Individuals who are creative and good with people may wish to explore the opportunity of becoming a hairdresser. Typically, a hairdresser is a person who cuts, styles, and cares for men, women, or children’s hair. These individuals are skilled and trained to ensure the safety of the process and to ensure the client’s specific needs are met. In fact, that is the most important factor in their job, ensuring the client’s hair looks the way he or she wants it to. For people who want to become a hairdresser, the process is somewhat unique, but it is outlined here.
Hairdressers work in a number of different environments. Most work in hair salons, which allow customers to come in with a request to have their hair cut, curled, styled, colored, or otherwise treated. As a junior hairdresser, who is someone who may be just out of school or just getting started, the job often entails tasks such as greeting customers, scheduling appointments, washing hair, ensuring sanitary conditions are present in the salon, and handling simple haircuts.
As an individual becomes more experienced and obtains his or her license, it is possible for the individual to begin to work as a senior hairdresser. At this level, the individual has a much wider scope of things he or she can do. This includes treating the hair with various chemicals to improve color, consistency, or the health of the hair, perming the hair, straightening it, managing the cutting and styling, and handling the concerns or problems of clients. At this level, some individuals work in their own salons. If that is the case, tasks such as product ordering, bookkeeping, and meeting state standards is also important. These individuals must have good customer service skills, solid business skills, and proven hair design skills to do well in this industry.
Requirements and Qualifications to be a Hairdresser
In nearly every situation, individuals who wish to work as a hairdresser will need formal education and training. This includes holding and maintaining a state-issued license. This license provides individuals with the ability to perform chemical-related procedures as well as to maintain a business in this area. It gives customers the reassurance that the individual has the skills necessary to perform the job. According to National Career Services, individuals also must take continuing education courses to ensure his or her skills are maintained.
Typical Educational Requirements
Most students will begin by earning their high school diploma or an equivalent of it. In some cases, cosmetology is an area of study that is offered in trade schools, vocational schools, and in local community colleges. Students as young as 16 may be able to enroll in these programs to begin learning the skills necessary. Most states do not allow for licensing of individuals under the age of 18.
Education in this field generally includes learning specific procedures and processes. Students will learn sciences, mathematics, and health concepts related to the head, hair, and overall skin. Most of these programs also teach students how to run a business since customer service skills are critical in this type of work.
Individuals who work as a hairdresser may also be qualified to provide other services, though additional training is necessary. This includes working as a barber, manicurist, pedicurist, and other areas similar.
Salary and Job Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides some information on the overall job outlook for people in this field. For the period of 2010 through 2020, an expected growth rate of 14 percent is likely. Additionally, people who work in this field had a median annual pay in 2010 of $22,500. This amount increases for individuals who own their own salon or offer additional services beyond basic styling.