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How to Become a Hair Stylist

Find everything you'll need to take the first steps in becoming a hair stylist


Taking the First Step

A career as a hair stylist or barber promises many positive things. You'll learn a craft that you can do anywhere, hairdressing is a relatively recession proof industry, you'll work in a creative, fast-paced environment and you'll have the chance to touch the lives of an endless number of people.

One of the best things about a career in cosmetology is it's flexibility. The job opportunities are endless. You can teach, work on fashion or movie sets, cut hair on a cruise ship, open your own barber shop, work exclusively with kids, become a product rep.....the list goes on and on.

Last year, US News and World Report included Cosmetology as one of it's top 30 careers for scoring high in job satisfaction and employment outlook.

Finding the Right Cosmetology School

Once you've decided to join the exciting world of beauty, you'll need to find the right cosmetology school.

Beauty school can be completed in most states in about a year. Keep in mind that this will be a long year where you will be learning and working a lot. Cosmetology school has a high drop-out rate due to students that thought it would be a cake walk. But don't let that scare you! Beauty school is a fun and exciting experience for anyone that is serious about becoming a hair stylist.

Check out your states licensing requirements here and then check out my list of top beauty schools to get you started on your search for the right school.

Finding a Job

Once you've completed cosmetology school and taken your state board test, you will then be ready to start doing hair.

Many successful stylists first step after school is to complete an apprenticeship. This will be your continued education where you will get real-life salon experience. You can only learn so much in beauty school and you'll have the chance to earn more money once you have an apprenticeship on your resume.

Contact a local salon and ask about assisting opportunities. You can also look up schools and beauty companies that have specific classes geared towards continued education.

If you're interested in travel, this could be your opportunity to take classes abroad at the TIGI or Vidal Sassoon advanced academies.

Earning and Wages

As an apprentice you will usually receive minimum wage and tips. Once you start taking clients you can earn anywhere from the national average which is around $30,000 a year, up to 6 figures or more depending on where you work.

The longer you've been working, the more money you can usually charge. Most stylists raise they're prices every few years to keep up with supply and demand. Don't be afraid to charge and ask for what you think you're worth. Often times clients feel like they get what they pay for, and if you're prices are too cheap, the client might fear you don't know what you're doing.

The great thing about a career in cosmetology is that you always have the power to be making more money by working to get more clients or earning extra cash from product sales. Also, if you're working in a salon, you can always pick up side jobs where all of the money goes in your pocket


Endless Possibilites

When you are ready to start doing hair, remember that you now have the power to change peoples lives. Working in beauty is a fantastic career that lets you learn about people while you help them to feel better about themselves from the inside out.

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