What does a Cosmetology Teacher do?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 24 November 2019
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A cosmetology teacher has four areas of responsibility: determine course curriculum, teach classes, mark assignments and tests, and act as a resource. Cosmetology teachers work in community and career colleges, providing courses in hair styling, makeup artistry, nail care, and skin enhancement techniques. Cosmetology is a general term used to describe a wide range of beauty and skin treatments.

In order to become a cosmetology teacher, most employers require a college degree in cosmetology, and at least 15 years experience in the field. There are several different areas of cosmetology available as areas of specialization. Teachers are typically restricted to courses where they have extensive training or experience. This policy is widely used to ensure a high level of teaching quality.

The cosmetology teacher sets the course curriculum and creates the lesson plans. A typical course is 12 to 16 weeks in length. The lesson plans must include assignments, tests, and examinations, as well as hands-on practice sessions and time for one-on-one interaction with students. All cosmetology graduates must successfully complete a licensing examination to work as a cosmetologist. The items in the examination form the basis of the course curriculum.


Teaching classes requires a combination of lectures and instructor-led workshops. During the lectures, the cosmetology teacher must refer to the textbook or course notes provided to students, indicate areas that are important, and answer any questions. In instructor-led workshops, the teacher must ensure that there are sufficient work stations and materials available to students. Walking around and providing advice and correction is a critical part of this role.

The teacher is responsible for writing all tests, quizzes, and examinations. The evaluation criteria must be determined before the test is written. This process ensures a defendable process should a student question a mark he or she received on a test or exam. It is very important to have these processes in place when evaluating items that can be subjective, such as hair styling, nail care techniques, or makeup artistry.

People who enjoy interacting with others, are natural leaders, and have excellent interpersonal skills find this type of position rewarding. There is a level of instruction or guidance as part of this position that typically builds upon experience gained working in the cosmetology industry. Many students in cosmetology programs are between the ages of 16 and 20. The ability to interact and lead this age group is highly valued.

The ability to work well with a wide range of people, resolve problems quickly, and share information and experience with staff are important skills. Many cosmetology teachers find that additional courses in effective communication and mentoring can be very helpful. The skills required in a classroom are often a transition from workplace skills, and courses in adult education may be beneficial.


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