If you’re interested in a career in the beauty industry, you’ll first need a cosmetology education. Cosmetology-training programs are offered at cosmetology schools and vocational schools throughout the country. In these schools, students can train for careers as cosmetologists, manicurists, skin care specialists or cosmetology school instructors.
A cosmetology education is career focused, meaning that students only take courses in subjects that will directly benefit their future careers. For a general cosmetology program, students will engage in courses about hair cutting, hair styling, coloring techniques, nail care, sanitation and salon management. For estheticians, the core curriculum of the cosmetology school will revolve around skin care treatments such as facials, hair removal, skin disorders, makeup application and microdermabrasion.
Before you enroll in a cosmetology school, it’s important to ensure that you’ll be getting the best cosmetology education possible. The first thing you should look for is whether the school is accredited and approved by your state’s cosmetology board. Not only will this ensure that you’ll be eligible to take your state’s licensing exam after graduation, but it will ensure that the school is committed to offering the best education possible. Other important qualities to look for in a cosmetology school include:
- Flexible Scheduling – A particularly important feature if you work full time or are trying to balance your cosmetology education with family or other responsibilities. If attending school during the day isn’t an option, look for a cosmetology school with night or weekend classes.
- Hands-on Learning – You can’t become an effective cosmetologist without hands-on training. This makes it imperative that the school you select has plenty of opportunities for students to practice their skills on mannequins, in a clinic or during a professional externship.
- Personalized Attention – The more one-on-one attention you receive from your instructors, the better your cosmetology education will be. This is most important in clinic settings, where the watchful eye of an experienced instructor can help to improve your technique and make you a better cosmetologist.
- Experienced Instructors – The best cosmetology instructors are those who have spent a number of years in the field – either as a master stylist, a salon owner, an esthetician or a manicurist. The more experience the instructors have, the better your cosmetology education will be.
- Preparation for the State Licensing Exam – You won’t be able to begin working as a cosmetologist until you pass your state’s professional licensing exam, so make sure you select a cosmetology school that will well prepare you for the exam. In addition to quality coursework, the top schools offer exam preparation workshops for students approaching graduation.