What Classes Should I Take to Be a Hair Stylist?

Discover common classes for aspiring hair stylists. Get an overview of the classroom and hands-on coursework required for diploma, certificate and associate degree programs. Schools offering Nail Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Will I Learn?

In hair stylist classes, you'll learn how to cut, style, color and chemically treat hair through classroom and practical instruction. In addition to shampooing and rinsing techniques, you'll learn how to mix chemicals and dyes and perform various processes used to relax, wave and color hair. You'll also learn how to apply scalp treatments, style wigs, work with hair pieces and attach and maintain hair extensions.

When you take hair styling classes through cosmetology programs, you'll learn additional skills such as nail and skin care, as well as makeup application techniques. Programs offered through barber colleges tend to focus on hair cutting and styling for men and include classes in shaving techniques and the application of various facial treatments. Additional hair stylist course topics include the following.

History of Hair

Every element of fashion has its own interesting history, including the styling of hair. Students in this course would learn about victory rolls, mohawks, beehives, and many other hair styles that defined generations, as well as how to create period-inspired hair styles using wigs and other tools.

Foundations of Hair Styling

Students in this entry-level class will learn about the rules essential for health and hygiene and the anatomy of the hair, follicle and scalp. Basic procedures for cutting hair and working with hair of various textures are also covered.

The Art of Blow-Drying

There is far more to blow-drying than just taking a head of hair from wet to dry. In this course, students will learn how to prevent damage, create volume and give hair strength while drying. They will also discover how to use various heating implements to create a client's desired look.

Intermediate Hair Styling

In intermediate courses, students will learn techniques such as braiding styles, pin curls, and finger waves, as well as how to craft elegant up-dos and how to accentuate a style with extensions. Air forming, roller placement and both soft and hard pressing may also be covered.

Working with Men's Hair

Hair stylists often work with women's hair, but most learn how to style men's hair as well. This class would go over the methods of styling men's hair, both long and short, such as the use of clippers, thinning shears and razors.

Where Can I Take Hair Stylist Classes?

You can take hair stylist classes at cosmetology schools, barber colleges, technical schools and community colleges. To become a licensed hair stylist, you must complete a required number of hours through an educational program approved by the barber or cosmetology board in your state. State licensing board websites can often supply you with a list of approved schools. Because of the need for hands-on training, classes in hair styling are not generally offered online.

Many schools offer a diploma, certificate or associate degree in hair styling, barber and cosmetology programs; these can take between nine months and two years to complete. Diploma and certificate programs typically take less time to complete than programs leading to an associate degree, such as an Associate of Applied Science in Cosmetology. Once you've completed the required number of credit hours, you can apply to take your state's licensing exam.

What Kind of Hands-On Training Will I Receive?

During the first half of your training, you'll typically work on mannequins. After you've completed a required number of classroom hours, you'll be able to work on live subjects. Many schools sponsor clinics open to the public where you can perform hair services on customers while you complete your training. During this period, you may be issued a temporary student permit, allowing you to work on clients under the supervision of a licensed instructor.

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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