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August 27, 2021

How to Become a Cosmetologist in California

In the vibrant world of beauty and aesthetics, becoming a cosmetologist can be a fulfilling career choice that allows individuals to express their creativity while helping others look and feel their best. If you’re drawn to the artistry of hair, makeup, skincare, and nail care, pursuing a career as a cosmetologist in California can open doors to many opportunities. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the steps, requirements, and insights on how to become a cosmetologist in California.

Understanding the Role of a Cosmetologist:

Before delving into the specifics of becoming a cosmetologist in California, it’s essential to understand the role and responsibilities associated with the profession. Cosmetologists are skilled professionals trained in various beauty treatments, including hairstyling, hair coloring, hair cutting, chemical hair treatments, skincare, hair removal, makeup application, brow and lash beautification, and nail care. They work in a diverse range of settings, including salons, spas, beauty clinics, and even freelance capacities, catering to clients’ aesthetic needs and preferences.

Step 1: Meet the Minimum Requirements

In California, aspiring cosmetologists must meet specific requirements to pursue licensure. The California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology oversees the licensing process, ensuring that individuals possess the necessary skills and knowledge to practice safely and effectively. The minimum requirements typically include:

  • Age: Applicants must be at least 17 years old.
  • Education: Completion of a state-approved 1000-hour cosmetology program.
  • Training: Enrollment in a cosmetology school approved by the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology.
  • Examination: Successful completion of the state licensing exam, which consists of a 100 multiple choice questions.

Step 2: Find the Right Beauty School

The next step is to enroll in a beauty school. California schools are required to be approved by the Bureau of Private Post-Secondary Education and the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology. This means that the state has approved the school’s training curriculum and it meets their requirements. Beauty schools may also be accredited. JD Academy is accredited by the Natiional Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences. If the beauty school is approved to offer Federal student aid, they must also be approved by the Federal Department of Education.

Now, there are plenty of accredited beauty schools in each state – but it’s important to attend the right school for you. Not all beauty schools are created equal, and you will have a better learning experience at the one that fits you best.

The most important factor to consider is the way that the school trains its students. You want to go to a school that prepares you for your future with hands-on training and a cohesive curriculum. Remember, you are not just learning information to pass your certification test – you are being trained for a future career. JD Academy has a structured 37 week curriculum and small class sizes with a student to teacher ratio of 15 to 1.

About Our Cosmetology Program

You’ll find that the cosmetology program at JD Academy of Salon and Spa takes a different approach than other beauty schools. Our main goal is to engage with our students from day one, so our instructors take the time to offer hands-on training. We make sure that you have mastered your foundational skills before moving on to advanced techniques.

We also have an award winning salon and spa where you get to practice everything you learn in the classroom with real clients. This allows our students to earn real experience before they enter the workforce.

Step 3: Prepare To Learn

Once you have enrolled in the right beauty school, you’ll dive headfirst into training and learning. To meet the state’s 1000-hour requirement, you will attend theory classes, observe demonstrations, and practice hands on. JD Academy of Salon and Spa’s cosmetology course includes:

  • 500 hours of hairstyling training, including cutting techniques, chemical treatments, waving, coloring, bleaching, and styling courses.
  • 200 hours of health and safety courses, including state laws, regulations, health considerations, disinfection, anatomy and physiology, and sanitation training.
  • 200 hours of esthetics courses including skincare techniques, eyebrow beautification, and make-up artistry training.
  • 100 hours of nail art training.

All of our courses are broken into four parts:

First, you will sit through a theory and lecture presentation where the teacher will cover all of the basic information. Next, you will watch a demonstration of the technique from an experienced instructor. Then students will practice on mannequin heads until they have mastered the skill. Finally, they will have the chance to practice with clients in the student salon.*

Step 4: Prepare for the Licensing Exam

Upon completing your cosmetology program, you’ll need to prepare for the California state licensing exam. The exam consists of a 100 question multiple choice written exam. To increase your opportunity for success, consider the following tips:

  • Review the Exam Content: Familiarize yourself with the exam content outline provided by the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, covering topics such as sanitation, safety, anatomy, and cosmetology techniques.
  • Practice Regularly: Dedicate time to practice your practical skills, including hairstyling, hair coloring, makeup application, and nail care. Utilize mannequins, models, or classmates to simulate real-world scenarios.
  • Seek Feedback: Solicit feedback from instructors, mentors, or peers to identify areas for improvement and refine your techniques.
  • Stay Updated: Stay informed about industry trends, innovations, and regulations to demonstrate your commitment to ongoing learning and professional development.

Each California beauty school is required by the Bureau for Private Post-Secondary Education to post a Fact Sheet on their website with their graduation, licensure, and employment placement rates. When you tour beauty schools, ask to view the schools fact sheet.

Step 5: Obtain Your Cosmetology License

The licensing exam application process typically involves submitting an application, along with the required documentation and fees. The state board license is issued after successfully passing the California licensing exam. It allows the new cosmetologist to legally practice cosmetology in California.

Step 6: Find The Job That Works For You

Once you earn your license, the real work begins. There are many career opportunities you can pursue. Many cosmetologists begin their careers working in a salon to gain more experience and build up their clientele. Some salons will set required hours, while others allow hairstylists to work around their appointment times.

If you prefer a bit more flexibility with your schedule, you could consider renting a booth in a salon instead. This means that you will set your own hours – but you are also responsible for finding clients on your own. You will need to use the marketing skills you’ve learned in beauty school to succeed!

However, there are many other career paths that cosmetologists can follow. Some jobs to consider are:

  • Salon owner
  • Beauty school instructor
  • Makeup artist
  • Working for photo shoots, film, or television
  • Freelance stylist for fashion shows, weddings, and events
  • Editorial and advertising stylist
  • Personal stylist
  • Beauty brand ambassador

And these are just a few ideas! There are many ways you can use your cosmetology training once you graduate.

Step 7: Pursue Continuing Education and Specialization

In the dynamic field of cosmetology, continuing education is essential for staying current with evolving trends, techniques, and technologies. Consider pursuing advanced training or specialization in areas of interest such as bridal makeup, advanced hairstyling, skincare treatments, or nail art. By expanding your skill set and knowledge base, you can enhance your career prospects and attract a diverse clientele.


Become A Cosmetologist!

Becoming a cosmetologist in California can be a rewarding journey that requires dedication, passion, and commitment to excellence. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can embark on a career path in the beauty industry, where creativity meets professionalism. Whether you dream of owning your salon, working in a high-end spa, or pursuing freelance opportunities, the possibilities are endless.

If you think that becoming a cosmetologist would be the dream job for you, your first step is to enroll in beauty school. You can learn more about JD Academy of Salon and Spa by contacting us online. Also, be sure to schedule a tour of our Danville, California campus in the East Bay area to check it out for yourself!

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