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Beauty Training Launches Beautiful Careers

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but beauty trends have always been in the hands of the trained professionals who create them. Of course, those trends can change very quickly, and what was on last year's "do" list could very well be on this year's "don't" list.

Rest assured that this is not your mom's (or dad's) beauty industry anymore. Styles and trends in the beauty industry come and go so quickly that stylists must continue to learn and grow their skills long after they leave the student salon. That's why it's important to undergo beauty training at a reputable beauty program, where you will master the basics of your beauty or spa specialty so that you can add on other techniques as they are introduced to the industry.

It's not uncommon for beauty professionals to seek out and continue their education for the entire length of their careers. Whether they enroll in advanced training classes at licensing beauty programs -- with some professionals earning their teaching credentials along the way -- or simply pick up new styles and techniques from other professionals as they work in the salon, it's vital to salon or spa professionals to keep their clients happy and on trend with the services they provide.

Inside Look at Celebrity Stylists: Vidal Sassoon

You may know the Sassoon name from the popular hair care product line, but the name also belongs to a real man, British hair stylist Vidal Sassoon. His trademark hair design for his clients were easy, wash-and-wear styles that could be easily maintained after they left the salon. For women, this often meant a sleek bob. These simple but beautiful styles made quite a stir in the beauty world, and so Sassoon's name was here to stay. Today, the Sassoon name is a formidable brand of both products and beauty schools across the country.

So how can you get your name on the label of a shampoo bottle? Well, you'll have to start the very same way Sassoon did -- you've got to learn from someone who knows how to cut and design beautiful hairstyles. Sassoon's unique style might be his creation, but first he had to learn the basics. The same goes for other stylists who have become celebrities in their own right. So since you have to start somewhere, head off to one of the many beauty programs available across the country and get the training you need for an exciting career.

Spotlight on Beauty Careers

Take a look at the following career paths for a good idea of how you'll stack up with the competition when you're first starting out. Keep in mind, though, that if you're really good and you develop a celebrity following -- with clients who will fly you anywhere in the world to style them -- then you can virtually write your own paycheck. Cheers!

Hair Stylist: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage for hairdressers and hairstylists was $11.13 in 2008. The top 10 percent in the field were earning more than $20 per hour.

Esthetician: The BLS states that estheticians, or skin care specialists, had a median hourly wage of $13.90 in 2008. The top 10 percent in the field were earning close to $25 per hour.

Nail Stylist: According to the BLS, nail stylists (manicurists and pedicurists) earned a median hourly wage of $9.45, while the best in that field were earning close to $15 per hour.

Fun Facts About Beauty Careers

  • There are some truly disgusting ingredients that are used in certain beauty products and procedures -- bird dropping facial, anyone? -- but once you see what they do to your hair, skin, or nails, you'll lower the ick factor in favor of the wow factor.
  • Do you envy a certain celebrity's long tresses? Don't get too jealous, because more often than not, those are extensions you're looking at. You can break the bank to get the same ones (provided you can get an appointment!) or you can try one of the many more reasonably priced products that are out on the market. Jessica Simpson is one such celebrity to have her own line of hair extensions; she teamed up with world-famous stylist Ken Paves to create a line of easy-to-use extensions and hairpieces.
  • Wigs don't just make themselves; professional wig makers do the job using human or synthetic hair. It's definitely an acquired skill and certainly a time-consuming process, but if you decide to make it part of your professional repertoire, you will be in hot demand from Broadway to Hollywood to Bollywood!
  • If you ever get tired of grooming people's hair, try doing it for man's best friend. Dog grooming is a lucrative side job for many beauty professionals. Purebred dogs especially need to look good for the show ring, and their owners will pay big bucks to ensure that every lock of hairor fur!--is in place!

A state license is the major requirement for starting a career in the beauty industry. However, there are a number of beauty and spa professionals who also attend college to earn their degrees in related fields. The combination of practical career training and academic study can really open up a world of opportunity for professionals.

Consider some of these options beauty college degree options:

Business: A solid grounding in business can give a salon professional the confidence and necessary knowledge to get their own salon or spa up and running. Not interested in setting up shop? You'll still need to market your skills to potential clients as a freelance stylist, and you'll definitely learn how to make a statement in the industry when you go for your business degree.

Theatre, TV, and Film Production: Leave the acting to the performers and they'll leave their hair and makeup to you. If you think a busy salon is an exciting place to work, consider a bustling backstage or backlot! By studying different genres of theatre and film, beauty professionals can create the looks that directors and producers want to see on the stage and screen. From the every day looks to some truly out-of-this-world looks, a stylists' production work will certainly take them out of the same-old, same-old salon styles.

Fashion: If you enjoy styling hair, why not style the rest of your clients and earn a degree in fashion? As the saying goes, clothing makes the man (and woman), so why not let them have a good hair day, too? From design to marketing and merchandising to learning about the history of fashion throughout the centuries, you'll have that much more knowledge to share with your trend-seeking clients when you earn your degree in fashion.