For many, cosmetology itself is a step in the right direction. Those that love hair and make-up consider this their dream job but often wonder if there is a way that they could further themselves within the field. Becoming a cosmetology instructor is a way to continue doing the work you love while rising above the basic position.
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What is a cosmetology instructor?
If you’re considering furthering your cosmetology profession it can be helpful to know what is expected from an instructor. As an instructor you would teach new and upcoming students what they need to know to become a cosmetologist. Included in your teaching you would help them to learn about current beauty trends and techniques and their practical applications for hair, skin, and nails. As the instructor you would be expected to prepare and teach the material provided within a set syllabus. You would also work as a mentor and test your students when necessary to ensure that they are learning the skills they will need to know as a cosmetologist. You will also grade all work and exams.
In addition to teaching you could also be expected to be a participant in some of the schools events and other administrative meetings. As a teacher you should be comfortable standing for long periods of time, and should be ok working with chemicals that will require some protective clothing. The upside is that nearly all cosmetology work is conducted in pleasant well-lit environments that lend themselves to a positive work atmosphere.
How do I become a cosmetology instructor?
To become a cosmetology instructor you will need to complete some more training. This may sound like a hassle but it can help to remember that this will be furthering your career and in the end you will also receive a pleasant bump in pay. Upon completing the training program you will receive new licensure. You may see this same licensure referred to as “certification”, they are the same thing. The requirements will vary depending on where you are seeking certification but will always have a certain number of education plus experience hours that are required before completion. During the training program you will be taught teaching methods, curriculum development, and how to work with and teach the students that will be in your classroom.
How do I acquire the instructor certification?
Before you begin your new certification to be an instructor you must already have a license as a practicing cosmetologist. Your instructor certification will build on the skills you already acquired from your first license. Additionally, you must have a high school diploma or at least a GED. Once you have your initial cosmetologist license it is then possible to further your education to become an instructor. It is helpful to pursue the new license in the state you wish to practice in as some licenses are not transferrable from one state to another and you may have to redo, or take additional courses.
The certificate program can take varying amounts of time to complete depending on where you are studying. In general you can expect to need to complete around 1000 hours of classroom work and instructional practice that will be supervised. Once this is completed you will receive a certificate and will be allowed to take the necessary state exam.
You may want to do a little bit of research before beginning your program. If you’re lucky, some states will allow you to work as an apprentice and will permit you to count the hours worked towards your license.
What will I learn through the certification course?
During your new training you can expect to learn a wide variety of skills that you will need to know in order to teach others once you are licensed. In your studies you can expect to go above and beyond the basic cosmetology skills you were taught during your first cosmetologist licensing. You will already know how to work with hair, styling, manicures, and much more. These courses will instead focus on how to create a curriculum to teach, how you will teach this curriculum in a way that works for the students, pedagogical theory, and the all-important student evaluations that include grading and exam work.
Where can I find a cosmetology training program?
In most cases you may be able to attend the same school where you acquired your cosmetology license. If perhaps you are in a new state or are looking to go somewhere new, or maybe the other school doesn’t offer instructor training, there are a few options. You can usually find the training program you need through a local community college or a vocational training school. Upon completion at these sources you can expect to hold either an associate’s degree or in terms or the instructor training, new certification.
You may already know from your first training that it is important to research the school you will attend. Depending on where you are working there may be some schools that are viewed more highly than others and in some cases businesses may seek out students from these particular schools. If at all possible you want to attend the school that is viewed in the highest standing so that you can find quick employment once certified. Other routes may include already having work lined up at your current business once you successfully pass your exam and receive your new license. The key is, you want to attend the best school you can afford instead of simply the cheapest. Look at what each has to offer and how they are viewed by the community before making a sole decision based on cost.
What can I expect from the exam?
Since you already have a little experience with exams from the first cosmetology licensing test you took, you’re well prepared for the next one. You can expect the new exam to be very similar but to cover new content. You can expect the exam to have both a written section and a practical exam just like the first test you took. This test will focus on the new skills you have learned through your instructor training and you will need to show that you have mastered them. Once you have passed the test you will be given your cosmetology instructor certification.
Do I need prior experience?
You may be wondering if you can go straight from your cosmetology certification into the instructor program. While you could it is unlikely that you would be able to find a job as an instructor right away after completion. Most employers will want you to have a minimum of 2 to 5 years of hands on work experience before they will hire you as an instructor. You should consider working as a cosmetologist, hair dresser, or other salon position for a few years before completing your instructor certification. Additionally, many schools will require that you have a certain amount of practical hands on experience before they will even let you enroll. The exact amount of experience may vary by school but you should be wary of a school that will let you enter into instructor training with no real work experience.
Are there other requirements?
It is fairly typical to be required to renew your license regularly and to enroll in continued education courses each year. You will have a variety of course to choose from and can select those that are of interest. You will be charged a small fee to renew but it is minimal and since renewal is a requirement there is little you can do about it. The good news is that renewals can be anywhere between yearly to every three years. If you’re every three years then you can forget about it and not have to worry about it for years on end. Keep in mind that it is important to renew when the time comes or you will not be able to continue practicing.
How much can I expect to make as a cosmetology instructor?
Like most jobs you can expect the wages to vary depending on where you work. If you work in a large city with high demand you can expect higher pay but also a higher cost of living. If you work in a smaller city or town you will be paid less but will have fewer overall expenses. Clearly there is a tradeoff depending on your particular goals. Select where you want to live so that you can meet your future desires and not just a higher level of income. The median salary for cosmetology instructors falls around $48,000 which is much more than general cosmetologists can expect so the additional schooling is absolutely worth it if you are interested in teaching and furthering your career.
If you are looking to move to a new state or new city to work, it would be wise to look at the demand for cosmetology instructors before making a big move. You will want to move somewhere with a high demand for your position so that you can find work easily.