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Most people enjoy feeling and looking their best. That means jobs that help people achieve these goals are in demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that personal care and service occupations, which include hairdressers, manicurists and skin-care specialists, are expected to grow 13 percent between 2014 and 2024. The jobs are often flexible, with part-time options, too. Here are four of the possibilities.
1. Skin-Care Specialist
The nitty-gritty: Maintaining healthy, glowing skin is not just a luxury for the well-to-do. As aging boomers shell out for treatments, the employment of skin-care specialists is expected to rise 12 percent between 2014 and 2024, which is faster than average, according to the BLS. Department stores hire sales clerks to assist customers with skin-care offerings. Spas, health clubs, beauty salons and even medical offices are also hiring. Skin-care specialists and aestheticians recommend products and can perform procedures such as waxing and electrolysis or give pore-cleansing facials. Providing head and neck massages might be part of your day, too.
Pay range: The BLS reports that the median pay in 2015 was $30,090 a year or $14.47 an hour.
Qualifications: Skin-care specialists usually take a state-approved cosmetology program that can cost several thousand dollars, according to the nonprofit American Association of Cosmetology Schools. An aesthetics program that focuses primarily on learning how to do facials, waxing, reflexology and makeup application is usually less expensive. Some schools offer scholarships and financial aid. After completing an approved cosmetology program, you'll need to take a written and practical exam to get a state license. Licensing requirements vary by state. For details, contact your state board. You'll find jobs posted online, but seeking out local businesses is your best bet.
Manicurist and Pedicurist
The nitty-gritty: These professionals typically work out of salons or spas, taking care of nails. About 3 in 10 are self-employed, the BLS reports, which means they run their own businesses. The job requires a high level of customer service and patience, as you are sitting in close quarters with clients and often chitchatting while you trim, buff and polish. The job outlook is strong, with the BLS predicting a 10 percent rise in jobs between 2014 and 2024.
Pay range: The 2015 median pay was $20,820 a year or about $10 an hour.
Qualifications: Manicurists and pedicurists must go through state-approved programs and then pass a state exam to receive a license. (Connecticut, however, does not license manicurists.)
The nitty-gritty: Customers inevitably want a change — whether to look more professional or more youthful, or just to try a 'do that fits their lifestyle. The job demands precision and fashion sense, listening skills and sometimes barber-chair psychotherapy. The essential tasks are shampooing, cutting, coloring and styling. The job can be physically demanding because you spend so much time on your feet, bending forward and using your arms to wash and rinse your clients' hair. Demand for hair coloring, straightening and adding extensions has ramped up in recent years, a trend that's expected to remain over the coming decade. If you work as an independent contractor (as about half of all stylists do), you'll need to keep detailed records for tax purposes. Juggling clients can be tricky, especially when someone calls with a last-minute request. The keys to success are a gracious smile and an ability to make each customer feel special and, well, happy. Employment of hairstylists is expected to jump 10 percent through 2024, according to the BLS.
Pay range: The 2015 median pay was $23,710 a year or $11.40 an hour, with lots of variance by location. Tips of 10 to 20 percent are standard. A typical cut and color can easily top $120 per appointment in a big city.
Qualifications: All states require hairdressers to be licensed. Qualifications for a license vary by state, but generally a person must have a high school diploma or GED and have graduated from a state-licensed barber or cosmetology school. Some states have reciprocity agreements that allow you to transfer a valid cosmetology license. State licensing board requirements and a list of licensed training schools for cosmetologists may be obtained from the Beauty Schools Directory. Word-of-mouth marketing makes or breaks your success as a hairdresser.
The nitty-gritty: Trainers and instructors help their clients, who range in age and fitness level, work out. They might lead classes, offer resources on nutrition and provide one-on-one coaching, as well. They often work out of a gym, health club or recreation center. Growth is projected to be 8 percent, which is about average.
Pay range: The 2015 median pay was $36,160 a year or $17.39 an hour, although trainers with big followings or popular classes can ramp that up significantly.
Qualifications: Depending on the specialty, you might need a certification. Employers often want to see experience and training that will appeal to potential clients.
Kerry Hannon, AARP jobs expert, is a career transition expert and an award-winning author. Her latest book is Great Jobs for Everyone 50+: Finding Work That Keeps You Happy and Healthy … and Pays the Bills.