A Comprehensive Guide on How to Become a Cosmetologist

If you eat, sleep, and breathe beauty, then you might want to think about a career in cosmetology.

If you want to become a cosmetologist, there are a number of steps to take. You have to study and gain experience in order to gain the skills to make you stand out in the beauty field.

But don’t worry. With our guide to becoming a cosmetologist, you will be well on your way to earning a great income in a career that you will love.

What Is Cosmetology?

The beauty industry in America is positively booming. With more and more people investing in beauty products and treatments, there has never been a better time to embark on a career in cosmetology.

But what is a cosmetologist, and what do they do?

Cosmetology is the study of beauty treatments and learning how to apply them. When you learn how to become a cosmetologist, you will learn treatments for hair, beauty, skincare, hair removal, and nail treatments, as well as gaining a great understanding of cosmetics.

By learning these key skills, you will be able to get cosmetology jobs in salons or even build your own business.

How Do I Become a Cosmetologist?

Becoming a cosmetologist isn’t as easy as knowing about make-up and being good at applying it. You need to study the skills in cosmetology in order to be a success.

When you want to embark on a career in cosmetology, you’ve got to go back to school. A good school will teach you all the skills and qualities you need to succeed. This goes above and beyond the technical skills, as you will also learn about business skills, and how to run a successful business.

What Skills Will I Learn as a Cosmetologist?

If you work hard then you can enjoy a rewarding career and a great salary as a cosmetologist.

But, what are the skills you will learn?


Understanding hair, hair products, haircare, and different hair types are all essentials you will learn as a cosmetologist. This includes shampooing, cutting, coloring, styling, and treating hair. As most people get their haircut several times a year, having this skill could be a potential goldmine!


Knowing how to style hair is an additional skill. When you go to a good cosmetology school, you will learn about classic hairstyles, as well as the latest trends. This will give you confidence in being able to style your client’s hair for whatever event they have planned.

Hair Coloring

There are many advanced techniques you can learn about hair coloring. It takes a lot of hard work and time to get them right, but, trust us. The hard work will definitely pay off.


You may already love makeup, but learning how to apply it to others is a key cosmetologist skill. You will need to learn the classic makeup rules, as well as the latest trends in the beauty industry in order to be a cutting-edge cosmetologist.


When you want cosmetology jobs, understanding basic and advanced skincare will really help you stand out from the beauty crowd. Learning how to give your clients glowing, healthy skin will make them want to come back to you for treatments again and again.


Nail Care, manicures, and pedicures are some of the most important skills you can learn to become a thriving cosmetologist. It’s more than just painting nails. You need to file, smooth, trim, buff, polish, and treat nails of all conditions.

Time Management

Learning key business skills such as time management is another tick you can give yourself when studying to become a cosmetologist. Whether you are working in a salon, or you own your own beauty business, you will need to know how much time to give each client, when you will be free to take the next client, and make sure a client doesn’t wait too long for their appointment.

Listening Skills

Some clients might come to your chair knowing exactly what they want. While others might not have a clue. Your job is to listen to what they have to say, not to interrupt, and then to advise them as necessary.


Cleanliness and hygiene are of the utmost importance in cosmetology. Keeping your salon and your work area clean and tidy is a vital component of the job. If it is well organized, you will look professional, and always know where your tools are.

Learning how to clean and disinfect your tools the proper way is another skill you will learn when you become a cosmetologist.

Be a People Person

People skills are so important in cosmetology. Being confident and having good interpersonal skills will allow you to engage with clients and colleagues, and be a positive team member. This will also help you if you need to collaborate with another technician on a job.

How to Have a Career in Cosmetology

If this sounds like something you want to pursue, then here are our top tips to become a cosmetologist.

Do Your Research

Start researching training programs and schools. There are minimum requirements you need to meet to train as a cosmetologist, so it is vital that you meet them. These include:

  • Being at least 16
  • Completed high school with a diploma or a GED
  • Understand the necessary regulations in your state

Some programs allow high school students to enroll in certain circumstances, so doing your research can help give you an early start in your career.

Enroll in School

Now it’s time to enroll. There are courses and programs available in many different facilities, including part-time and full-time. Some programs offer an associate degree, and others a certificate of completion. Make sure you choose the right program for your career path.

Complete the Program

A good cosmetology program can take between 9 – 24 months to complete. On average, you will need to complete 1,600 hours of training. This includes attending classes, practicing skills, and taking tests.

It is important to complete your program if you want to become a successful cosmetologist.

Get Real-Life Experience

School is vital, but what is equally important is getting real-life experience. Although you won’t be able to work on clients without a license, you can embark on internships or apprenticeships. This will help give you a headstart when it comes to getting a job on completion.

Get Your License

Once you have completed your training, the next step is to obtain your license. This involves studying all of the skills you learned in your program.

The Next Steps Are Yours

Being a cosmetologist isn’t just about knowing about makeup and hair. If you want to become a cosmetologist, it takes work, stamina, creativity, and time.

Knowing all of the steps to take in order to become a successful cosmetologist, will set you on the right path in your journey. Just remember to follow them if you want to be at the top of your game.

For more information and tips, check out some other articles on our blog.