Choose A Career In Hairdressing
Hairstyling has always been an essential part of fashion, and we have hair stylists to thank for that.
According to the U.S bureau of labor statistics(BLS), hair stylist career can be referred to as cosmetologists specializing in hair coloring, cutting, and styling hair.
A hairstylist’s main job is to help salon clients achieve a specific desired haircut or hair color look that benefits their features and lifestyle.
With their knowledge of cosmetology, the stylist is in the position to recommend techniques and beauty products useful for hair maintenance.
Hairstylists work in hair salons, spas, hotels, resorts, barbershops, or can even choose to be self-employed by becoming a salon owner.
The modeling and television industry would be incomplete without the service of a hairstylist.
Their sources of income come from salaries, commissions, freelance contracts, and tips.
In all, it is an excellent career with so many passionate professionals.
Do hair stylists make good money?
As with any career, the primary question on everyone’s mind is how much money does a hairstylist make?
For hairstylists (also known as hairdressers), their salary largely depends on the level of experience, location, and clientele.
The latest reports of the BLS from May 2019 show the median wage of hairdressers to be $26,270.
The top earners in the business who work in performing art companies earn an average salary of $84,540.
Like we said, location matters.
The May report highlights Massachusetts, Washington, District of Columbia, Colorado, and New Jersey as being the top paying states in the U.S for cosmetologists. Massachusetts having an annual salary of $43,920.
So, as an average cosmetologist, you should make enough money to live a good life.
Unlike most occupations, those in the beauty business are expected to have an 8% increase employment opportunities from 2018 to 2028.
More jobs equal more money.
To earn more as a hairdresser, you should master your skills and learn to market yourself as a professional hairdresser.
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How to become a professional hairstylist?
To become a professional stylist, you have to go through two key steps.
Let’s have a look at them, shall we?
Step 1: Complete a State-approved cosmetology program
To meet the licensing requirements needed to work, all aspiring hairstylists are expected to attend a state-approved cosmetology program.
There are many ways to get this education.
There are vocational programs students can enroll in to receive cosmetology education while still in high school.
One can also choose to attend a cosmetology school or beauty school to receive training and earn a certificate in that field.
Some people prefer attending a community college where they can receive an associate’s cosmetology degree.
During the program, students work with real clients under the supervision of an instructor.
Students would generally learn the basic techniques of cutting, coloring, and styling hair.
The training usually takes between six and eighteen months to complete.
Whichever of these options you choose would be a significant first step to becoming a hairstylist.
Step 2: Obtain a state-issued license.
After completing the required program from your chosen school, you need to get licensed before you can work in a hair salon or start your own beauty business.
Licensing requirements differ with states, but most states require that:
- you have a certificate or degree from any of the state-approved cosmetology schools
- be at least 16 years old
- hold a high school diploma or its equivalents
Additionally, aspirants also have to pass two licensing exams: a written and practical exam.
In the written exam, applicants have to answer questions about health and safety practices.
The practical exam is where they must show some of the hairdressing techniques they had learned during their training.
Depending on the state, an oral examination could be necessary.
Once you met all the licensing requirements and get your license, you can now work as a hairdresser.
It’s time for you to seek employment.
Thankfully, there are so many job opportunities. You can start by applying for jobs at salons, spas, hotels, and other places where your service might be needed.
You could also consider opening your hair salon where you can provide jobs for other hairdressers.
If you want to be self-employed and don’t have enough money to start your salon, then renting a chair in a salon may be a great choice.
Advanced Training For Hairstylists
There is still much to learn after completing primary cosmetology education.
Many cosmetology schools offer advanced training for those that want to further their hairstylist career by improving skills and increasing technical knowledge.
Advanced training would help a hairstylist learn more techniques and stay current in the industry trends.
Some of the more technical processes taught in advanced training programs include; braiding and curling techniques, strategies for performing unique chemical treatments, etc.
Learning these advanced techniques would increase the chances of being hired by prestigious and popular salons.
Tips For Getting A Good Job As A Hairstylist
To get a good job, you must have a great resume.
A resume that showcases your knowledge of a wide variety of hairdressing techniques may help you land an excellent paying job in a big salon when you finish your program.
Create a resume that clearly outlines the important thing about you and what you can do.
You should include the essential details of your work history, the highest level of education attained, and relevant skills.
The cosmetology school you attended is another vital information you shouldn’t leave out.
Including any celebrity clients’ names you have worked for could also serve as an eye-catchy credibility marker.
Another tip that would help you in your career and get a job is to join a professional hair salon organization.
An organization like Hair Salon Pro can help network with salons and businesses that have an open job position.
What’s more, the HSP also offers excellent opportunities like access to professional development resources that have the potentials to influence your career positively.
Skills A Hairstylist Must Have
There are some additional skills needed to succeed in the work environment as a hairdresser.
These are skills that are not directly taught in cosmetology schools, but they significantly improve your customers’ satisfaction.
- Active Listening: Understanding what your client wants is a very integral part of a stylist’s services. Before rendering any service, a hairdresser must take time to understand all the client’s needs and requests during a consultation. This doesn’t just include verbal communication; it also includes non-verbal communication like understanding facial expressions and body language.
- Critical Thinking: It is part of the job of a hairstylist to advise their clients. People often go to hairdressers to get guidance and recommendations on the kind of color and style that may work well for them. With good critical thinking skills, it becomes easy to evaluate the likely options and present the client’s correct information.
- Customer Service: Very skillful hairstylists have a few clients because they are bad at customer service. One bad customer service is enough to destroy the good perceptions someone holds towards a hairdresser. Being friendly and professional during interactions would help a stylist build trust and confidence from people. Time management is another essential part of customer service. A good stylist must always strive to maintain a strict schedule. In all, customer service is about giving your customers what they want in the best professional way possible.
- Physical Stamina: Working as a hairdresser can be physically demanding. Long hours of standing is part of the job, so a stylist must be physically fit. More so, high energy has to be maintained even during long shifts to keep customers engaged.
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Challenges A Hairstylist Could Face?
Every job has its challenges, and hairstylists have theirs too.
Here are some of the challenges you are likely to face as a hairstylist.
- The learning curve: Going through training can be a daunting task for many people. If you haven’t dyed or cut someone’s hair before, the learning curve might be a bit tough. Most people find it hard to learn the techniques for styling curly hair and the process of saturating dye on someone’s hair correctly. It might take some time to master some advanced techniques fully. But as the old saying goes, patience makes perfect.
- Licensure: Passing the licensing examination is another challenge for some people. Some people are intimidated by a practical and oral examination. Therefore, they find it very difficult to face the exams. The written test usually lasts up to two hours in most states; preparing for this can be challenging.
- Adjusting to clients’ needs: What one client wants might be different from another. Using your skillset to meet each client’s requirements would require some creativity from your path. Being able to apply things you learned from cosmetology school isn’t going to come easy. Again, with more practice, you get more skillful and intuitive in rendering your services.
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