Hairstylists provide a variety of services which generally include haircuts, hair coloring, and hair styling. Because hairstylists, hairdressers, and cosmetologists often work in full-service salons, they occasionally will also apply makeup, remove hair, offer manicures or pedicures, or perform facials and other skin care services. Some may also play a role in demonstrating and selling hair care products for a salon. They also often help customers decide between hair style options. Hairstylists spend a lot of time in close contact with customers, so it’s important that they are receptive to what customers want and are able to put customers at ease. Being friendly, conscientious, and patient are all important qualities for hairstylists.
Most hairstylists work in salons or barbershops, but others work in spas or hotels. All states require hairstylists, barbers, and cosmetologists to be licensed through a state-licensed school, some of which may result in an associate’s degree. Before hairstylists can take the licensing exam, most states require them to be at least 16 years old, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and have graduated from a state-licensed barber or cosmetology school. Some licensing exams include both written and practical skills tests.
Hairstylists need to be reliable and trainable, but they should also have the personality traits most associated with good customer service skills. Employers looking to hire hairstylists, hairdressers, barbers, or cosmetologists often administer the Criteria Basic Skills Test (CBST) and the Customer Service Aptitude Profile (CSAP). The CBST assesses basic job readiness and trainability skills, while the CSAP is a personality test that evaluates how well a candidate’s personality traits would be suited to a job requiring frequent customer interaction.
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Rank in HireSelect:
228 out of 1,100
Median wage in U.S.:
Expected growth rate 2012-2022:
Number employed (2014): 343,140
Education level of Hairstylists, Hairdressers, Cosmetologists, and Barbers: