Cosmetology Degree: Requirements to Enroll in and Complete a Cosmetology Degree Program

Published Sep 11, 2009

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Cosmetologists are experts on hair care and styling, nails, skincare and makeup and must stay current on all the latest styling trends in order to give clients the best possible service. An associate's degree in Cosmetology is not necessary to find work in the profession, but it gives job seekers a competitive edge. Graduates of an associate's degree program in Cosmetology are qualified to work as salon managers or owners, stylists and cosmetology marketing or sales representatives.

Enrolling in a Cosmetology Degree Program

Aspiring cosmetologists can enroll in a state-licensed vocational school or college that offers degrees in Cosmetology. Approximately 1,300 institutions are accredited through the National Accrediting Commission of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences, Enrollment requirements for Cosmetology degree programs vary by state and institution, but some programs will accept students aged 16 and over. Others require applicants to have a high school diploma or GED. Completion of an associate's degree program qualifies students for the license examination in their state.

Completing a Cosmetology Degree Program

Associate's degrees take up to two years to complete. More Cosmetology programs are giving students the option to attend classes in-person, online or a combination of the two. Coursework generally focuses on hair styling and design, cosmetology basics, customer service, nail care, skin care and coloring basics.

Some programs may offer additional coursework in marketing, business and management. Many Cosmetology programs allow students to fulfill 10% of their curriculum hours through internships at local salons. Upon completion of a Cosmetology degree program and the state licensure exam, graduates are qualified to work as salon employees, managers or owners. Some job seekers choose careers in cosmetology product sales and marketing, or work outside of salons as stylists for film, theater, television and concerts. U.S. News and World Report,, states that cosmetology is one of the best careers of 2009 in terms of overall job satisfaction.

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