Document Sample

Dear Applicant:
Before enrolling please read this career outline as a guide to see if a career
in cosmetology is what you thought is was.
                              Nature of the Work
Hair has been a center of attention since people first began to care about
their appearance. Throughout history a great deal of effort has gone into
acquiring a fashionable hairstyle or a perfectly trimmed beard. Although
styles change from year to year, the cosmetologist’s task remains the same
- to help people look attractive.
Cosmetologists, who are also called beauty operators, hairstylist, or
beauticians, shampoo, cut and style hair, and advise patrons on how to
care for their hair. Frequently, they straighten or permanent wave a
patron’s hair to keep the style in shape.
Cosmetologist may also lighten or darken the color of the hair.
Cosmetologist may give manicures, pedicures, scalp and facial
treatments; provide make-up analysis for women; and clean and style wigs
and hairpieces.
Most cosmetologists make appointments and keep records of hair color
formulas and permanent waves used by their regular patrons. They also
keep their work area clean and sanitize their hairdressing implements.
Those who operate their own salons also have managerial duties, which
include hiring and supervising workers, keeping records, and ordering

                             Working Conditions
Cosmetologists generally work in clean, pleasant surrounding, with good
lighting and comfortable temperatures. Their work can be arduous and
physically demanding because they must be on their feet for long hours at
a time and work with their hands at shoulder level. Many full-time
cosmetologists work more than 40 hours a week, including evenings and
weekends when beauty salons are busiest.

              Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement
Although all states require cosmetologists to be licensed, the qualifications
necessary to obtain a license vary. Generally, a person must have
graduated from a state-licensed cosmetology school, pass a physical
examination, and be at least 16 years old. In addition, states have varying
education requirements - some have no requirement, while others require
graduation from high school. In some states, completion of an apprentice
training program can substitute for graduation from a cosmetology school,
but very few cosmetologists learn their skills in this way.

Cosmetology instruction is offered in both public and private vocational
schools, in either day-time or evening classes. A day-time program usually
takes 6 months to 1 year to complete; however, evening program takes
longer. Many public school programs include the academic subjects
needed for a high school diploma and at least 2 to 3 years. An
apprenticeship program usually lasts 1 or 2 years. No apprenticeship
program available in Florida.

Both public and private programs include classroom study, demonstrations,
and practical work. Most schools provide students with the necessary
hairstyling implements, such as manicure implements, combs, scissors,
razors, and hair rollers,
and include their cost in the tuition fee. Sometimes students must purchase
their own. A good set of implements costs between $300.00 to $500.00.
Beginning students work on mannequins or on each other. Once they have
gained some experience, students practice on patrons in school “clinics”.
Most schools now teach unisex hairstyling as part of their regular

After graduating from a cosmetology program, students take a state
licensing examination. The examination consists of a written test and a
practical test in which applicants demonstrate their ability to provide the
required services. In some states, an oral examination is included and the
applicant is asked to explain the procedures he or she is following while
taking the practical test. In some states, a separate examination is given for
persons who want only a manicurist’s license. Some states
have reciprocity agreements that allow a cosmetologist licensed in one
state to work in another without re-examination.

For many young persons cosmetology serves as an entry point to the world
of work. The field is also characterized by a pattern of movement from
family responsibilities into the labor force-when employment and earnings
are attractive enough and back to the home again. In fact, most entrants to
this occupation come from outside the labor force-from homemaking and

school in roughly equal numbers. Relatively few entrants transfer from
other occupations.

Persons who want to become cosmetologists must have finger dexterity
and a sense of form and artistry. They should enjoy dealing with the public
and be willing and able to follow patrons’ instructions. Because hairstyles
are constantly changing, cosmetologists must keep abreast of the latest
fashions and beauty techniques. Business skills are important for those
who plan to operate their own salons.

Many schools help their students find jobs. During their first months on the
job, new cosmetologists are given relatively simple tasks, such as giving
manicures or shampoos, or are assigned to perform the simpler hairstyling
patterns. Once they have demonstrated their skills, they are gradually
permitted to perform the more complicated tasks such as hair coloring and
permanent waving.

Advancement usually is in the form of higher earnings as cosmetologists
gain experience and build a steady clientele, but many manage large
salons or open their own after several years of experience. Some teach in
cosmetology schools or use their knowledge and skill to demonstrate
cosmetics in department stores. Others become sales representatives for
cosmetic firms, or open businesses as beauty or fashion consultants. Some
cosmetologists work as examiners for state cosmetology boards.

The following are excerpts from the JOB DEMAND IN THE
conducted for NACCAS by Lawrence M. Rudner, LMP Associates &
University of Maryland.

                                 Key Findings
In January 2003, there were 1,604,502 professionals employed in the
nation’s 312,959 beauty salons, barber shops, skin care salons, and nail
salons. The typical salon is a small full service salon with 5 stations, 3 full-
time professionals and 2 part-time professionals. Salon owners report an
average of 155 clients per week.

There has been notable growth in the industry since 1999:
• The total number of salon professionals is up 24%,
• The total number of salons is up by 5.6%,
• The number of chairs or workstations is up by 9%,
• The number of employees leaving their positions is down 12%, and
• The number of new hires is up 37% since 1999.

The salon industry is a job-seekers market. Some 56% of the salon owners
reporting that they had job openings. More than 572,000 open positions
were filled in 2002 with both experienced salon professionals changing
positions (73% of the new hires) and with inexperienced professionals with
less than one year’s experience (27% of the new hires). The supply does

not appear to be keeping up with demand. Approximately 3 out of every 4
salon owners who looked for new employees in 2002 reported difficulty in
finding qualified personnel.

Other Key Findings
      • 59% of salon owners classified their salon as a full-service salon,
      18% as a haircutting salon, 4% as a nail salon and 5% as a barber
      • 57% of salon employees work full time, 33% are part-time (20-35
      hours), and 10% are low time (less than 20 hours).
      • The average salon income, including tips, is about $30,000 -
      • While manicurists are currently only 10% of the current industry
      employees (up from 2.6% in 1999), some 16% of the anticipated
      vacancies are for professionals with those skills.