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Hair has been a center of attention since people first began to care about their appearance. Throughout history a great deal of effort has gone into acquiring a fashionable hairstyle. Cosmetologists shampoo, cut and style hair and advise clients on how to care for their hair. Frequently cosmetologists straighten or permanent wave a client's hair to keep the style in shape. Cosmetologists may also lighten or darken the color of hair, give manicures, scalp and facial treatments and provide makeup analysis for women.

Most cosmetologists make appointments and keep records of hair color formulas and permanent waves used by regular clients. Persons who want to become cosmetologists must have finger dexterity and a sense of form and artistry. They should enjoy dealing with the public and be willing and able to follow a client's instructions. Because styles are constantly changing, cosmetologists must keep abreast of the latest fashions and beauty techniques. Business skills are important for those who plan to operate their own salon.

Advancement usually is in the form of higher earnings as cosmetologists gain experience and build a steady clientele, but many manage large salons or open their own salons after several years of experience. Some teach in cosmetology schools or use their knowledge and skill to demonstrate products, others become sales representatives for cosmetic firms.

Cosmetologists generally work in clean, pleasant surroundings with good lighting. Their work can be arduous and physically demanding because they must be on their feet for hours at a time and work with their hands at shoulder level.

The occupational outlook handbook continues by reporting that cosmetologists receive income from commissions or wages and from tips. Those working on commissions usually receive between 50 and 70 percent of the money they take in. Most cosmetologists earned between $7 and $14 an hour in 1994. Earnings depend on the size and location of the shop, the number of hours worked, customers' tipping habits, competition from other salons and the cosmetologist's ability to attract and hold regular customers.

Job openings for cosmetologists are expected to be plentiful through the year 2005. Employment of cosmetologists is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2005 in response to population growth, a greater number of women in the labor force and rising incomes will stimulate demand. Cosmetologists will account for virtually all of the employment growth due to the growing demand of more personalized services. The demand for manicurists and cosmetologists trained in nail care will be particularly strong. Part-time work should also continue to grow.

Additional information about careers in cosmetology and state licensing requirements can be obtained from:

National Cosmetology Association
3510 Olice Street
St. Louis, MO 63103

National Accrediting Commission of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences
4401 Ford Avenue, Suite 1300
Arlington, VA 22302

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Other Useful Industry Links:

Hair, Nails, International Looks, Jobs & MUCH MORE!!! Go to It's all about YOU.

American Association of Cosmetology Schools (AACS)

Professional Salon Industry (PSI)

Cosmetology Advancement Foundation (CAS)

The Salon Association (TSA)

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