1. Style
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

How to Become a Cosmetology Instructor


Photographer and beautician checking make-up of model
Bambu Productions/Stone/Getty Images

A career as a cosmetology instructor is a great option for anyone who is looking to work in the world of beauty, but doesn't necessarily want to stand behind the chair. This job incorporates technical as well as creative education, and with beauty school usually lasting 1-2 years, there is a high turnover rate of students which keeps the job new and exciting year after year.

Cosmetology instructors are trained to educate and impart skills upon hair stylists, makeup artists, manicurists and aestheticians in training. Instructors are licensed beauty professionals and have a vast knowledge in the field of cosmetology. An instructor should be enthusiastic about teaching, setting a good example for cosmetologists to be. The beauty industry is a customer service based business and the importance of this is first taught in school.


Courses are broken up into theory and practical sessions. Theory sessions cover all of the technical aspects of beauty. From cutting diagrams to chemical and color theory, these sessions are taught in a classic classroom setting. The practical sessions are taught on the 'beauty school floor', where students perform services on clients of the school. Most instructors choose to teach either theory, or practical. If you decide to teach practical sessions, keep in mind you will be dealing with clients and not only that- hair stylists and aestheticians who are just starting out. Remember that it takes a certain level of patience to work on the floor. That being said, if you like to move around and are looking for an exciting environment, then it's definitely for you, as practical and theory sessions are worlds away from each other.

Instructors will also teach business, managing and marketing skills, as many cosmetologists go on to run their own business.

Education requirements to become a cosmetology instructor include being a licensed cosmetologist and completing further course work specific to cosmetology education. Depending on your state, you may also be required to have a certain number of years of field experience.

Coursework for future educators typically includes teaching methods and theories, teaching theory, and developing evaluation techniques. A typical certification program takes about a year to complete, depending on the program and the school. Once you finish school you will be required to apply for an additional teaching license on top of your cosmetology license.

When you are ready to take your exam, it will be administered by the National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC). Remember that prerequisites vary depending on the state in which you choose to practice, so do your homework if you plan on moving around. (www.nictesting.org). Once employed, instructors often need eight hours of continued education credits per year to maintain their licenses.

Cosmetology Instructor Job Outlook

If your dreams are bigger than just working at the school, how about running the school? Some cosmetology instructors go on to become education directors. An education director is in charge of all of the school's programs and may also be involved in business and enrollment matters.

Other instructors go on to work as platform educators, teaching cutting edge techniques at beauty and trade shows. Another option is to get into the world of product sales and distribution, or even become involved with your state's board of cosmetology.

Whichever direction you choose to go in, the beauty world is an exciting business with endless job opportunities. If you're looking for a career that offers a ton of flexibility, is artistic and creative, and you have a love of teaching? Then becoming a cosmetology instructor is right for you.

  1. About.com
  2. Style
  3. Beauty Supply
  4. Education
  5. How to Become a Cosmetology Instructor

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.