From the bob to the bouffant to the beehive, hairstyles have come and gone, and in some cases, have come back again over the years. Many of us remember the infamous bowl cut too, although we perhaps wouldn’t consider it an official hairstyle. If the bowl cut makes you shudder, or you find yourself constantly envisioning new hairstyles (or colors) for yourself or others, hair school is calling.
Professional hairdressers do more than shampoo and set, although that comes with the territory. Cutting, coloring, styling, curling, straightening, giving scalp treatments, and caring for wigs and hairpieces are all on the to do list.
“Grease” may have portrayed hair school as a dream, but the reality is this: hair school students must work very hard before they can give just anyone the bob or beehive of their wildest dreams. Hair school students are required to take a number of academic courses (even in technical subjects such as biology, chemistry, nutrition, and herbology) before they get to the fun stuff. Sales and marketing courses are essential elements of hair school training, whether aspiring hair designers choose to run their own salon or work for an established company. Hair school students also receive crucial on-the-floor training. It’s not over after graduation either; aspiring hair designers may need to complete anywhere from 300 to 1600 hours of training, paving the way for hair school graduates to recruit and retain the client base of their dreams.
How to Become a Hairstylist?
All states require hairstylists to be licensed. To qualify for a license, candidates are required to graduate from a state-approved barber or cosmetology school program and then pass a state exam for licensure.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Hairstylists must obtain a license in order to work. Qualifications for a license vary by state, but generally, a person must fulfill the following criteria:
- Reached a minimum age of 16
- Received a high school diploma or equivalent
- Graduated from a state-licensed barber or cosmetology school
After graduating from a state-approved training program, students take a state licensing exam that includes a written test and, in some cases, a practical test of styling skills or an oral exam.
In many states, cosmetology training may be credited toward a barbering license and vice versa, and a few states combine the two licenses. A fee usually is required to apply for a license, and continuing education units (CEUs) may be required with periodic license renewals.
Some states have reciprocity agreements that allow licensed barbers and cosmetologists to get a license in another state without needing additional formal training or state board testing, but such agreements are not common. Consequently, people who want to work in a particular state should review the laws of that state before entering a training program.
What Happens After Hair School
If you want to hold the title of licensed hair designer, you must take the National Hair Design licensure exams developed and administered by the National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology. In the written exam, aspiring hair designers will answer questions on basic principles of chemistry and electricity, ergonomics, human anatomy and physiology, infection control, and nutrition. Also woven into the exam are queries on hair care services like braiding, wigs, brushing, shampooing, chemical texture services, and draping procedures, to name a few. After the written exam, designers-to-be must also complete a practical exam that covers six core services: chemical relaxing, chemical waving, hair lightening and hair coloring, haircutting, setup and client protection, and thermal curling.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that hair designers held 673,700 jobs in 2016. Good news for hair school graduates: after you’ve worked hard to secure your hair design license, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of barbers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists is projected to grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2026
Don’t wait until the bouffant comes back in style, if you want to work in a Day Spa or Salon someday, apply for hair school today.