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Qualifications for Becoming a Professional Hair Stylist

Fashionable woman

Fashionable womanEver since you can remember, you’ve had a way with hair. As a matter of fact, without any professional training, you would have family members and friends rely on you to do some styling for certain special occasions and they always told you that you had what it took to be a pro.

The thing is, without an actual license, you aren’t able to charge what your work is worth and so you’ve been thinking about doing what it takes to become a professional hair stylist; you’re just not sure what all of that entails. You’re in luck. Below, we’ve enclosed five tips on the qualifications needed to become one:

Do some research. It’s one thing to do something as a hobby. It’s another thing altogether to make it your livelihood. That’s why it’s a good idea to spend some time talking to professional stylists in your area and perhaps even taking a job as a receptionist or hair washer just so that you can see what the day-to-day life for one (in a salon) is like. If you’re still interested, also take a couple of community college courses to learn some of the basics.

Get into an official hairstyling program. Once you are sure that being a stylist is something that you want to do, it’s then time to enroll into a formal hairstyling school. You can find one in your area by going to your favorite search engine and putting “cosmetology schools” along with your city and state in the search field. Typically, programs last for about two years and you only need a high school diploma or GED to apply (many of them also have scholarships and financial aid available).

Earn your state board license. If you’ve ever looked around a salon, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve seen a license around a stylist’s station. That signifies that they are qualified to do hair in your state. There are different kinds of licensing requirements based on where you live, but to get an idea of what’s needed, visit

Get a job. Once you’ve graduated, you have your license and you’ve gotten some hair supplies like maybe your own shears or you’ve gone to Sally’s Beauty Supply to buy Chi flat iron, you’re ready to look for a job. Although salons tend to be the first place where people look for employment, don’t forget to also contact local spas, resorts and even nursing homes within your area for potential opportunities.

Be open to other possibilities. Now that you have your license, this doesn’t mean that you can only be a hair stylist in a salon. There are many individuals who go on to work on movie locations, who do styling for pageants and weddings and even become salon managers with the hopes of being a future salon owner. Sometimes it is assumed that when someone chooses to be a professional hair stylist that their career path is limited when that could be further from the truth. Having a license in this field is simply a way to open to door to all kinds of other possibilities. It’s just one more step in you reaching whatever goals you may have—whether in or outside of a salon.

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