What Attending a Cosmetology Program is All About

Makeup teacher with cosmetology student

If you love styling hair and have always thought about how you could do this for a living, you may want to consider becoming a cosmetologist. A career in cosmetology is also ideal for people who want to provide skin care services to customers or nail care, maintenance and designs. If you attend cosmetology school, you’ll also get the necessary information to apply makeup professionally. Attending the right school is the first step in your pursuit of a new career, but there are several parts of the process you’ll need to complete. Once you enroll in the cosmetology program of your choice, you’ll get the necessary training and resources to pass a licensure exam and start practicing as a professional cosmetologist.

How Long Will You Be in School?

In most cases, you’ll be in a cosmetology training program for about 10 months. The last part of the program is usually your clock hours that you have to complete to become a licensed cosmetologist. Clock hours require you to work in a salon environment or the training facility that your school provides. For instance, if your concentration is not on styling hair, you may have to complete your clock hours in a medical spa where you’ll be performing facials.

No matter how long your training lasts, be sure that you’re in a cosmetology program that meets the requirements for your state. This allows you to receive a cosmetologist license at the end of your training. Be prepared to spend about a year in school so that you’ll feel completely comfortable performing a number of hair and beauty treatments on clients.

Which Cosmetology Classes Will You Take?

Your course schedule will likely include a basic or fundamental class. In these class, you’ll learn about the styling tools you’ll need to service clients. You’ll also learn about chemical application for hair treatments, and how to cut and style hair safely and effectively. Additional classes including hair coloring, hair toning, shampooing, anatomy and physiology. You’ll need to know how different body parts function so you can avoid applying harmful chemicals when you’re servicing clients.

In addition to learning proper hygiene for your workstation and getting the information you need for styling, coloring and skin/nail services, you’ll also take business class while in cosmetologist school. Your instructors will teach you about managing a salon and the legal components of being a business owner. Instructors will also provide you with the resources and pointers you need for effective salon marketing so you can attract clients. Your classes will also cover emergency first aid so you can assist clients if any urgent health issues arise in your salon, such as an allergic reaction to hair or beauty products.

After Graduation

Once you graduate from your cosmetology program, you’ll have to pass state board tests so you can obtain your cosmetology license. If you’re focusing on more than one beauty discipline, you may be required to take more than one test. Don’t be intimidated by the exams; you’re in a quality program and the instructors and the resources they provide will prepare you for your assessments.

What’s on the Exams?

The content of the exams will vary depending on the state where you are obtaining your licensure. The tests are made up of a written portion and a practical portion. This means that part of the exam is like a standardized test that you’d take in school, and the other portion is hands-on and mandates that you physically show the skills that you’ve learned on a mannequin or simulated version of a hand, foot of face. An evaluator will be present during the practical portion of the test to monitor the methods you use to complete the exam.

If you don’t pass your cosmetology test on the first attempt, you can take the exam again, but you may be required to complete a refresher course. If you pass your exam the first time, you’ll receive your cosmetology license in the mail and you’ll then be eligible to practice at a licensed spa or salon. You’ll generally have to renew your license every other year.

Starting Your Cosmetology Career

Once you’ve finished your schooling and passed the state board exams, you can start working as a cosmetology. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for cosmetologists are favorable until around 2026. Growth in the field is about 13% which is faster than average when compared to other careers.

Job Search Information

To prepare for your new job as a cosmetologist, create a resume that emphasizes your skills and customize the resume to the type of role you’re looking for. For instance, if you want to be a hairdresser, make sure potential employers can tell from your resume that you’ve received extensive training in this area. Be sure to include a portfolio with your resume with detailed pictures; you can also prepare an online portfolio for potential employers to view. Be sure to ask your former instructors for letters of recommendation and/or from clients you’ve serviced during your training. These documents can increase the chances that employers will be impressed with your skills and hire you as part of their team.

Use Your Campus Resources

Some of the most effective ways to find jobs in cosmetology include using the Career Services department at Minnesota School of Cosmetology to build relationships with full-time and visiting instructors. You should also take a look at job boards on sites like Craigslist and LinkedIn to find out which salons or beauty businesses are hiring in your area. You can also ask your friends and loved ones for leads and recommendations; learn about the leads you’re receiving so you’ll know which facilities would be best suited for you.

Considerations For Your Career

Remember to think creatively when you’re trying to establish your cosmetology career. This line of work allows you to set your own hours and appeal to a certain type of client. Whether you want to do hair for weddings, you prefer to give people much-needed makeovers, or you want to give someone the relaxing benefit of a facial or pedicure, you can create a career that allows you to showcase all your talents and interests. Don’t forget to take continuing education courses as well so you can keep up with trends and technology as it relates to the cosmetology industry. This allows you to stay competitive and become one of the best in your field.  

Career Services

One of the biggest advantages of attending Minnesota School of Cosmetology is the support you’ll get throughout your cosmetology career. We have a dedicated career services department here to help you with your job search once you graduate and throughout your career. We are committed to our graduates and their dreams. Our dedication to career assistance begins in our program. It is woven into our curriculum to ensure our students are educated on professionalism, familiar with job search tools and resources and armed with career planning strategies.

Want to Learn More?

Did learning about what attending a cosmetology program is all about 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.

Alumna Appreciates Supportive, Welcoming Atmosphere at Minnesota School of Cosmetology

When Tiffani Rhodes first visited Minnesota School of Cosmetology (MSC), she instantly knew it was where she wanted to be. The warm and welcoming atmosphere and friendly instructors made her feel very comfortable, and Tiffani says her decision to enroll at MSC was life-changing.

“It’s a great environment that is very fun and open,” she explains. “The people there become more like family. They care about your education, and you can tell. [The instructors] make you feel very comfortable with them and are there for you when you need most. I definitely look up to them.”

Tiffani says her instructors were supportive as well as realistic when it came to teaching her the skills needed for her career.

“I felt that I could go to [my instructors] for any questions, concerns or issues that I may have had. Not only did I learn, but I had fun doing it,” she says. “They know how to keep things in a realistic perspective, which I can really appreciate. I loved the hands-on, real life situations I was exposed to. I learned about everything from cutting and coloring to anatomy and electricity.”

Thanks to her hands-on training, Tiffani was hired three months before she finished school and is now working as a stylist at Blast Blow Dry Bar. She says she’s working hard now so that one day she can own her own makeup boutique.

“I’m very passionate about my career. I love what I do every day, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” says Tiffani. “I have the support of my son, family and friends. I plan on continuing my education by going to school to receive my business degree.”

Visit www.msccollege.edu to learn more.