For aspiring cosmetologists, it’s one thing to dream and another thing to make your dream a reality by meeting all the requirements to practice.
Cosmetology, according to the Oklahoma State Board of Cosmetology and Barbering, is “any one or combination of practices generally and usually performed by and known as the occupation of beauticians, beauty culturists, beauty operators, cosmeticians, cosmetologists, or hairdressers, or any other person holding himself or herself out as practicing cosmetology by whatever designation and within the meaning of the Oklahoma Cosmetology and Barbering Act and in or upon whatever place or premises”.
As you can see, the Board takes its mandate very seriously, as should anyone considering a career in cosmetology.
The process for becoming a licensed cosmetologist in Oklahoma can seem intimidating or confusing for some people. You may not know where to start or how to reach your goal of becoming a licensed cosmetologist. Fortunately, the process breaks down into a few relatively simple steps:
- Complete at least 8th grade
- Apply and enroll in the beauty school of your choice
- Complete 1,500 cosmetology program credit hours
- Pass the state licensing exam, both written and practical
Each of the steps in the enrollment process are important; any incomplete steps will make it impossible for you to secure the license you need. We’ve broken each of them down to talk in-depth about what you can expect.
Why do I have to complete 8th grade to become a cosmetologist?
Professional cosmetologists are usually responsible for managing their own book of business. This means you would be responsible for scheduling appointments with your clients and essentially building your own business. Finishing the 8th grade can give you a basic education to allow you to conduct your business more professionally.
Applying & Enrolling in Beauty School
Once you’re ready to begin your journey into the beauty industry, one of the biggest choices you get to make is which beauty school to apply to and attend. Every beauty school should offer you an education that allows you to take the licensing exam, but that’s where the similarities end.
Accreditation & Financial Aid
Some schools are accredited, while others are not. Accredited cosmetology schools are allowed to provide federal financial aid options to students who qualify, while unaccredited schools cannot. This can be a major deciding factor, especially if affording school could be a challenge. Elite Academy is an accredited school and financial assistance is offered to qualified students.
In addition to financial aid opportunities, good beauty schools should strive to help their new students find scholarships to make paying for beauty school easier. Some schools offer their own scholarships, while other schools help students apply for publicly available scholarships. Make sure the school you’re considering provides the support that you need!
Providing the 1,500 classroom hours for the state licensing exam is the bare minimum that a beauty school should do. Excellent cosmetology schools can offer extracurricular activities, business development lessons, and continuing education opportunities. Be sure to ask what you can get out of your time in beauty school!
What To Expect In Beauty School
While the actual academic content of different schools will vary, you’ll get a mix of class time–where you learn the ideas, techniques and basic information from books–and hands-on practice to get some experience and practical training. Most curriculum covers everything you need to know about hair, nails and skin. Some specialized programs might go more in-depth on specific skills like barbering, electrolysis, permanent makeup or hair braiding.
Here are some ideas of more specific topics you might explore:
- Sanitation procedures: cleaning tools, making sure your station is hygienic, how to dispose of waste from haircuts, manicures and other treatments.
- Human physiology and anatomy: Discovering the biological makeup and function of human skin, hair, nails, and other systems connected to the human body.
- Chemistry: how chemicals react and work together in the products and solutions you use, and how they can affect the human body.
- Esthetician procedures: the basics of waxing and various hair-removal techniques as well as facial peels, masks, procedures like microdermabrasion, etc.
- Hair treatments: all the steps from beginning to end such as shampooing, styling and shaping, coloring and cutting.
- Nails: how to perform manicures, pedicures, paraffin dips for hands and feet, etc.
- Management theory: the skills you need to run your business, like client and staff communication strategies, organizational and computer skills, etc.
Pass the Licensing Exam
The cosmetology licensing exam is the last step to becoming a licensed cosmetologist in Oklahoma. This exam can be intimidating for many people, but the staff at Elite Academy of Cosmetology are dedicated to making it as manageable as possible for graduates.
The Practical Exam
The practical portion of the licensing exam is where graduates demonstrate their hands-on skills for cosmetology. For some people this is easier than traditional written testing because students have the opportunity to build muscle memory to help them succeed in the test.
The Written Exam
The written portion of the licensing exam will likely feel familiar for most students. This part of the exam can be intimidating for some graduates, which is why we strive to help our students feel confident and prepared to take the exam head-on!
Once you’ve received your license, you’ll need to renew it annually, on the last day of your birthday month.
Learn Cosmetology at Elite Academy of Cosmetology
If becoming a licensed cosmetologist, esthetician, barber, or nail technician is your dream, we can help! Reach out to us to learn more about our programs, available at both our campuses in Duncan and Lawton, OK. Can’t decide on which program you might enjoy most? Take our quiz to find the perfect program for you!