As a hairstyling student, it's important to keep on top of new trends in
order to give clients the latest haircut.
In general, hairstylists can enroll in community colleges or at private
hairstyling schools to earn a certificate or diploma in hairstyling, barbering
The National Accrediting Commission of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences accredits
hair design programs. However, accreditation is voluntary.
Entrance requirements vary by state. Some states require that trainees
be at least 16 years of age. Others may require the student to be older. Some
require a high school diploma and others don't.
Hairdressing courses generally take between 10 and 24 months to complete.
Some schools offer apprenticeship programs that can last between one and three
At hairdressing schools, students learn about haircutting, shaving,
hair and scalp massage. They perform these treatments and haircuts under
supervision. They practice on customers in school clinics. Schools
usually teach about cuts for men and women, unisex design, and shampooing
and chemical styling.
Throughout their careers, stylists will often take refresher courses
or go to hair competitions to learn about the latest hairstyles.
When looking for students or prospective employees, Oly Kolansky of Oly's
Hair Salon in New York says personal appearance is important. "This
is the beauty industry and the students need to be properly groomed."
Kolansky says that he also looks for people who will be good with customers.
"You need to be polite and be able to get along with people. Communication
skills are so important," he says. "You can't be uppity. You have to listen
to the customer."
High school students can begin to learn about hairstyles in fashion magazines,
at the movies and on TV.
Maurice Hopkinson, a former instructor at a hairstyling school, says someone
thinking about hairstyling should visit a hair salon or tour a styling
studio. "Coming down and actually seeing the place will help you understand
if you think it could be something you want to do."
Learning to cut hair is expensive. Tuition can range from $4,000 to $5,000
for a program. This tuition can include all the accessories needed to take
the course, such as scissors and a uniform.
Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information on this field of study, see: Barbers, Cosmetologists
and Other Personal Appearance Workers
A beauty professional's network to share information
Developments in the world of hairstyling
Beauty and Barber Supply Institute
Listings of hairstyling conferences and competitions