Here are 23 career possibilities or specialties open to licensed cosmetologists. Some are glamorous, some are deeply satisfying, some are fun and some are extremely lucrative. The choices are yours to make as you build your brand.
You’re creative, but can easily switch on the science side of your brain to grasp the concepts of chemistry. You flip through swatch books just for fun; you refer to blondes as “ecru,” “marshmallow” or “oyster.” If you dream in color, consider a hair-color specialty.
Makeup is all about sculpting with color to enhance a person’s features. It’s also a field that allows you to be super creative! There are many opportunities to work as a makeup artist—you could have a career in a salon, as a celebrity makeup artist, for films or photo sessions or in television or the theater. And the best part? Once the client washes her face, you get to create something brand-new!
When it comes to styling, there are few days as significant as a client’s wedding day. Wedding stylists must be artistic, empathic and efficient. You must also be able to juggle many personalities and moods, from nervous brides to bossy bridesmaids to fidgety flower girls. But the payoffs are huge—your work will live on in family photos forever!
This is a booming specialty as more and more clients are embracing extensions for length, volume and even pops of high-fashion hair color. You’ll need training and patience—because extension application can be time-consuming—but the money is great!
Generally, there’s no cutting or chemical services in a blowout bar. You get the pleasure of transforming client with your blow dryer and thermal irons. This is a great gig as you’re just getting started and need more experience in customer service to feel comfortable about moving on to a full-service salon.
Curly hair requires a special touch. To satisfy curly girls, it’s important to understand the specific cutting and coloring techniques their texture requires, as well as the unique hair-care needs for curly hair. As a curly hair expert, you’ll build a loyal and lucrative clientele and carve out a niche for yourself.
Men’s services are exploding as more and more guys are demanding sharp and trendy looks. If you love turning out precision shapes at a fast pace (men’s cuts are done quickly) and you’re a whiz with razors and shears—consider specializing in men’s cutting.
Lashes and brows are two items that can change a face dramatically. Your artistic eye and technical expertise will allow you to craft the perfect brow shapes or configuration of lash extensions. Demand is quickly growing for these profitable services.
Do you have charisma and flair in front of the camera? Social-media stars with large followings are building lucrative careers by gaining sponsors who want to get in front of their audiences. Successful influencers warn that it’s not as easy as it looks—you must create compelling content on a regular basis in order to build and retain high levels of engagement.
How exciting would it be if Kourtney or Kylie had you on speed dial? As a celebrity stylist, you’re on call 24/7, but the rewards are huge. Most celebrity stylists have top-level skills combined with the kind of low-key personalities that keep their star clients in the spotlight.
Want to be part of a glam squad styling models and celebrities for photo shoots? You’ll need mad styling skills, a very cooperative and easy-going attitude, a willingness to work as part of a team, a deep understanding of trends, fashion and beauty history.
Manage the hair, skin and nails content in a publication. They typically work at women’s or fashion magazines to cover products and trends. The duties of a beauty editor can include writing and editing articles, working with staff and freelance writers, managing photos, and participating in editorial planning.
Work backstage at Fashion Week in New York, Paris, Milan and London? Yes, please! The pace is lightning fast on the fashion show scene—models race from show to show, and stylists often have just a few minutes to get them ready. You must also be a team-player and understand that you’re in a supporting role, because at Fashion Week it’s the hair crew’s job to bring the fashion designer’s vision to life!
Imagine being responsible for the looks of the stars on a television or film production. You would work with the director to create the hairstyles for each character, and then be responsible for styling the hair on the set. Continuity is important—the hair must look the same from shot to shot. And you must also have the type of personality that works well with demanding actors.
Nothing is more exciting than a live production, and you’ll be backstage every night getting the cast ready for the show. Many productions also require the actors to wear wigs or hairpieces, so it’s important to have a solid understanding of how to procure, cut and style these items if you do hair for live performances.
If you love meeting new people, these jobs are new people on steroids! But don’t get attached—you’ll work on hotel guests or cruise ship passengers for the duration of their trip, then probably never see them again. The bonus for the cruise ship gig is traveling to amazing places—all for free!
If you’ve ever attended a hair show, you’ve seen these dynamic educators teaching hair techniques on a stage or in a classroom. If you love to travel and teach, working as a company educator will take you to places you’ve never dreamed you would go. Consider specializing in color or cutting education to increase demand for your services.
Many distributors offer more than just a place to buy your hair color and developer—they also serve as educators and advisors for salon businesses. In this role, you would visit salons in your area to give them the scoop on the newest products and partner with them on strategies for their success.
Do you love imagining the big picture and then working with a team to bring your vision to life? Creative directors for hair-care companies come up with collections and put together ads and educational campaigns. You’ll work with models, photographers, makeup artists and wardrobe stylists in a fast-paced and varied career.
There’s a reason products invented by hairstylists are so successful—who better to really understand what a hairdresser needs and what works best in a salon? Many of the industry’s top companies were started by hairdressers, and there’s always room for more. If you are passionate about your ideas and persistent about bringing them to life, product development could be the right path for you.
Do you like to be in charge and do things your way? Salon ownership allows you to be the captain of your own ship—from the décor to the products you work with, the staff you hire and the type of clients you service. Like any business, ownership also brings a degree of risk, but if you’re up for the challenge, this could be the road just for you.
If you have a head for business and you love to motivate and lead other stylists, consider a career in salon management. Some managers continue to work with clients; others devote themselves to management full time. Options range from working for a large corporation with many locations to management in a privately owned salon.
Many salons offer robust training and advanced education programs—and someone has to run them! A salon education director prepares the curriculum, conducts the classes, oversees the education team and certifies the students. It’s a rewarding role if you want to share your knowledge with colleagues while maintaining your own clients in the salon.
With a career in hair and beauty, exciting opportunities are at every turn. Pivot Point’s objective is to prepare students and professionals alike to be industry leaders and enable them to focus on what they do best in a way that inspires them, fits their lifestyle, and achieves their personal goals. We reach our objective by relying on our innovative curriculum. A curriculum that has a proven track record around the world. Here is a sample community of accomplished Pivot Point educated alumni.
Alex, Chicago-born cosmetologist, makeup educator and Platform Artist for Fromm Beauty, uncovered a talent and passion for beauty after enrolling in Pivot Point Academy. He launched a YouTube channel and Instagram account, where he rapidly gained a following of nearly 40,000 inspired followers hungry for his tutorials. You can find Rivera on platforms around the country for Fromm Beauty, on YouTube demoing special effects makeup or on Instagram.More Alumni
Styling the hair of George Clooney, Viggo Mortensen, Ryan Gosling, Liam Hemsworth and Matt Damon is just a day in the working life of Pivot Point grad Diana Schmidtke. Diana’s expertise and attention to detail have led her to work on numerous films and magazines from coast to coast. Some of these revered publications include Vanity Fair, Vogue, Esquire and GQ to name a few. She also released her own book and continues to lecture around the world as an educator.More Alumni
Throughout her career, Alison has built countless programs to shine light on emerging talent, while connecting those involved in the beauty industry. R+Co’s Vice President of Social Media and Community, Alison will build a community of hairdressers, leading the brand’s social media innovation, strengthening the digital footprint. As Editor in Chief for Modern Salon, Alison was the content strategist for all digital channels, educational events, monthly print magazine and social platforms.More Alumni
An accomplished Pivot Point grad and educator, Tasheara Neshell has built herself an A-list clientele, including Jennifer Hudson, Viola Davis and many more. Her work has appeared on the covers and pages of the editorial magazines, red carpet events and stages of the Academy Awards, Grammy Awards, NAACP Awards and more.More Alumni
Ann Bray is a treasured teacher, artist and mentor to hair designers worldwide. In 1978, Ann was the first American female to win the World Championship of Hairdressing. She also trained the only U.S. Women’s Team to win Gold in the World Championships of Hairdressing, won the 2006 North American Hairstyling Award and was even knighted in Paris for her achievements. Most recently, Ann has been involved with the hair designs used in three installments of the “Hunger Games” series.More Alumni
Following college, Michael enrolled at Pivot Point International to receive his degree in cosmetology. After graduation, Michael trained and worked at Vidal Sassoon for several years before opening his own salon in Chicago. First Lady Michelle Obama has been a regular client of Flowers, even having the honor to style the entire First Family for the 2009 Inauguration. Flowers has worked with a number of other celebrities, including Kerry Washington, Marilyn McCoo, Nancy Wilson and Regina Taylor.More Alumni
Pivot Point graduates are known for quickly making moves in the industry and finding unique, creative ways to show off their skills while continuously developing their talent. Inez Doe is the driving force behind UFancii Beauty Bar LLC and a distributor of UFancii Brazillian hair wefts. She has made an impact on the social network scene as well for her Fancii JuNk CuRlZ. Sitings of her talent have appeared in Denim Magazine and on the runways of fashion shows.More Alumni
Once a Pivot Point student, now Lock & Loaded Artistic Director, Eli has presented his looks globally from Australia to Asia and throughout the United States as one of today’s leading stage artists. He is currently owner and lead stylist of Bang! Salon in Chicago. In 2011, Eli was selected North American Hairstyling Awards (NAHA) Hairstylist of the Year.More Alumni