What Education Is Needed to Be a Hairstylist?

Woman with styled hair by a hairstylist

Nobody is born with golden scissors in their hands. Yes, every celebrity stylist and salon-chain entrepreneur began with the same dream of cutting, coloring and styling hair like a professional. While every hairstylist takes their own route to the top, they all have one thing in common. They can’t be a professional hairstylist without the right education.

Hairstylists need to obtain the right credentials. Fortunately, the path to getting the right education and credentials is a satisfying journey that is guided by instructors and professionals who are invested in your success.

What Education Is Needed to Be a Hairstylist?

Becoming a hairstylist begins with enrolling in a cosmetology diploma program. Future hairstylists learn everything they need to know about operating as professionals in the cosmetology field. While the emphasis of a hairstylist diploma program is hair, a cosmetology program also offers a well-rounded introduction to the “business” aspects of running a salon, interacting with customers, and providing services safely.

How Long Is a Cosmetology Diploma Program?

Getting a hairstyling diploma through a cosmetology program takes as little as 11 months, attending full-time. Cosmetology diploma programs are efficient because they only focus on learning practical and applicable lessons that you will be using on a day-to-day basis. All classes are taught by cosmetology professionals who can offer guidance and expertise.

What Do You Learn During a Cosmetology Program?

Once enrolled in a cosmetology program, you learn the technical skills that will place you in a high-demand career. A robust cosmetology program will leave you equipped to offer full-service salon treatments. Here’s a look at the key topics covered in a cosmetology diploma program:

  • Shampooing
  • Hair conditioning
  • Scalp conditioning
  • Hair design shaping
  • Chemical hair control
  • Hairstyling
  • Facials
  • Makeup
  • Manicures and pedicures

However, you don’t just learn about hairstylist techniques, but you also gain the technical knowledge for applying various treatments. You gain a rich understanding of the chemical reactions behind different products, and this allows you to anticipate the results that will be seen just by reading product labels. When clients ask you for advice on managing their hair, you can get answers based on the efficacy of various ingredients in popular and boutique shampoos, conditioners, dry shampoos, gels, and sprays.

Cosmetology programs also provide you training to safely mix, handle and discard chemical hair products. You learn about the different reactions that are created when using things like dyes and bleaches to create custom hairstyles for clients. Cosmetology programs also cover health, safety, and hygiene practices to help you ensure a safe environment for you, your staff members, and clients.

Do You Need a Diploma to Be a Hairstylist?

Yes, a diploma is a prerequisite for becoming a professionally licensed hairstylist. This isn’t just a recommendation. By law, a hairstylist must complete a diploma program before passing a cosmetology licensing exam in Minnesota. In fact, it is illegal to represent yourself as a hairstylist while accepting payment if you have not obtained proper licensing. It’s also impossible get a job as a professional hairstylist or hairdresser if you are unable to present proof of education and licensing.

While education and testing are compulsory in the cosmetology field, the reality is that you have so much to gain by enrolling in these programs. Cosmetology diploma programs help equip you with the education and resources you need to build lasting, lucrative careers in an industry that you love.

Once you’ve completed your cosmetology program, the next step is to sit for the state of Minnesota cosmetology licensing exam. Your diploma program will equip you with the hands-on, practical and “book” knowledge needed to prepare for this exam. Signing up for the state of Minnesota testing is an easy process that can be done online. Once you receive word online that you’ve passed your licensing test, you can officially begin applying for jobs or taking on clients as a fully licensed hairstylist.

What Are the Benefits of Attending a Cosmetology Program?

A cosmetology program is simply a launching pad for success for anyone who wants to learn the techniques needed to offer full-scale hair and beauty services. A cosmetology program offers a complete curriculum covering every aspect of operating as a professional cosmetologist. You are even able to take on job duties in a student-operated salon that serves real clients. By graduation day, you will gain the experience of working in real-world salon settings under the guidance of industry-experienced instructors.

However, the benefits of enrolling in a cosmetology program don’t end at graduation. Cosmetology schools offer career services to help new graduates get placed in salons. After graduation, cosmetology graduates who pass the state of Minnesota licensing exams can move to job roles working for:

  • Salon chains
  • Private salons
  • Spas
  • Medical spas
  • Movie studies
  • Television studios
  • Magazines and media brands
  • Photographers
  • Resorts

Hairstylists can also choose to build their own clients lists by working remotely. This option allows you to have freedom over your schedule. Hairstylists have never been in higher demand across all settings within the beauty and cosmetology industries. In a world where everyone knows that their looks for special events and occasions are going to end up tagged on Facebook and Instagram, hairstylists capable of creating camera-ready finishes are always busy. Further, many people are rushing to hairstylists with photos and videos in hand because they want the styles of their favorite media influencers recreated. This creates big potential for hairstylists willing to put in the work to learn a wide variety of styles and techniques.

Why Attend a Cosmetology School to Become a Hairstylist?

Anyone looking for a cosmetology diploma program that will allow them to build an interesting career while putting their own signature on their work should have their eyes on cosmetology school. What are some of the reasons why cosmetology school can be a smart choice? Here’s a look at the biggest reasons to consider cosmetology school:

Reason #1: You can complete your diploma and licensing test in under a year.

Reason #2: Hairstyling is a satisfying career for creative people.

Reason #3: Hairstyling offers great work-life balance because your schedule is flexible. Most hairstylists may work normal business hours or choose to work when they want to.

Reason #4: Hairstyling can be a gateway to building a personal brand for hairstylists interested in creating online content to show off their skills. Unlike amateur hairstylists who offer online tutorials, licensed cosmetologists can use their videos and tutorials to book real-life appointments with clients.

Enrolling in cosmetology school is the start of an excitement career, especially if you have a passion for aesthetics. While a mix of raw skill and passion for learning techniques will set the bedrock for a successful career in cosmetology, the emphasis on good customer service, organization and lifelong learning covered in a diploma program can help you to create a career with limitless potential. Cosmetology school helps you succeed by combining the creative, technical, and business aspects of being a hairstylist within a single curriculum.

Final Thoughts

The best way to get on the path to being an in-demand hairstylist is to enroll in cosmetology school. Once enrolled, you’ll receive guidance throughout your journey. You enjoy a regimented, carefully outlined process that leads you straight from acceptance into a program to preparing to take your licensing exam. What comes next is up to you and how far you’re willing to take your passion for becoming the hairstylist that everyone wants to work with.

Want to Learn More?

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.

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