March 15, 2021

What Is a Cosmetologist?

What is a cosmetologist, and what exactly do they do? A cosmetologist is a licensed professional authorized to perform certain hair, skin, nail, or makeup services. More than this, though, a cosmetologist is someone who spends their day working creatively, problem-solving, and helping others feel beautiful! See what your daily life as a cosmetologist could look like, including:

If you’ve always loved playing with hair and makeup, or want to help others feel beautiful, keep reading! See for yourself what being a cosmetologist is all about, and why psychologist Barry Schwartz ranked hairdressing in the top three most satisfying jobs in the world!

What Services Can a Cosmetologist Perform?

The beauty industry is always changing. New trends emerge and old favorites come back in style all the time! As a cosmetologist, you could have the opportunity to provide a wide variety of services, no matter what field you decide to specialize in. Here are just a few services you can learn in cosmetology school!



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A post shared by Ally Medina (@hair.byallymedina)

Learn how to customize your haircuts to different face shapes, lifestyles, and more. Our cosmetology program teaches you all the techniques you need to become a pro! Here are just a few skills you can learn:

  • Razoring
  • Layering
  • Stacking
  • Texturizing
  • Blunt Cuts
  • Bobs
  • Bangs
  • Thinning


From basic braiding to advanced updos, hairstyling can be a fun and rewarding skill. If you love this part of cosmetology, you may want to specialize in bridal hair or break into the editorial world. You can learn:

  • Shampooing
  • Braiding
  • Chignon
  • Twists
  • Updos
  • Heat Styling
  • Air Styling
  • Products to Use
  • Extensions

Hair Coloring


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A post shared by Hope Springer (@hope_the_beautician)

“I love what I do!” —Hope Springer, Pivot Point Academy Student

The magic of hair color is not something we can overstate! You can help your clients transform their entire look with just one tube of hair dye. Learn these techniques and be on your way to a successful career in cosmetology as a color specialist:

  • Balayage
  • Ombré
  • Highlights and Babylights
  • Grey Coverage
  • Shadow Boxing
  • Platinum Card
  • Color Blocking
  • Toning


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A post shared by Hope Springer (@hope_the_beautician)

‘This was my first color client at school. I absolutely loved the smile I brought to her face when I finished!” —Hope Springer, Pivot Point Academy Student

Chemical Services

Hair color isn’t the only chemical service you can perform as a cosmetologist. You can also perform several other services to change your clients’ look permanently or semi-permanently:

  • Perm
  • Relaxer
  • Bond-Rebuilding Treatments
  • Keratin Hair Treatments
  • Brazilian Blowout

Basic Esthetics

You will need an esthetician’s license for certain skin care services like electrolysis, chemical peels, or microdermabrasion. If these services spark your interest, consider exploring our esthetician program! Otherwise, here are some basic skin care treatments and skills you can learn as a cosmetologist:

  • Skin Type Analysis
  • Waxing
  • Cleansing
  • Facial Treatments
  • Exfoliating
  • Moisturizing
  • Toning

Basic Barbering


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A post shared by Christy Alfini (@hair.by_christy)

Depending on the state you live in, you may or may not need a separate license to perform some barbering techniques, like straight razor shaving. In Illinois, licensure is separate. If you are a licensed cosmetologist, you will need to take an additional 500 hour course to qualify for licensure as a barber in Illinois. If barbering interests you, check out our barber program at Pivot Point Academy. Otherwise, see what basic barbering services you can offer as a cosmetologist:

  • Fading
  • Clipper Cutting
  • Clipper Over Comb
  • Beard Grooming
  • Mustache Grooming
  • Pompadour
  • Hard Part

Makeup Services

Take your passion for makeup to the next level by becoming a licensed professional! As a cosmetologist, you can learn several makeup application techniques, including:

With advanced education or additional certifications, you can also learn these in-demand beauty services:

  • Eyelash Extensions
  • Permanent Makeup
  • Airbrush Makeup
  • Microblading

Nail Technology


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A post shared by Kiana Martinez (@cosmobykiki)

Were you always painting your nails (and everyone else’s) when you were growing up? You may love a career in nail technology! As a cosmetologist, you can learn the following nail services:

  • Manicuring
  • Pedicuring
  • Acrylic Nails
  • Gel Polish
  • Nail Shaping
  • Nail Art
  • Filing
  • Cuticle Care

Our Top-Ranking Cosmetology Curriculum

“I love creating beautiful transformations!” —Katlyn Mannella, Pivot Point Academy Student

We know cosmetology school is just the first step on your journey toward a successful and fulfilling career. At Pivot Point Academy, we lead the way in providing cutting-edge, up-to-date education to our students. We want you to be prepared for success after graduation! Our cosmetology program even ranked in the top 11 programs across the nation! Here is what Successful Student had to say about us:

“Today it is more than just a school; Pivot Point has become the most taught, international beauty school curriculum available in more than 2,000 institutions, across 70 countries, in 15 languages.”

Our digital integration, Learn About Beauty (LAB), is an interactive platform where you can learn from industry pros. It works similarly to social media, but for beauty education. Students can click through lessons and engage with professionals all over the nation!

Beauty As a Business

As a cosmetologist, you will likely need to know some business skills in order to have the thriving career you want. That’s why we have partnered with Beauty As a Business to give you a full-course in business and marketing that is tailored specifically to beauty pros!

What Careers Can a Cosmetologist Have?

“This has been one of the best journeys I have ever gone on. I’m so grateful to have so many amazing students that I’ve gotten to help grow and learn.” —Shanna Hushaw, Pivot Point Academy Alumna, Instructor Program

Speaking of succeeding in your cosmetology career, have you ever wondered possible careers are out there? The options are nearly limitless, and you can find the one that feels most exciting to you! Here are just a few career possibilities available to cosmetologists:

  • Hairdresser
  • Skin Care Specialist
  • Spa Technician
  • Cruise Ship Beauty Therapist
  • Nail Technician
  • Editorial Artist
  • Music Video Hair or Makeup Artist
  • Beauty Influencer
  • Hair Colorist
  • Extension Specialist
  • Hair Removal Specialist
  • Product Line Developer
  • Educator
  • Brand Ambassador
  • Photoshoot Stylist
  • Salon Manager or Owner

Did any of these spark your interest? You can always feel free to contact us for more information about possible careers in the industry! We are available and always happy to help answer your questions.

Benefits of a Career in Cosmetology


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“If you asked me, ‘What do you love most about what you do?’ My reply would be one word. Transformations.” —Dasha Stepaniouk, Pivot Point Academy Student

Wondering about the benefits of working in the cosmetology industry? Aside from the nearly endless career opportunities, here are just a few benefits:

  • Use your creativity
  • Flexible hours
  • Skip traditional college
  • Work hands-on
  • Be your own boss
  • Help others feel beautiful
  • Meet new people
  • Your earning potential is up to you

Don’t forget to check out our past blog, Cosmetology — Exciting Facts to learn more about the benefits of a career in beauty!

Licensure Requirements


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A post shared by Dasha (@beautybydashaa)

“I finally started cosmo school so now I have time to focus on my creative side.” —Dasha Stepaniouk, Pivot Point Academy Student

Cosmetology license requirements will vary by state. In general, you will probably need some amount of education at an accredited school and passing examination scores. In Illinois, the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation requires the following:

Once you have these, you will be on your way to your cosmetology career! Find flexibility, artistry, and fulfillment in your work like so many other cosmetologists have. In fact, Owl Guru rated cosmetology as having above average levels for job satisfaction!

Get Started With Pivot Point Academy

Now that you have an idea of what your future as a cosmetologist could look like, are you excited? If you are ready to put your creativity to work, form meaningful relationships, and inspire your clients, contact us to get started! We can walk you through everything you may need to know about our curriculum, career options, *financial aid, and more. We can’t wait to be a part of your journey into this rewarding industry!

*Financial aid is available to those who qualify.