Cosmetology Schools, Online Degrees and Programs

Beauty and personal care account for billions of dollars in revenue in the U.S. each year. Cosmetology schools and programs help you break into this growing industry with a certificate or degree in areas such as skin care, hair styling, personal aesthetics, massage, and salon management.

Cosmetology Careers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, cosmetologists, aestheticians, and massage therapists can look forward to brilliant career prospects.

  • Skin care specialists stand to benefit the most from an aging population, with 38 percent job growth expected between 2008 and 2018. Laser treatments and other esthetician services are also driving growth in this cosmetology career.
  • Hair stylists with a beauty school or barbering credential can take advantage of 20 percent growth in their profession.
  • Nail technicians will benefit from a growth in full-service spas and nail salons, driving up employment 19 percent. Take advantage of this trend with a pedicurist certificate, or increase your earning potential with a salon management degree.

Salaries reported in 2008 ranged from $22,040 for manicurists and pedicurists to $32,040 for estheticians and skin care specialists. Salon managers can earn $50,000 and more, if they open their own business.

Cosmetology Schools and Programs

In order to practice any type of cosmetology you must have a certificate or degree from a state-licensed beauty school. Following the cosmetology program, you'll also take a state examination to become licensed as an aesthetician, hair stylist, massage therapist, or nail technician. Cosmetology programs include:

  • Certificate. The standard entry-level qualification involves hands-on training in your cosmetology program specialty.
  • Associate's degree. An associate's degree combines practical cosmetology training with a general education. This background provides a useful foundation for cosmetology careers that draw on a knowledge of body physiology or aesthetic technology, such as skin care or massage therapy.
  • Bachelor's degree. The four-year college degree is not required for professional cosmetology careers, but qualifies you to advance into salon management roles. Learn business fundamentals, including accounting, marketing, and management skills.

Cosmetology careers offer a haven of opportunity in an uncertain economy. Prepare for a satisfying career helping your clients look and feel their best.