What Does a Cosmetologist Do?

cosmetologist Credit: Skyline College PR & Marketing/CC-BY-2.0

A cosmetologist is a person trained to care for people's hair, skin and nails. A cosmetologist, sometimes called a beautician, is a professional that can specialize in a specific aesthetic field, such as hairstyling, nail care or makeup techniques. A person may also be trained to provide all these services.

To become a cosmetologist, a person must go to cosmetology school to learn the techniques involved in haircutting, perming, coloring, nail technology and the application of makeup. A cosmetologist must also learn about safety and sanitation protocols needed in this field.

Once a person goes through cosmetology school, he or she must pass a cosmetology board exam for a license. Each state has its own requirements to sit for this examination in regards to training hours. In general, a person may need 1,000 hours before he or she can get a license. Similarly, a cosmetology program can take between 9 and 15 months to complete.