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From Cosmetologist to a Cosmetology Instructor

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Question:
I've been a practicing hair stylist for 10 years, and I'd love to get into teaching, but the schools near me aren't hiring. Do you have any advice on how I can become a cosmetology instructor? Are there online courses I can take to become a credentialed cosmetology teacher?

Answer:
You are halfway there already! A major part of being prepared to teach cosmetology school is your existing cosmetology career. Most beauty schools are seeking instructors with lots of real-world experience (like your ten years behind the chair), because in this industry you only learn by doing. Now that you have salon skills, all that remains are your instructor's skills. The process of earning your cosmetology teacher's certification, like earning your license, requires a combination of technical and practical hours. You can complete most of your instructor training online, but will be required to complete a number of practical hours in person at a school or seminar.

Milady, a popular publisher of cosmetology textbooks, offers an instructor training program online. Some of the courses cover these aspects of teaching:

  • Teaching in a classroom, online and in a laboratory environment
  • Instructor organization, materials, lesson plans and demonstrations
  • Presentation, lecture, questioning and discussion techniques
  • How to motivate and support your students

Until you complete your teaching credential, you won't be able to work as a cosmetology school instructor, but there are other teaching positions in this industry. Most product companies employ teams of educators to demonstrate their color, styling products, extensions or texture services in promotional classes. You can learn a bit about my own experience as an educator here. A good complement to your ten years of work would be the skills you earn as an educator, like addressing an audience, demonstrating and explaining a technique at the same time, and breaking down a process or concept into steps. You will work on a live model with real product in front of a class of fellow professional cosmetologists, and this experience will help prepare you to teach cosmetology students.

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