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How to Select the Right Aesthetician Program Near Birmingham Alabama

Birmingham Alabama aesthetician giving facial with machineSince you have decided to enter the field of cosmetology and attend an esthetician school near Birmingham AL, the task starts to search for and enroll in the right program. It's important that the school you select not only provides the proper education for the specialty you have decided on, but also readies you for passing the licensing exam. When you start your initial search, you may be rather unclear about the distinction between beauty schools and cosmetology schools. Well don't be, because the titles are essentially interchangeable and both relate to the same kind of school. If you intend on commuting to classes you will want to choose a school that is within driving distance of your Birmingham residence. Tuition will also be a critical factor when reviewing potential schools. Just keep in mind that because a school is the nearest or the lowest cost it's not necessarily the ideal choice. There are a number of other qualifications that you should evaluate when reviewing schools, such as their reputation and accreditation. We will go over what questions you should ask about the aesthetician schools you are considering later within this article. Before we do, let's talk a little bit about what types of training programs are offered.

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Esthetics Training Programs

Birmingham Alabama aesthetician performing wax hair removal treatmentEsthetics school is an investment of time, energy, and money. Requirements vary from state to state, but the majority of states require that you complete at least 600 hours of training. Full-time school can take an average of six months to complete, and part-time school can take anywhere from 9-12 months. The primary purpose of esthetics school is to get you ready to pass the state licensing exam. They also teach basic skills that you will need to perfect through experience and sometimes additional classes, such as giving facials, body treatments, and performing waxing.  More advanced training includes learning to work with machines, such as IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) and Lasers used to rejuvenate the skin and permanently remove hair.

Esthetician Job Description

Estheticians provide a wide range of beauty services to help their Birmingham Alabama clients look and feel better. This includes improving the quality of the skin (including the treatment of skin disorders), hair removal, permanent makeup application, and facial massage. Some types of estheticians, like medical estheticians, provide highly specialized procedures that require detailed training in order for it to be done safely and effectively. Medical estheticians can help individuals suffering from serious skin disorders, burns, and other trauma, and to help with pre and post-operative surgery affecting the health of their skin. Estheticians work closely with their clients in a friendly and positive manner, so an enthusiastic attitude and desire to help people is an excellent attribute for an aspiring esthetician to possess. Some of the basic duties an esthetician may perform will include such tasks as:

  • Assessing a patient’s needs
  • Chemical peels
  • Laser treatments
  • Waxing
  • Facials
  • Massage of the head and neck
  • Microdermabrasion

Online Esthetics Courses

Birmingham Alabama woman taking aesthetician classes onlineOnline esthetician programs are accommodating for Birmingham AL students who are employed full time and have family commitments that make it challenging to attend a more traditional school. There are numerous online cosmetology school programs offered that can be attended through a personal computer or laptop at the student's convenience. More traditional beauty programs are frequently fast paced due to the fact that many courses are as short as 6 or 8 months. This means that a considerable portion of time is spent in the classroom. With internet courses, you are dealing with the same amount of material, but you are not devoting numerous hours outside of your home or commuting to and from classes. On the other hand, it's imperative that the program you pick can provide internship training in nearby salons and parlors in order that you also obtain the hands-on training required for a comprehensive education. Without the internship part of the training, it's impossible to gain the skills needed to work in any area of the cosmetology field. So make sure if you choose to enroll in an online program to confirm that internship training is available in your area.

Questions to Ask Esthetics Training Programs

Below is a list of questions that you should research for any esthetician training school you are considering. As we have previously covered, the location of the school relative to your Birmingham home, as well as the expense of tuition, will undoubtedly be your initial qualifiers. Whether you would like to earn a certificate, diploma or a degree will undoubtedly be next on your list. But once you have reduced your school options based on those preliminary qualifications, there are additional factors that you need to research and take into consideration before enrolling in a cosmetology school. Below we have collected several 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 certain that the esthetician college 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 ensuring a quality curriculum and education. Accreditation may also be necessary for obtaining student loans or financial aid, which typically are not offered for non- accredited schools. It's also a criteria for licensing in some states that the training be accredited. And as a final benefit, many Birmingham AL employers will not employ recent graduates of non-accredited schools, or might look more positively upon those with accredited training.

Does the School have a Good Reputation?  Any esthetician institute that you are seriously evaluating should have a good to exceptional reputation within the industry. Being accredited is a good starting point. Next, ask the schools for references from their network of businesses where they have placed their students. Check that the schools have high job placement rates, showing that their students are highly sought after. Visit rating services for reviews in addition to the school's accrediting organizations. If you have any connections with Birmingham AL salon owners or managers, or someone working in the business, ask them if they are acquainted with the schools you are considering. They might even be able to propose others that you had not considered. And finally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to see if there have been any grievances filed or if the schools are in full compliance.

What’s the School’s Specialty?  Some esthetician schools offer programs that are expansive in nature, focusing on all areas of cosmetology. Others are more focused, offering training in a specific specialty, for example hairstyling, manicuring or electrolysis. Schools that offer degree programs typically expand into a management and marketing curriculum. So it's essential that you select a school that specializes in your area of interest. Since your ambition is to be trained as an esthetician, make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited and respected for that program. If your desire is to launch a Birmingham AL beauty salon, then you want to enroll in a degree program that will instruct you how to be an owner/operator as well. Picking a highly ranked school with a poor program in the specialty you are seeking will not provide the training you need.

Is Any Live Training Provided?  Learning and mastering esthetician techniques and abilities involves plenty of practice on volunteers. Find out how much live, hands-on training is furnished in the beauty classes you will be attending. Some schools have salons on campus that allow students to practice their growing talents on volunteers. If a beauty program provides minimal or no scheduled live training, but instead relies predominantly on utilizing mannequins, it might not be the best option for cultivating your skills. Therefore search for alternate schools that offer this kind of training.

Does the School have a Job Placement Program?  When a student graduates from an esthetician program, it's important that he or she gets support in finding that very first job. Job placement programs are an integral part of that process. Schools that offer assistance maintain relationships with Birmingham AL employers that are searching for qualified graduates available for hiring. Verify that the schools you are contemplating have job placement programs and inquire which salons and businesses they refer students to. In addition, find out what their job placement rates are. Higher rates not only affirm that they have broad networks of employers, but that their programs are highly regarded as well.

Is Financial Aid Available?  Many esthetician schools provide financial aid or student loan assistance for their students. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department. Speak with a counselor and find out what student loans or grants you may qualify for. If the school is a member of the American Association of Cosmetology Schools (AACS), it will have scholarships accessible to students also. If a school satisfies all of your other qualifications with the exception of cost, do not omit it as an alternative until you learn what financial help may be provided.

More Info on How to Become an Aesthetician in Birmingham

Enroll in the Right Birmingham Esthetician Program

Picking and enrolling in the right esthetician college is important to obtain the appropriate training to become a licensed cosmetology professional. Make sure to ask all the questions that you require in order to feel certain about your decision. Don't forget to collect all of the responses you get from the beauty school admissions departments, prioritize what matters the most to you, and then employ that data to compare schools. A good beginning in your due diligence process is to make sure that the school and program you pick are accredited and have outstanding reputations within the profession. If you begin with that foundation, and answer the additional questions presented in this post, you will be able to reduce your list of schools so that you can make the ideal selection. Once you graduate and pass your licensing test, you will be self-assured that you are qualified to start your career as a professional esthetician in Birmingham Alabama.



 

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