Working with hair requires more than a sharp pair of scissors and a decent blow-dryer. Professional hair designers offer beauty services such as shampooing, cutting, coloring, and styling, and they advise clients on hair care, straightening and curling, and coloring. They also give scalp treatments, and clean and style wigs and hairpieces.
In order to become a licensed hair designer, you’ll need to take the National Hair Design licensure exams, which are developed and administered by the National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology.
The written exam for hair design covers basic principles of chemistry and electricity, ergonomics, human anatomy and physiology, infection control, and nutrition. It also covers hair care concepts and services such as braiding, wigs, and hair enhancements/additions; brushing, shampooing, and conditioning; chemical texture services; draping procedures; hair coloring; haircutting; hair styling; and principles of hair design.
The practical exam for hair design covers six core domain services: chemical relaxing, chemical waving, hair lightening and hair coloring, haircutting, setup and client protection, and thermal curling.
Rest assured that your work will be worthwhile — Overall employment of barbers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists is projected to grow 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations.
Employment of barbers is projected to grow 9 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. The need for barbers will stem primarily from an increasing population, which will lead to greater demand for basic hair care services.
Employment of hairstylists and cosmetologists is projected to grow 11 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for hair coloring, hair straightening, and other advanced hair treatments has risen in recent years, a trend that is expected to continue over the coming decade.
If you’ve got a way with scissors and a sassy style, head straight for a career in hair design.