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What Is a Master Cosmetologist?

Mary McMahon
Updated: Mar 02, 2024

A master cosmetologist is a cosmetologist who has fulfilled certain educational and work experience requirements. As a general rule, a master cosmetologist must complete a regionally-approved cosmetology course, become licensed, work for at least a year, and fulfill some continuing educational requirements to ensure that he or she is current with information in the field of cosmetology. Once someone becomes a master cosmetologist, he or she has many more career opportunities.

The first step in becoming a master cosmetologist is attending a cosmetology school. Most cosmetology programs last around a year, offering training in caring for hair, skin, and nails. Students learn about anatomy, physiology, and chemistry as they are taught about various skin, hair, and nail types and the products which can be used on them. While in school, cosmetology students also practice, to get hands-on experience in the field.

After completing an education, the master candidate must take a licensing exam, which typically consists of a written exam followed by a practical demonstration. If he or she passes the exam, it is possible to be employed in the field; after a year of work and around 16 hours of continuing education, he or she can apply for licensure as a master cosmetologist.

One of the advantages of working as a master cosmetologist is that it is possible to work on hair, skin, or nails. Many people choose to work in a specific field after they are licensed, but they enjoy having their options open. Their practical experience and training in hair, skin, and nails also allows them to work with other cosmetologists more easily, and to help their clients to make good choices about their beauty regimens.

Because a master cosmetologist is more experienced and better trained than some regular cosmetologists, he or she tends to be more employable. It is often easier to find work with a master cosmetology certificate, and to request a higher salary or negotiate a better contract. Some clients also actively seek out people with a master certification, to ensure that they can benefit from at least a year of experience in the field.

By law in many areas, a cosmetologist must display his or her credentials at his or her work station, and clients may ask to see a cosmetologist's license in areas where the license need not be displayed by law. Licenses must also be kept current; if you aren't sure about your cosmetologist's qualifications, take a look at his or her license, and you should be able to tell what kind of certification the cosmetologist has, and when it is due to expire.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a Practical Adult Insights researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By SteamLouis — On Feb 10, 2015

@turquoise-- I don't think salons hire people who haven't done a cosmetology course and have at least some practical experience. Obviously, not everyone at the salon is a master cosmetologist. Some haven't fulfilled the requirements yet or haven't taken continuing education courses. But that doesn't necessarily mean that they are less qualified to provide services.

Those who intend to go far in this career however ought concentrate on becoming a master cosmetologist as soon as possible. Like the article said, it will open more doors and increase chances of employment and employment at renowned salons.

By ddljohn — On Feb 10, 2015

@turquoise-- If you visit a nice, well known salon, I'm sure that your hair stylist is a master cosmetologist. Of course, you can always ask. Some cosmetologists do hang their license on the wall or would be happy to show it to you if you ask. But you are right, most of us don't ask. I personally go to a well known salon so I don't even question their certification. But people who go to smaller or newer salons should probably ask during their first visit. I think that's absolutely fine.

By turquoise — On Feb 09, 2015

I've been to many hair salons and beauty salons but I've never asked to see a cosmetologist's license. I guess we should ask, but it never occurred to me. I've never had a bad experience thankfully. I might ask next time though. I don't even know if my hair stylist is a master cosmetologist or not.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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