A career in Cosmetology can be an exciting choice. If you’ve been dreaming of cutting hair, styling nails, applying makeup and helping men and women with their overall beauty and self-confidence, Cosmetology school may be right for you.
When you first look into Cosmetology schools, you will notice that there are a variety of different program options. Not only are these classes offered at different types of schools like community colleges, technical colleges, and private Cosmetology companies, but the degree program names and lengths vary as well. We are here to help you understand the difference between an Associate’s Degree, a Diploma, and a Certificate in Cosmetology so that you are able to choose the program that will be the best fit for you.
Cosmetology Associate in Applied Sciences Degree
An Associate’s Degree is the highest degree that you can earn in the Cosmetology field. It consists of a two year program made up of general courses, major-based courses, and hands-on experience.
The main thing that sets the Associate’s Degree apart from other options is that it includes general course work. These courses are based on topics including English Communications, Sciences, Math, and History. Because general courses are taken, Associate’s Degrees in Cosmetology are made up of credits that can transfer directly into a Bachelor’s Degree program if the student decides to further their education in the future.
The science classes taught through the Associate’s Degree program can set students apart from their peers who choose different pathways into the Cosmetology field. These classes often teach problems that can occur with skin, hair, and nails. The students are taught how to recognize these problems and then taught general ways to treat them. This allows them to better offer services that help their future clients and adds significantly to their client education skills and topics.
The major-based courses in this program are made up of everything students need to know in their future career. They teach topics about hair cair, washing and conditioning hair, and how to cut and style every type of hair. They learn to dye and perform special treatments like deep conditioning and perms as well. The classes cover everything the students will need to know when they begin to work on hair, skin, and nails.
Along with the in-class portion of the degree, students gain hands on experience as well. They first practice on manicans while they practice the basics of cutting, styling, and dying hair and caring for skin and nails. They then move into an experience that shows them what it is like to work in a real salon. They practice on real clients in a school setting with close supervision.
After students have completed general courses, major-based classes, and have participated in hands-on training on real clients, their program draws near its end. The last step in the Associate’s Degree in to pass a state licensing exam. This exam varies by state, but can include a written, oral, and/or a skills test. Once this exam is passed, students are legally allowed to practice Cosmetology in the state of their school. It also allows them to graduate with their Associate’s degree.
Another way to become a licensed Cosmetologist is through the Cosmetology Diploma program. This program gives many of the same benefits as the Associate’s Degree option, but its process is slightly less demanding. To receive this diploma, students are required to take all of the same Cosmetology courses. They still learn about hair, skin, and nails and how to care for and beautify each of these. They have the same hands-on training as well. However, they are not required to take general courses throughout the program.
Diplomas can typically be obtained slightly faster than Associate’s Degrees, but they do come with a few downfalls. Because Diploma students are not required to take general courses, their degrees cannot transfer directly into a Bachelor’s Degree program if they want to further their education in the future. They also miss out of the detailed scientific information on disorders of the hair and skin and the details behind their treatment, which can give them a slight setback in the work field.
However, for students who are looking to become a licensed Cosmetologist with the best field-related information and training in a shorter period of time, the Diploma program can be a good fit. It may not come with every aspect that the Associate’s Program offers, but it does provide high-class job-related education and experience. Students are still required to pass the licensing exam, so they are still capable of finding excellent work in the Cosmetology field.
Before looking into the Certificate Program, it is important to note that some schools use the terms “Certificate” and “Diploma” interchangeably. Because of this, it is important to look into the program details to discover which option a program really is, because these two program options do have many differences.
A Certificate Program is the fastest way to become a Cosmetologist. This program can be completed in as little as one year. It does include some classroom time, but the majority of the work is done in a hands-on fashion. It mainly teaches its students how to cut, style, and treat hair, skin, and nails.
The Certificate Program is less in-depth than the other Cosmetology schooling options. It does provide hands-on experience and it requires the licensing exam to be taken at its finish, so it does still lay a pathway to enter into the Cosmetology workforce. However, colleagues with higher degrees may have an easier time getting chosen for the jobs they desire.
The three Cosmetology schooling options each of their benefits and downfalls. Their schooling experiences vary greatly, they take different amounts of time to complete, and they provide different skill sets overall. Before choosing a Cosmetology Program, consider the ups and downs of each program type. Consider your future plans, how in-depth you’d like your job knowledge to be, and how much time you can give to your schooling. Digging into every option will allow you to pick the best pathway for your future.