an experienced and licensed cosmetologist before enrolling in the program.

After completing the certificate program, you must be state licensed to teach. Requirements vary by state, but most include completing a specific number of credit hours in a licensed instructor program and taking an exam. In Michigan for instance, you must complete 500 hours of a licensed school of cosmetology instructor program and complete a registration exam. Additionally, some states require proof of experience in the form of documented work with an employer.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If a cosmetology instructor finds the teaching part of their job most rewarding, there is always a need for good teachers. Although it would take more education, those interested in becoming a high school teacher may pursue a degree in education, a teaching license and then a teaching position. Careers related to cosmetology itself include manicurists, pedicurists and skin care specialist. Manicurists and pedicurists specialize in giving manicures and pedicures while helping clients maintain healthy finger and toe nails. Skin care specialist inspect clients' skin, suggest different treatments, apply those treatments and in some cases recommend dermatologists if needed.

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:

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  • Cortiva Institute

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    • Washington: Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Tucson, Aurora, Westminster, Groton, Newington, Westport, Maitland, Pinellas Park, Pompano Beach, Chicago, Crystal Lake, Linthicum, Hoboken, Wall Township, Las Vegas, King of Prussia, Arlington, Richardson, Orem, Salt Lake City, Seattle
  • Penn Foster High School

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  • Fortis College

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    • Florida: Pensacola
  • Western Technology Center

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    • Oklahoma: Burns Flat
  • West Michigan College of Barbering and Beauty

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    • Michigan: Kalamazoo
  • Weatherford College

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    • Texas: Weatherford
  • Waynesville Career Center

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    • Missouri: Waynesville
  • Vogue Beauty and Barber School

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    • Georgia: Hiram
  • Woodward Beauty College

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    • Oklahoma: Woodward
  • Vincennes Beauty College

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    • Indiana: Vincennes