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For makeup artists, the human face and body are the canvas. Working in industries such as theater, fashion, the cosmetics industry and the media, makeup artists use paints, pigments, wigs and other tools to alter appearances. Because the career opportunities for makeup artists vary widely, training to become a makeup artist can offer a diverse set of options for graduates.

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Makeup Schools and Programs

Because the field of makeup artistry is so diverse, training takes many forms. Privately owned career and cosmetology schools offer training courses of varying lengths, ranging from three to six months or longer, on makeup and cosmetic artistry. Regardless of where you go you will practice on live models, and may also offer services to the public while in training.

Some community colleges offer makeup programs in cosmetology or aesthetics that have a makeup component. These programs can lead to an associate’s degree or a certificate in cosmetology with an emphasis on makeup. Large cosmetic companies and salons may also offer their own private makeup training programs of varying lengths, and online courses are also available.

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Makeup Artist Licensing Information

Once you have completed a program through a makeup artist school and received a cosmetology degree or certificate you can become licensed by your state by taking the licensing exams administered either by the State Board of Cosmetology or the Department of Health. Many employers, especially in spa and salon settings where a wide variety of services is offered, prefer to hire licensed artists.

Although makeup artistry is a field that overlaps with other cosmetology careers, professional makeup organizations do exist. The International Make – Up Association grants certification to its members who pass a set of exams and provide an acceptable portfolio and evidence of training. Larger cosmetology organizations such as the American Beauty Association and the National Cosmetology Association also include makeup artists, offering professional support and education.

Necessary Makeup Artist Skills

After completion of a makeup artist school, you will have an understanding of color and design, as well as knowledge of human anatomy and the skin. As a professional in  the cosmetics industry, you may do demonstrations and makeovers to help sell products, or custom makeup work in salons or spas. Creativity is also a must, and chances are you got into the field because you love being creative in your daily life.  Additionally, trends are ever changing so you must be willing to stay current in the cosmetic industry.  Not just in makeup, but fashion and cosmetology as well.

Career Opportunities as a Makeup Artist

There are several employment options for you to pursue after completing your makeup artist school program.  You may choose to be employed by the media, working with broadcast journalists and other on-camera individuals to present the best look. In addition to applying makeup, you may be looked to assume a larger role, advising on wardrobe and hairstyles as well, or coordinating the work of all these different departments.

If you enjoy fashion, the fashion photography world may be the place for you.  In this capacity you may find yourself doing makeup for models in runway shows, or preparing subjects for photo shoots. In these fields, you will also be given the chance to work with a wide range of creative professionals, including photographers, designers and producers.

You may also be interested in pursing makeup artistry in theatrical industry, working closely with film or theater directors and producers to create specialized looks that illustrate a script. As a theatrical makeup artist, you may also work in the music industry, preparing performers for the stage.

If you become highly specialized, you may decide to work in a private practice that specializes in doing makeup for brides, speakers, presenters and other individuals in the public eye.

Makeup Artist Salary Information

Salaries for makeup artists vary widely, depending on the location and type of work. Those working in the entertainment and fashion worlds can command salaries of several thousand dollars a job, while those working privately or in small salons earn much less. With a wide range of career options, many of them highly flexible, the field of makeup artistry can offer many opportunities for creative work in a variety of settings.

Make-up artistry is made up of a variety of distinct categories. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the make-up artistry industry is broken down into the following main categories: Motion Pictures and Video Industries, Performing Arts Companies, Amusement Parks and Arcades, Radio and Television Broadcasting, Personal Care Services and Other Professional, Scientific and Technical Services. There are other smaller components of the industry; however, these listed ones are the groups with the highest percentages of industry employment. To put the other components into perspective, the Other Professional, Scientific and Technical Services counts for .01% of industry employment and is still higher than the unlisted ones.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics divides each of these categories down even more by creating a section for both the hourly wage and the annual salary of employees in these fields. Individuals in Motion Picture and Video Industries make a mean hourly wage of $42.40 and a mean annual salary of $88,2000. The respective numbers are $29.28 and $60,890 for the Performing Arts Companies sector and $19.58 and $40,730 for the Amusement Parks and Arcades group. Individuals who work in the Personal Care Services can expect to make an average of $14.60 per hour or $30,360 per year. Numbers are unavailable for both the Radio and Television Broadcasting and the Other Professional, Scientific and Technical Services fields. It is very important to note that these salary and hourly figures are only means of the entire industry. An individual could make a significant amount less or a significant amount more, and one of the factors that affects the wage is the location where the professional works.

Salaries for Make Up Artists Depends on Location

In addition to providing statistical information for the field broken down by specific industry, the Bureau of Labor Statistics goes on to demonstrate how the geographic location of the employee could significantly affect his or her income. The Bureau’s chart indicates that the states with the highest levels of employment in this field are New York, California, Ohio, Texas and Nevada. In the same way that the hourly and yearly wages were listed for each of the industries, there is also a chart dedicated to showing the means for each of the aforementioned states. In New York, the mean hourly wage is $44.90, and the mean annual salary is $93,390, while in California, the numbers are $35.21 per hour and $73,420 per year. $22.21 and $46,190 are the numbers for Ohio, and $20.51 and $42,650 are the numbers for Texas. Nevada rounds out the list with a mean hourly wage of $22.07 and a mean annual salary of $45,900.

Again, these numbers are only averages. Furthermore, these numbers are taking the entire field into account, as opposed to breaking it down into industries. Therefore, while one industry professional may earn over the mean in New York, a professional in a different industry may earn less than the mean in another state. The Bureau of Labor Statistics website for this field provides additional information on this matter for individuals who wish to conduct further research. For example, statistics on the wages and salaries in states such as Michigan and Massachusetts are also provided. The website also goes on to break down some of the areas of the states into the New York and Los Angeles metropolitan areas, for example, to provide a more accurate idea of where the jobs are located in these states that report the highest paying figures for people in these diverse industries.