How to Become a Hair Stylist

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To become a hair stylist, a person needs a thorough knowledge of hair care and fashion styling. Hair stylists, or professional hair dressers, care for the hair of their clients by shampooing, coloring, cutting, and styling their locks. Most hair stylists enter the field by taking a vocational program or obtaining an associate degree in cosmetology. Depending on the U.S. state in which they work, hair stylists may also be required to get a license. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates that the demand for hair stylists and other hair professionals will increase by 13 percent by the year 2020.[1]


Flickr: kiwinky
Education Postsecondary education[1]
Starting pay $8.11 per hour[2]
Median pay $10.95 per hour[2]
10 yr growth Average: 13%[1]
Related professions Barber, skincare specialist, manicurist, pedicurist
Author John Feeney

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Hair Stylist Job Overview

Hair stylists are professional beauticians who maintain and style the hair of their clients. A large part of a hair stylist's job is to provide customer service by listening to clients' wishes, recommending hair styles, and meeting customer demands. Because their work is so customer-focused, hair stylists must be patient, courteous, and willing to take criticism.

Many hair stylists work for themselves by working as independent contractors or by opening their own salons. The work schedule of a hair stylist can be extremely flexible, but most have to work on weekends to accommodate the schedules of their clients.[3]

Hair Stylist Education

Even though there is no formal education required to become a hair stylist, most salons prefer to hire applicants who have completed a high school diploma or higher. Individuals who want to become hair stylists can attend cosmetology programs at postsecondary or vocational institutions to learn the specific techniques they need to style hair. These programs, which can last up to nine months, often include training in sales, cosmetology, and basic skin care.[4]

Hair Stylist Training

In most U.S. states, hair stylists are considered to be cosmetologists. As a result, they must often obtain a cosmetology license before they can begin working with clients. The exact licensing requirements vary depending on the state in which a person lives. For example, in the state of New York, all cosmetologists, including hair stylists, must submit an a license application. They must also be at least 17 years of age, have at least 300 hours of hair styling experience, and pass a written examination in order to receive a New York cosmetology license.[5]

Hair Stylist Careers

A hair stylist talks about working in the beauty industry

Also See: How to Become a Cosmetologist, How to Become a Barber, How to Become a Makeup Artist, How to Become an Esthetician, How to Become a Stylist, How to Become a Fashion Stylist


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