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Job Advice: Should You Become a Shampooer?
Some salons hire shampooers. Some states even require a license or training to perform shampoo jobs. Whether you should consider becoming a shampooer as a career depends on your natural skills and other factors.
First, most states do not require a license for mere shampooing. It is common to have a license requirement for barbers, cosmetologists, nail technicians (manicurists and pedicurists), estheticians, and sometimes even hair braiders. Most shampooers in the United States only have a high school diploma.
However, there is a possible trend toward states requiring a shampoo license. Texas, for example, requires training and both a written and practical exam to get a shampooer license. In this case, it would seem unwise to go through the trouble of attending a professional training course and then not go for a cosmetology license.
If you are going to go through the trouble of applying for admission and perhaps financial aid to get shampoo training, at least consider going for an entire cosmetology course. There is a substantial difference in salary between a cosmetologist and a shampooer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, cosmetologists were earning a median salary of about $22,000, while shampooers were earning an income of only about $18,000. Shampooing is one of the lowest salaries of all full-time jobs.
On the other hand, since most states do not require a shampooer license, you could more easily get those jobs. Remember, however, that you cannot generally become a cosmetologist unless you enter an apprenticeship and actually learn how to cut and style hair. If you want to earn some money in the meantime, you could seek out an apprentice program through a cosmetologist and learn while also earning some money as a shampooer. Check state rules for this, as it may not be legal to work as an apprentice and shampooer at the same time. Certainly, your time on your shampoo job will almost certainly not count as training hours in a cosmetologist apprenticeship.
The last thing to consider is your general aptitude for work as a cosmetologist. If you simply enjoy working shampoo jobs but do not feel confident in styling hair, then that is something to consider even in states where you have to get shampooer training. Shampoo jobs are relatively simple compared to cutting and styling hair, so this is something you need to consider when deciding whether to actively seek work as a shampooer.
Bureau of Labor Statistics: Shampooer Jobs and Salary
Bureau of Labor Statistics: Cosmetologist Jobs and Salary
PSI: Details on Texas Shampoo License Exam