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Hair, Nails and Make-up Instructor

After completing an educational program in cosmetology and earning a reputation for success in the field, some personal appearance experts may decide to become instructors. If you are interested in teaching the next generation about the art of hair, nails and make-up, read on to learn more about the career.

Is A Career as a Hair, Nails and Make-up Instructor for Me?

Career Overview

Hair stylists and hair color specialists are cosmetologists that focus on styling, coloring and crafting hair. Nail artists, manicurists and pedicurists are often collectively referred to as nail technicians and perform manicures and pedicures, apply artificial nails and create nail art. Estheticians focus on skin care, working mostly in a spa setting and performing facials, hair removal, massages and make-up application. Make-up artists enjoy a broad career field with the ability to work in the entertainment industry or in media and fashion.

Successful cosmetologists, nail technicians and estheticians have an understanding of design, fashion and art. They also possess strong interpersonal skills and are able to work in sales. In addition, having business skills is essential for those planning on opening their own salon or spa. Cosmetology professionals may also work as teachers, educating the next generation of aestheticians, nail technicians and other beauty professionals. Hair, nails and make-up instructors teach students at beauty schools, community colleges, cosmetology institutes and other vocational institutions. They are responsible for educating others in these fields by guiding students through lesson plans that prepare them for a career in cosmetology.

Employment Information

The majority of personal appearance workers are employed in salons, spas or resort settings. Many are self-employed, managing their own places of business, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (www.bls.gov). Typically, cosmetologists work a forty-hour week. Evenings and weekends are the busiest times for these professionals, and working overtime is a common occurrence.

Employment in this field is expected to grow at an average rate in comparison with other occupations, with growth of 13% expected between 2012 and 2022. According to the BLS, in May 2013 the mean annual wage for hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists was $27,530. That same year, manicurists and pedicurists earned a mean annual wage of $21,790. Skincare specialists earned a mean annual wage of $32,990. Career and technical education teachers, such as beauty school instructors, earned a mean annual wage of $57,200 when employed at secondary schools, while postsecondary vocational education teachers took home $52,680.

How Can I Become a Hair, Nails and Make-up Instructor?


A skilled hair, nails and make-up instructor must have extensive professional experience, as well as excellent communication skills. In addition to experience in the beauty industry, a background in education can be beneficial as well. There are certificate programs available for successful beauty professionals to become instructors. Coursework in such progrmas covers teaching methods, student learning processes, motivation, classroom management and lesson plan creation. The goal as a cosmetology instructor is to support students in their creative endeavors and help them achieve desired outcomes.


All states require personal appearance workers to be licensed. Before applying for licensure, potential workers must graduate from a state-licensed cosmetology school. A full-time program at a cosmetology school usually requires nine months of coursework leading to an associate's degree in cosmetology. Upon graduation, students must pass the state licensing examination, which can consist of both written and oral sections. In some states, nail technicians and estheticians are required to obtain a separate license.