When you think of beauty school, what comes to mind? Frankie Avalon crooning away about dropping out? Or perhaps you picture a "blue hair" waiting for her roller set to be styled. These days, the stereotypes about obtaining a cosmetology license have almost vanished. In fact, enrollment has spiked over the past three years, according to Jim Cox, executive director of the American Association of Cosmetology Schools.

"It used to be most schools were small and privately owned, but now brand names like Paul Mitchell and Aveda are also getting into the business," said Cox. True, there are some disadvantages to the career (back pain or varicose veins associated with constant standing, chemical exposure, possible carpal tunnel) but experienced professionals can earn upwards of six figures, with plenty of job availability.

Plus, it's not all about the basics anymore. Students are often trained in massage and holistic treatments. It's also not all about the newly graduated high-schoolers, either, as the college-educated often seek enrollment as well. While each state varies in the amount of training required, and each school varies by price (some are up to $18,000!), a career in the beauty industry is becoming more and more prestigious, with flexible hours to boot. Oh, and I imagine making people feel good is quite rewarding, too.

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