Discovering your passion
There’s no denying it; military service members have to get haircuts on a regular basis. In addition, military spouses like to look great when they get to spend an evening out with their service member. With a career as a barber, hairstylist or cosmetologist, you should have no shortage of clientele.
To be successful in this career path, important traits include the following:
- Communicating with all personality types
- Keeping skills sharp
- Staying on the “cutting edge” of the latest trends
- Practicing active listening and being service-oriented
- Striving to satisfy your customers
If you are considering a career as a barber, hairstylist or cosmetologist, you can review the Research Occupations tool on MySECO. Take the Strong Interest Explorer and Myers-Briggs self-assessments to make sure your skills and interests align with this career path.
Education and training
Once you have made the decision to pursue a career as a barber, hairstylist or cosmetologist, you can explore the many tools and resources on MySECO to assist you in achieving the education requirements necessary to practice in your profession. While the exact requirements vary by state, most barbers, or cosmetologists have a high school diploma or equivalent and complete a state-licensed barber or cosmetology school. As part of maintaining your state licensure and staying current on the latest industry trends, you can take advanced courses in hairstyling or in other personal appearance services. Read the MySECO articles, State Licensure Directory, About Continuing Education Units and Finding the Right CEUs for Me to find information on your state’s rules and regulations and for help selecting a CEU.
College Scorecard is a great starting point for researching and selecting an education institution. When you visit College Scorecard, search by program/degree, location, size and more to find a program of study near you. You can also use the Scholarship Finder to assist with finding funding relevant to the military community to help pay for classes.
Once you are confident that you have met the education requirements to become a barber, hairstylist or cosmetologist, it’s time to find a job in your occupation. One of the first places to look is the Military Spouse Employment Partnership Job Search. Hundreds of partner employers have made the commitment to recruit, hire, promote and retain military spouses in portable careers. A recent search of the MSEP Job Search using the keywords 'Barber' or 'Cosmetologist' provided job listings with Interstate Hotels & Resorts, Hilton and Hyatt. You can also search for barber, hairdresser or cosmetologist positions using the MySECO Job Search Tools, including Hiring Our Heroes Hiring Fairs.
Consider volunteering, if possible, or doing an internship and proactively networking to build contacts and experience in this field.
Every state has licensure restrictions for practicing barbers, hairdressers and cosmetologists. You can use the CareerOneStop State License Directory to research your state’s rules and regulations to find the required licenses you will need. You can also visit the Department of Labor Military Spouse License Recognition Map for up-to-date legislation and licensure information for your specific state.
If you move due to a PCS, your service branch can now help reimburse licensure and certification costs up to $500. Learn more. Be sure to also visit the Military State Policy Source website for information about key issues that affect service members and military families and efforts being made to address those issues at a state level.
Professional organizations and networking
You may wish to consider joining a professional organization in your career field to gain a better understanding of current trends. Professional organizations are great ways to continue your education through workshops and conferences, which will add to your transferable skill set as you move. Networking with other professionals in your industry will give you an edge in meeting the right people who may have the connections you need to obtain an interview or restart your career at your new location. Read The Value of Professional Associations for more information on how becoming a member can help enhance your career.
To explore additional information related to starting your career, check out the Research Occupations tool on MySECO. Enter the keywords 'Barbers' or 'Hairdressers, Hairstylists and Cosmetologists' to learn more about the occupational overview for your specialty field. If you need additional information about the occupation, you can speak with a career coach at 800-342-9647 to discuss any questions or concerns you may have. Coaches are available to review your resume, practice interviewing, discuss networking or assist you in understanding employer requirements for this field.