When most people hear “cosmetology,” they…
When most people hear “cosmetology,” they take it to mean basic beauty services such as hair care—hair styling or hair design—nail care, and basic skincare. However, the beauty industry is growing, and licensed cosmetologists don’t just work in hair salons. These days, licensed cosmetologists can find themselves working in the film industry, advertising, academia, fashion, journalism, and many other industries. Working in cosmetology can be a rewarding career, so if you’re interested in joining the cosmetology industry, here are four unique professions to consider.

Mortuary Makeup Artist

If you’re interested in the makeup industry and also love helping people, a career as a mortuary makeup artist could suit you. Sometimes referred to as mortuary cosmetologists, mortuary makeup artists use makeup to help prepare the deceased for their interment. To do this, they’ll offer beauty services that range from hair or wig styling and nail care to makeup application. You can become a mortuary makeup artist with a cosmetology license. Aside from completing a cosmetology course, you’ll also have to apply for a specialty license from a mortuary science program.


An esthetician or skin care therapist is a licensed cosmetologist who specializes in skin treatments. Given that estheticians aren’t medical professionals, they can only perform non-invasive skin treatments such as superficial chemical peels, waxing, makeup application, and other body treatments. If you need help figuring out your skin type and the products that work best for it, an esthetician can help. Today, most estheticians work at salons, medical spas, and day spas.

Cosmetology Instructor

Some cosmetology students have a knack for beauty and teaching others. If this is you, then a career as a beauty instructor should be something to consider. As a cosmetology instructor, your work opportunities are a bit more varied because besides offering cosmetology classes, you can also work as a freelance platform artist or fashion makeup consultant, or even own your own salon.

Special Effects Makeup Artist

Unlike conventional makeup artists who use makeup to accentuate their clients’ best features, special effects makeup artists use makeup to create a new identity and, in some cases, a new entity. Special effects makeup is an important part of the creative process for film makeup. These days, production companies, music video directors, and theatrical productions hire special effects artists to help with creature design, prosthetics, character design, character makeup, age makeup, and more. To become proficient in prosthetic makeup application, you’ll need to attend an accredited special effects make-up program. Upon completion of this certificate program, the best way to learn is by gaining some on-the-job training. Through this training, you’ll learn product knowledge and get the opportunity to work with real clients.


All you need is a cosmetology diploma from an accredited cosmetology school. The length of time it takes you to graduate from a cosmetology program depends on the nature of your enrollment—part-time student, full-time student—and the field of cosmetology you choose to study. Besides your diploma, state law requires that you get a state cosmetology license to practice in your state. If you’re based in Texas, for instance, you’ll need to take a state board exam and, after successful completion, receive your license to practice from the Texas Department of Licensing. After this, you can apply for an entry-level position at a salon to gain some work experience and build your client base. If you need financial assistance to help you get through your studies, most cosmetology schools offer federal financial aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) program. Cosmetology scholarships are also available through scholarship databases like Unigo.com. Your school’s financial aid office could also share more information on other financial aid options available to you.

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