If you are creative, want to work with people and with your hands, a career in hair styling might be for you. Employment for cosmetologists and barbers is expected to grow by 10 percent between the years of 2014 and 2024 due to an increase in population and to the need for professionals who can perform advanced processes in coloring and treatments. Many high schools push this as a career choice and even offer training. Although you will always be able to find work doing hair, you should consider the pay and the chances of advancement. Read more before you decide on this career path…
The pay is not that great, at a median of $23,710 per year and can come in the form of salary, commission, bonuses and tips. There are often no healthcare benefits offered by the employer. There are ways to increase your income in this industry by doing home visits and by working at higher profile salons. Many stylists are self-employed and just rent chairs from salons. If this is the case, they have to bring their own tools and keep track of their own income and expenses for tax purposes.
Work places include spas, hotels, resorts, barbershops, nursing homes and salons. While you can often determine your own schedule, you will be expected to work evenings, weekends and holidays as well. Some hairdressers move into management to gain more pay. This type of career works well for people like mothers who need a flexible schedule so that they can be home for their children.
How to Become a Hair Stylist or Barber
The first credential is to obtain a license after attending a state-approved cosmetology program. You also must have a high school diploma. Cosmetology programs usually last 9 months and may lead to an Associate’s degree. Some young people start as receptionists to gain insight into salon work and to help them decide if they want to pursue a license.
Duties include: shampooing, cutting, styling, facial treatments, cleaning and disinfecting work areas, taking payments, booking appointments, applying makeup, selling products, shaving, giving manicures and pedicures, maintaining wigs, and performing advance treatments such as bleaching, straightening, and perms.
Here are some places hiring. Great Clips has openings in several locations. Most of their clientele are men and their traffic comes from walk-ins. They ask for two years experience. Their hairdressers do not have to do chemical processes. They prefer people who can work all shifts and offer a $500 bonus for full-time new hires.
Hair Cuttery is another chain that is hiring right now. They pay based on commission but do offer some benefits as well as free advanced education classes.
Ulta Beauty is looking for beauty advisors. While in most states, you do not need a licence to work there, you do in some, such as in Maine and Nevada.
To be a success as a hairdresser, you need good customer service skills, cleanliness, good time management, the ability to listen to clients, and physical stamina. Some people are naturally creative and talented; however, most hair stylists should take classes as often as they can to keep up with trends, styles, and processes. Good stylists will develop a following of customers which they can take with them if they ever open their own salon. Some go into teaching their craft at vocational schools. While this career may look like fun, you should consider whether it will be good for the long-term.