Working the Beauty Industry: Types of Jobs for Cosmetology School Graduates

Types of jobs for cosmetology grads in the beauty industry are plentiful. While most job categories fall into hair, nails, and skin care, finding the right industry or platform is just as important as your choice to specialize in beauty. Cosmetologists work in a wide range of jobs and across a variety of markets. From local salons to big-name Broadway productions or marketing agencies, cosmetologists play a significant role in the world.

According to Susan Ewing Miller at, the first of six truths about the types of careers for cosmetology school graduates is all about location:

“Careers in the hair, beauty and wellness industry offer a broad scope of work environments that extend beyond salons. These environments include:

Spas and day spas — A survey conducted by the International SPA Association and PricewaterhouseCoopers indicates that 95 million visits are made to spas in the United States annually, generating $5 billion in revenues.

Entertainment including film and television — The emergence of high definition television is setting new demands and creating new opportunities for skin care specialists and make-up artists. Reality-based TV programming ranging from “The Doctors” to “What Not to Wear” to “Today’s” Ambush Makeovers is calling attention to beauty careers and the rewards they offer.

Fashion industry — Hair beauty and wellness professionals are a requirement for a range of fashion opportunities ranging from spreads in retailer catalogs to high-profile events like Fashion Week.

Research and development — Cosmetology education includes instruction on chemical processes, anatomy and other “science-based” areas of study to prepare students for a broad range of jobs which may include working as a product tester, evaluator or beauty editor.

Entrepreneurship — Careers in beauty provide the opportunity to create one’s own clientele and work schedule. This factor is proving to be particularly attractive to today’s millennial generation who aspire to create a work/life balance, whether working in a home-based salon or resort spa.”

(Read: 6 Surprising Truths About Careers in Hair, Beauty and Wellness)

Cosmetology school is the perfect place to learn the trades if you plan to work in the beauty industry, but some jobs take a bit more training. For the science-savvy crowd, a career in beauty research can be a very rewarding career. Cosmetology classes are typically incorporated into a general science degree. According to the Journal Science, cosmetics research is a big hitting type of job for graduates:

“Even if red lipstick remains a classic that is immune to the vagaries of fashion, the rouge à lèvres your mother was using 20 years ago has very little in common with the tube in the modern makeup bag. I’m not talking about the dozens of shades on offer, or about the various “wet look effects” you can create with lip gloss–not even about how long the colour and shine will actually stay on your lips. Nowadays, it seems, lipstick is about much more than fashion. It has become an essential care item that may moisturise, repair, or even plump up your lips. …

And that’s just lipstick! The cream you slap on your face every morning now serves more than mere moisturising duty. It may also claim to nourish, firm, and energise your skin; protect it against harmful UV rays or pollution; or reduce the appearance of wrinkles–the options are simply endless. Even products as innocent as shampoo may be designed to highlight your hair, give it some shine and body, repair it, or reduce split ends.”

(Read Cosmetics Research: Reaching Beyond the Fantasy)

Not sure where you fit in the beauty industry? If you’re thinking about going to a cosmetology school or fashion school, check out this quiz from Seventeen Magazine: Which Beauty Career is Right for You?