Barber or Hairstylist Career?


More than a million people are licensed as cosme­tolo­gists in the United States and several million work as hairdressers.

Begin A Career With Less Debt


Should you become a cosmetolo­gist or a barber? You might view cosme­to­logy as a field of study one pursues during night school. Across the United States, schools charge an average of $17,000 for a certifi­cate. It can cost more than $20,000. Iowa is the strict­est, requiring 2,100 hours of instruction.

Graduates sometimes begin offering hair and facial treat­ments from their home until acquiring enough clientele to rent out a booth. Many obtain minimum wage jobs to pay off student loans. With much hard work, graduates may dream of eventu­ally owning their own shop and perhaps renting out booth space to others. All of this may not materialize but some­thing is certain: It is a rigorous field of study that is popular.

What is a Cosmetologist?

Barber or Hairstylist Career?

The word cosmetology comes from a Greek word that means “beautifying.” Is your definition limited to personal experi­ence, positive or otherwise? Skills within the field are quite broad. Cosmetolo­gists receive training and are licensed to perform cosmetic treat­ments to hair, skin and nails.

Areas of cosmetology specializa­tion include skin care, cosme­tics, manicures/pedicures, hair­styling, hair removal such as waxing and sugaring, elec­trolo­gy or intense pulsed light. Hairstyling includes cutting, coloring, exten­sions, braiding, perms or eye­brow shaping. So anyone with hair, skin or nails is a potential customer!

Many chemicals in salon products pose potential health risks. The “toxic trio” is often part of the ingre­dient list in nail polish, hair dyes and nail polish removers (formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate). Allergies and dermatitis have forced nearly 20 percent of hair­dressers to end their profes­sion. Learning how chemi­cals interact deter­mine which services can safely be offered within one salon.

Dermatologists are doctors with much more extensive training than cosmetologists. Whether derma­tolo­gists or cosme­tolo­gists, ClinicalPosters custo­mers who login with either a dermatology or cosmetology preference have immediate access to all things relating to hair, skin and nails. There are some lapel pins and charms more suited to hair­stylists than dermatology.

How Barbers Differ From Hairstylists

You can become a licensed barber in as little as 6 months. Barber schools provide a compre­hen­sive educa­tion in men’s hair care and grooming. Hands-on course­work includes hair cutting, shaving, straight razor tech­niques, honing and stropping, shampoo­ing, scalp massage, perma­nent treat­ments, hair coloring, mustache and beard design.

Barbershop tuition can range from $2,000 to $16,000 depending on the school—capping out where cosmeto­logy tuition begins. In addition to the technical aspects of the job, barber schools provide students with an education in profes­sional ethics, steriliza­tion and sanita­tion, common skin disorders, business manage­ment and interpersonal skills.

Licensing require­ments vary from state to state, but generally require the success­ful comple­tion of a written exam and perhaps sometimes a demonstra­tion of skill. With much less training, a barber can earn the same, if not more, than the average hairstylist.

To support the writing of useful articles about cosmetology, ClinicalPosters sells human anatomy charts, scientific posters and other products online. Slide extra posters into DeuPair Frames without removing from the wall or leave an encourag­ing comment to keep the work going. Visible content is optimized for device size.

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Updated: Aug 26, 2022

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