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Cosmetologists are in the business of helping people to look – and feel – good. Whether they are giving a client a trendy new haircut, or helping them to learn the best way to apply make-up to compliment their features, cosmetologists strive to help clients put their best faces forward.

The field of cosmetology encompasses several occupations, including hairstylists, barbers, skin care specialists and nail technicians.

Barbers cut, trim, shampoo and style hair – mostly for male clients – and also are skilled in facial skin care and shaving techniques for men. Hairstylists perform similar services for both men and women clientele. Cosmetologists provide scalp and facial care and make up analysis and consultation. They also are knowledgeable about skin care products.

All 50 states require barbers, hairstylists and cosmetologists to be licensed in order to practice. Qualifications vary by state but generally include written, oral and hands-on components. Prior to applying for licensure, cosmetologists must complete a formal education process through a vocational or other post-secondary program. Full-time programs generally can be completed within nine months. Cosmetologists who wish to own their own business may want to consider taking courses in business and marketing as well, which will better prepare them to run their own business.

Some states require licenses to be renewed after a set period of time, while others require cosmetologists to complete continuing education requirements in order to maintain their license.

Most cosmetologists work in hair salons and barber shops; however, some also are employed at spas and resorts. Working hours can vary.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage for cosmetologists as of May 2012 was $10.95. Hourly wages do not consider earned tips from clientele, which are common in this field.

Demand for trained cosmetologists is expected to increase by 11 percent between now and 2022, which is as fast as the average for other occupations being measured during the same time period. The need for cosmetologists is due to an increasing population and greater awareness of the benefits of obtaining professional skin and hair care services.

To find a traditional or online degree program in cosmetology, please use the unique search tool on www.Collegefinder.us.com.

Articles & content by Shari Berg, Collegefinder.us.com.

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