Cosmetology instructors teach students the essentials of the industry, including how to pass the state board exam.

Requirements for a cosmetology instructor license vary by state. However, cosmetology instructors generally need to be licensed in cosmetology, have experience in their field, graduate from a specialized program and pass an examination. To complete the coursework required to apply for the license, students can choose between traditional community colleges and beauty schools. Once licensed, graduates can not only work as instructors but also as state licensing examiners, state board members and researchers.

Community College

Prospective cosmetology instructors may choose to go to a traditional community college for their training. Completion of a specific number of clock, or classroom, hours awards students a diploma. Students take courses in industry-specific topics such as curriculum development, student motivation and classroom management. Community college classes ideally cover the theories and practical skills necessary to pass the state board exam and teach in a cosmetology school. Best practices for such instruction have students practice teaching in addition to studying cosmetology concepts.

Example Community College Programs

Programs range from requiring 300 classroom hours to 750. The Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Chattanooga, for instance, requires 300 hours. These include presentation of cosmetology instruction concepts, both in the classroom and "laboratory teach experience," or the cosmetology equivalent of student teaching. Delgado Community College in New Orleans requires 500 clock hours.. Their limited-admissions program, though, means only 15 students get accepted each year. Students take courses in interactive lecturing and classroom environment to receive 24 college credits. Blue Cliff College in Shreveport, Louisiana, requires 750 clock hours, or six months' of full-time study. During that time students take courses such as teaching methodology and assessment practices.

Beauty Schools

Cosmetology schools do not differ vastly in what they offer prospective instructors in terms of training. However, students training to be cosmetology instructors in a beauty school have the added benefit of learning in a salon environment. They have the chance to watch and learn from cosmetology instructors working in the field. Otherwise, students attending beauty college to become cosmetology instructors learn to educate others in the practice of cosmetology, prime them to pass the state board exam for cosmetology, train them to work as hairstylists or in other beauty-related fields and even provide them with enough business acumen to successfully run their own careers.

Example Beauty School Programs

Like with community colleges, beauty school programs vary in terms of hourly requirements and offer both full-time and part-time schedules. At the Michigan College of Beauty, students receive basic orientation and introduction to teaching as well as curriculum development during 600 clock hours; they also have the chance to practice teaching theory in the school's clinic. Arthur's Beauty College in Arkansas also requires 600 clock hours. During that time, students must complete an hour of classroom theory each day they attend and an hour of instructor theory each week. Paul Mitchell's schools require 500 hours and one year of experience in cosmetology. Their system also offers extensive materials such as instructional DVDs, textbooks and even industry professional books such as "Be Nice (Or Else!)."