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Building Your Career Path: How To Become a Hair Stylist

Hair-StylistThe hair stylist career path is interesting and fun, but there is some planning involved! Unlike many more conventional career paths, where you get hired, show up to work, do well and advance, the hair stylist career path is much more self-motivated. There’s education, licensing and apprenticeships to work out, and that’s before you even become a fully-fledged stylist. Here are some steps you’ll need to take on the hair stylist career path.

Cosmetology School

You have two options for your hair stylist education, community college or beauty/ cosmetology school. There are a few things to consider before making your choice.

  • What kind of degree would you like to get? Make sure that the program you choose is approved by your state for licensing purposes. Every state has their own rules regarding the education of professional hair stylists. Make sure you enter a program that puts you on the path to certification. Beyond that, there are some community college programs that end with a two year associates degree. While this program is more than twice as long as others, an associates degree gives you more options (for example, it puts you on the path to a business degree, which could be perfect if you dream of one day running a salon)
  • What kind of classes do you want to take? Courses focus on hair coloring, perms and cuts. If you’d like courses in salon management, or other beauty courses (skin care, cosmetology) you’ll need to look for specific schools that offer what you want.


Depending on the state you live in, you may need to obtain a license in order to get a job as a hair stylist. Oftentimes, this step has less to do with how well you cut hair, and much more to do with hygiene.

There are many potential jobs in the beauty industry. The most common is working in a salon, but you could also freelance for large events, work with models, actors, photo shoots, TV or even movies. The best way to get your name out there is to start networking while still in school. If possible get a job as an apprentice, assistant or front desk manager in the field you’d like to work while you’re still in school. Tell them you’re working on your certifications, be the best employee you can be, and when you are finally certified, finding a job will be much easier. Also, you’ll get to see firsthand what your future will be like!

Continue Your Education

Even once you’re a fully licensed hair stylist, the need to continue learning never ends. Between advances in methods and technology, and the ever changing trends, there will always be new classes to take, new things to learn and new methods to try!


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