Can a Felon Become a Hair Stylist?

Felons may have to learn new skills or start a different career after their incarceration ends. There are resources available for jobs as many employers have found that felons make good employees. This blog post will address the issue of whether or not a felon can become a hair stylist.

  • What is a Hair Stylist?
  • What Education/Training Does a Hair Stylist Need?
  • How Much Does a Hair Stylist Earn?
  • An Opportunity for Felons?
  • Recommended Action

What is a Hair Stylist?

A hair stylist provides hair services to complement a client’s appearance. A hair stylist is trained to evaluate a customer’s hair and select a style that enhances that person’s look. Many hair stylists are trained in all parts of cosmetology, such as beauty, hair, and skincare.

A hair stylist is licensed to perform hair treatments, including:

  • Analyzing hair and scalp health
  • Cutting, drying, and styling hair
  • Bleaching, coloring, or tinting hair
  • Shampooing and conditioning hair
  • Changing hair texture
  • Recommending home treatments
  • Massaging and treating scalp conditions
  • Performing eyebrow or eyelash shaping or coloring
  • Removing hair with laser treatments

Among the skills a successful hair stylist must have are:

  • Creativity to keep up with the latest trends
  • Customer-service skills to interact with customers
  • Listening skills to understand a client’s needs
  • Physical stamina to be able to stand for long periods
  • Cleanliness to keep a clean and sanitary work area
  • Time-management skills to schedule appointments
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Attention to detail

What Education/Training Does a Hair Stylist Need?

A high school diploma or a GED is required for most hair stylists. Typically, a candidate must be at least 16 years old. Every state requires that a hair stylist complete a program from a licensed cosmetology school. These programs can be found in vocational schools and typically offer a certificate.

A hairstylist must have a license in order to work. After graduating from a state-approved training program, students take a state licensing exam that includes a written test and usually a practical test of styling skills.

Classes that are typically part of a school’s curriculum include:

  • Sanitation and sterilization techniques
  • Hair cutting and shaping
  • Hair analysis
  • Hair and scalp disorders
  • Texturizing
  • Hair extensions
  • Coloring methods
  • Permanent waving
  • Salon management

How Much Does a Hair Stylist Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that there are approximately 617,300 hair stylists in the United States. The median annual wage for a hair stylist was $24,300 in 2016. The median salary is the salary at which half of the hair stylists earned more than that amount and half earned less.

Their earnings will depend on factors such as amount of experience and region of the country. A hair stylist working on the East or West coast tends to have a higher income than in other regions of the country.

This occupation is expected to show a 13% growth by 2026. The growing need for hair stylists will come from a population increase and a greater demand for hair-care services. A number of job openings will come from the need to replace stylists who change careers or retire.

An Opportunity for Felons?

Hair stylist license requirements differ from state to state. These requirements do not specify anything regarding criminal convictions, but they focus on the type of training and education received.

A state board can deny a license if the applicant has been convicted of a crime. When applying for state licensing as a hair stylist, each application is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Regarding a felony conviction the board considers the:

  • Nature and severity of the crime
  • How recently the crime was committed
  • Signs of rehabilitation
  • Other related factors like any prior conviction

The board will make a determination for approval or denial of licensure after evaluating the entire application and supporting evidence.

It is important to be honest when applying for a job as a hair stylist. If a felony isn’t disclosed but is found on a background check, this constitutes fraud and is punishable. It is a crime to falsify an application which could result in being sent back to prison.

In order to be successful as a hair stylist it is essential for felons to be honest about their background. They are already viewed with negative perceptions of being dishonest, untrustworthy, and unwilling or unable to follow directions from authority figures.

Having their record expunged can give them the chance needed to begin with a clean record and succeed in becoming a hair stylist. Expunging a criminal record allows anyone to honestly state on an application that he or she has not been convicted of a crime.

Recommended Action

It is a significant challenge, but it might be worth it for a felon that wants to become a hair stylist. Having his or her record expunged and also documenting any training programs or additional education could make the essential difference in a felon succeeding in becoming a hair stylist.

Having support from family, friends, or previous employers can make a huge difference. A felon doesn’t have to be defined by his or her crime. We are not defined by our mistakes but by how we recover from them. He or she can begin again and live an honest life no matter how difficult it might seem.

What do you think about this blog post? Have you or someone you know been in the situation of trying to become a hair stylist with a felony? What was that like for him or her, and how did he or she achieve success? Please tell us in the comments below.


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