Are you a school administrator? Yes No x to close
Find Your School
Find VA-Approved Colleges For Military and Veterans

Cosmetology Degree for Military and Veterans

What Is a Cosmetology Degree?

If you want to work in the beauty industry in skincare, nails, makeup or hair, you’ll attend cosmetology school, which focuses on these areas. Cosmetologists typically earn certifications; however, they may also earn an Associate’s Degree. They are licensed in every state, and each has varying requirements for licensure.

Cosmetology covers hair cutting and styling, makeup application, hair removal, nail care, skin care, and some aspects of salon management. Job opportunities exist in client services,  salon management, education, and work in the fashion and entertainment industries.

What Can You Do with a Cosmetology Degree?

There are numerous jobs you could take as a licensed cosmetologist. Skin, nails, makeup and hair are the four main areas of study. Within these areas are numerous professions in a variety of settings and industries.

An individual with a cosmetology license can work in the following positions. (Tips may be included.)
  • Nail Technician- Nail techs conduct manicures and pedicures and sell additional services and products for nails to customers. Average annual salary: $34,250. 
  • Cosmetology instructor- A person in this role teaches foundational principles and techniques in skin care, makeup, nails and hair. Average annual salary: $64,197.
  • Salon Owner- This person is involved in every aspect of running a salon, including budgeting, marketing, hiring, scheduling and product restocking, among other responsibilities. Average annual salary: $52,588.
  • Makeup Artist- This skilled professional applies cosmetics and makeup products to enhance and transform a person's appearance. Average annual salary: $54,363.
  • Esthetician- Estheticians specialize in skin care treatments like facials, massages and hair removal services. They analyze skin conditions, recommend skincare routines, and educate clients on maintaining healthy skin. Average annual salary: 43,200.
There are also several hair-related positions a person who went to cosmetology school can work in, such as:
  • Hair Stylist- A hair stylist usually works in a salon or barber shop setting, but can work in fashion and entertainment. They can cut, trim, texturize, perm, or color hair Average base annual salary: $29,131.
  • Hair Stylist’s Assistant- A hair stylist's assistant helps the main hair stylist by making appointments, washing hair, prepping the stylist’s station and other support duties. Average annual salary: $46,220.
  • Hair Color Specialist- A person in this role colors hair using complex techniques. Average annual salary: $126,696.

Is a Cosmetology Degree Worth It?

Cosmetology students aren’t in school for long but get all the training and experience they need to make a decent salary. They often graduate with little to no college debt.

If you're passionate about the beauty industry, enjoy working with people, and have a creative flair for all aspects of hair styling then a cosmetology degree can be of value. It provides hands-on training, industry knowledge, and certification that can open doors to a variety of career opportunities, particularly if you specialize in something like coloring or hair extensions.

Each state has different requirements for becoming a licensed hairstylist. California, for example, requires students to complete 1000 hours of training and pass a State licensing exam.

Is a Cosmetology Degree Hard?

Cosmetology school can take from 9 months to 2 years, depending on the state and program and days filled with classes, hands-on training and studying for exams. Certificate programs are shorter than Associate’s Degrees, which have more in-depth training on salon management and advanced techniques. Some schools offer apprenticeships that last from one to three years, allowing students to gain hands-on experience under licensed cosmetologists.

Select VA-Approved Colleges with Cosmetology Programs

Colorado Northwestern Community College- Colorado Northwestern Community College offers certificates in Barbering and Cosmetology and an Associate’s Degree in Cosmetology, Barber/Styling. It has GI Bill-approved programs, offers credit for military experience, is approved for Tuition Assistance, and awards credit for CLEP and DSST exams.

Pearl River Community College- Pearl River Community College offers Associate's Degrees in Barbering and Cosmetology. The school has GI Bill approved programs and offers credit for military experience. It is approved for Tuition Assistance and awards credit for the CLEP exam.

Northland Pioneer College- Northland Pioneer College offers an Associates Degree in Cosmetology and has GI Bill-approved programs, and offers credit for military experience, is approved for Tuition Assistance, and awards credit for the CLEP exam.

Allan Hancock College- Allan Hancock College offers an Associates Degree in Dental Assisting. Phoenix College has GI Bill approved programs, offers credit for military experience, awards credit for CLEP and DSST exams and is approved for Tuition Assistance. Allan Hancock College is a MyCAA-approved school.