How to Become a Cosmetology Instructor
Before you can become a teacher in the field of beauty, you first need to have a proper cosmetology license and some real-world experience in areas like hair styling, nail technology, makeup, and skin care. And that generally means you need to have already completed a one- to two-year cosmetology program, passed your state board exam, and now work within the industry.
So if you are currently an experienced cosmetologist, then you may be able to take the next step toward becoming a cosmetology instructor. Many people in the field would probably agree that going back to school to get teacher training makes the most sense. That way, you get the benefit of learning how to teach aspiring cosmetologists in a structured and supportive setting.
After completing that short amount of continuing education, the next step is often to earn any cosmetology instructor license or certificate that is required by your state. Such requirements vary from state to state, and not all states require teacher licensure. But those that do often require you to have a few years of full-time work experience as a cosmetologist and/or a teaching certificate from an approved beauty school. Once you meet those qualifications, the last step is usually to pass a cosmetology teacher licensing exam.
You can find more details about the licensing requirements where you are by contacting the board of cosmetology (or similar department) in your state.
What Is a Common Cosmetology Instructor Salary?
As of 2017, the average reported salary for cosmetology instructors in the U.S. is $38,899.* But what you can make really depends on the school you work for and the city you live in. Given those variables, it's possible to make more than that median. For instance, in 2018, the average salary of all vocational education teachers at the post-secondary level in the U.S. was more than $58,520.**
How Does the Future Look for Cosmetology Instructors?
The outlook for cosmetology educators looks bright. First, consider the fact that more than 1.2 million Americans already work in some type of personal appearance occupation. And the salon and spa industry often experiences growth at a higher rate than the overall economy.***
Next, consider that the U.S. is home to more than 1,860 cosmetology and barbering school establishments. Collectively, they employ more than 20,260 people, including many teachers.****
Finally, keep this fact in mind: The number of cosmetology jobs in the U.S. is projected to rise by 13 percent between 2016 and 2026.† All of the people who will fill those new jobs will need to be trained by somebody!
How Long Does a Cosmetology Teaching Program Take?
Most programs are very short. In fact, it's easy to find programs that take as little as 20 to 36 weeks to complete.
Find a cosmetology teaching school near you right now! Simply search by your zip code using the convenient school finder on this page.
* PayScale, website last visited on September 27, 2017.
** Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, website last visited on July 18, 2019.
*** Professional Beauty Association, website last visited on November 4, 2019.
**** United States Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce, website last visited on August 15, 2017.
† Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, website last visited on September 20, 2018.