Everything You Need to Know About Going to Cosmetology School

If you are opting to not go down the traditional route of education but enrolling in a vocational course, you need to first know what you are signing up for.  For example, a career in cosmetology may sound very fascinating – the chance to explore your creative side and help people feel better about themselves is very alluring, but before you begin your education, you must make sure you understand the pros and cons to this profession. Before you begin college, it would be a good idea to follow a cosmetologist friend or someone who works in the local salon to learn more about their work life. A typical day in the life of cosmetologist includes washing, cutting and styling hair, giving perms or coloring and highlighting. Some beauticians may also offer skin care services and makeovers as well as nail care.

Education requirements

Cosmetologists need to have a high school diploma or pass a high school equivalency test before entering a cosmetology program in any of the reputed schools in Toronto.  Courses offered in both vocational schools and community colleges vary by state, but the average amount of time taken to complete the course for full time students is approximately nine months. This may vary depending on the number and kind of courses you are doing. Some courses like hair styling take more time than others, such as nail care and art.  The coursework is normally hands-on training in haircuts, color, manicures and facials, as well as theoretical classes on health and safety practices. There are several levels of courses available. The foundation courses that most beginners enroll into will contain mostly of technical skills that you need to be employed in this industry. However, you may choose to continue into advanced courses that also include business management studies. This is especially helpful for those aiming to open their own salon. To being practicing in the industry, the state requires cosmetologists to pass a state exam to obtain a license to practice. In order to appear for this exam, it is advisable to obtain your degree from a state accredited school. It is recommended that you continue your studies in order to stay in touch with industry trends, but that is not always necessary.


Income potential

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for beauticians is $22,570. However, the top 90 percent in the cosmetology field take home $41,490. Average wages for beauticians who work in the film and fashion industry is higher, around $69,780.  Cosmetologists who own a salon have a much higher earning potential, as cosmetologists working for a salon must pay a percentage of income back to the salon or a fee for renting space for business. The best part of working in this industry is that you can choose your own work timings. You can either work full time or part time, or during the mornings, evenings or weekends. Of course, the number of hours you put in will affect the amount of income you make but it makes it easier to work around family commitments or other important responsibilities. Some of the reputed beauty franchises also offer paid apprenticeship, so that helps to get by the monetary burden during school.

Skills required

The most important aspect of working in this industry is that you are constantly working one-on-one with clients, therefore your people’s skills need to be above average.  This kind of profession is ideal for someone who enjoys being around people. You must be able to work comfortable around men and women, and even children. Excellent communication skills are required in order to comprehend what the client wants and deliver accordingly. This job also makes great demands on efficiency. Depending on where you work, you may have a busy floor all or most of the time. A good cosmetologist will be able to work under pressure as well as multi-task, providing ample attention to each client and limiting the waiting time for customers. Sometimes, you may need to be up on your feet for most part of the day or at least, for extended periods of time. This means that physical stamina is equally important in this job.

Health and Safety

The biggest health hazard that a cosmetologist faces on a regular basis are the chemicals used in hair color, artificial nails, aromatherapy and other cosmetology services.  While the exposure is generally mild and short for clients, the beauticians inhale the fumes from these chemicals for hours at a time on a daily basis. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, Nation Institutes of Health, this ongoing exposure may cause skin irritation and respiratory problems. This is why they are advised to use protective gear such as gloves, aprons and masks during these treatments and why salons are recommended to be properly ventilated.

Now that you have a general idea about what being a cosmetologist is all about, you are in a better position to choose your future career and where to pursue it from. If you want more information, you can go to the college websites or visit the colleges in person during open days. Good luck with the career!