If you’re passionate about hair, makeup, and beauty, a career as a cosmetology instructor may be perfect for you! Cosmetology instructors are responsible for teaching the next generation of stylists the skills they need to succeed in the industry.
If you’re interested in becoming a cosmetology instructor, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to get started. We’ll discuss additional educational and license requirements for instructors (if your state has them) and job prospects. Let’s get started!
Check to See if a Instructor License is Required
First, check with your state boards to see if there are any specific requirements for cosmetology instructors.
Not every state licenses cosmetology instructors. For example, Florida does not require a cosmetology instructor license to teach cosmetologists, facial specialists (estheticians), nail specialists (nail techs), full specialists, or barbers. There is not even an “instructor license” to apply for. Most schools in the state looking for instructors will just require you to have an active professional license in the specialty you want to teach. Some may require that you have held an active license for a year or more before you are considered for an instructor position.
Other states not only require a license, but they require additional hours or an exam to get a cosmetology instructor license.
For example, Texas had cosmetology instructor licenses. They are currently phasing out instructor licenses. To obtain a cosmetology instructor license in Texas, you needed to complete an additional examination and pay a fee for your instructor license.
Georgia requires a master-level license that has been active for at least a year, additional instructor training hours (750 hours!), and an examination for all cosmetology instructor applicants.
Job Shadow or Observe
Then, take some time to shadow or observe a cosmetology instructor in action to get a better sense of what the job entails.
This will give you a behind-the-scenes look at what an instructor does on a day-to-day basis, from teaching classes to maintaining their clientele.
If you don’t know any instructors personally, reach out to your local beauty schools and ask if you can observe a class. Many schools are happy to accommodate prospective students.
Apply for Jobs
Once you have a good understanding of the job, you can start looking for cosmetology instructor positions at local cosmetology schools.
Be sure to highlight any teaching experience you have on your resume, even if it’s not in the cosmetology field. Any type of teaching or coaching experience will be helpful.
You may also need to submit a cosmetology portfolio with your application, so start putting one together now! Include pictures of your best work, as well as any awards or recognition you’ve received.
Develop as an Educator
Just because you are a good cosmetologist, nail tech, or esthetician, you probably need to work on some teaching skills, even if additional education and licenses are not required by your state. After all, you’ll be responsible for sharing your knowledge with your students, the next generation of beauty professionals.
Milady does have books for instructors to help develop teaching skills and techniques. You can check it out here on Amazon: Milady Instructor Textbook (affiliate link).
What is a Cosmetology Instructor’s Salary?
Cosmetology instructor salaries vary based on geographic location, cosmetology school, and instructor experience. In general, cosmetology instructors in the United States earn an average salary of $45,000 per year. However, salaries can range from $30,000 to $60,000 per year, depending on factors such as location and experience. Many instructors work part-time and also spend time in their own salon. You may find a school that only needs help supervising in the student salon on occasion, or one that needs help with certain subjects.
Cosmetology Instructor Pros and Cons
There are pros and cons to every job, this includes being a cosmetology instructor.
Additional Time and Money
If additional educational time and licenses are required, this can be thousands of dollars of investment in your education. Additional licenses are often only a hundred dollars or less. There may also be additional continuing education and renewal requirements for instructor licenses.
It can be stressful dealing with unruly students
Many cosmetology students are fresh out of high school and navigating independent living for the first time in their lives. Some thrive in this environment, others don’t.
You may still have to work evenings or weekends
Lots of cosmetology schools have nights and weekend programs for those that are still trying to work while going to school. You may find that the open positions at schools involve nights and weekends for student clinics or coursework.
When running your own salon, you have the opportunity to build and grow a business. Teaching is not like that, there really is not a lot of growth or income growth potential (unless you plan to open your own school someday). Like the cosmetology field, teaching is a passion. You may not always get what you think the job deserves, but there is so much satisfaction in seeing others learn and grow.
You get to help people learn a new skill
One of the best things about teaching is that you get to help people learn something new! And what could be more rewarding than helping someone learn how to do hair, nails, or makeup?
You can work in a creative environment
If you’re someone who loves being surrounded by creative people, then teaching other creative people may be the perfect fit for you. Many cosmetology instructors and students are also beauty artists themselves, so you’ll be in good company.
Many instructors also get to work part-time in their salon in addition to teaching. This can provide a nice change of pace and some extra income.
You can keep up with the latest trends
As an instructor, you’ll have the opportunity to stay up-to-date with the latest trends in cosmetology. You’ll routinely be able to incorporate some of these new and up and coming trends into your teaching!
If you’re looking for a rewarding career that allows you to be creative and help others, cosmetology instruction may be the perfect fit for you. Just be sure to do your research and be prepared for the challenges that come with the job.
If you are a cosmetology instructor, what are your thoughts on the career or what advice do you have to share? If you are you considering becoming a cosmetology instructor, tell us more about your plans.