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Associate in Cosmetology

Braids or curls, smoky eyes or a soft and subtle touch; if you are considering enrolling in a cosmetology degree, these are the kinds of issues that you will be facing in your line of work.

What is cosmetology?

Cosmetology is a field of study that focuses on the cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair, and nails. Cosmetologists provide a variety of services such as the care and treatment of hair, nails and skin in order to improve the appearance of the clients. This field involves several branches including skin treatment, hair-care and styling and more.

  • Hairstyling. It can be defined as an art that involves understanding length and trimming processes, braiding, curling and coloring techniques.

  • Cosmetics and Skin Care. It involves makeup, nail polish, powders, butters and colored contact lenses.

  • Manicures and Pedicures. Manicures are about treating the hands and pedicures are for pampering the feet.

What is an associate’s degree in cosmetology?

A cosmetology associate program is designed to provide you with competency-based knowledge, principles and hands-on training associated with the cosmetology industry. You will learn how to style hair according to accepted professional standards, perform manicures and pedicures and provide skincare services. Besides, the program also provides instruction in restructuring hair with the help of chemical products. You may also study finance and business courses that would help you market services and products and manage the finances accordingly.

This program can be useful for those who want to become a hairstylist/designer/ barber, esthetician, nail technician, or a makeup artist. Students who complete this program may become eligible to apply for a license to work as a cosmetologist.

What types of courses are included in an associate in cosmetology?

The curriculum in the cosmetology associate degree includes a number of topics that provides students with the required technical knowledge and aesthetic skills. You might take classes such as:

  • Hair design
  • Chemical processes
  • Skin care
  • Nail care
  • Business/computer principles
  • Product knowledge
  • Cosmetology concepts
  • Computerized salon operations

What type of jobs can you pursue with an associate in cosmetology?

Once you earn an associate degree in cosmetology and get a license, you may potentially find opportunities in a number of settings such as:

  • Barbershops
  • Salons
  • Spas
  • Hotels
  • Resort

You can possibly work as a:

  • Hairstylist - These professionals shampoo, provide hair treatment, haircut, or trim, and hairstyle.

  • Esthetician - They perform facials, hair removal and other body treatments such as massage.

  • Nail Technician - Nail technicians offer treatments for the hands and for the feet using a variety of products such as nail enamel, polish remover, remover/cream, aromatherapy oils as well as tools including manual or electric ?les, cuticle pushers and nippers.

  • Makeup artists - These workers perform artistic services in a salon/spa where they apply makeup applications to clients.

According to the data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall employment of barbers, hairdressers, and cosmetologists is projected to grow by 13% from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as the average for all occupations. These professionals held about 663,300 jobs in 2012 and about half were self-employed.

Median hourly pay for Barbers (2012): $12.06 (BLS)

Median hourly pay for Hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists (2012): $10.91 (BLS)

Median hourly pay for makeup artists (2013): $22.70 (BLS)


States with the highest employment level in this occupation:



Employment per thousand jobs

Location quotient

Hourly mean wage

Annual mean wage

California 16600.111.2618.1337720
Florida 11300.141.6817.9737370
Illinois 9600.161.9217.937240
Texas 7600.070.7816.6234570
New York 6500.070.8520.1241840


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