How to Find Cosmetology Jobs in Nursing Homes

There are some parts of the country (namely Florida, California, and New York) where you might wonder if you’ve wandered into an episode of The Golden Girls. These are the states with the highest density of Americans aged 65 and over.

However, the U.S.A. isn’t even among the list of countries with the largest aging population. The top spot goes to Japan, with 27% of the population aged 65 and over (compared to 15.4% in the U.S.A.), and the lack of elder care staff in Japan has actually led to robots being developed to help in nursing homes.

Jobs in nursing homes need that extra human touch. If you have ever thought about becoming an onsite cosmetologist in a nursing home, you can try to find that job by applying online or inquiring directly at your local nursing home.

How to Find and Apply for Nursing Home Jobs for Cosmetologists

Cosmetology jobs in nursing homes are advertised in the usual places (namely online), but in addition to checking the beauty subcategories, you should also check the specific nursing home subcategories.

Related read: Life after cosmetology school: how to start your career as a newly licensed cosmetologist

You should also directly enquire with local nursing homes that have onsite beauty salons. Depending on their hiring process, you might be referred to an external employment service for your application, or you could just be asked to forward your resume to the nursing home’s own human resources department.

cosmetology jobs nursing homes

Can You Work in a Nursing Home If You Have a Criminal Record?

As mentioned in The New York Times, there is no federal law that requires nursing homes to run criminal checks (either state or nationwide) on prospective employees, but 33 states have a mandatory state criminal record check, and a further ten require a check of both state and F.B.I. criminal records.

So, unless you’re in a state where no checks are performed, you can generally assume that a criminal check will be performed, even if only at the state level. Does this mean you can’t work in a nursing home, even if you’re only applying to be their onsite cosmetologist?

Do You Need to Disclose a Criminal Record?

Just like when you apply for any job, if you fail to disclose the fact that you’ve been convicted of a crime, you will have violated your employment contract and can be dismissed.

It doesn’t matter how well you’re doing, or how much the residents of the nursing home love you. It’s better to be upfront about it since a criminal conviction won’t always be a dealbreaker when you want to work as a cosmetologist at a nursing home.

The Benefits of a Cosmetology Job in a Nursing Home

Being a cosmetologist in a nursing home can sometimes be more lucrative than regular salon work, with $30,000 per year being a good example of how much you can expect to earn (which is somewhere in the middle when you realize that the salary range for a cosmetologist in the U.S.A. is $15,530 to $42,460).

The work is regular, perhaps not as obviously demanding as working with younger clients who might want something more elaborate, and you’re actually helping to improve the quality of life for the residents of the nursing home.

Aside from the obvious, how can it make such a difference to their lives?

nursing home cosmetology jobs

Everyone Wants to Feel Beautiful

In a world that often links beauty to youth, nursing home cosmetologists allow the residents to feel beautiful, and the positive sense of well-being someone can get from feeling beautiful doesn’t go away when they reach a certain age!

It has even been found that beauty services can have direct psychological benefits for nursing home residents who suffer from dementia and memory loss. The familiar act of having their hair cut or a facial can apparently provide sensory memories, which can be therapeutic.

How Does It Differ from Regular Salon Work?

Not all older women look the same, even though the perm might seem to be more popular with that age group.

You won’t spend your days giving dozens of residents identical hair and makeup, but the age of your clients makes nursing home cosmetology different from regular salon work:

  • General aging can contribute to the thinning of an older client’s hair (often caused by elevated cortisol) and dryness, meaning that you’ll need a more delicate approach to a senior citizen’s hair, and the same goes for their skin.
  • Post-menopause hormonal changes can lead to unwanted facial hair in women (known as hypertrichosis), so some upper lip and chin waxing can be a common part of your duties.
  • You might even be called upon for some light foot massaging, especially when a client is affected by diabetes.

Related read: What are cosmetology working conditions like?

Do You Need Any Specialist Training to Be a Cosmetologist in a Nursing Home?

Your cosmetology license and education should be enough for you to take on the job.

If you haven’t gotten your license yet, take our free cosmetology practice test to see how prepared you are. You should also check out our cosmetology exam prep kit to make sure you are absolutely ready for the exam!

However, some nursing homes might have more specific requirements (which will be stated in the job advertisement’s selection criteria).

It’s possible to take an advanced cosmetology course in geriatric aesthetics, which can be helpful prior to looking for a job in a nursing home.

nursing home cosmetology benefits

Do You Need Any Specialist Training to Work in a Nursing Home at All?

Cosmetology and healthcare are both a form of personal care, but you won’t need to have any medical training before you can work on the residents of a nursing home.

You will be briefed on what to do in the event of an emergency (which will just be knowing how to sound the alarm), and you might also be taught the best way to talk to a client with dementia or memory loss.

Related read: What treatments can and can’t a cosmetologist perform?

Some trial and error is involved, but it’s just like regular salon work in that you soon get to know your clients, know what they want, and know how to make them feel comfortable.

Providing cosmetology services in a nursing home can be a little different from working in a regular salon, but it’s a steady gig that really enriches the lives of your clients. And isn’t that why you got into this business in the first place?