Cosmetologist Careers and Schools in Texas

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When it comes to states with career opportunities for cosmetologists, Texas offers some of the more promising job sources in the country. The state’s major metro areas employ large numbers of cosmetologists, and even many small towns and counties need experienced hairstylists and nail care specialists too.

This page will walk you through the basics of launching your career as a cosmetologist in Texas, including getting the right education and gaining the experience necessary to take on higher-paying jobs. Armed with this info, you’ll be ready to tackle your own cosmetologist career path anywhere in Texas.


Becoming a Cosmetologist in Texas [ Top ]

Working your way to a cosmetology job in Texas takes some time. You’ll need to go through a series of steps, since cosmetologists in Texas need to be board-certified and well-trained. Here are the basic steps you’ll be following:

  • You’ll need a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) certificate to enroll at most cosmetology schools in Texas. If you’re still in high school, enroll in a cosmetology vocational program.
  • Enroll in any cosmetology program accredited by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) – for example, a program like the Cosmetology Program offered by Texas College of Cosmetology, or the Cosmetology Degree Program offered by Ron King Academy.
  • Complete your 1,500 hour cosmetology program, as required by the TDLR. This program will teach you the hands-on skills you’ll use when working as a cosmetologist.
  • Consider taking some additional courses to specialize in areas like makeup, wedding hairstyling, and so on. Certifications like these can help you land more niche jobs.
  • Pass the TDLR Cosmetology examination to become a licensed cosmetologist in Texas.
  • Participate in an apprenticeship program, if any salon in your area offers one. This will help you refine your skills while getting experience in a professional setting.
  • Apply for jobs with salon chains like L’oreal and Regis; with hairstyle chains like SuperCuts and ProCuts; and with independent spas, barbershops, and other employers that offer openings for hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists (see the "Top Employers " section below).

It’s a time-consuming process, but at the end of it you’ll be qualified to work in just about any cosmetology position, in one of the country’s top states for cosmetology employment.


Top Texas Employers for Cosmetologists [ Top ]

Different types of Texas employers offer job openings for cosmetologists, and they range all the way from fancy salons down to small barbershops. Here are some types of places where jobs are often available:

Job openings for cosmetologists in Texas range from fancy salons down to small barbershops…

High-end salons

Some of the top-paying jobs for hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists come from high-end salons throughout the state of Texas. Many of these salons are privately owned and operated by experienced cosmetology professionals, so customers and bosses alike are likely to be demanding. Still, if you’ve got the skills and the spirit to handle a salon like this, you’ll get lots of opportunities to practice the more artistic side of your craft – and you may get pay to match. You can find many job openings from these salons by running a search for terms like "cosmetologist" and "hairstylist" on large job websites like Indeed.com and SimplyHired.com, and scanning for job postings that sound more upscale.

Retail stores & hairstyle chains

Many hair product manufacturers, such as L’oreal and Regis, operate chains of mid-range salons throughout the U.S., including in Texas. Some retail chains, such as JCPenney, also maintain mid-level salons within their stores, for the convenience of shoppers. And then there are chains like ProCuts and SuperCuts, which cater to clientele who want something a little fancier than a standard barbershop, but don’t want to pay for a high-end salon. You’ll find a wide variety of cosmetology jobs at places like these. They positions aren’t likely to be particularly high-paying ones, but they are likely to remain steady – and you’ll get lots of daily practice working on standard hairstyles. These jobs also often have a lot of postings on job sites like Indeed.com and SimplyHired.com.

Local salons & barbershops

Local businesses account for quite a few cosmetology jobs, too – so you may have luck by looking for cosmetology work in your own town or township. These jobs aren’t likely to offer much in the way of fancy work or high pay, but the atmosphere is also likely to be more relaxed than at a high-end salon or busy chain store. You’ll have more opportunities to work and chat with the locals, and get less pressure to perform at the top of your skill level. If this sounds like it’s more your speed, just walking into a local salon or barbershop and ask if there’s a station available. Even if there isn’t, the locals may be able to point you toward another small salon that’s in need of a certified cosmetologist.


Texas’ Top Cosmetology Education Programs [ Top ]

While it’s possible to get your cosmetologist certification from a wide variety of colleges and trade schools throughout the U.S., it may be simpler to focus on schools in Texas if that’s the state where you’re planning to work. In reviews of cosmetologist programs in Texas, certain schools’ names tend to be highly recommended. Here are quick profiles of each of them.

Certain Texas schools come highly recommended for their cosmetology programs…

Avenue Five Institute – Cosmetology Course
(Austin)

If you’re looking for a top-notch cosmetology course that’ll prepare you to work in high-end salons, Avenue Five’s program is one worth considering. In classrooms equipped with state-of-the-art computer and video equipment, instructors with years of experience in the cosmetology industry will guide you through the steps of basic techniques like hairstyling and cutting, then introduce you to advanced topics like perming, straightening, coloring, and even creating original designs. You’ll have regular opportunities to practice these techniques in the classroom, as well as in Avenue Five’s public salon, where you’ll sharpen your skills on real clientele. You’ll graduate with the solid foundation you’ll need to start your career at the salon of your choice.

Ron King Academy – Cosmetology Degree Program
(Austin)

One of the top beauty schools in the state of Texas, Ron King Academy takes its name from the celebrity hairstylist who helped launch it. This school’s cosmetology program focuses not only on cutting-edge hairstyling and shaping techniques, but also on business topics like salon management and business planning. On the technique side of things, you’ll get expert instruction in basics like hair cutting and styling, as well as perming, coloring, extensions and other advanced topics. You’ll also get instruction in managing a salon, both from salon owners and from Academy graduates who’ve gone on to start their own successful businesses. That means you’ll graduate with the right background not only to work as a cosmetologist, but to actually manage or co-manage your own salon.

Ogle School – Cosmetology Operator Program
(Dallas; Houston; San Antonio)

For aspiring cosmetologists who can’t relocate to Austin, Ogle School provides top-notch training in several major cities throughout the state. The instructors in Ogle’s cosmetology operator program come straight from the beauty industry, where many of them have worked as salon owners or professional cosmetologists. In classrooms equipped with the latest salon equipment, these instructors will give you a foundation in hair cutting and styling, then give you the advanced skills you’ll need to tackle coloring, perming, extensions, and even hair removal. You’ll also get instruction in managing and running a salon, straight from people who’ve done it themselves. After all this, you’ll be well-prepared to take on any high-end salon job when you graduate.

Texas College of Cosmetology – Cosmetology Program
(Greater Dallas area; greater Austin area; Lubbock)

Not all cosmetology schools aim for the high-end experience – some provide lower-cost training to students who still want to develop excellent cosmetology skills, but who aren’t necessarily interested in working at the fanciest salons. Texas College of Cosmetology falls into this category. With campuses throughout Texas, its programs are accessible to students from all around the state. In classrooms equipped with actual cosmetology tools, experienced instructors will take you through the skills you’ll need to work as a cosmetology professional, from hair cutting and styling to shaping and coloring. You’ll graduate with a wide range of knowledge, from hairstyling to nail and skin care – which will qualify you to work at many salons throughout the state.

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