Do you enjoy watching hairstyle how-to-videos on YouTube? Do you love paying your hairstylist a visit every time you have the chance? Do you consider hair your crowning glory? Or do you just want to become a professional hairstylist? Well, if you answered yes to all the questions, then you might want to do it for a living. The beauty industry remains to be booming year after year despite the troubling economy.
Doing someone’s hair does not necessarily require getting a degree in top-notch universities. In this industry the most important asset is your skill. To become a hairstylist, you should have a sense of fashion, and a good eye for beauty. Although, for licensing reasons, formal training is required.
If you really want to pursue this career, here’s a guide on how to become a hairstylist:
To qualify for any cosmetology training programs you must be a high school graduate. Then, you can enroll in a training program that is accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences or NACCAS. These courses are offered in community or technical schools and are mostly short-term and can be finished between 9 months to a year.
Getting formal education is an advantage since you will have more detailed understanding of the concepts in cosmetology. You will cover topics like hair care, basics in hair styling, choosing the right hair color, or whether a client’s hair needs straightening or a perm. Plus, you would also learn to use all the equipment in hairstyling. Cosmetology trainings are offered through lecture and hands-on sessions. Most training cost $6,000 to $10,000 and may vary depending on school and equipment.
Once you finish the training program, you are eligible to take the state board exam for licensing. To take the exam, you would only need to present your certificate of training, and to pay the test fee. The exam consists of a written and a demonstration part. Check with your local state licensing board for any additional requirements. Passing the test will allow you to look for work and offer your services to the public.
Tips for becoming a successful hairstylist:
1. Apply for assistant hairstylist positions to gain hands-on experience for at least 2-3 years. While this position may not let you earn much, this can be your training ground. For a start, you may be asked to do basic tasks like shampoo, wash and dry a client’s hair. After several months in the job, you will be trained to apply hair color or do basic trims.
2. Train and learn more styles. The more styles you know, the more choices you can offer to your clients. It can also help to have hair magazines in the salon in case the client is unable to describe the hairstyle she or he wants. Through time, people have learned to experiment with hairstyles so it helps to be updated with the latest hair trends from all over the world.
3. Enroll in an associate degree program in Cosmetology within your area. This can help you increase your chances of getting a higher position and probably help you start your own business. Most states also require that a hairstylist take continuing education classes to maintain the validity of their license.
4. Establish social connections. It is an advantage to have clients visit salons on a routine. A lot people, mostly women go to salons at least once a week. Make sure to develop this kind of relationship because as long as you are a popular and skillful stylist you can expect to earn huge money plus generous tips.
Bottom line is there are two major factors a hairstylist should consider: to have the skill set and to have a huge client base - both determine a stylist’s income level. There are thousands of hairstylists in the US today but according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the industry is going well and employment level will continue to increase until 2018.
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