How do I Become a Cosmetology Instructor?

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  • Written By: Harriette Halepis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 March 2020
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A strong educational background in cosmetology is needed in order to become a cosmetology instructor. Most instructors begin their careers as beauticians or cosmetologists, though they often progress professionally through additional educational courses. Often, a cosmetology instructor license is needed in order to gain a position as a cosmetology instructor.

Nearly all cosmetology instructors must have at least two years of experience prior to teaching cosmetology courses. In some areas of the world, 1,000 hours of training at a licensed cosmetology school can replace on-the-job experience. Various skills are required in order to become a cosmetology instructor, and almost all of the skills required must be learned in a classroom environment.

A cosmetology instructor must be an expert in nail technology, hairstyling, and aesthetics. Additional courses might also be required to become a cosmetology instructor at some schools. Since instructors will relay important cosmetology techniques to students, these professionals must be up-to-date regarding the latest hair, nail, and aesthetic techniques. Thus, continuous schooling is often part of any cosmetology instructor's career.

Aspiring cosmetology instructors can also benefit from enrolling in a few business courses. Most cosmetology instructors end up working as independent contractors, which means that business skills are vital. In addition, instructors must be able to keep tidy bookkeeping records. Recordkeeping skills can be obtained by enrolling in an accountancy or bookkeeping course.


Aside from educational skills, cosmetology instructors must be able to effectively handle the general public. Communication is a large part of the cosmetology profession. Some employers may also ask individuals to work with a team of other instructors. As with any kind of teaching role, in order to become a cosmetology instructor candidates must be patient and serene.

Often, cosmetology instructors must address large classrooms full of students. Since most instructors are employed by cosmetology schools, typical school session hours apply to this type of position. Following many years of experience within the cosmetology instructor field, teachers may be able to branch out into contractual work.

Cosmetology instructors with a vast amount of experience are often in high-demand on movie sets and in other entertainment fields. In addition, various salons that offer cosmetology courses frequently hire cosmetology instructors. Cosmetology instructor positions can be found in numerous locations, though most employers will not hire instructors that do not have a vast deal of experience.


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Post 6

I would never have thought I would see stuff about learning bookkeeping in an article about how to become a cosmetology instructor! I am very surprised that most cosmetology instructors are independent contractors. I would have thought they would be employees of the schools they teach at.

I know every industry is different, but I have a few friends who are adjunct faculty members at universities. They are most definitely considered employees and get the same kind of paycheck one would get at an office job.

Post 5

@KaBoom - That's an good idea. I know a few people that went into teaching in their field after they had a lot of experience. They weren't injured or anything, but they wanted to go a different direction with their career. Teaching let them try something else in their field.

Anyway, I thought it was interesting what the article said about having to know about cosmetology and have good people skills to be a cosmetology instructor. I would imagine most people in the cosmetology field already have excellent people skills!

A big part of working as a cosmetologist is interacting with your customers and keeping them happy. That has to translate to teaching at least a little bit!

Post 4

I think cosmetology instructor sounds like a great cosmetology job for someone who has been in the industry for a long while. I know a few people who worked as hairstylists for many and ended up with some occupational related injuries.

Due to their injuries, they weren't able to spend entire days on their feet cutting hair anymore. They could still do it for a short period of time though.

Working as an instructor would probably be a great idea for people like this that have the skills, but can't physically work an eight hour day anymore.

Post 3

I have been considering a career as a cosmetologist. I love hair and makeup but I also love to teach. Is it pretty feasible to think of being a cosmetologist for 5 or 10 years and getting a lot of experience and then moving in to a teaching role at a cosmetology school? How long would I need to wait before I would be qualified to teach?

Post 2

I have been teaching at a cosmetology academy for almost 10 years now and let me tell you, it is two different things entirely to be a good cosmetologist and to be a good cosmetology instructor. Some people are great at one thing, others at the other, but few are great at both.

The thing is, there is a big difference between being good at doing hair lets say, and being good at teaching people how to do hair. I have seen women who were magicians with scissors and a comb but were hopeless when they tried to teach their methods to others. So if you can, try to get some kind of teaching experience before becoming a cosmetology instructor, just so you know you can handle what you are getting in to.

Post 1

There is a strong demand for cosmetologist right now so there is also a high demand for cosmetology instructors. They will not take just anyone, but if you have a long background in cosmetology and you can teach at least a few different skill sets (hair, nails, etc) you might find a rewarding new career.

Check out the websites for the various cosmetology schools in your area. This is the best place to start looking for job openings. Also, go down and talk to someone at the school. You never know when you might be able to get a gig delivering a guest lecture.

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