Is it Important to Get Licensed to Become a Professional Hair Dresser, Stylist or Colorist?

Many aspiring hairdressers or those seeking a career as a hair stylist or colorist often ask us if it’s actually important to get their cosmetology license in order to be successful in their respective field. Our answer, almost 9 times out of 10 is a resounding “Yes.” Now we know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking “well, they’re a cosmetology school and so of course we’re going to want you to go there in order to prepare for the Cosmetology State Licensing Exam,” but the truth is, getting your cosmetology license is often very vital to a successful career in hair and beauty.

Why Does Cosmetology Training Matter?
The all-encompassing field of cosmetology is changing at a rapid pace. We’re light years from where we were in the 90’s and moving far and beyond from where were just a decade ago. You’ve probably taken notice too – the numerous one-off salons popping up, the counter-culture and boutique makeup shops and makeup artists, the fast growth of large makeup chains, brands and celebrity hair colorists and hairstylists that have their own show on your favorite reality TV network. Now, more than ever, cosmetology is on the forefront of popular culture and the number of people seeking our professional cosmetology services (such as a hairstylist, colorist, or hair dresser) is increasing exponentially.

That said, what separates the average home-trained or self-taught hairstylist, colorist or hair dresser from one that’s state certified and has passed the cosmetology state licensing exam?

One of the first things people in the cosmetology industry will want to know is where you went to school and received your stylist and cosmetology training. The cosmetology school you attend profoundly affects both your initial jump into the industry as well as your continued growth and development as a reputable hair stylist. Graduating from a professional cosmetology school will give you the advantage of having a set foundation of fundamental skills that you can transfer to your day-to-day career when times comes to find a salon you want to work as well as attracting new clients.

Most professional hair studios, high-end clientele, spas and salons will simply not hire you if you’re not a board certified cosmetologist. They have a professional reputation to upkeep and retain and rarely will you find a salon or employer that’s willing to take the risk, especially if they are successful. Sure there are some hairdressers that fall through the cracks – who either never got certified in cosmetology, or did not renew their license come time, but are those cosmetologists the ones you want to emulate? If being a successful cosmetologist is something you aspire to be, you’re going to want to get certified and eventually pass the cosmetology licensing exam before you start working.

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In the cosmetology industry, there’s no ceiling to the amount of money you would like to make, the level of success you choose and design for yourself, or the level of clients and employers you choose to work with. As a licensed cosmetologist, you can choose your own hours (given your work relationship with your employer or clientele), you set your own pay, and you are free to travel, work on location and meet people and see things you would never have experienced if it wasn’t for your cosmetology career. Many hairdressers and stylists choose to work at a salon, while others do freelance work or even perform outcalls to high-end clients or celebrities on the road. Without the proper training, experience, credentials and licensing, most of these stylists would have never been given this opportunity.

If you’re still wondering if it’s important to become a licensed cosmetologist in order to work as a hairdresser, hair stylist or hair colorist, hopefully you’re beginning to understand that it’s almost vital. Getting your cosmetology certification, beauty school diploma and state licensing is the only way to truly ensure that you meet the state’s legal requirements to practice your craft and perfect your art.

What are the Requirements to Become a Licensed Cosmetologist in California?
Each state generally specifies their own set of prerequisites that cosmetology school students must fulfill before they can be deemed a licensed cosmetologist. In California, The California state Board of Cosmetology states that in order for California cosmetology students to become licensed as a beauty practitioner they must:

Attend a licensed beauty school and complete the minimum training hours set by the state. The minimum hours are:

  • A minimum of 1,600 hours or 3,200 apprenticeship for a CA Cosmetology License
  • 1,500 hours or 3,000 apprenticeship hours for a CA Barber License
  • 400 hours for a California Nail Technician License
  • 600 hours or 1,200 apprenticeship your California Esthetician License
  • 250 hours as a Practitioner & 500 hours as a Therapist to become a Certified Massage Therapist

After these basic educational prerequisites in your chosen field are fulfilled, you will then need to pass the State of California’s Cosmetology Board exams. The state exams are offered in English, Spanish or Vietnamese for your convenience.
Finally, you must then pass the California State Board of Cosmetology Licensing Exam, which is where a lot of your education, training and hands-on beauty school experience will most certainly help. After you have successfully satisfied these CA state requirements for a licensed cosmetologist, you will be issued your official California Cosmetology License which will allow you to work as a beauty technician in your chosen field.
If you live in Southern California and you want to attend one of the largest, most well-known and well-facilitated beauty schools in the state, we invite you to visit us at Colleen O’Hara’s Beauty Academy. We are centrally located in Orange County and offer cosmetology courses in all fields of skincare, hair and beauty, ranging from Hair Stylist, Hair Dresser and Color Specialist, to Barbering and Barber crossover, Makeup Artist (MUA), Esthetician and Advanced Esthetics courses as well as Nail Technician and Salon Owner/Manager training. Colleen O’Hara’s Beauty Academy is well-known in the beauty and cosmetology industry as Orange County’s longest-standing beauty academy, allowing students to work in an intimate setting with small classroom sizes, hands-on training with real clients in a modern multi-level facility, and we offer financial aid assistance for those who qualify.

It’s time to stop thinking about going to beauty school and time to start your career today. One simple phone call to Colleen O’Hara’s Beauty Academy can fast-track your future on the road to success as a licensed cosmetologist in the state of California. Call us today at 800-463-7869 and schedule a visit to our centrally located Orange County beauty academy and let us give you a tour of our multi-level campus; we promise it’ll be one of the best career decisions you ever made!