If you are thinking about going to beauty school, you may feel inundated with the many options that are out there. It may have even come as a surprise how many beauty schools there are! In fact in 2014 there were 1,569 accredited beauty schools in the United States! This number that grows yearly, which can create a lot of confusion when trying to find the perfect school for you.
If you are feeling overwhelmed about what to look for in your school choice or what warning signs should send you running, here are 6 points to keep in mind.
1. Check The Street Cred
Yes, we are serious. The reputation of a school is important (and we will get to that next), but the reputation of the staff inside of it is even more so.
Who is the owner? What background do they have? Has the school switched hands? What background does the staff have? Where have they worked? What accomplishments do they have?
The answers to these questions will help you paint a bigger picture of the school. Don’t be scared to ask, either. A good school will be proud of all their accomplishments and more than willing to share. If they seem dodgy, or don’t have much to share, consider that a warning sign.
2. Speaking of Street Cred
We told you we would get to the school and this one is important. Tracking the reviews of a school from patrons and students can be easy. Using sites like Google and Facebook can give you an idea as to the school’s performance, but you are going to need to dig deeper to see it clearly.
Check when the review was posted to see if their services have been changing. Read the good and bad reviews, as well as any responses the school gives. If they react badly to a negative review, for example, that can be very telling of the type of professionalism (or lack thereof) they have.
It’s important to go a step further, as well. Go to local salons and ask the owners which local beauty school they recommend and why. They are doing all the local hiring, after all. They know what they are looking for, and who delivers that quality.
3. Curriculum Matters But The Extras Make The Difference
The most popular beauty school curriculums available are Milady, Pivot Point, and Summit. Although you will find a few different variations, these are the big ones. They cover the basics of cutting, styling, and sanitation, but it’s the extras that the school may offer that will make all the difference. Do they have an in depth business management program? Do they have any specialty or advanced classes that are offered to current and past students? Do they bring in special guests or have special events? Do they embrace and teach trends like Ombre and Balayage?
Having an in-depth and well executed general education is extremely important. These additions may make the difference between a pass/fail on your exams, as well as the type of job you will be able to get after graduation.
4. Understand Accreditation and Affiliation
In 2016, Regency Beauty school shut down 79 locations across the country. This shut down wasn’t due to budget or low enrollment, it was due to the school failing their accreditation standards. Beauty schools are regulated and accredited through the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences, or NACCAS. The accrediting body sets standards for beauty schools to follow, and through intermittent observation verifies that schools are meeting those standards.
Accreditation with NACCAS takes two to three years to complete. If a school isn’t accredited, however, don’t cross it off your list! Since the accreditation process takes so long it doesn’t mean that they aren’t as qualified. Don’t be afraid to ask the school if they are accredited, or where they are in the process. They should be more than happy to discuss it with you. If they seem dodgy, be warned and take note.
5. Branding Makes a Huge Impact
Accreditations are important to help establish a baseline to the quality of education, but they are not foolproof. This is why attending a school with additional affiliations may help establish a higher quality education. We are speaking, of course, of schools that are attached to a brand.
Brands are more than labels like Redken and L’oreal and attending a school that has a connection to one can make all the difference. When a school works with a brand, they are doing more than just using that brand’s products. Branded schools will not only have certain quality standards they have to meet, but will also gain access to top of the line trainings and product lines before anyone else. The affiliated brands may also offer extra training for instructors, giving them an edge that you may not find anywhere else.
6. Find a Culture, Find a Home
Culture means more than just the customs and heritage of a society. You can find cultures everywhere, even in beauty schools. Since you will be spending anywhere from six to eighteen months with your beauty school family, you are going to want to make sure that the culture matches your own. This includes things like work ethic, challenges, support, activities, and so much more.
While a tour can help you to scratch the surface on what a school’s culture is like, becoming a “secret shopper” can give you even more insight. Schedule an appointment to get a cosmetology or esthetics service at your consideration school and observe the students and teachers while you are there. You can even strike up a conversation with your student about their experience. Doing this will help you to understand the culture of the school, and see if it will be a good fit.
This many seem like a lot of work, but putting in the hours now can save you a lot of heartache later. You don’t want to find yourself with an education that didn’t prepare you for the state boards. A little bit of work now can greatly impact your future. Don’t be scared to dig deep.
Want to see how The Salon Professional Academy Madison stacks up to the competition? Call today and schedule a tour to see our beautiful facilities, programs and experience the TSPA difference for yourself!
See you soon!