What Can You Do with a Cosmetology Diploma?

Instructor helping students in cosmetology diploma program

Interested in becoming a cosmetologist? Interested in knowing what you can do with a cosmetology diploma? First, what is cosmetology? What are the benefits of a cosmetology diploma? Finally, what are the careers available in cosmetology? Opportunities to become a cosmetologist are available and in demand. Learn more about what you can do with a cosmetology diploma.

What is Cosmetology?

Cosmetology is simply a blanket term for the study of any and all aesthetic and beauty fields. Cosmetology careers specialize in areas such as hair, nails, makeup or skincare. Some of these fields can be combined or further specialized. Essentially, cosmetology refers to the study of beauty and appearance.

Benefits of Cosmetology Diploma

Considering what you want to do with your career or ready for a career change? There are a lot of different choices at this crucial turning point, and there are a lot of benefits to making a cosmetology diploma part of your next step.

Limited Amount of Training Time

Unlike a traditional education that can last between two and four years, the vocational training required for most cosmetology fields can be completed in less than 10 months. The smaller class sizes available through these kinds of certification courses offers a more expedient, personalized education experience. This additional attention to learning from your instructors will deepen your understanding of the cosmetology field. A comprehensive, vocationally centered education can translate into greater workplace confidence and professional success. There are many cosmetology diploma programs that help with job placement, as well. The combination of efficient training and successful job placement means that your new career might just be closer than you may think.

Foundation for Extended Learning and Specialized Fields

Even if a basic cosmetology career is not what you ultimately have in mind, basic training in a cosmetology field may be a necessary step on the path to your dream career. Likewise, there are plenty of specialized fields within hair, nails, makeup and cosmetic skincare that require additional training beyond what you received for your diploma. However, in any cosmetology career the initial diploma is the first thing you will need. This fundamental educational milestone will give you an understanding of your chosen field, and set you up to further educate yourself toward a cosmetic specialty.

Careers Available in Cosmetology

The kind of diploma you get and the program you choose to complete will depend on the cosmetology field that interests you. Here is a brief description of each of the areas of cosmetology and potential career fields available to you once you have your diploma.

Careers in Hair

Being a certified hairstylist means that you are capable of helping people with their hair in areas including coloring, cutting, and styling. You can also give informed advice on hair health and style maintenance. A hairstylist helps their client achieve the look that they want for their hair.

Salon Stylist

General salon stylists are by far the most common. A salon is usually the first-place hairstylists go after they receive their diploma because salons are great places to gain experience. Graduates cover a wide variety of responsibilities in salon work and are able to focus on sharpening their skills without the additional worry of drumming up business.

Freelance/Independent Hairstylist

This can be a little bit more financially risky for those that are just starting out. However, it creates more flexibility which allows them to customize their work schedule around other things you prioritize. Being an independent or freelance hairstylist also gives them more control over how many hours a week they work, who they work with and the products they use and recommend.

Hair Colorist

There is a growing market for skilled hair colorists in the hair industry. Because of the increase in bold and elaborate color trends, the hair styling field needs stylists who are knowledgeable and gifted in dye combinations and applications. In addition to skill, any of these techniques require extreme attention to detail and a deep knowledge of color and color transition.

Art/Personality Stylist

An art stylist is one who does the hair for an artistic project such as a photo shoot for a magazine or film. For example, a personality stylist is someone who helps people like news anchors and TV show hosts manage their hair. These jobs aren’t exactly common in the hair industry and they often require a certain amount of experience or additional training, but they are typically more lucrative than the average styling job.

Career in Nails

Being a nail technician or a manicurist/pedicurist means dealing with the appearance and health of a client’s nails. This can mean helping a client strengthen their nails as well as applying and maintaining artificial nails.

Salon Manicurist/Pedicurist

Working in a salon means that a salon manicurist takes a variety of different manicure and pedicure appointments. Because of the high volume of clients that a salon provides, a salon manicurist needs to be ready for a vast array of different requests. One client may need help fixing a broken nail in a hurry, while another may want an elaborate, artistic nail design. Because of this, it will vary from person to person and the salon manicurist will need to be ready for all of it.

Freelance Nail Technician

The stability of going freelance can be a little bit shaky and depends on more than just qualifications and talent. Independent success as a nail technician has as much to do with the market in the area as it has to do with the freelance nail technician. However, the freedom that comes with being able to have full control over a career may be worth it with some sound fiscal planning.

Technique Specialization

There are a growing number of insanely detailed nail design trends that require a familiarity with a plethora of different nail techniques. The growing popularity of these trends means that nail technicians who are capable of proficiently providing them are thriving in the industry. For this reason, putting in the extra practice and effort on the details can really pay off in the end.

Online Career Options

As previously stated, Internet fame is often fleeting, and online careers don’t have very encouraging success rates. The chances for success are markedly improved once someone has received a certification for their training. An educated opinion and a catchy angle will make someone attractive to both viewers and investors.

Careers in Makeup

The field of makeup is more complicated than simply knowing how to apply the product. There are a lot of things that have to be considered. As with most kinds of art, knowing colors and lines will be extremely important. For example, a makeup artist is in charge of knowing things like what tones to use with a client’s complexion and how certain products and application techniques will look with a client’s face shape. They are also responsible for keeping up with makeup trends and staying aware of new products.

General Makeup Artist

General makeup artists typically work in salons or stores (usually department stores or cosmetic stores). The majority of this kind of popular makeup work will consist of helping clients look their best for a special occasion. This is great for those just starting out because it allows them to gain experience to work on a lot of clients that have significant facial differences.

Brand/Product Endorser

An advocate or endorser for a brand means that one would be an advocate for a particular brand of makeup or a new makeup tool. For example, this may be through a retail store or as a representative for a brand. However, you should be advised that there are scams and pyramid schemes masquerading as career opportunities in the makeup industry. It is important that everyone research a brand thoroughly before working for them and should shy away from brands that make endorsers purchase inventory or encourage recruitment.

Makeup in Social Media

The margin of creativity in the makeup field is remarkably wide. There are also a lot of different online opportunities for social media personalities to receive brand endorsement. It may be that someone is known for technique tutorials. Perhaps they want to show off their skills in effects makeup. An online career in makeup might be aiming high, but the right balance of performance and skill will give this person the best chance at making the shot.

Project/Personality Work

Again, there are not a lot of opportunities that are openly available in this field. However, there are some jobs in various forms of art and media. Project work would be signing on as the makeup artist for a photo or movie shoot and personality work would mean being the makeup artist for a particular show or celebrity.

Careers in Skincare

Skincare is an important part of cosmetology that includes equal parts health and beauty. However, an esthetician, or cosmetic skincare specialist, is different than a dermatologist. While an esthetician will certainly deal with certain aspects of keeping skin healthy, they are in no way medically qualified to diagnose or treat skin conditions.

A Spa/Salon Esthetician

Clients will go to an esthetician for a lot of different reasons. Some go to have hair removed. Others for a wrap or a peel. An esthetician is responsible for performing a variety of different skin treatments and services that include laser treatments, intense exfoliation, skin conditioning and toning.

Product/Brand Representative

Furthermore, estheticians are a very large presence in the cosmetic marketing community. Since skin is considered by many to be the foundation of beauty, estheticians are consulted for their knowledge of how products such as makeup, lotions, and serums affect the integrity and appearance of the skin. They are also sought after as product and brand advocates.

Skin Service/Technique Specialty

There are new techniques and equipment being developed for esthetic skincare all the time. There is laser, sonic, and specialized light treatments that combat issues such as rough skin texture and uneven skin tone. Training in these techniques and equipment may not be covered in your initial cosmetology skincare education, but they may be worth the additional investment as many of them are quite lucrative and very popular.

Final Thoughts

If you have a specific vision or goal for your cosmetics career, you shouldn’t let the current limits of the industry limit you. You should use your cosmetology diploma to help you reach your full potential. Do you want to invent a brand-new hair coloring technique that turns into an insanely hot trend? Is it your dream to revolutionize nail design? Are you hoping to someday develop your brand of earth-friendly makeup utilizing new low-impact materials? Do you have ideas about how to make skincare better or safer? Sometimes an idea is good enough that it is worth fully pursuing. Sometimes a dream is big enough that it can’t be contained by “the way things have always been.” Just because it has never been done doesn’t mean that you aren’t the perfect person to do it first.

Your journey in cosmetology could go any direction you want it to. There are a lot of different options to choose from. The first step in that journey will be your certification. Where that first step takes you is ultimately up to you.

Want to Learn More?

Did learning about what you can do with a cosmetology diploma interest you? Need to get your undergraduate certificate in cosmetology? At Minnesota School of Cosmetology, we are dedicated to helping our Cosmetology program students develop a solid foundation and a flair for style through hands-on training in basic and advanced industry techniques. You will learn how to cut, color and style hair, give manicures and pedicures, provide spa treatments and perform various skin care techniques from industry-experienced instructors in a professional salon setting. We keep our class sizes small to make sure you get the individualized instruction you need and attention you deserve. You will graduate with everything you need to be a versatile artist in an exciting industry, including a cosmetology diploma from a respected college.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a cosmetologist and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

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