A wig specialist, also known as a hair replacement technician, is a professional who fits, styles and cares for wigs and hairpieces. Becoming a certified wig specialist is an excellent career path if you enjoy working with hair and helping people regain confidence through customized wigs and hair systems.
This comprehensive guide will walk you through all the steps and requirements to start a rewarding career as a wig specialist.
Some of the main highlights of working as a certified wig specialist include
- Helping people suffering from medical hair loss or those who simply want to change up their look with wigs and extensions. Seeing their confidence transform is extremely rewarding.
- Getting to express your creativity by styling and coloring wigs for clients. No two days are the same.
- Building meaningful relationships and rapport with clients over time. Many see the same specialist for years.
- Being your own boss if you work as an independent contractor for salons or open your own wig studio.
- Earn a median salary of $37,000 per year with top earners making up to $60,000 according to PayScale.
Wig specialists work in a variety of settings including:
- Wig salons or boutiques: These specialized studios only offer wig services and products. They cater to medical hair loss clients and those looking for high-end human hair wigs.
- Hair salons: Many full-service salons employ wig experts to meet client demand. This allows for a steady client base.
- Medical offices: Specialists may work in hospitals, cancer treatment centers, or medical spas helping patients with medical hair loss.
- Retail settings: Some specialists work in department store wig sections or for wig companies helping customers pick out and try on options.
- As independent contractors: Experienced specialists may provide in-home services for clients unable to travel.
No matter where they work, wig specialists spend most of their days on their feet consulting with clients, analyzing scalp and natural hair, taking measurements, fitting, styling, and educating about wig care. It’s a very hands-on, face-to-face role.
To succeed as a wig specialist you should possess:
- Customer service skills: Compassion and listening abilities are crucial to understanding each client’s needs, hair loss journey, and goals. You help guide them to the best wig solutions.
- Cosmetology expertise: A strong foundation in cut and color techniques, styling, and hair care allows you to properly style and maintain wigs.
- Technical skills: You need to adeptly use tools like calipers, clippers, ventilation needles, and adhesion products. Precision is important.
- Creativity: Customizing each wig or hair system for a client involves artistry. You combine colors, cuts, and styles to reflect their preferences.
- Physical stamina: Standing for long periods and working with your hands are part of the job. Good mobility and dexterity are musts.
- Business acumen: Those who open their own studios benefit from marketing, selling, finance, and customer service skills.
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Steps to Become a Certified Wig Specialist
- Earn a high school diploma or equivalent. A background in science and art is helpful.
- Get cosmetology training. While not required, completing cosmetology school provides a strong base of hair knowledge. Do a training program focused on wig making and design if possible.
- Gain wig experience. Try to apprentice or train under a wig maker to learn hands-on skills before certification. Some salons offer mentorships.
- Obtain certification. The two main wig specialist certifications are through the National Make-Up Artist Association or the American Board of Certified Haircolorists. Both involve coursework and exams.
- Get licensed if required. Some states require a cosmetology license to work as a wig specialist. Even if not mandated, it can make you more hireable.
- Build a portfolio. Compile before and after photos of your wig work along with reviews from satisfied clients and employers.
- Consider getting advanced training. Take continuing education classes on newer adhesive technologies, color trends, working with chemically sensitive clients, etc.
- Market your services. Build a website showcasing your specialties and promote yourself on social media to attract clients.
Job Interview Tips
When interviewing for a wig specialist position, be ready to talk about:
- Your interest and passion for helping people address hair loss. Share any related experiences.
- Knowledge of the various wig and hair addition options, from synthetic to custom human hair pieces.
- Ability to properly analyze scalp, take measurements, and select the best wig size and style for clients’ needs.
- Familiarity with adhering or securing wig systems with tape, clips, glues etc.
- Understanding of wig care best practices and how you educate clients.
- Customer service approach and how you connect with clients. Give examples.
- How you stay on top of wig hair, color, and styling trends.
- Any specialized training you’ve received and desire for continued education.
- How you handle the emotional aspects of working with hair loss clients.
Also, bring a portfolio demonstrating your wig application skills. The interviewers may ask you to demonstrate techniques like ventilating a hairpiece. Confidence, expertise, and passion for helping clients will make you stand out.
Building Your CV
Your CV should highlight your specialized wig training. Include:
- Cosmetology education: school, dates attended, program details.
- Wig certifications earned: date received and issuing organization.
- Licenses held: state, type, expiration date.
- Years of professional wig experience: list companies, salons, or medical offices you’ve worked for.
- Types of wigs and services provided: e.g. custom human hair wigs, synthetic wig styling, non-surgical hair additions for alopecia clients.
- Award recognition: note any acknowledging your wig work.
- Continuing education: list seminars, conferences, and courses taken to keep your skills current.
- Professional affiliations: e.g. National Wig Association
- Testimonials: Include 1-2 sentences praising your skills from satisfied clients.
Having a specialized certification, varied experiences, advanced training, and happy clients will maximize your chances of landing that wig specialist job.
Becoming a certified wig specialist allows you to meld technical skills, cosmetology knowledge, and compassion to help clients dealing with hair loss. It’s a challenging yet creative career path with ample rewards. Follow the steps covered in this guide regarding training, certification, licensing, building a portfolio, and acing interviews. With hard work and persistence, you can start transforming lives through the art of wig design.