How do I Become a Professional Hair Stylist?

Article Details
  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 09 July 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article

In most cases, a person who chooses to become a professional hair stylist must begin with a certain amount of training. This is normally obtained after high school is completed, though sometimes high school graduation is not a requirement. Training takes place at a cosmetology or beauty school, and teaches the fundamentals of hair cutting, dying, arranging and et cetera. Depending on the school, other things may be taught also, like waxing, facials and more.

The first place a person looks to become a professional hair stylist is to some form of cosmetology school. There are many to choose from in certain areas, and there might be some of extreme prestige, especially in urban locations. These will probably cost more, but they could be advantageous to a career later on.

Training at a cosmetology school attached to a very well respected name or celebrity in hair care sometimes means being able to charge more and/or beginning at higher quality salons after graduation. Whatever school is chosen, it should meet regional requirements so that a license can be obtained upon successful completion. State or regional cosmetology boards are good sources for verifying this information.

The amount of time spent in school can vary for the hair stylist. It can take approximately a year or more to complete this training. Cost will also be variable, though many people are able to meet some of this by obtaining student loans.


Once through training, most people still haven’t become a professional hair stylist. They usually need to take an examination administered by a regional cosmetology board to get their license. In places like the US, passing this exam often confers the license to practice in any state.

The next step to become a professional hair stylist is often in one of two directions. People may approach better-known salons and work as an intern, assistant or other. On this path, people are looking for advanced training, similar to getting a graduate degree in cosmetology. With this, they may be able to find employment with more prestigious salons in the future, and this usually corresponds to a higher rate of pay, eventually.

Alternately, the hairstylist might go straight to work at some salons, after graduating and obtaining a license. They should have some things for interviews, such as a portfolio of work. The beginning professional hair stylist might also need to buy any equipment necessary, especially brushes and scissors. Many of these folks could have the option of renting a station in a salon, where they pay a certain amount each month in rent, or they might work for an hourly wage. The latter could be the better choice until a good client roster is established.

No matter how a person plans to become a professional hair stylist or how they train after graduation, there are some skills required. Clearly people must be excellent at cutting hair in a variety of styles, and they may also need skills in doing coloring or permanent waves. Customer service is an important thing too, since creating a roster of faithful clients is the means by which most hair stylists become successful. Therefore, it is extremely valuable for hair stylists to cultivate strong interpersonal skills; this, as much as accuracy, may determine future earnings and success.



Discuss this Article

Post 2

One way I started was by buying professional hair shears. I own a Saki Katana Set which have super sharp cutting shears and thinning shears made from Japanese stainless steel and they have helped me develop my styling skills!

Post 1

When dealing with hair, how many clients will you get in a whole day?

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?