9 Top Ways To Make A Living With A Beauty School Degree

Have you ever felt like the daily grind of a 40-hour work week just isn’t for you? You’re not alone. More and more individuals are exploring the possibility of taking control of their time and income by pursuing a beauty career. It doesn’t take much to get started—most cosmetology schools require either a GED or a high school diploma, and you have to be at least 16 years old.

We all know that beauty schools offer specialized courses for makeup, massage, skincare, nails and hair. It’s quite easy to say that you’re a hair stylist or a massage therapist--but you know that you have to be more than that to become a success.

Your beauty school degree tells everyone what you’re good at. But being in the beauty industry is not just about doing nails, hair, makeup and tans. It’s a profession that can become anything from a a profitable hobby to a full-fledged brand.

Let’s say you’ve already gone to beauty school. You’ve taken your pick from the various beauty school degrees and learned all you can. What’s next? How do you turn your education into a career?

We’re here to answer exactly that. If you’re determined to live a life of creating beauty, read on. Before anything else, know that each state has its own licensure requirements depending on what cosmetology field you’re planning to practice in. Do your research!

1. Apprenticeship

For the truly driven beautician, studying for a degree should not hinder you from earning and learning from your craft. Consider apprenticing yourself to a local salon. While you certainly won’t get paid as much as a full staff member, this is the first logical step towards your goals. An apprenticeship will teach you the ropes in a real salon environment.

There’s a world of difference between a class and working on the floor, and it’s usually what will land you a full-time gig.

Even as an apprentice, you’ll be able to interact with the greater community. Put your best foot forward and project a positive attitude—the people that surround you are likely to remain relevant in the next few steps in your career. Beauty academy learning doesn’t account for this level of exposure.

Use this time to consider a specialization. What particular beauty field comes naturally to you? Whether it’s cutting hair or doing nails, a particular task is likely to draw you in.

Trust your instincts and start looking for ways to advance in that area. Just like in any line of work, the more comfortable you are with a particular field, the more likely it is that you’ll be great at it—you’ll probably enjoy yourself more, too!

2. Full-Time Staff Member

If you’ve proven yourself during your apprenticeship, the salon might offer you a spot in the permanent staff. You’ll probably be tempted to take such an offer, but know that striking out to work elsewhere is also an option.

You might want a change of pace to explore your beauty career further. You might have found somewhere closer to where you live. There can be any number of reasons to progress to a full staff member elsewhere, so don’t feel like you have to stay where you took your apprenticeship.

No matter where you end up working, this will be the stage in your career where you tend to your reputation as a cosmetologist of your chosen field. Take care of each customer that lands on your chair.

Do a good job and you’ll have regulars who will seek you out specifically whenever they need anything. These relationships will form the foundation that you will build your own name on.

The learning doesn’t stop, either. As a regular, you’ll be exposed to even more specialized techniques and other trade secrets. Hoard these, as the skills you hone while you’re part of the rank and file are essential.

You should also learn the business side of things—filing permits, paying taxes, standard staff rates, reputable sources for the supplies you need, and many more.

3. A Private Practice

Once you’ve grown a small following of people who are confident in your skills, you may want to consider striking out on your own. When you transition into making your living from commission-based work, you’ll start to enjoy the benefits of having more control over your time, as you can exercise a lot of authority in scheduling when you can meet your clients.

Of course, this is balanced out by an increased sense of responsibility for the happiness of your client pool. This is a good opportunity to forge stronger professional relationships with them.

The freedom over your schedule will also enable you to experiment with the techniques you’ve learned to create something that’s solely yours. Whether it’s a new hairstyle that you want to offer to your clients or a unique approach to nail art that you’ve been wanting to pursue, this is the perfect time to blaze your own trails.

Perhaps the most enticing perk to working by commission is the feeling of freedom from the constraints of a fixed work schedule. Many cosmetologists have settled into this lifestyle very comfortably.

Don’t underestimate the power of social media, too. Aside from a convenient way to reach and be reached by your clients, Facebook is free! Exercise a little savvy and remind your clients to link you whenever they take a selfie of their fierce new look.

4. A Salon to Call Your Own

After a lot of saving and hard work, you’ll have enough to put up your own salon. This is the stage of your beauty career when your work will require as much business savvy as hairstyling skill.

Running a salon is not a walk in the park. You’ll be responsible for getting people you can trust, finding a good location that fits your budget, and getting the word out on your venture--for starters! This is really just the tip of the iceberg! Remember that the people who have appreciated and supported your work thus far will probably end up going to your salon, and you should care for them just as much as you did before.

At this stage, it becomes important to use the clout you’ve garnered over the years into a steady stream of clients and income for your salon. Get the word out on Facebook and busy yourself in promoting. Develop your brand and keep that revenue flowing!

Once your salon is up and running, the job has just begun. Keeping an eye out for your competition is a must. Always be aware of new innovations that you can offer to your clients. The science of beauty is one of the fastest-growing industries out there, and new technology for artificial tanning, better hair, flawless skin, and many more are being developed as you read this article!

5. New Media Maven

As more and more people find out about your brand, it’ll be to your advantage to reach out to a wider audience. There are so many ways to expand your brand by contributing via the internet.

A simple Facebook page is a great way to keep in touch with your clients, and your interactions with them will attract even more if you play your cards right. You can maintain a beauty blog where you share your thoughts and industry-level insights.

Your bevy of clients and followers will soon get you invited for exclusive events. Your Instagram page now has a price tag for each post. You’re on your way to becoming a legitimate influencer in the beauty industry.

If you’re up for creating videos, you might be interested in becoming a YouTube personality. Share insights and cosmetology tutorials that not only teach others, but project your character to the wider world—get a wide enough viewership and you’ll be compensated for your efforts.

Being renowned as a provider of juicy cosmetology content can potentially get the attention of endorsers who can choose you to represent their products.

Fame will certainly require a lot of work, but there is definite value in it, especially when you deal with beauty. Michelle Phan is living proof that the opportunities as an internet personality are endless if you’re willing to commit.

6. Endorsing

If you work your public angle to the hilt, you can potentially get hired by beauty brands to endorse their products. Appearances on TV commercials, print ads, billboards, and all sorts of public appearances could be in store for you. You’ll be able to travel and meet other movers and shakers in the industry.

During this stage, it’s important to keep a balance between your personal life and your public life. It’s very easy to get lost in the world of celebrity, so you’d do well to keep both feet planted on the floor.

More importantly, never let the lifestyle keep you from staying updated in industry developments. Keep learning and contributing.

The life of a celebrity might sound glamorous, but your fame also comes with the responsibility to project a good image for the cosmetology industry. Always keep that in mind when you decide to go for this route.

7. Consulting

As an established name in the beauty industry, you’re in a position to find work in guiding other entrepreneurs. Offering your consultation services can be very rewarding. Aside from the income you can generate this way, it’ll also be good to be given a constant stream of challenges to keep your passion for cosmetology burning.

Consultancy will allow you to share vital connections to help budding entrepreneurs keep the industry alive and dynamic. At this stage, you become a strong contributor to the bigger picture. Most consulting jobs will require a CV and interviews, just like with any other job. If you’ve built your reputation well, companies will approach you instead.

You can become a hairstyling consultant for salon startups. Nail salons may want your expertise and signature on their processes. Makeup studios may want to bring you i for consultations during photo shoots.

If you can start charging per hour for solid beauty advice, you’ve just made it as a consultant.

Consulting can take up the hours of a regular job, or you can set a looser schedule. The details really do depend on the contract, and they’ll be determined by how much involvement the company you’re working for needs from you. Keep in mind that ultimately, you can agree on a schedule that allows you to pursue other projects.

8. Teaching

You might also consider teaching your specialization in a beauty school. You can take on a teaching load that fits your lifestyle as you help others with their first steps in the industry. The pay isn’t bad, either.

To get into teaching, there’s a set of requirements that you’ll have to meet. The education requirements vary from state to state, and be prepared for written and practical exams.

The life of a teacher is certainly challenging. Even outside of your teaching hours, you have to make lesson plans, calculate grades, consult with your students, and a lot more. These responsibilities are a small price to pay for the opportunity to pass on your expertise alongside the best minds in the business.

You’ll do a lot of learning of your own, as you’ll be exposed to seminars and summits. You might even contribute to them. This is when you can look back and see how far you’ve gone in your career. Beauty college will seem so long ago!

Being on the academic side of the industry gives you a perspective in the upcoming generation of cosmetologists. Who knows—you might find a gifted beginner!

9. Your Own Beauty School

The circle closes when you explore the idea of putting up your own beauty academy. It’ll be the start of a new set of challenges. You’ll need the proper accreditation, and hunt for a teaching staff that shares your vision.

Make sure that the school you choose is accredited by your state’s beauty industry board or the National Accrediting Commission for Career Arts & Sciences or NACCAS.

You’ll also need to motivate a bunch of young minds into becoming the next wave of cosmetologists, which can certainly be a nightmare. Go through your contacts and find a teaching staff that you can trust—offer beauty school jobs to people who truly care about what they do.

At this stage, you have the opportunity to create a center of cosmetology learning and further expand your influence in the industry by being a vessel for new blood. It’s a way to give back to the industry. Incidentally, it’s also profitable.

Beauty school is just the first step

When you’re committed to the craft, there are so many ways to make a living with a beauty school degree. It all depends on your determination to pursue a career that you’re passionate for and that you genuinely enjoy.

Whether it’s your calling to cut hair or administer facials, you always start by learning from the experts.

Once you’ve mastered what’s conventional, you have every opportunity to innovate new techniques—in fact, it’s your responsibility to do so! This just goes to show that there are a lot of beauty career options available to you, so don’t let doubt hold you back. If cosmetology comes naturally to you, it’s probably what you should do for a living.


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