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How to Become a Make-Up Artist

Majors Overview January 25, 2013

Performance and theatrical make-up artists create hairstyles and make-up for singers, models, actors, musicians and other entertainer. Make-up Artists who works in cosmetology can create looks for private clients, special events and weddings. A two years community college program, certificate, degrees from a nine months to one year beauty school, or diploma can help prospective students to become a make-up artist. In this article, we will look at the education and training requirements of an aspiring make-up artist. The following is a step-by-step guide that should be followed by students who want to pursue this career field.

Stage One: Earn a High-School Diploma

Earning a high school diploma or equivalent qualification such as a GED will help aspiring make-up artists understand the field of make-up and preparing them for college. Some states require students to possess a high school diploma or equivalent qualification as a part of licensure norms to be satisfied by a cosmetologist. Classes in English, design, art and drama will help enhance the career prospects of an aspiring make-up artist.

Stage Two: Get Postsecondary Training and a License

A cosmetology school certificate or diploma spanning nine months to a year can also help prepare for such a career. Some programs allow students to major in various aspects such as drawing, design, use of foam-rubber silicone, mold sculpturing, body-parts casting, and life casting, among others. Students can also seek to specialize in other focus areas such as bridal make-up or make-up techniques aimed at requirements specific to fashion and film photography, television and theater. Students can also use such course as preparation for cosmetology licensure. Enrolling into an associate degree program in theater or drama offered by a two-year community college would also benefit an aspiring cosmetologist. Coursework in such programs can include subject areas such as production, stagecraft, lighting and stage make-up. An associate degree can provide a solid foundation for future advancement, education and training.

Stage Three: Gain Experience and Contacts

Hands-on experience is imparted in school salons to students enrolled in cosmetology programs. They can also volunteer to work in local theater productions, student films or independent films, which will help the cosmetologists to get credited work experience and improve their career prospects through networking opportunities with other artists they have met.

Stage Four: Create a Portfolio

Photograph your work and preserve such pictures to create a portfolio where future clients or employers will get to see the quality and type of work you do. Cosmetologists can join hands with photographers in creating such a portfolio, which will serve the purpose of both professionals. The artist should use such portfolios to demonstrate the different looks and styles they can create.

Stage 5: Find Work

Production companies, television stations and theaters are among the most common employers of performance and theater make-up artists. Both freelance and contract opportunities are available to these professionals. Various performance companies, such as theater groups and film production companies, among others, offer the most employment opportunities to professionals in the field. In May 2008, make-up artists earned average hourly wages of $12.63; the comparative figure for cosmetologists were $11.13 (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, make-up (www.bls.gov). Freelance cosmetologists as well as those who prefer to work in beauty salons are likely to find a broader range of opportunities in more geographical locations. Job growth of twenty percent has been projected for hairstylists and cosmetologists for the period from 2008 to 2018 (BLS).

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