Love looking your best and helping others to look their best? Why not do it for a living? Cosmetology is the study of hair, skin, and nails. As a cosmetologist, you could become a hairstylist, a manicurist, or a skincare specialist, also known as an aesthetician (more on that below). Some cosmetologists choose to specialize, while others may choose to keep their skill sets broad.
If you are a beauty lover interested in attending beauty school and earning a cosmetology or aesthetics degree, numerous career possibilities open up to you. In fact, the opportunities are virtually endless. If you aren’t sure where to start, read on to discover 10 exciting careers which are perfect for any beauty addict!
What is the difference between a cosmetologist and an esthetician? This is a common question with a simple answer. An esthetician is a type of cosmetologist, one that focuses on skincare only. A general cosmetologist needs additional training to become an esthetician, while an esthetician would need additional training to become an all-purpose cosmetologist who also works with hair and nails.
Why is aesthetics such an exciting field these days? First off, it gives you a chance to do what you love, and that is helping others to look beautiful! Secondly, the job growth is much faster than the national average according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The field is growing at a rate of 40%. That is astonishing! How can you become an aesthetician? You will need to attend an accredited school and earn a diploma in the field. According to WikiProfessional, aesthetician programs are more specialized than general cosmetology programs, but you may still see them grouped under the cosmetology heading while you are searching for a school. Your course will not only focus on textbook learning, but also on hands-on training in waxing, massage, facials, and more. How much can you make? According to the BLS, around $28,640 per year.
Another career possibility for a cosmetology graduate is manicurist or pedicurist. As a manicurist or pedicurist, you beautify clients’ nails. This is not a particularly highly-paid position; according to the BLS, pay only averages out to around $9.24 per hour. The field is growing more quickly than average (40%), though, and manicurist businesses tend to thrive even in low-income areas. This can be a reliable form of work which allows you to express your creativity and help others to relax and look and feel their best.
3. Fashion show stylist
Maybe you dreamed of being one of those tall, beautiful women who walk down the fashion runway, but it isn’t in the cards for everyone. The next best thing is becoming a fashion stylist. This is a popular emerging profession in the fashion world. If you become a fashion show stylist, you will usually work as part of a creative team. It will be your job to collaborate with designers, photographers, hair stylists, and makeup artists to create a particular look for the runway, a magazine shoot, or another project. This is a very fun job if you excel at creating a particular “look” by combining different styles, garments, and accessories. Fashion show stylists are grouped by the BLS under barbers, haidressers and cosmetologists. The field is growing at a rate of 13%, which represents more than 83,000 new jobs by the year 2022, at least some of which will be for fashion show stylists. On average, stylists make $22,770 per year.
4. Movie stylist and makeup artist
Why do actors and actresses always look so amazing? Part of it may be genetics, but a lot of it comes down to the stylists who work with them behind the scenes. As a movie stylist or makeup artist, it is your job to help these celebrities look their best. The looks you create can help the actors to bring their characters alive, which adds a unique challenge to this job role. You are not only striving to make the actors look good on camera, but you are also telling a story with your styling work. This is another collaborative role which is great if you like working closely with others. According to Salary.com, you can make as much as $1,000 a day doing this job! Unfortunately, work can be unpredictable. How fast is this field growing? Going with the BLS hairdresser and stylist estimate from before, the growth is about average at 13%.
5. Theater stylist and makeup artist
Theatre styling is a similar role to movie styling, but the challenges you face are different. Movie stylists know that in a way, being put in front of a camera is like being put in front of a microscope, especially with high-definition footage. HD captures every pore and every pimple. With theatre, the challenge is much the opposite. Your job is to use make up to make the features of the actors more visible, so that even those at the back can see their facial expressions. In a way, your work is an extension of the actors’ work. If you do your job well, you assist them in conveying the emotions they are enacting. If you do your job poorly, they cannot reach the audience members at the back of the theatre. AllStarJobs places this career under Entertainment Hair Specialists. According to them, you can make anywhere from $30,000-$100,000 per year. There are no specific job growth estimates available, but taken as part of the BLS stylist umbrella, the job growth is average; 13%. This is another unique career which is great for a creative soul.
6. Image consultant
Celebrities cannot go anywhere without worrying about what the public will think of them. Every fashion choice is scrutinized, every makeup choice analyzed. These celebrities are not in it alone, though; many of them have specialized image consultants working with them closely to ensure that they are sending the right message with their look. If you become an image consultant, you will help celebrities, Fortune 500 career women, politicians, and others in the public eye to make the right impression with their hair, skin, and nails. According to Indeed, $51,000 per year is the average salary for this profession. Going again with the BLS estimate for the future, job growth is about 13%.
7. Beauty product designer
While many cosmetologists and aestheticians focus on using cosmetic products to enhance beauty, someone has to create all those products! Getting into beauty product design can be difficult, because it requires extensive specialized knowledge. But there are many roles connected to product design you could consider. If you specialize in cosmetic marketing, for example, you could get involved with the branding aspect of product design. If you specialize in chemistry, you could get into research and development of beauty products. You do not necessarily have to be a chemist to create beauty products either! These days, a lot of small boutique designers are offering simple mineral-based products for sale online through their own shops. You do not necessarily have to work in the research and development department of a huge makeup company in order to make a living as a cosmetic product designer. What is the average salary? Around $75,000 per year according to SimplyHired. While the BLS does not have a specific page for cosmetic product designers, they may be grouped under fashion designers or industrial designers. According to the BLS, demand for fashion designers is declining at a rate of -3%, and demand for industrial designers is rising slowly at a rate of 4%. This has to be a job you are truly passionate about to pursue.
8. Beauty writer or editor
Do you love to write as much as you love beauty and fashion? If so, one exciting career to consider is beauty writer or editor. This job requires you to know all the latest fashion trends and also have a pretty good idea of up-and-coming trends. You also need to develop your own unique voice and sense of style. It isn’t enough to just showcase current trends; you need to provide your own commentary on them as well. Your goal isn’t just to educate and inform, but to entertain at the same time. How do you get into this field? A cosmetology degree or a journalism or communication degree is ideal. While you are studying, you should pursue an internship or start working on your own blog. Networking is very important in this field, so get to know as many people as you can who work for publications you might want to write or edit for. The annual salary for this career is around $50,000 according to Beauty Editor. Unfortunately, this is a tough field to break into with low demand. According to the BLS, demand for editors is actually shrinking slightly at a rate of -2%. The news for writers isn’t much better, with the field growing at a rate of 3%, well below average.
9. Wedding cosmetologist
One very highly specialised job to consider if you become a cosmetologist or aesthetician is cosmetic design for brides. You might offer this as just one service at your own spa or salon, but you might also choose to make it your life’s work. Spas, especially those attached to hotels that serve as wedding venues, sometimes employ full-time cosmetologists to work in this role. This career falls under the BLS umbrella for cosmetologists. The field is growing about as fast as average. While $22,770 is the average salary listed for cosmetologists, this is an occupation where you could expect to make more because you’re in the wedding niche. According to the BLS, this job is growing at a rate of 13%, along with other hairdresser jobs.
This can be a high-pressure gig, but it can be a fun one too. Your challenges are two-fold. First, you will need to help the bride to look her best in person. Second, you will have to choose makeup that will show up well in photographs. It can be difficult to manage this without a heavy “caked-on” look. If you are an expert at achieving that balance and coordinating with different color schemes, styles and facial tones, you might love this job. The brides you help will be grateful to you forever. Even though it is just one day, your work will live on in their wedding photos and videos!
If you want to help customers to achieve long-term beauty results, you may be interested in the job of electrologist. This is a specialized field within aesthetics. Electrology is a process which uses electricity to remove hair at the root. Electrology is growing in popularity among both men and women. Since it is a permanent solution, it saves customers the time of shaving and plucking every day.
In order to become an electrologist, you will need to attend an electrology school or an aesthetics school which includes an electrology program. According to Beauty Schools Directory, the program must be accredited by the American Electrology Association or another professional organization. You will also need to get a license; requirements vary depending on the state where you will be working. You will also want to pursue certification by taking the Certified Professional Electrologist (CPE) exam offered by the American Electrology Association. Since electrologists are grouped by the BLS under “Skincare Specialists” with other careers in aesthetics, the rate of growth is excellent. There is a ton of opportunity in this field; it is growing at a rate of 40% according to the BLS. How much can you make? According to Salary.com, the median pay is around $21,981 per year.
See also: How to Become a Beauty Consultant
As you can see, there are numerous exciting careers out there which are perfect for fashion and beauty enthusiasts. If you have a gift for hair, makeup, or skincare, you could help a range of people from celebrities to brides to look and feel more beautiful and confident. Cosmetology is an evergreen field, and it continues to grow.