Benefits & Challenges of Cosmetologist Careers

Those who choose a career in cosmetology enjoy many benefits, some of which include a flexible schedule and a fun, upbeat job with lots of options regarding places to work and areas to specialize in.

Cosmetologists generally enjoy pleasant working conditions with many creative opportunities. Cosmetologists can literally move anywhere and quite easily find a job, although competition may be tougher in high-end establishments. Cosmetologists have more control over their income than employees in many professions, since the adage “the harder you work, the more you make” generally fits when describing a career in cosmetology, especially if the individual works on a commission basis, is self-employed, or chooses to open their own salon.

Cosmetology is a very social job, and stylists meet many people in the course of their jobs. Chatting with clients is important and beneficial in this profession. Alternative fashion and style among cosmetologists is usually accepted and encouraged, i.e. purple hair, tattoos and body piercing is welcome, which is not the case in most 9 to 5 jobs. It is important for cosmetologists to stay current on fashion trends, so industry and trade magazines like Vogue and Cosmopolitan are required reading. Not too many professions can say that! Cosmetologists really do not have to worry about being replaced by outsourcing or technology, as Joy Poloncic put it, “A computer cannot cut, perm, and style hair!”

But cosmetology is not without its downsides.

One of the main challenges of the career is building a steady clientele, which takes hard work, determination, and patience. Although the hours are flexible and often work well with family schedules, cosmetologists commonly work nights and weekends to accommodate their clients’ schedules. Good health and stamina are important attributes for cosmetologists, because hairdressers are on their feet most of the time, and nail technicians must be able to sit for long periods of time. Prolonged exposure to some hair and nail chemicals may cause irritation, so protective clothing, such as plastic gloves or aprons, is worn by most cosmetologists. As already mentioned, in the salon, “time is money,” so it is important for a cosmetologist to stay on schedule and make efficient use of her time, which can cause stress. Although working with the public can be fun and challenging, there are times when cosmetologists have to deal with demanding and uncooperative (and even unhappy!) clients, so top-notch people skills definitely make the job easier – remember what your mother probably told you, “you can think it, but don’t say it!”

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