First Steps: Earning a Certificate in Cosmetology School

To work in a salon and earn clinical credits in a cosmetology school, most states require that the student become certified as a cosmetologist. Students of cosmetology schools may choose to stop at the certification level and enter the profession as an apprentice, remain in school and earn a diploma, or undergo more extensive studies to earn associate of applied science degree in cosmetology.

Apprenticeships with a cosmetology certificate and a junior license typically require 900 to 1000 hours of practice under a master cosmetologist. However, using the certificate to move forward in cosmetology school allows students to continue learning in a structure environments, obtain advanced skills for better career opportunities, and earn a diploma that allows them to test as a master cosmetologist following graduation.  Unlike licensed cosmetologists, certified cosmetologists are limited in the duties they can perform.

In many states, certified cosmetologists are allowed to apply for a limited license with which they can begin working immediately as an apprentice under a licensed professional. For students remaining in cosmetology school, certification is a required rite of passage to continue down the path to graduation and licensure.

As the first step in earning a diploma from a cosmetology school, the cosmetology license incorporates all of the core principles and skills one needs to begin working in a salon or spa setting. Students are taught techniques such as hair care, hair cutting, barbering, manicures and pedicures, facials, and other skills.  They are also taught the fundamentals of a cosmetology business, such as booking appointments and accepting payments, and skills necessary to maintain good customer relationships and loyalty.

Later in the cosmetology school’s program, students must demonstrate their comprehension of what they have learned and be able to put their skills to use in a real-world setting. For students who want to earn a degree in cosmetology, the certificate will allow them to advance through the initial phase of their education and into a broader understanding of the profession.

Advanced degrees in cosmetology school typically involve much more bookwork and coursework than the previous levels of training. Cosmetology degree classes usually include many of the same topics of any general degree program, regardless of the profession. Students may be required to take classes in subjects such as art appreciation and interpersonal communication. Most required courses for a cosmetology school’s degree program are relevant to the profession, however. Subjects such as psychology, ethics, sociology, computer programs, accounting, human resources, and other business skills classes are closely related to how a cosmetology must function in the day-to-day business.

Specialized professional classes are also offered by some cosmetology schools. These classes are designed for students who have the desire to go into a related field to cosmetology. Cosmetology teachers are cosmetologists first, and then take extra classes to learn how to teach the art. Alternatively, beauty and style writers may be stylists first and then take extra classes to learn how to write about the art and critique the industry.


  1. says:

    First Steps: Earning a Certificate in Cosmetology School…

    A certificate from a cosmetology school is the first step in any cosmetology career….

  2. SocialSave says:

    First Steps: Earning a Certificate in Cosmetology School…

    A certificate from a cosmetology school is the first step in any cosmetology career….