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What Can You Do With a Cosmetology License?

What can you do with a cosmetology license? You can become a stylist, a manicurist, or a business owner, among other jobs.

What Can You Do With a Cosmetology License?

If you’re a people pleaser who enjoys helping others feel their best, by looking their best, then a career in cosmetology could be just right for you.

Cosmetology is a profession that focuses on highlighting a person’s best features, while also promoting a high standard of physical and emotional well-being. There’s also plenty of room for creativity and growth in this type of career.

So, what can you do with a cosmetology license if this is the field you’d like to build a career in? This blog breaks it down for you.

What Exactly is Cosmetology?

This is actually an umbrella term for the study of all things related to the aesthetic and beauty fields.

By studying cosmetology, you’ll cover fields such as hairstyling, nail artistry, makeup artistry, and skincare. Some of these fields can be combined to further extend your area of expertise.

How to Become a Cosmetologist

One of the simplest, most direct, and affordable routes to becoming a cosmetologist is by studying a cosmetology certificate or diploma.

In order to study either of these, you’ll need a high-school diploma or GED. It takes as little as 12 months to earn your diploma or certificate in cosmetology, while some courses are even shorter.

The cosmetology course offers a well-rounded education in key areas: nails, hair, makeup, and skincare. To add to this, you’ll also study basic health and safety protocols, legal sanitation requirements, and basic business management. These are some of the subjects you can expect to study:

  • Hair analysis
  • Disorders of the hair and scalp
  • Principles and techniques of treatment
  • Manicure and pedicure
  • Tools, materials, and implements
  • Safety and sanitation

Certificate programs offer the opportunity to gain real-world, hands-on experience in a student salon. You will be taught how to style hair, advise on skin, hair and nail treatments, carry out facials, and apply makeup.

Upon completing your studies and practical training, you’ll need to sit a licensing exam so that you can practice as a qualified cosmetologist.

Cosmetology Licensing

If you plan on practicing cosmetology in any state across the U.S., you’ll need a cosmetology license. You will have to sit a national exam which includes written, practical, and oral testing of your knowledge.

It is a national licensing exam that is administered at the state level. Remember that licensing requirements vary from one state to the next.

Additionally, it’s important that you obtain your cosmetology studies from an accredited institution that is recognized by your specific state board. So, do some research on the accredited bodies that your state recognizes before committing to a study program.

What Can You Do With a Cosmetology License? Career Opportunities

The practical skill, knowledge, qualification, and license that comes with studying cosmetology means you can work in any full-service salon. You can also start up your very own salon or practice if you prefer. Here is an overview of your potential career opportunities:

1. A Career in Hair

You have the chance to specialize in the field of hair and become an experienced hairstylist. This includes coloring, cutting, styling, and treating other people’s hair. You can also offer advice on how to maintain the health and style of your client’s hair.


Popular career variations include:

  • A salon stylist
  • Hair colorist
  • Freelance/self-employed hairstylist
  • Artist/personality stylist

As a personality stylist, you’d specialize in working with hair on artistic projects, magazine photoshoots, film sets, news, or TV shows. These types of jobs are a few-and-far-between in comparison to the others and require a few years of in-depth industry experience.

2. A Career in Nail Artistry

The official term for this position is a nail technician or manicurist/pedicurist. In this career, you’d specialize in caring for the appearance of a client’s nails and toenails.

Common career options include:

  • A salon manicurist/pedicurist
  • A freelance nail technician
  • A specialized, highly technical nail artist

A specialized nail artist focuses on very detailed nail design trends. This career option may require additional study or practice of different nail artistry techniques.

3. A Career in Makeup Application

The makeup industry is worth several billion dollars today, so building a career in this field could prove rather lucrative. The application of makeup is far more complex than it looks as it is highly personal according to each client’s skin type. Makeup artists are highly sought-after in an array of industries and generally have the skill to show for it.

Some popular career variations in makeup include:

  • General makeup artistry working in a beauty salon or department store
  • Freelance makeup artistry
  • Social media makeup artistry — specializing in creating makeup-related content
  • Brand-endorsed makeup artistry
  • Project and personality makeup artistry

Personality makeup artistry is an exciting field to specialize in. But it takes plenty of skill and many years to buildup the experience. This type of makeup artistry would take you to movie sets, specialized photoshoots, news and TV show sets, contests, and more.

4. A Career in Skincare

If you have a passion for creating flawless skin and solving your client’s skin woes, then this sector of cosmetology is for you. It’s important to remember that a career in skincare focuses on both health and beauty. However, your skill set may not extend to that of a dermatologist as you are not medically qualified to diagnose skin conditions.

Career opportunities in skincare include:

  • A salon or spa esthetician — you perform a variety of skin treatments such as facials, laser treatment, skin conditioning, exfoliation, and toning
  • Brand representative — promoting certain skincare products within the industry i.e. cosmetic marketing
  • Specialty skincare technician

As a specialty technician, your expertise extends to new techniques and equipment used for aesthetic skincare needs. Just some of these treatments include laser, sonic, and specialized light treatments. Bear in mind that you may have to broaden your basic skincare education in order to become a more specialized technician.

Become a Master of Cosmetology With Us

What can you do with a cosmetology license? Well, the beauty world is your oyster, really! When it comes to helping others feel good, by looking good, cosmetology is your gateway to a truly satisfying career.

At Tenaj Salon Institute we offer a 9-month cosmetology program to help you achieve your career goals. Learn more about the programs we offer here and get your dream career started.

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