How to Choose a Beauty School
by Dawn Papandrea
Choosing a beauty school isn’t like choosing a new haircut – there are a lot of factors to consider – state requirements, accreditation, and learning from faculty that are in the business. And just like you would ask friends and family for an opinion on dying your hair from blonde to black, choosing the right school spurs questions that require input from the experts. Read on for expert answers to five questions you should know before choosing a beauty school.
1. What are some things to look for in a beauty school?
“Different states do different things. The school I went to in Massachusetts went above and beyond helping me pass the state board. Look for accreditation. Most beauty schools do not present business school programs – you can’t just be technically sound, you need to know the business aspect as well.”
–Michelle Roderick, Artistic Director of Regis Corporation, proprietor of Regis Salons, MasterCuts, Trade Secret, Super Cuts, Cost Cutters, and SmartStyle brands
2. What is important to find out about a beauty school’s curriculum?
Check to see that they will teach you how to be a good communicator. The most important part of having a future in the beauty industry is clearly having the ability to communicate and sell yourself and your services. Give me an OK stylist who knows how to sell and I’d rather have that person working for me than a creative stylist who doesn’t know how to communicate with clients to find out what they want.”
–Frank Schoeneman, CEO and founder of Empire Education Group
3. How can I prepare for my entry into beauty school?
“If it applies to your school, start by completing the FAFSA form for financial aid. Set up appointments and choose the school you feel the most comfortable with. Go visit salons and ask [professionals] about the industry and what it will take to get work. Also make sure to ask salons about post-beauty school training within the salon and income potential.”
–Lars Juhl, Manager of Admissions and Marketing at Pivot Point, educational organization for the hair and beauty industry
4. Do I need to have an outgoing personality to become a stylist?
“I meet people in this business that have all sorts of personalities. It takes all types, so you shouldn’t feel limited. The one thing it takes is creative courage. Just like any artist, you’re going to be critiqued. It’s almost like a muscle: every time you express yourself in an unusual way, you’re going to get noticed. Sometimes it’s a good reaction, sometimes it’s not, but it builds that creative muscle so [that] next time you’re stronger.”
–Andy Paige, founder of Cents of Style(tm) and style expert for NBC’s “Starting Over”
5. What’s the best asset I can have in pursuing a career as a stylist?
“Your portfolio is crucial. Without one, you won’t advance. I can’t believe how many artists call looking to work for me, and don’t have a portfolio. I hear, “I never got around to making one,” a lot. People with 10+ years in the industry who don’t have a portfolio can’t blame anyone but themselves if they are not successful.”
–Debra Macki, founder of Debra Macki Cosmetics (www.debramacki.com )