Overview of "Personal Appearance" Professions
Personal appearance professionals can go by many names and provide a wide range of personal appearance services such as:
- Barbers - Barbers typically specialize in the cutting of men's hair. They can also wash, style, and color hair, and shave their male clients.
- Cosmetologists - Cosmetologist is a term that refers to anyone who has studied and provides services for skin, hair and nails. It is an all encompassing term with many "specialties" grouped under it. A cosmetologist may also sometimes be referred to as a beautician, a beauty specialist, or an aesthetician or esthetician. Types of cosmetologists include:
- Aesthetician - An Aesthetician, also known as an esthetician, provides a variety of skin care treatments which include body wrap, cosmetic make-up services, exfoliation treatments, facial treatments (also referred to as facials), waxing and other forms of hair removal. Aestheticians sometimes work with dermatologists to offer a boarder range of services.
- Hair stylist - A hair stylist specializes in the cutting and styling of hair which may include chemical perms and color treatments.
- Electrologist - An electrologist provides hair removal services using an electrolysis machine.
- Manicurist - A manicurist provides cosmetic beauty treatments for the fingernails and hands including filing, polishing, and painting of fingernails, or the application of artificial nails, acrylics or artificial nail gels.
- Nail technician - A nail technician is very similar to a manicurist but also provides pedicures.
- Shampoo technician - A shampoo technician is typically a hair stylist who shampoos and conditions hair.
- Evaluate themselves
- Evaluate the personal appearance career in which they are interested
- Evaluate the educational institutions that provide personal appearance career programs of study
- Evaluate the specific personal appearance career program of study
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Higher Education
- Middle States Commission on Secondary Schools
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Technical and Career Institutions
- New York State Board of Regents, and the Commissioner of Education
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission
- North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement, Board of Trustees
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Schools
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities
- U.S. Department of Education Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs
- CHEA Database of Institutions and Programs Accredited by Recognized United States Accrediting Organizations
- American Association of Cosmetology Schools (AACS)
- American Board of Certified Haircolorists (ABCH)
- "Barbers, Cosmetologists, and Other Personal Appearance Workers", Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics
- "Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists in California", California Occupational Guide
- Cosmetology Advancement Foundation (CAF)
- International Beauty Therapy Association
- National Beauty Culturist League (NBCL)
- National Cosmetology Association (NCA)
- National Coalition of Estheticians, Manufacturers/Distributors (NCEA)
- Professional Beauty Association (PBA)
- "SKIN CARE SPECIALISTS (ESTHETICIANS)", California Occupational Guide
Educational Requirements for Personal Appearance Professions
Most states require that barbers and cosmetologists graduate from state approved or state licensed barber or cosmetology schools. In some states, a high school diploma or equivalent is not a requirement for the profession. Educational programs for barbers, cosmetologists, and other personal appearance services can be found in vocational high schools, and public or private career schools.
Evaluating Schools for a Personal Appearance Career Education
For a detailed description of a process for evaluating career-oriented schools for personal appearance career programs of study, see "Choosing A Career School". A quick summary of the process outlined in the article follows. When evaluating a career school for a personal appearance career program of study, a prospective student should:
It is important when evaluating an educational institution and educational program to review the accreditation status of both the school and the program of study.
In the U.S., accreditation is a process of peer review by non-governmental organizations to insure the quality of educational institutions and the programs that they offer (see: "Accreditation in the United States", U.S. Department of Education (USDE), for more information on accreditation). It is very important that an individual obtain a personal appearance education from a school that is accredited. It is also important to obtain an education from an educational institution that is accredited by an organization recognized by the USDE in order to be able to obtain Federal financial aid if needed (see: "Overview of Accreditation", U.S. Department of Education).
There is one specialized accrediting organization for cosmetology that is recognized by the USDE:
Some schools may be accredited one of the regional accrediting agencies recognized by the USDE:
It is important to check the status of an institution's accreditation. Two excellent resources to do this are:
Licensing and Certification Requirements for Personal Appearance Careers
All states require that barbers and cosmetologists be licensed. Licensing requirements vary significantly from state to state but students must take a state licensing exam. It should be noted that the license for barbering and cosmetologists is typically different.
Personal Appearance Career Resources