Starting a new career in Cosmetology

This article is about where to start your Cosmetology career. Before I begin I would like to break down the difference between a Barbering license and a Cosmetology license.

A Barbering license is mainly focused on hair and facial hair training. Barbers can also color hair and use a straight razor with no guard. A Cosmetology license covers hair care, skincare, and nails.

Cosmetologist can do most everything a Barber can do EXCEPT use a straight razor on skin.

Done with Cosmetology school. Now what?

First thing’s first. Pass your state board test. Figure out what you would like to focus on. As a Cosmetologist, there are endless opportunities. You can focus on skincare, nail care, hair, or a combination of two or more. But if you would like to focus on hair this article is for you.

Franchise or corporate salon?

Entering a franchise or corporate salon is typically not a bad idea. In most cases, they accept newly graduated and licensed professionals straight from school.

They also have free education and depending on where you work, and endless opportunities for growth in their company.

You can start by reading about Regis Corporation that covers a plethora of salon brands across the United States and Canada.

In the United States, they have brands like Supercuts, Cost Cutters, Roosters (catered to men clientele) and many more. There are other companies like Great Clips and Sportclips that focus on hair cutting only.

These are great places to start and to stay. It doesn’t hurt to try a few different places to see where you fit.

Ask yourself if you prefer to work with women, men, or children clientele because there are salons catered to each category.

Become an hair assistant

Another option is to be a hair assistant. Typically, these individuals will work under a seasoned stylist and assist a senior stylist by doing shampoos, clean up and possibly some reception work as well.

These positions are great if you want to work in a full-service salon where they do all thing’s hair. These salons perms, colors/ highlight, haircuts, up does and the list goes on.

Becoming a hair assistant could also be good for someone who likes to spend time with their clients and take their time in the chair.

As a hair assistant, I think you would learn a lot but you will not get paid a lot. If you like a salon you would like to be an assistant, inquire about their assistant program. Ask how long will it take for you to move up, the pay rate, and what will be expected of you.

Make sure you like the atmosphere or culture in the salon you choose.

Rent a booth or open your own shop?

You will see a lot of advertisements about renting booths. Renting a booth is great if you would like to work for yourself and have retaining clientele. Renting a booth would be like owning a one room shop.

After some experience, this may be the path you would like to take. Just be aware of the monthly rent and if there will be any increases. There are places like Sola Salon studios or Phenix Salon Studios that offer room/suite rentals.

Owning your own salon would also be another route as well.

No one can tell you that you cannot open a shop right after you graduate from school. Why not? If you have the means and would like to work for yourself and have other stylist work for you, go for it!

You can brand yourself and choose what services you want to provide in your own salon.

You can also brand yourself if a booth rental as well. It would just be you and your client in the room or booth.

Don’t want to work in a salon?

There are other opportunities out there in the beauty industry. If, for some reason you do not want to work on customers like providing a service, there are many other ways you can leverage your Cosmetology license.

You can work retail at a Sally Beauty or CosmoProf store.

You can be a sales rep for Hanzo Shears.

Dyson also offers beauty adviser jobs.

You can start your own beauty blog.

You can sell beauty supplies.

The opportunities are endless.


Figure out what you like and don’t like

know I have given you a lot of information to think about. But you also have to give yourself time to actually think about what you like and don’t like. This will narrow your focus.

It is OK if you start out at a corporate or franchise salon and move up in the career path.

Or if you want to focus on doing makeup and up does, you don’t need a license for that.

It’s OK if you only want to do haircuts only- there are places for those too.

There is a place for you if you want to focus on waxing too.

It’s OK if you only want to do make-up.

There are a lot of make-up stores and counters you can work at.

A Cosmetology license is not needed to do make-up.

If you like the business side of the beauty and hair industry, there is a place for you out there.

Learn about the niche you would like to focus on and starting writing down you goals so that you can make progress.

The take away

Once you have finished school and have obtained your license, go out there. Learn and always be a student even if you have in the industry for 10 years. There is also something new to learn.

Give yourself at least 1 year to figure out what you like and don’t like.

Like I said earlier, there is also nothing wrong with trying different salons to see where you fit.

Be a customer at a place where you may think you would like to apply to and observe the way the salon operates.

Even if you are coming back to the hair/ beauty industry, give yourself time to hone your skills and remember why you chose to go to Cosmetology school in the first place.

I hope this article helps. Please be sure to provide questions or comments below.

Thank you,


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