Your career in cosmetology should start with choosing a beauty school that teaches you the latest hair and makeup techniques.
But there’s more to beauty school training than just learning the latest fashion trends.
When you’re choosing a cosmetology school, there are several factors you should look at when making a decision. We look at fifteen things to assess before enrolling in a cosmetology training program.
1. Professional Curriculum Where You Learn a Robust Skillset
There are still many jobs to be had for a trained cosmetologist. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2019, there were over 37,000 jobs for hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists in California alone. Graduating from a school that teaches you how to excel at a wide variety of skills is very advantageous.
Graduating from cosmetology school may allow you to work as a hair stylist, esthetician, skin care specialist, makeup artist, hair colorist, nail technician, salon owner, or cosmetologist. It all depends on what skills your program teaches you.
The curriculum, faculty, technology, and institutional knowledge should all play a role in helping you come to a decision on choosing a reputable cosmetology school.
2. Look for Instructors with Expertise and Enthusiasm
One characteristic of a top-notch cosmetology school is their instructors have accumulated years of experience in styles and strategies, adapting to new trends easily. A great beauty school staff will have a rock-solid grasp of the foundations of hair styling, advanced makeup, esthetics, and skin care, and be able to teach that to students.
In an exceptional cosmetology program, your instructor will work alongside you, giving you one-on-one feedback to help you improve your technique, helping achieve professional level artistry.
Find out how long the instructors have been teaching at prospective cosmetology schools in your area. Ask about the class sizes, and how much one-on-one training you can expect. The best school will have a teaching style that fits your needs.
Lastly, observe whether the cosmetology faculty have a passion for their craft. If the people teaching you your career skills love what they do, and keep up with emerging trends, they will pass their knowledge down to you. Keep in mind, cosmetology instructors have navigated the path of a career and can give you the benefit of their wisdom and experience.
Students of the Beauty and Cosmetology School by Paul Mitchell in Sacramento have the opportunity to be trained by professional hairstylists. The instructors bring their skills, passion, and real-world experience with them into the classroom, focusing on passing on what they know to the next wave of cosmetology professionals.
3. Financial Aid, Scholarships and Tuition
Tuition cost and financial aid are very important things to consider when selecting a beauty school. Be sure to talk to the Financial Aid department at schools you are considering attending. Find out what types of loans, grants, and financial aid is available to you. A cosmetology or barber school should be able to provide you with a complete list of scholarships you can apply for and grants for which you are eligible.
MTI College at Sacramento is an eligible institution for state grants and government financial aid programs. Our Admissions department can help you pursue a future career by offering government loans and grants. Based on your eligibility, you can opt to take advantage of the many financial aid opportunities available at MTI.
4. Overall School Reputation
It makes a difference what cosmetology school you graduate from. The reputation of a school can have an effect on how employers perceive you as you start your career.
You should definitely research what past students think about the program and the skills they have learned. Find out how people feel about the instructors, facility, and overall experience. Did it help set them up for success as they launched a career as a hair stylist or cosmetologist? This is an important factor to consider.
5. Getting Hands-On Experience
Many cosmetology schools have hands-on training via a salon at the school location. This helps students get their experience hours that are required before they take the state certification exam.
The salon may be one of the most important deciding factors between one cosmetology school and another. There is no substitute for working on real clients in a salon setting and getting real-world experience. Real people respond, both positively and negatively, in a way that cannot be replicated in a classroom environment.
6. Do a Tour of the School Campus
Before enrolling in a cosmetology program, schedule a tour of the campus so you can see the learning environment. This will give you a chance to inspect the facilities, and make sure they are modern and up-to-date.
See if you can observe classroom instruction and students getting hands-on training on the salon floor. You may even be able to talk to a few students and see if they like the program. This will give you a real sense of whether the cosmetology training is right for you.
The best training will include immersive, hands-on training, not merely theoretical classroom training.
7. Understand the Accreditation of the School
A reputable cosmetology school will be accredited by the US Department of Education, and the regional accreditation body for that area of the country. MTI College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACCJC).
Many cosmetology or beauty schools will also be accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences (NACCAS).
8. Scheduling and Start Dates
Ideally, you can find a cosmetology school that works with your schedule and has flexible start times for their programs. Some schools have programs that start multiple times per year. This would allow you to start and finish your program when you are ready.
If you work a full-time job right now, find out if prospective schools in your area offer full-time or part-time classes. Some beauty schools will let you complete your hours on either a full-time or part-time schedule.
9. Track Record of Success From Prior Students
When you are deciding whether a particular cosmetology program is right for you, examine the track record of former students. Where are they working? Are most of them earning a good living? Or working in a high-end salon? Does the cosmetology school you are looking at have alumni that work for a celebrity?
One of the surest signs that a given cosmetology program is world-class is when former students are achieving world-class results.
10. Atmosphere and Morale
When you visit the school, do the students seem to be happy and enthusiastic about learning to style hair and learn cosmetology? Does the faculty seem enthusiastic? A top school will make both students and staff feel like they are getting value from the training program.
11. Weighing Each Cosmetology Program vs Your Priorities
Most cities have a beauty school or cosmetology school nearby. You may choose to enroll in a cosmetology program depending on several factors, including:
- How much does the program cost?
- What will you learn in the program?
- The experience level of the instructors
- Placement rate of students who have graduated recently
- Training curriculum and facility
- Projected time to program completion
You can see a list of cosmetology schools approved by the California State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology and Barbering here: https://www.barbercosmo.ca.gov/schools/approved_schools.pdf
12. Learning Cutting-Edge Techniques
Different cosmetology schools have different campuses, teachers, and curriculum. But excellent schools may train you not only in the fundamentals of hair styling and esthetics, but also in advanced hair styling and coloring techniques.
Cutting-edge is an adjective that isn’t limited to describing practical techniques. This can also refer to having guest stylists share their knowledge, having online or video lessons, teaching business aspects of working at a salon, and more.
Hair styles, beauty, makeup, skin care, and nail care are always evolving. Having a world-class cosmetology training program will help give you an advantage as you begin your career.
13. What Comes in Their Cosmetology Kit?
Some beauty schools have students pay for some of their supplies out-of-pocket. Other cosmetology programs may provide a “kit” of tools and equipment that help them learn the necessary skills to be a cosmetologist.
The cosmetology kit for Paul Mitchell the School at MTI College contains a full array of styling tools. You can see the full list and details at this page.
14. How Long Does It Takes to Graduate?
Most beauty school or cosmetology programs prepare students with a concentrated amount of information and training in a relatively short period of time. These programs require a certain amount of training hours, then a certain number of salon hours, getting hands-on practice.
In California, the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology requires the following school hours, to take the certifying exam, depending on license type: Cosmetologist = 1600 hours, Barber = 1500 hours, Esthetician = 600 hours, Electrologist = 600 hours, Manicurist = 400 hours.
At the Paul Mitchell the School at MTI College Cosmetology program, students learn:
- An overview of the cosmetology industry
- State of California rules and regulations, sanitation, and chemistry
- Basic techniques in cutting, coloring, and styling for hair
- Skin and nail care
- Advanced makeup techniques
These theory hours are the foundation of training. Future cosmetology professionals then gain additional experience through hands-on practice and evaluation on the clinic floor. A more advanced creative training consists of customizing and combining technical elements of what they have already learned, through experience in our college salon. After this program, cosmetology students are ready for written and practical examinations for their cosmetology license with the California State Board.
15. Career Support Once You Graduate
The goal of any cosmetology or beauty school program is to prepare students for a full-fledged career. You can ask prospective schools for their placement rate of graduates, to see the percentage of students who pass cosmetologist certification through their program and go on to work in the field.
A stellar cosmetology program will also get you ready of the business end of working in or running a salon. You must be able to turn a profit and keep your business running. Check to see if the cosmetology schools you are considering offer business management, finance, and customer care classes, too.
Making the Right Beauty School Choice
Getting the right start in the beauty industry is as simple as enrolling in a cosmetology training program designed to give you the expert skills and support you need to be competitive after you graduate.
While it can be challenging to narrow down one’s choices of schools, choosing a beauty school like MTI’s Paul Mitchell Cosmetology School can put you in the center of activity where you can be trained according to world-class standards.
Be sure you’re prepared as you embark on this exciting career and make the right choice by enrolling in a beauty school program that has earned its reputation for turning out highly-qualified cosmetologists and beauticians.