Thursday, April 28, 2011

Barbers, Cosmetologists, and Other Personal Appearance Workers

Quick Look
 A State license is required for barbers, cosmetologists, and most other personal appearance  workers, although qualifications vary by State. 
 About 44 percent of workers are self-employed; many also work flexible schedules.

Nature of the work
Barbers cut, trim, shampoo, and style hair mostly for male clients. They also may fit hairpieces and offer scalp treatments and facial shaving. In many States, barbers are licensed to color, bleach, or highlight hair and to offer permanent-wave services. Barbers also may provide skin care and nail treatments.

Hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists offer a wide range of beauty services, such as shampooing, cutting, coloring, and styling of hair. They may advise clients on how to care for their hair at home. In addition, cosmetologists may be trained to give manicures, pedicures, and scalp and facial treatments; provide makeup analysis; and clean and style wigs and hairpieces.

A number of workers offer specialized services. Manicurists and pedicurists, called nail technicians in some States, work exclusively on nails and provide manicures, pedicures, polishing, and nail extensions to clients. Another group of specialists is skin care specialists, or estheticians, who cleanse and beautify the skin by giving facials, full-body treatments, and head and neck massages as well as apply makeup. They also may remove hair through waxing or, if properly trained, laser treatments. Theatrical and performance makeup artists, apply makeup to enhance performing artists’ appearance for movie, television, or stage performances. Finally, in larger salons, shampooers specialize in shampooing and conditioning hair.

Working environment
Most full-time barbers, cosmetologists, and other personal appearance workers put in a 40-hour week, but longer hours are common, especially among self-employed workers. Work schedules may include evenings and weekends, the times when beauty salons and barbershops are busiest. In 2008, about 29 percent of barbers, hairstylists and cosmetologists worked part time, and 14 percent had variable schedules.

Barbers, cosmetologists, and other personal appearance workers usually work in clean, pleasant surroundings with good lighting and ventilation. Good health and stamina are important, because these workers are on their feet for most of their shift. Prolonged exposure to some hair and nail chemicals may cause irritation, so protective clothing, such as plastic gloves or aprons, may be worn.

Education and training
A high school diploma or GED is required for some personal appearance workers in some States. In addition, most States require that barbers and cosmetologists complete a program in a State-licensed barber or cosmetology school. Programs in hairstyling, skin care, and other personal appearance services can be found in both high schools and in public or private postsecondary vocational schools.

Full-time programs in barbering and cosmetology usually last 9 months and may lead to an associate degree, but training for manicurists and pedicurists and skin care specialists requires significantly less time. Makeup artists can attend schools that specialize in this subject, but it is not required. Shampooers generally do not need formal training.

All States require barbers, cosmetologists, and other personal appearance workers to be licensed, with the exceptions of shampooers and makeup artists. Qualifications for a license vary by State, but generally a person must have a high school diploma or GED, be at least 16 years old, and have graduated from a State-licensed barber or cosmetology school. After graduating from a State approved training program, students take a State licensing examination.

Job outlook
Personal appearance workers will grow by 20 percent from 2008 to 2018, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth primarily will be a result of an increasing population and from the growing demand for personal appearance services, particularly skin care services.

Employment trends are expected to vary among the different occupational specialties. Employment of hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists will increase by about 20 percent, much faster than average, while the number of barbers will increase by 12 percent, about as fast as average. This growth will primarily come from an increasing population, which will lead to greater demand for basic hair services. Additionally, the demand for hair coloring and other advanced hair treatments has increased in recent years, particularly among baby boomers and young people. This trend is expected to continue, leading to a favorable outlook for hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists. As a result, fewer people are expected to go to barber shops and employment of barbers is expected to see relatively little change in employment.

Continued growth in the number of nail salons and full-service day spas will generate numerous job openings for manicurists, pedicurists, and skin care specialists. Employment of manicurists and pedicurists will grow by 19 percent, while employment of shampooers will increase by 13 percent. Estheticians and other skin care specialists will see large gains in employment, and are expected to grow 38 percent as more facial procedures to improve one’s complexion become available and become more popular in spas and some medical settings. Makeup artists are expected to grow by 40 percent, but because of its relatively small size, the occupation will only add a few hundred jobs over the decade.

Median hourly earnings in May 2008 for salaried hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists, including tips and commission, were:
·                            • Highest 10 percent hourly wage more than $20.41/hour
·                            • Median hourly wage $11.13/hour
·                            • Middle 50 percent hourly wage $8.57 and $15.03/hour
·                            • Lowest 10 percent hourly wage $7.47/hour



Story and Salary information courtesy of Bureau of Labor 


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