Beyond "Behind the Chair": Career Opportunities for a New Graduate

By: Lauren Whitaker, BCN Communications

Category: Employers, Professionals, Schools, Students

People often think that graduating from beauty school means you automatically work behind the chair in a salon or spa. Actually, this is just one of a wide range of employment opportunities available for new graduates to explore. 

If you are a new beauty school graduate or you are planning to attend beauty school but have little to no knowledge about the employment opportunities after, this list will help you out. Below, you can find the various employment options for cosmetology graduates. 

    Behind the Chair

The natural career choice for beauty school graduates, working behind the chair, basically means you work in a spa or salon and put what you learned in school to practical use by working on clients. Whether you specialize in nails, hair, or skin care, this option is great for those who love to work with others, grow and improve continually, and who would want to gain hands-on experience in the field. An apprenticeship with a seasoned, successful stylist can be a perfect fit, while others may opt to begin building a clientele immediately.

    Sales Consultant

If product knowledge, recommendations, and sales were your strong points in school, you may want to consider a sales position with your local professional beauty distributor. Work with salons, stylists, and schools in your territory to introduce them to new products & promotions, assist them in placing orders, and provide incredible customer service. 


If you love both beauty and teaching others, education may be your calling. Though additional licensure/training is often required, you could work as an educator, teaching in beauty schools and other institutions or provide training and workshops in various salons and spas. It is necessary that you are committed to being a life-long learner and staying up-to-date on the latest trends and developments in the field of beauty.

    Working for a Product Company 

Some beauty school graduates land a job at a product company. Today, there are many companies in the beauty industry developing a variety of products, whether skin care, hair care, or makeup. Since beauty schools often include education on chemical processes and other science-based aspects of beauty, you can explore opportunities with major product companies as an evaluator, a product tester, or a beauty editor. 

    Spa/Salon Management

For salon management positions, most salons prefer professionals who have had several years of experience coupled with training by qualified management leaders. If salon management is your dream, find a leadership mentor in your current salon and begin to learn the ropes.

    Fashion and Film Industry 

Perhaps the fashion and film industry are the two industries that are most reliant on beauty professionals. Make-up artists, hair stylists, and skin care specialists are always in high demand within these industries. Beauty graduates who work in these industries help stars get ready for red carpet appearances, work on film and TV sets, etc. 


The ease and availability of technology have made it quite easy to reach a wide audience with whatever content you may have. If you have a flair for writing and love beauty, you can start your own blog (or vlog) and upload various content related to beauty. Your education and expertise lend credibility to your message. Social media is a great way to gain the exposure you need. Submit your content to serve as a guest contributor or consider writing columns for magazines and newspapers. 

Professional beauty training and licensure open up a variety of very cool career opportunities. Whether you’re still earning hours or are a new graduate, take some time to consider what you love and enjoy (technical? creativity? business? research? people? sales? teaching? technology?) and see how your favorites fit into the job categories above so that you can explore your next step!

Tags: Students, Career Advice, careers, Professionals