How to Pick the Right Aesthetician Program Near Birmingham Alabama
Now that you have decided to enter the field of cosmetology and enroll in an esthetician school near Birmingham AL, the process begins to locate and enroll in the right program. It's essential that the program you select not only furnishes the proper instruction for the specialty you have chosen, but also prepares you for passing the licensing exam. When you begin your initial search, you may be rather confused about the difference between beauty schools and cosmetology schools. Well don't be, because the titles are basically interchangeable and both relate to the same kind of school. If you anticipate commuting to classes you will need to locate a school that is within driving distance of your Birmingham residence. Tuition will also be a critical factor when assessing possible schools. Just bear in mind that because a school is the closest or the cheapest it's not necessarily the right choice. There are many other qualifications that you should weigh when comparing schools, for instance their reputation and accreditation. We will go over what questions you should ask regarding the aesthetician schools you are considering later within this article. Before we do, let's talk a little bit about what kinds of training programs are offered.
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Esthetician Degrees and Certificates
There are basically two options offered to get esthetician training and a credential upon completion. You can enroll in a certificate (or diploma) program, or you can pursue an Associate's degree. Certificate programs usually take 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 trained in all of the major areas of cosmetology. Briefer programs are available if you want to specialize in just one area, such as esthetics. A degree program will also probably incorporate management and marketing training so that graduates are better prepared to run a parlor or other Birmingham AL business. More advanced degrees are not typical, but Bachelor and Master's degree programs are available in such specializations as salon or spa management. Whichever type of training program you opt for, it's important to make sure that it's certified by the Alabama Board of Cosmetology. Many states only approve schools that are accredited by certain respected organizations, such as the American Association of Cosmetology Schools (AACS). We will discuss the advantages of accreditation for the school you decide on in the upcoming section.
Online Esthetics Programs
Online esthetician programs are advantageous for Birmingham AL students who are employed full-time and have family commitments that make it difficult to enroll in a more traditional school. There are many web-based beauty school programs offered that can be accessed via a personal computer or laptop at the student's convenience. More traditional beauty schools are typically fast paced due to the fact that many programs are as brief as 6 or 8 months. This means that a significant amount of time is spent in the classroom. With online courses, you are dealing with the same volume of material, but you're not spending numerous hours away from your home or travelling to and from classes. On the other hand, it's vital that the training program you select can provide internship training in local salons and parlors in order that you also get the hands-on training needed for a complete education. Without the internship part of the training, it's difficult to gain the skills required to work in any facet of the cosmetology field. So don't forget if you choose to enroll in an online program to verify that internship training is provided in your area.
What to Ask Esthetics Training Programs
Below is a list of questions that you will want to research for any esthetician training school you are contemplating. As we have already discussed, the location of the school relative to your Birmingham home, together with the expense of tuition, will undoubtedly be your initial qualifiers. Whether you wish to earn a certificate, diploma or a degree will probably be next on your list. But once you have narrowed your school options based on those preliminary qualifications, there are even more factors that you need to research and take into consideration before enrolling in a cosmetology program. Below we have put together some of those supplemental questions that you need to ask each school before making a final selection.
Is the Esthetician School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the esthetician training program you enroll in is accredited. The accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education certified local or national organization, such as the National Accrediting Commission for Cosmetology Arts & Sciences (NACCAS). Schools accredited by the NACCAS must measure up to their high standards ensuring a quality curriculum and education. Accreditation can also be important for obtaining student loans or financial aid, which often are not obtainable for non- accredited schools. It's also a prerequisite for licensing in several states that the training be accredited. And as a concluding benefit, many Birmingham AL businesses 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? Every esthetician college that you are seriously evaluating should have a good to exceptional reputation within the industry. Being accredited is an excellent starting point. Next, ask the schools for references from their network of employers where they have referred their students. Verify that the schools have high job placement rates, signifying that their students are highly sought after. Check 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 anyone working in the field, ask them if they are acquainted with the schools you are reviewing. They may even be able to propose others that you had not considered. Finally, consult the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there have been any grievances filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
What’s the School’s Specialty? A number of esthetician schools offer programs that are broad in nature, concentrating on all areas of cosmetology. Others are more focused, providing training in a particular specialty, for instance hairstyling, manicuring or electrolysis. Schools that offer degree programs frequently broaden into a management and marketing curriculum. So it's imperative that you choose a school that specializes in your area of interest. Since your intention is to be trained as an esthetician, make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited and respected for that program. If your vision is to start a Birmingham AL beauty salon, then you need to enroll in a degree program that will instruct you how to be an owner/operator as well. Choosing a highly regarded school with a poor program in the specialty you are seeking will not deliver the training you need.
Is Plenty of Hands-On Training Provided? Studying and mastering esthetician techniques and abilities involves plenty of practice on volunteers. Check how much live, hands-on training is included in the cosmetology courses you will be attending. Some schools have salons on campus that enable students to practice their growing skills on real people. If a beauty school offers minimal or no scheduled live training, but instead depends predominantly on using mannequins, it might not be the best option for cultivating your skills. Therefore look for other schools that provide this kind of training.
Does the School have a Job Placement Program? Once a student graduates from an esthetician academy, it's crucial that she or he receives support in finding that very first job. Job placement programs are an integral part of that process. Schools that provide aid develop relationships with Birmingham AL employers that are searching for qualified graduates available for hiring. Confirm that the programs you are contemplating 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 confirm that they have broad networks of employers, but that their programs are highly respected as well.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Almost all esthetician schools provide financial aid or student loan assistance for their students. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid office. Talk to a counselor and find out what student loans or grants you might qualify for. If the school belongs to the American Association of Cosmetology Schools (AACS), it will have scholarships offered to students as well. If a school meets all of your other qualifications except for expense, do not omit it as an option before you find out what financial assistance may be available.
Enroll in the Right Birmingham Esthetician Program
Picking and enrolling in the ideal esthetician school is important to receive the appropriate training to become a licensed cosmetology technician. Be sure to ask all the questions that you need to so as to feel positive about your decision. Make sure to collect all of the responses you receive from the beauty school admissions departments, focus on what matters the most to you, and then utilize that data to contrast schools. A sensible beginning in your due diligence procedure is to make sure that the school and program you choose are accredited and have impressive reputations within the field. If you begin with that foundation, and answer the additional questions provided in this post, you will be able to filter your list of schools so that you can make the right choice. Once you graduate and pass your licensing test, you will be confident that you are prepared to begin your career as a professional esthetician in Birmingham Alabama.