Cosmetology, Hectic and Hard Work

One of the biggest decisions in your life that you are going to have to make is or was what your profession will be. What are you going to do to make yourself happy and earn money at the same time? When one is a little child, the only jobs that they will want to do are those that make your parents and the people around you happy. In my childhood, the women in my family always loved for me to play with their hair, leading me to think of becoming a hair stylist. Parents are always encouraging their children in whatever they decide to do, but would you if you knew how hard it was going to be to become that person, and that they would go through all that hard work for very little? Would you discourage instead of encourage? Being and becoming a cosmetologist is extremely challenging and time consuming. A person wouldn’t really think that there is that much to learn and keep up with just simply doing hair, but it’s not just hair anymore that we are doing as a cosmetologist.

According to Cosmetology Careers Unlimited Inc., the cosmetology industry is shockingly an over $52 billion dollar a year industry. The profession is virtually recession proof; your hair and nails will always grow. The American society is extremely concerned about their looks and style, therefore always needing a qualified up-to-date person to help fulfill their needs. The job market for cosmetologists has grown rapidly. In 1999 there were 50,000 positions that were unfilled. Salon owners are having a problem finding qualified people to hire. Cosmetologists just aren’t graduating from their programs fast enough to keep up with the demand (Cosmetology Careers Unlimited). Owners are looking at those applicants who are straight out of college a lot more closely rather than “older, experienced” professionals because they are fresh out of school not needing any new training.When one chooses to go to cosmetology school, they are pretty much guaranteed a job because of the large number of job openings.

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There are different ways that a student can go with a cosmetology degree. Reported in NACCAS News, in January of 1999, there were 1,286,000 professionals employed in the nations 296,863 beauty salons, barber shops, skin care salons, and nail salons. The typical salon is a small full service salon with five stations; two to three are full-time professionals and one part time professional. Salon owners report an average of 174 clients per week. This is a very flexible industry, letting one go from cutting hair to applying facial masks. An interested individual can expect to find that 60% of salon employees work full time, 29% are part time workers averaging 20 to 33 hours per week, and 11% are low time workers averaging less than 20 hours a week. Whether the professional is a full time, part time, or a low time employee, the average set salary is $18.50 per hour and quickly rising (NACCAS News).

In the cosmetology profession whether a cosmetologist is coloring hair or clipping toenails, they will get tips for their good work. By law, you are expected to report your tips that you receive daily. The IRS has worked out a great system with the businesses called the TRDA (tip rate determination agreement) (NACCAS News). If the businesses and employees comply with the TRDA, then the IRS will not do “tip-checks” and will go by what you report. When there is someone who does not comply, this individual will get thrown into the courts and will be persecuted. The courts will go through a thorough examination of the tips received by the individual, and if found unlawful, the person will have to pay as much as twice their received tips in a fine. Lesson learned just by hearing about it some professionals say, but the truth is just keep a good record of your tips to support yourself.

One of the options when a student is choosing which way to go with his/her cosmetology degree is to work for a major chain salon where they pay more. Chain salons will service more clients per week and their median ticket price is $20.00. The income from chain salon sales is 15%, compared to renting a booth, which will only be a 10% earning. The chain salon according to NACCAS News, will pull in about $375,000 per year, which leaves plenty for nice equipment and dcor. The average wage per hour is $20.00, and the benefits offered are enforcing others around you to love their jobs and have a positive attitude. Benefits include education, vacation, and insurance, but do not include retirement and 401K options. Now this leaves the employee responsible for saving for his/her own retirement, no help from the employer. The industry is trying to hopefully change this retirement issue. With more and more money coming into the industry and the industry becoming recognized as a much needed profession, the employers are hopeful that they will be able to work something out and get their employees enrolled in a good retirement program.

As the future of cosmetology becomes clearer, the importance of cosmetology is also very obvious. In the year 2000 and beyond we can expect for cosmetologists to earn a salary of up to $50,000 per year, increasing substantially from 1998 where it was only $32,000 per year. We now have endless opportunities, and are seeing the need for stylists continue to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2005 (Cosmetology Careers Unlimited).

When on begins to think about being a cosmetologist, he/she wonders what it takes to get him/her there. An inspiring cosmetologist can not just walk into a school and say, “Hi, I would like to be a cosmetologist.When do I start?” He/she will have to go through a process to get there and also must qualify before you can even start that process! The cosmetology programs in the United States get all of their rules and regulations from the Commerce State of Minnesota Cosmetology Program. As stated in the Commerce State of Minnesota Cosmetology Program requirements in order to enroll in a cosmetology program in the United States, you first must have evidence that you graduated from high school or you have completed your G.E.D. testing. Now a student may enroll in the cosmetology program but simply going to classes and understanding the work is not all that one must do to become a cosmetologist either. A student must have at least 1550 hours of cosmetology schooling, passage of all examinations, you must submit an application to the Department of Commerce of the State in which you want to practice in, and will also have to pay a $45.00 non refundable application fee. This application fee is almost a licensing fee because every year licensed cosmetologists also have to pay to renew their license along with having 1800 total hours of work experience or 400 hours within 3 years. Once he/she has decided to keep his/her license, they must also keep going to school, because one of the requirements in keeping the license is to have 40 hours of continuing education every three years. This stipulation is to ensure that each cosmetologist is up to date on the latest techniques, styles, and most important; health concerns.

There are minimum class requirements for each person studying to be a cosmetologist that the Commerce State of Minnesota Cosmetology program states.

These requirements are as follows: health, sanitation, ; infection control, product knowledge, use, and safety, principles and techniques of hair coloring, permanent waving, chemical relaxing, and skin chemical procedures, principles and techniques of scalp and hair treatments, principles and techniques of skin care treatments and application of cosmetics, career and employment information, containing professional ethics and effective communication and human relations, and licensing requirements and regulations.

Each course must provide laboratory or field activities in which students are supervised while providing services. These courses are all just minimum requirements that each school or program must follow. The institution where the specific cosmetology programs can add more classes and requirements above and beyond these basics if they wish.According to the Garden City Community College Cosmetology Program, the mandatory requirements are listed as well as a few of the program’s own requirements and classes, making the process longer and more efficient. The Garden City Community College Cosmetology’s mission statement is “to provide education for men and women interested in preparing themselves for employment in the field of cosmetology and to prepare for the State Board examinations” (Garden City Community College Academic Catalog 2000-01 100). This statement describes the regulations of becoming a cosmetologist that are set for everyone. GCCC offers the nine-month program starting each semester, five days a week from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. In this program, after 320 hours of schooling, the students are allowed to make appointments as in a regular salon. Each of the students shall have a manicuring set, combs, hairbrushes, shampoo cape, washable uniforms, notebook and an approved textbook covering all phases of cosmetology. The student is responsible for his/her own supplies.

When these aspiring cosmetologists finish their nine-month program, they will have 1500 hours of intense training. Each graduate will get a certificate, which will allow he or she to take the State Cosmetology Examination and to obtain a license.If they wish, they may also choose to attend college an additional year to receive an Associate in Applied Science Degree. This is something that is offered at most colleges with a cosmetology program. The Garden City Community College program is an excellent opportunity for those people who want to be a cosmetologist, but will also have a place to start should they choose to get a different job later in life.

When a student goes to take the State Board examination, he/she should expect nothing but hard testing on demonstration or techniques as well as written and oral testing. The student must be at least 17 and a graduate of high school or have obtained a GED; or at least 25 years of age and submit a certified copy of his/her birth certificate. The Board also requires that the applicant must submit a certificate from a physician saying that they are healthy and that he/she does not have any infectious diseases (GCCC Academic Catalog 2000-01 100). Once the applicant has complied with all of the rules, the exam will begin. After passing the exam he/she will receive a temporary permit until the Board conducts a second test. When the applicant passes this second test, he/she will then receive his/her permanent permit to practice cosmetology. These examinations and rules are made to be difficult, so that those individuals interested in pursuing this career know to take them seriously. If a person can not pass the exam, he/she will not be licensed and therefor will not be allowed to practice cosmetology legally.

Sometimes, all a person needs to help make the decision whether or not to pursue something is a little look into the future, maybe an outline of what a person must be like or the things that he/she will have to do in a certain career.In cosmetology, it is not easy; the right person will have a sense of form and balance and will enjoy dealing with people. This person will always listen to his/her customer and make sure that he/she understands exactly what the customer is wanting. They must want to build a loyal clientele and go that extra mile for them. The right candidate will also want to and know how to facilitate better understanding of employee/employer relationships and salon management and possible ownership. With this job outline in mind, we will continue to look further into what it takes to be a cosmetologist, it is very time consuming.

The old myth that all cosmetologists do is snip a little here and play a little there is quickly being proven wrong. “I am a licensed hair pleaser, or in other words cosmetologist,” Wendy De’leon, a professional cosmetologist, “You have to treat your hair well and your clients hair well; or it will not do what you or your client wants it to.” With this in mind, we see that the business is very important and all about pleasing your clients. One must be a very patient person, or else he/she will not be able to have his or her own clientele. During the course of a working day and career, some might come across many different people. Some of these people are going to be very picky and want everything done to their liking and particularities, even if it is just washing their hair. The professional will have to learn to just let it go, and deal with the situation. In order to develop a loyal clientele, he/she must look past their hang-ups and do exactly what the client is wanting them to do every time, no matter how stupid one might think that it is. A good cosmetologist will develop relationships with clients and their clients will start to expect times when you are going to have to make compromises. A cosmetologist’s long days will consist of many loyal clients and that is where the money will come in. Throughout these relationships one must remember his/her ethics (Andre 163-165), do not tell too much and definitely don’t tell something that you do not want anyone else to know. Things have a way of getting around, and if he/she is not careful, they will find themselves out of a job and clients too. Also, be careful about doing favors for someone, remember that if you squeeze a person in, the person who is waiting and is normally the one who always comes back, until now (Andre 166)! Always remember what you are and how you got there. Try not to take on too much because it can only hurt you in the long run.

One of the hardest things for an inspiring cosmetologist to grasp is that no two people’s hair is the same. The licensed cosmetologist realizes this and that hair is a fabric, just like other fabrics, there is no universal, one size fits all approach for its care (Andre 25-26). This professional will know all the ins and outs of chemicals and hopefully will not turn one’s hair green. Each hair will react differently than the one before it. A cosmetologist must always be on the look out for changes in the hair quality. If a customer does not eat well and doesn’t drink plenty of water, and then their hair will be very brittle and will often fall out; causing a problem for most professionals, because they must not cross the line and offend their customer (Andre 29). The professional must always remember that he/she is there for the hair. However, if the customer expresses concern about their hair and asks you questions, refer them to a doctor. Always use your best judgement in these situations.

A cosmetologist, whether they are shaving heads or applying facial masks are on their feet constantly. He/she is going to have to wear comfortable shoes in order to make it through the day. The concrete floor is a killer, not only to feet; but also to a back and neck. When asked what is the first thing you would change about this profession, Wendy De’leon a professional cosmetologist said, “The concrete floors, I would love to change those, they are a back breaker and need some foam or something.” In this industry the number one complaint amongst the employees is that their feet hurt, and the number two is that their back hurt (Fernandez 18). If a person has problems with these areas before becoming a cosmetologist, then he/she should pursue a different career. Cosmetology is hard work, just as loaders and doctors who are standing on concrete all day; cosmetologists are not going to come out of it unexhausted.

Because this profession involves working as a team with other employees, things will not always run smoothly; and you will more than most of the time get the short end of the stick. “Just as any business or time consuming profession, cosmetology interferes terribly with my family,” Wendy De’leon professional cosmetologist, “When people decide not to show up for work, you are stuck there all day and all night long. A day like that, all I want to do when I go home is to rest; not cook and clean for my family. When my feet and back are hurting; I can’t even play with my son and daughter. I constantly have headaches from all of the different chemicals and the conversations.
This is a big problem for some, their families don’t understand why they are this tired or why they cannot come home. How are you supposed to tell the next person that you can not help them to look nice because you are short staffed or that you want to go home? Yet, how is anyone supposed to keep up a personal life or family if they have no spare time and are always in pain. Fortunately, the employees do have each other to communicate with and share ideas on how to make through it all. Employees are each other’s support, when one is running late, another may help them out by taking an appointment or offering words of encouragement. One of the posters that is usually in each of the salon’s brake room is titled
“How to make it through a 10 hour day By: Martha G. Fernandez” On this poster it lists: 1.Start off with a smile 2. Clean your area first thing 3. After your fourth customer, take a two or three minute breather 4. Think Positively 5. Try to serve 7 to 14 people before lunch 6. Take a nice relaxing lunch if possible 7. If you can’t take a lunch, go to the restroom and sit in peace for 10 minutes, only thinking of yourself 8. Get your tools together after lunch before you begin 9. Make sure and converse with your clients, they can really make or brake your day 10. When it is getting close to the end of the day and you are feeling tired; go fold some towels or do some laundry – Quiet time 11. Serve your last client with a smile and maybe give them a break on the price to celebrate the end of a very wonderful but busy day (Fernandez 22-24.)
These are just a few of the support systems that are extremely important in the cosmetology field. A CEO of a major company has his/her vice presidents and secretaries to help and support him/her, a cosmetologist mainly has his or herself and words of wisdom from co-workers.

So many negative aspects of the cosmetology field have been discovered. A professional will be very tired because it is so physically demanding due to long hours of standing and working with his/her arms outstretched. Some chemicals may cause people to have an allergic reaction and than he/she may not be able to work with them. If an individual rents a booth, not only is he/she not vital to the business and will only be a tenant, they may also have to invest money in order to promote and advertise (Cosmetology Careers Unlimited). Throughout all of these depressing facts, there are also, suprisingly some positive sides to cosmetology. “You are always socializing and getting to meet new and interesting people who have some great stories to tell,” Wendy De’leon, professional cosmetologist. The clients will smile when the cosmetologist has just made them look older or in some cases younger, that will be satisfaction enough to get an individual through each day (Fernandez 33). Another plus is that he/she will always be educated on new techniques and styles because he/she is required to go to school. One can’t really get bored with the industry because nothing ever stays the same and someone is always wanting a new and exciting style, like a neon green mohawk.

Looking into cosmetology a little further one finds a new and expanding possibility for an aspiring cosmetologist, and that is the canine-grooming field. Canine grooming is also known as pet grooming, where the student simply learns how to shampoo, cut, and style a dog or cat’s coat. The only school right now is the Michigan School of Canine Cosmetology in Flint Michigan. According to the Michigan School of Canine Cosmetology’s pamphlet, the school opened in the fall of 1998 and they have over 200 students enrolled in the pet-grooming program. This program is one year long and you will learn about nail trimming, fur trimming which will include learning about all of the different types of fur and the best looks. You will learn about what chemicals to look out for, hair and fur brushing, and the difference between deodorant shampoos and regular shampoos and their advantages. This school is seems very open to new students and requires only a high school diploma or a GED to enter. One of the most important things that a student will learn in this program is how to deal with an out of control animal. Students are guaranteed a job when he/she graduates because there are not very many canine cosmetologists around. The pay ranges from $9.00 per hour to 16.00 per hour (Michigan School of Canine Cosmetology Pamphlet). This opportunity could really open doors for people, who are in love with helping animals, especially if one combined it with a veterinarian license.
As one looks at the cosmetology field a little closer, he/she will realize that it is definitely a very valuable industry. Researching all of the downsides of the career and then all of the positive things about it, a person can pretty much conclude that being and becoming a cosmetologist is very difficult and time consuming. A lot of aspiring cosmetologists choose to do this as a career because he/she is thinking that they will be able to simply play all day long and not really work. The facts show that this is not the case, a cosmetologist learns just about as much as an aspiring scientist will learn (Fernandez 36.) The cosmetologist does not get to play all day, rather he/she runs around aimlessly trying to meet all of their clients needs without even thinking of themselves. The cosmetology career is obviously one that will not be easily achieved, nor will it be easily kept; one must work very hard.

When an individual begins to think about a career, he/she wants the best job that suits them. Whether the person is undecided or decided, he/she will definitely be looking at the benefits that will be offered to him/her, as well as the expected salary. Truth be told, the salary of your average cosmetologist is not that bad, but when you think of all of the hard work and effort you put into your job, the pay sure isn’t enough (Wendy De’leon, professional cosmetologist). If an aspiring cosmetologist knew what he/she was about to get into, they might just change their minds and choose a different career. A career that pays better, offers retirement, and that they will have not worked so hard to receive so little. “Remember, when you want to choose a career that will benefit your wants and desires, make sure that the career will give you the time you need to pursue those dreams. Quite honestly, if a person wants to have a family and spend lots of time with that family, do not become a cosmetologist. It is just too time consuming and way too hard to juggle everyday life with the professional world, “Wendy Deleon, professional cosmetologist.

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