Choosing a Beauty School
If you've always had a knack for beauty and are considering turning your hobby/talent into a career, beauty school may be the perfect choice for you. Whether you are interested in hair styling, makeup artistry, nail design, or any of the other niche areas of the beauty industry, the first step is to gain the proper education. Sounds simple enough, but not all beauty and cosmetology schools are created equally. To find lasting success in the industry, you'll want to ensure that the beauty school and program you choose meets all your needs and fully prepares you for the career you desire. Ready to research schools? Follow our guide below to find the right beauty school and program for you, and you'll be on your way to a career in the cosmetology field in no time.
This may seem obvious, but considering the proximity of your preferred beauty school to your home and/or workplace is an extremely important aspect. Beauty and cosmetology programs require extensive hands-on training, so your success will hinge on the ability to easily make it to class. Luckily, beauty schools are prevalent in most communities, making it easy to find one near you. Don't forget to factor in things like commuting time and transportation expenses (gas, public transportation cards, parking fees, etc.) when considering a beauty school.
Hopefully you have narrowed down your interests and you know what kind of beauty program you'd like to enroll in. You'll then need to research schools that have a reputable program in your desired field. For example, if you know you want to become a barber, you should look for schools that offer barbering programs that will specifically train you to groom, cut, and style (mostly) men's hair and facial hair. Others may prefer a more general cosmetology program that will train them to work on the hair of both men and women, along with other services (skin care, nails, etc). Whether you want to go niche or broad in focus, there's a program for you. Be sure that the beauty school you choose offers the type of program you have in mind, and don't be afraid to ask questions before you enroll to make sure you understand the different options.
It's a good idea to inquire with your beauty school of choice regarding the type of student services they offer. Here are some suggestions on different offerings you can ask or look for when researching schools:
- An in-school salon, or affiliations with local salons
- Career placement services to help graduates find jobs in the community
- Experienced instructors who can serve as mentors
- Low student to teacher ratio so that students get more individual instruction time
- Curriculum that includes how to handle the business side of cosmetology careers
- High graduation rates and cosmetology exam passing rates
Proper accreditation shows a cosmetology school is held to a high academic standard, and is generally considered high quality. Schools must meet rigorous eligibility criteria to even be considered for accreditation, and are re-evaluated often. Graduates of accredited beauty schools may also have the advantage over job applicants who did not attend an accredited school. The main accrediting agency for cosmetology schools in the country is the National Accrediting Commission for Career Arts & Sciences (NACCAS), but smaller, regional accreditation may also be available. Prospective students are also encouraged to look for schools affiliated with the American Association of Cosmetology Schools (AACS).
Whether you are currently working, have a family, or have other obligations that keep you busy, finding a beauty school that offers the right schedule for you is of paramount importance. Cosmetology programs with traditional, day-time classes are the easiest to find, but there are also programs offered in the evenings and/or on weekends to help accommodate hectic schedules. Students can also typically choose between full-time and part-time attendance options. With these convenient and flexible scheduling opportunities, beauty school can now be a viable option for even the busiest of lifestyles.
Attending beauty school can be as exciting and fulfilling an experience as your career as a stylist. It’s largely due to choosing the right school and program to attend. Before making your decision, try to find out if the beauty school you’re considering is accredited. Next, ask if the school offers elective courses and what services the curriculum focuses on. Find out how much real experience you’ll receive as a student and whether there are financial aid options to help with the tuition cost. Finally, ask if the cosmetology program provides any help in finding jobs in salons within the surrounding communities. By asking these questions, you’ll have an advantage in choosing the beauty school that matches your goals and expectations.