Hairstylist: Job Duties, Career Outlook, and Education Prerequisites

1. What is a Hairstylist?

As a professional hairstylist, you may work in barbershops, beauty salons, or spas. Hairstylists also referred to as hairdressers, provide a range of hair care treatments for both men and women, and they also give advice to clients for home hair care. Those that have their own business may take on clerical duties as well.

2. What Job Duties Might I Have as a Hairstylist?

Your primary responsibilities as a hairstylist will be trimming, shampooing, conditioning, and styling hair for male or female clients. Some other services you may perform include scalp massage, facial shaving, and hairpiece styling. As a licensed hairstylist, you will be able to give permanent waves, relaxers, and bleaching or coloring treatments. Should your customers have questions regarding at-home hair care, they will turn to you for advice. If you become the sole proprietor of your salon, you will also oversee managerial duties such as hiring workers, advertising, maintaining salon inventory, and keeping business records.

3. What Is the Projected Career Outlook?

It was predicted that job openings for hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists would expand between 2014 to 2024. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment would increase by 10% during this period. The increasing population and their desire for hair treatments and coloring services was expected to contribute to the employment growth. The BLS also indicated that a few workers would leave the field, making job prospects favorable for newcomers. However, it was believed that employment at limited higher-paying establishments would have increased competition for employment.

4. What Education Prerequisites Should I Fulfill?

Hairstylists must complete a state-licensed program in a professional cosmetology or barbering school. Public vocational schools and community colleges also have cosmetology programs that can prepare you for a career as a hairstylist. Your certificate or diploma program can last nine months or longer, and it could be applicable towards a 2-year associate degree. Cosmetology programs include topics such as hair coloring, communications, cosmetology concepts, and haircutting techniques.

Every state requires hairstylists to obtain licenses to practice. Individual states may have different licensing requirements, but generally, you will need to be at least 16 years old with a high school diploma, along with a certificate, diploma, or associate degree from a state-licensed and approved cosmetology program. If you have met those requirements, you can take the state licensing examination. The test should include written and oral sections and a practical portion, allowing you to demonstrate your hairstyling skills.

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