More than a million people are licensed as cosmetologists in the United States and several million work as hairdressers.
By Kevin RR Williams
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?
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.
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