Cosmetology is often thought of as a creative field that allows for artistic expression in the forms of perfectly curled hair or dramatic eyeliner wings. But why is cosmetology also considered a trade?
A career in cosmetology requires manual skills, specific training, and licensing, which is typical of a trade profession. Completion of a trade school program is a requirement for a cosmetology license. Trade school is secondary education (past high school) that offers shorter program lengths than a traditional four-year college and prepares students to enter the workforce in their desired fields.
You can prepare for a career in cosmetology with the Cosmetology Program at Midwest Technical Institute (MTI), a hands-on training program that will help you learn the skills needed for entry-level employment in the cosmetology trade.
For more information, see “Trade School vs. College: A Guide to Weighing Your Options.”
What Is Cosmetology and What Does It Entail?
Cosmetology is the professional care and beautification of:
- Hair: You’ll learn how to cut, color, and treat hair. When you’re enrolled in the MTI Cosmetology Program, you’ll have the opportunity to discover which products to use with which types of hair and how to style hair for the latest trends.
- Skin and nails: Cosmetology programs help students learn how to give facials, provide advanced nail services, and do manicures and pedicures. From trendy nail shapes to deep cleansing facials, MTI can provide you with the knowledge you need to acquire a cosmetology license.
The MTI Cosmetology Program helps you learn additional valuable skills for the cosmetology field, including:
- Salon management: MTI wants to prepare you for success, which means you’ll be taking courses on how to manage a salon and how to interact with clients.
- Field-related science: You need to know the science behind cosmetology in order to pass your licensing exams. This knowledge will also help you better understand which actions to take while on the job. You’ll learn about the chemicals in hair dye and bleach and the ingredients in nail polishes and makeup. MTI cosmetology training is designed to give you a well-rounded understanding of the products you’ll use regularly in a cosmetology career.
- Government regulations: Once you’re enrolled in our Cosmetology Program, MTI will prepare you for licensing exams by teaching you the regulations and rules of your state.
Who Might Enjoy Cosmetology Careers?
Cosmetology is a viable option for many types of people, including the following:
- If you’re interested in the beauty industry: If you like the idea of making clients up and styling their hair, you may enjoy cosmetology work.
- If you’re a people person: Cosmetology is a trade in which you may be interacting with new people every day.
- If you’re a creative type: Creative individuals may have the opportunity to express their artistry through their clients’ dye jobs and makeup applications.
- If you like working with your hands: People who like working with their hands usually enjoy learning trade skills. Cosmetology consists of a lot of hands-on work. If hands-on sounds like fun, cosmetology might be for you.
How Much Can a Cosmetologist Make?
Pay for cosmetologists can vary, depending on the professional specialty you go into.
The median hourly wage for all cosmetology occupations (barbers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists) as of May 2017 was $11.95/hour, plus tips with great upward potential, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 
Things to Consider About Cosmetology
Cosmetology isn’t just about hair, makeup, and nails, though that is usually the focus. There are a number of benefits that come with a career in cosmetology:
- You’ll learn salon management skills: Cosmetologists often build their own clientele rosters. Many open their own salons and become entrepreneurs.
- You can develop lasting relationships: Because you’ll be interacting with plenty of people on a regular basis, you’ll have the chance to develop relationships with co-workers and clients.
- Cosmetology is not only a skill, but also an art: Cosmetology requires a lot of practice to develop and maintain your skill level. Your knowledge of current trends will help keep your style relevant.
- There’s a lot of potential flexibility: If a rigid schedule doesn’t suit your personality, there are many salons and spas that offer part-time or flexible schedules.
- Cosmetology doesn’t require a lot of training: MTI offers cosmetology programs that are 13, 16, and 17 months long.* If a four-year degree seems too long, or if you want to spend your time focusing on coursework directly related to your field, the MTI Cosmetology Program could be for you. MTI offers the Cosmetology Program at our Springfield, MO and our Moline (Quad Cities), IL campuses.
*Not all program lengths are available at all campuses. Please contact your local campus for more information.