May 22, 2019
It’s graduation season right now so you’re probably thinking about what is ahead. For those of us who love all things beauty, that’s always been cosmetology. If you’re not sure how to get there, here is everything you need to know about how to become a cosmetologist.
Complete a Cosmetology Program at an Accredited Cosmetology School
Cosmetologists need to know a lot of things to be successful in their career. You need to know chemistry to properly color hair, marketing and business skills to run a successful salon, and, of course, how to cut hair into a variety of different styles. The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies has established a standardized set of skills that all cosmetologists must be proficient in to be licensed. Cosmetology school is where you’ll learn these skills.
In addition to learning specific skills, such as scalp care, hair styling, and application of artificial nails, to become a cosmetologist you’ll need to complete a required number of “contact hours” which includes both classroom time and practical application. In the state of Colorado, a cosmetology license requires 1500 contact hours. Our cosmetology program can be completed in under a year, but some programs may take longer. Though it may seem like a lot of time, think of it as an investment in yourself. Every skill you master during this time will help you be that much more successful when you become a professional cosmetologist.
Choosing the right cosmetology school is the first step you’ll need to take. Naturally, we think Avalon School of Cosmetology Aurora is the best place to go, but you’ll want to make sure that wherever you go is a good fit for you as an individual. Keep in mind the location of the school, including the affordability of housing in the area if you’ll need to relocate to attend school.
Wherever you choose to go, make sure that the school is accredited. There are two big reasons for this. First, financial aid is only available at accredited schools. Remember that if you need help paying for school. Second, accredited schools have proven that their programs teach everything that students need to know to sit for the state licensing exam. Attending an accredited school will give you peace of mind knowing that you are getting the education you need.
Pass the State Licensing Exam
Once you have completed a program and the required number of hours, you’ll need to pass the state cosmetology licensing exam administered by PSI to receive your license. This exam consists of a written part and a practical part.
The written part of the exam assesses your knowledge of the technical aspects of the job, such as proper hair and skin care, as well as how to properly mix chemicals for hair coloring. Taking tests can be nerve-wracking, but remember that you will have spent at least 1500 hours learning about cosmetology before you take it. You can also take a practice test to help you get a feel for what the exam will be like. The written exam takes about two hours.
The practical part of the exam is a great chance to show-off the skills you have acquired. You’ll be given a little under two and a half hours to perform a series of cosmetology tasks. Though you’ll be in a testing setting, make sure to follow all of the proper processes, including proper disinfecting of materials, so that the examiners know that you’ll follow those important rules in the salon.
Alternative Licensing Routes
Most people trying to become a cosmetologist in Colorado will need to go through an accredited program and then take the state licensing exam to get a license. However, there are some exceptions.
If you attended a beauty school in another state and completed the required number of contact hours, you can submit a proof of hours with your application and take the state licensing exam in Colorado. If you are already licensed in another state, you may be able to skip this process by submitting an application with a current license in good standing. This is evaluated on a case-by-case basis, so you’ll need to contact the Office of Barber & Cosmetology Licensure for details.
There you have it! Becoming a cosmetologist in Colorado is pretty simple, but that doesn’t make it easy. It takes dedication and effort, but that just makes the day you get your license that much more rewarding! If you want to know more about cosmetology school and cosmetology careers, check out our Ultimate Guide to Cosmetology School.