Esthetician Cosmetology Program
How to Choose the Best One Near Birmingham Alabama
Now that you have decided to enter the field of cosmetology and enroll in an esthetician school near Birmingham AL, the task begins to search for and enroll in the best program. Since estheticians are licensed in all states, the college you select should prepare you to pass the licensing exam and provide the proper training for your specialty. You might be somewhat confused when starting your search for esthetician programs as to the difference between beauty and cosmetology schools, which both offer esthetician training. Well don't be, because the titles are essentially interchangeable and both relate to the same kind of school. If you plan on commuting to classes you will need to choose a school that is within driving distance of your Birmingham home. An additional qualification when evaluating prospective esthetician schools is the cost of tuition. But keep in mind that just because a school is the closest or the cheapest it's not automatically the best option. Accreditation and reputation, as examples are among the other qualifications that you should evaluate when comparing schools. We will review what questions you should ask concerning the cosmetology schools you are thinking about later within this article. Before we do, let's talk a little bit about what kinds of courses are offered.
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Esthetics Certificate and Degree Programs
There are primarily two pathways available to get esthetician training and a credential upon completion. You can enroll in a certificate (or diploma) course, or you can pursue an Associate's degree. Certificate programs usually call for 12 to 18 months to finish, while an Associate's degree ordinarily takes about 2 years. If you enroll in a certificate program you will be instructed in each of the main areas of cosmetology. Shorter programs are available if you wish to focus on just one area, such as esthetics. A degree program will also likely incorporate management and marketing training in order that graduates are better prepared to run a parlor or other Birmingham AL business. Higher degrees are not prevalent, but Bachelor and Master's degree programs are offered in such specialties as salon or spa management. Whatever type of course you go with, it's essential to make sure that it's certified by the Alabama Board of Cosmetology. A number of states only certify schools that are accredited by certain reputable agencies, including the American Association of Cosmetology Schools (AACS). We will cover the benefits of accreditation for the school you decide on in the next section.
Esthetics Online Schools
Online esthetician classes are accommodating for Birmingham AL students who are working full-time and have family commitments that make it hard to enroll in a more traditional school. There are a large number of online cosmetology school programs available that can be attended by means of a personal computer or laptop at the student's convenience. More traditional cosmetology programs are often fast paced since many programs are as short as 6 or 8 months. This means that a substantial amount of time is spent in the classroom. With internet courses, you are dealing with the same volume of material, but you are not devoting many hours outside of your home or travelling to and from classes. However, it's important that the training program you pick can provide internship training in nearby salons and parlors in order that you also obtain the hands-on training needed for a complete education. Without the internship portion of the training, it's difficult to obtain the skills needed to work in any facet of the cosmetology industry. So don't forget if you decide to enroll in an online school to verify that internship training is provided in your area.
What to Ask Esthetician Degree Programs
Below is a series of questions that you need to research for any esthetician training school you are considering. As we have already discussed, the location of the school relative to your Birmingham residence, together with the expense of tuition, will undoubtedly be your first qualifiers. Whether you would like to earn a certificate, diploma or a degree will no doubt be next on your list. But once you have reduced your school choices based on those initial qualifications, there are additional factors that you need to research and consider before enrolling in a cosmetology school. Below we have compiled some of those additional questions that you should ask every school before making a final decision.
Is the Esthetician School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the esthetician school you choose is accredited. The accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged local or national agency, such as the National Accrediting Commission for Cosmetology Arts & Sciences (NACCAS). Schools accredited by the NACCAS must comply with their high standards assuring a superior curriculum and education. Accreditation may also be essential for acquiring student loans or financial aid, which frequently are not obtainable for non- accredited schools. It's also a requirement for licensing in several states that the training be accredited. And as a final benefit, many Birmingham AL employers will not recruit recent graduates of non-accredited schools, or might look more positively upon individuals with accredited training.
Does the School have a Good Reputation? Each esthetician school that you are seriously considering should have a good to excellent reputation within the profession. Being accredited is a good beginning. Next, ask the schools for endorsements from their network of businesses where they have placed their students. Check that the schools have high job placement rates, signifying that their students are highly regarded. Visit rating services for reviews in addition to the school's accrediting agencies. If you have any relationships with Birmingham AL salon owners or managers, or someone working in the trade, ask them if they are familiar with the schools you are reviewing. They might even be able to propose others that you had not thought of. And finally, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to see if there have been any grievances filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
What’s the School’s Focus? Some esthetician schools offer programs that are comprehensive in nature, concentrating on all facets of cosmetology. Others are more focused, providing training in a specific specialty, for instance hairstyling, manicuring or electrolysis. Schools that offer degree programs frequently expand into a management and marketing curriculum. So it's essential that you pick a school that focuses on your area of interest. If your objective is to be trained as an esthetician, make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited and well regarded for that program. If your vision is to launch a Birmingham AL beauty salon, then you need to enroll in a degree program that will teach you how to be an owner/operator. Choosing a highly regarded school with a poor program in the specialty you are pursuing will not provide the training you require.
Is Any Hands-On Training Provided? Practicing and perfecting esthetician skills and techniques demands plenty of practice on volunteers. Check how much live, hands-on training is provided in the cosmetology lessons you will be attending. A number of schools have salons on campus that allow students to practice their developing skills on real people. If a beauty school offers limited or no scheduled live training, but rather relies mainly on using mannequins, it may not be the most effective option for cultivating your skills. Therefore try to find alternate schools that offer this type of training.
Does the School Provide Job Assistance? As soon as a student graduates from an esthetician program, it's imperative that she or he gets assistance in finding that initial job. Job placement programs are an integral part of that process. Schools that offer assistance develop relationships with Birmingham AL businesses that are seeking skilled graduates available for hiring. Confirm that the programs you are considering have job placement programs and ask which salons and organizations they refer students to. In addition, find out what their job placement rates are. Higher rates not only affirm that they have extensive networks of employers, but that their programs are highly respected as well.
Is Financial Aid Available? Many esthetician schools offer financial aid or student loan assistance for their students. Find out if the schools you are considering have a financial aid department. Talk to a counselor and find out what student loans or grants you may get approved for. If the school is a member of the American Association of Cosmetology Schools (AACS), it will have scholarships offered to students too. If a school fulfills all of your other qualifications except for cost, do not omit it as an alternative before you find out what financial assistance may be offered.
Enroll in the Right Birmingham Esthetician Course
Locating and enrolling in the right esthetician college near Birmingham AL is imperative to receive the appropriate training to become a licensed cosmetology practitioner. Be sure to ask all the questions that you need to in order to feel certain about your decision. Make certain to compile all of the responses you receive from the beauty school admissions departments, prioritize what matters the most to you, and then utilize that data to compare schools. A good start in your due diligence process is to make sure that the college and program you decide on are accredited and have excellent reputations within the profession. If you start with that base, and answer the additional questions presented in this article, you will be able to reduce your list of schools so that you can make the right selection. And when you graduate and pass your licensing test, you will be self-assured that you are qualified to launch your new career as a professional esthetician.