Style & Substance: A Look Into Cosmetology at CNCC

Style & Substance: A Look Into Cosmetology at CNCC

A new do. A close shave. A roots touch-up. A fresh coat on the toes for sandal weather. Hairstylists and barbers provide a range of personal care and grooming services — even a bit of relaxation or a total transformation — for people of all ages. You could also say they are providers of confidence and refreshed spirits: Who doesn’t feel new after leaving the chair? 

Cosmetology Jobs Overview: What You’ll Do


Training in professional cosmetology prepares students to perform many kinds of hair care services including:

  • Inspecting hair and scalp.
  • Wash/conditioning treatments.
  • Cutting, texturing, shaping and trimming.
  • Coloring or lightening.
  • Styling/blow-drying. 
  • Recommending products/care instructions.

While the above skills may seem basic, the creativity and talent — the art of cosmetology — really comes into play in the styling aspect: working with the client to consider options for new or updated looks, specializing in a particular technique or process, or otherwise making your own unique mark in the field. 

How is a barber different from a stylist? Barbers perform a narrower, more specific set of services, most often for male clients. Using their tools of the trade — combs, clippers, scissors and straight razors — barbers typically offer cuts and trims, facial shaving, hair styling and sometimes, fitting hairpieces. 

Programs like the one offered at CNCC also introduce students to aspects of a cosmetology career beyond working with a head of hair — including giving facials, performing nail care services, providing skincare consultation and more. This additional training can lead to even more cosmetology job opportunities.

Cosmetology Careers: Manicures and PedicuresCosmo7

Professional cosmetology programs often include training in manicures and pedicures and, in general, care of clients’ fingernails and toenails. Along with the mani and pedi process, this includes tasks such as cleaning, trimming, and shaping; buffing and polishing nails; applying and maintaining artificial nails; reducing calluses and rough skin, and hand and foot massage, 

The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports personal care/cosmetology jobs focusing on these areas will grow by 10% through 2028, which is much faster than the average occupation. 

Cosmetology Careers: Skin Care

In cosmetology school, students learn some of the basic skin care techniques, such as hair removal through waxing or lasers, including eyebrows, upper lip and other parts of the body. CNCC’s program covers aspects of skin care, but after students graduate and as they grow in their careers, they often choose to continue their education with additional esthetician training and certifications. 

Students interested in skin care often pursue continuing education training opportunities in facials, peels, scrubs, masks, full-body skin treatments, head and neck massages, skin care regimens and make-up application and lessons. 

The BLS reports the need for skin care specialists will grow by 11% through 2028, which is much faster than the average occupation — and is the most in-demand subspecialty within personal care/cosmetology jobs that we’ve highlighted here. 

Earning Your Certificate or Degree in Professional Cosmetology 


If you want to pursue a cosmetology career, you’ll need to keep in mind that each state has its own education and licensing requirements. If you’re drawn to a cosmetology career after you finish high school, a community college like CNCC is the best place to find the type of training and the degree and certificate programs that you’ll need for professional certification in you state. 

The CNCC certificate in cosmetology occupations requires 60 credits, which are earned through taking a variety of beginner and advanced classes in cutting, coloring, styling, texturing, nail application, and makeup. Beyond these technical skills, the program also covers sanitation, safety, and laws and regulations. 

CNCC also offers a two-year associate of applied science degree (AAS) in cosmetology occupations. The main difference between the AAS and the cosmetology certificate is that the degree program includes general education classes and provides a more well-rounded education. 

Hands-On Cosmetology Experience 

One major benefit of the CNCC program is the college’s Salon & Spa; it gives students real-world, professional cosmetology experience in a salon setting. Open to the general public during school hours, the student-run business offers discount services from cuts and color to manis and pedis. 

Once students enter their clinical experience, they’re given business cards to pass out to family and friends. This gives these future cosmetologists experience in promoting themselves and their salon in order to gain clientele. At the Salon & Spa, students also work the front desk, answering calls and scheduling appointments, giving them experience in all aspects of running a salon. Thanks to the work ethic, skills and customer service training evident in CNCC’s cosmetology students, some customers stick around long after their initial experience with a student cosmetologist — they become repeat customers.

Cosmetology Jobs in Colorado and Beyond: After Barber or Beauty SchoolCosmo5

According to the BLS, the need for barbers, hairstylists and cosmetologists will grow 8% through 2028, which is faster than the average occupation. 

When CNCC students graduate with their certificates, they most often find cosmetology jobs at locally-owned salons. Students who commute or relocate to more urban areas may also find work as a stylist with national chains like Great Clips. Some open their own salons. 

Beyond rural Northern Colorado’s reach, cosmetology careers take graduates to hotels, spas, resorts, cruise ships, department stores, health care facilities, retirement communities, military bases and more. 

Cosmetology is a career that offers a unique skill set, mobility, and a variety of professional opportunities. If you’d like to learn more about how CNCC can prepare you for a cosmetology career or find out more about the Salon & Spa at CNCC,  please visit our program page

Published August 14, 2020

About CNCC

Colorado Northwestern is one college in two Colorado communities. Depending on what you want to study, CNCC has the perfect surroundings and facilities to meet your needs. Founded in 1962 as “Rangely College,” CNCC now serves nearly 1,600 students on two campuses, two service centers and online. Our two campuses are located in Craig and Rangely and are 90 miles apart in the mountains and canyons of Northwestern Colorado.