Cosmetology instructors are licensed cosmetologists who have an additional teaching license, which requires completion of additional coursework specific to cosmetology education, such as teaching theory and methods, and evaluation techniques. Some states require instructors to have practiced as a cosmetologist for a certain number of years.
The National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology, or NIC, licenses cosmetologists and instructors. Upon becoming licensed, instructors usually need at least eight hours of continued education credits each year to keep their licenses.
Instructors can choose to teach either theoretical or practical courses. In theoretical courses, instructors teach the technical aspects of beauty in a classroom setting, from cutting diagrams to chemical and color theory. In practical courses, instructors show students how to properly carry out cosmetology procedures, such as cutting hair, applying makeup or coloring hair. Beauty is a customer service-based industry, and instructors train their students, who are budding hair stylists, manicurists, makeup artists or aestheticians, the importance of excellent customer service.
Some cosmetology instructors progress in their career to become education directors who run a cosmetology school program; platform educators, who teach cutting-edge beauty techniques at trade shows; or beauty product sales executives who represent cosmetics companies. Cosmetology instructors are classified as technical and vocational teachers and, as of 2014, the average salary in this category was $50,580, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.