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Beauty Schools

Don’t be intimidated by the “Beauty School Dropout” song from the musical Grease; almost anyone with an ability and interest in looking good can succeed in most beauty schools.

This isn’t to say that degrees at beauty schools are particularly easy, since they require a large commitment of time and dedication to one’s course of study. However, those who love styling hair, applying making makeup or creating a new look for nails, can find a way to turn a lifelong interest into a profitable career by applying to beauty schools.

As more women are in the work force and have disposable incomes, the beauty industry has received a bounce, and currently, the demand for beauty technicians outstrips the supply. There are many beauty schools located in every state, and it isn’t difficult to find an accredited beauty school close to you.

Most beauty schools offer three major areas of study:

  • Cosmetology
  • Aesthetics
  • Nail Technology

There are some beauty schools that offer introductory courses that introduce the student to all three areas, but most beauty schools require the student to specialize in one of these areas.

Cosmetology is the most demanding of the three major areas, since it covers a wide range of skills. The student learns the basics of hair styling and cutting, giving perms or straightening hair, applying makeup, color technology, skin care and some nail styling.

Since many graduates of beauty school courses go on to run their own salons, there are also courses available in marketing, business development and retail training. This is useful for the potential salon owner or for the beautician who runs his or her business from home.

Aesthetics is the course offered in beauty schools that instruct those who want to work in spas or salons on cruise ships. The main thing customers are looking for in these settings is pampering and luxurious treatment, and aestheticians are instructed on how to meet these expectations.

Many graduates from this program also work with dermatologists or reconstructive surgeons. The basics of giving a facial, a massage, a waxing treatment to remove unwanted hair, and aromatherapy are taught to students, as well as many other skills.

If the aesthetician wants to go into business, there are also marketing, business development, customer service and retail training available. This course usually requires 300 to 600 hours of training, or for those who want advanced spa instruction and experience, there are 900-hour programs available.

Prospective manicurists and pedicurists take courses in nail technology at beauty schools, and learn both basic skills on nail care and nail styling techniques to create exotic, original looks.

The nail technology student learns about manicures, pedicures, sculpting, nail art, silk and fiberglass tips, and, for those who want to open their own salon, business and retail management. Nail technology is a 150-hour course and is a quick way of obtaining a beauty degree.

Degrees from beauty schools do not guarantee the graduate a position as a beautician; students must take a state administered Board exam to qualify as beautician. Many beauty schools are geared toward helping students pass this test, and offer mock Board exams throughout the course.

To enroll in most beauty schools, the applicant should be at least 16 or 17 years old, depending on the school, have a high school diploma, a GED or to pass an Ability to Benefit Assessment Test, complete an application and an interview.

Financial aid is given to students based on need, and there may be some options to take advantage of low-interest student loans or work-study opportunities. Many courses at beauty schools may be taken in a year, but part-time courses last for a longer amount of time. Students at beauty schools should ensure that their school is accredited before enrolling.


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