How to Find the Best Esthetician College Near Birmingham Alabama
Once you have made a decision 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 imperative that the school you select not only provides the appropriate education for the specialty you have decided on, but also readies you for passing the licensing examination. When you begin your initial search, you may be somewhat unclear about the contrast between beauty schools and cosmetology schools. Well don't be, because the titles are essentially interchangeable and both relate to the same type of school. If you intend on commuting to classes you will want to locate a school that is within driving distance of your Birmingham home. Tuition will also be an important consideration when reviewing potential schools. Just keep in mind that because a school is the nearest or the cheapest it's not automatically the right choice. There are many other factors that you should weigh when reviewing schools, for example their reputation and accreditation. We will examine what questions you should ask concerning the aesthetician schools you are considering later within this article. Before we do, let's talk a little bit about what kinds of programs are available.
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Esthetics Certificates and Degrees
There are primarily two avenues available to get esthetician training and a credential after 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 complete, while an Associate's degree usually 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 offered if you wish to specialize in just one area, such as esthetics. A degree program will also probably feature management and marketing training to ensure that graduates are better prepared to operate a salon or other Birmingham AL business. More advanced degrees are not common, but Bachelor and Master's degree programs are offered in such areas as salon or spa management. Whichever type of training program you go with, it's important to make sure that it's approved by the Alabama Board of Cosmetology. Many states only certify schools that are accredited by certain respected organizations, such as the American Association of Cosmetology Schools (AACS). We will review the benefits of accreditation for the school you choose in the upcoming segment.
Online Esthetician Training
Online esthetician classes are convenient for Birmingham AL students who are employed full-time and have family responsibilities that make it challenging to attend a more traditional school. There are numerous web-based beauty 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 frequently fast paced due to the fact that many courses are as brief as six or eight months. This means that a significant portion of time is spent in the classroom. With online programs, you are dealing with the same amount of material, but you are not spending many hours away from your home or travelling back and forth from classes. However, it's important that the school you select can provide internship training in area salons and parlors to ensure that you also obtain the hands-on training needed for a complete education. Without the internship portion of the training, it's difficult to acquire the skills needed to work in any area of the cosmetology field. So be sure if you choose to enroll in an online program to confirm that internship training is available in your area.
Questions to Ask Aesthetician Programs
Following is a list of questions that you need to investigate for any esthetician training school you are contemplating. As we have previously discussed, the location of the school in relation to your Birmingham home, in addition to the expense of tuition, will probably be your initial 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 narrowed your school choices based on those initial qualifications, there are additional factors that you must research and take into consideration before enrolling in a cosmetology program. Below we have put together some of those supplemental questions that you should ask every school before making a final decision.
Is the Esthetician Program Accredited? It's important to make certain that the esthetician training program you select is accredited. The accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized local or national organization, such as the National Accrediting Commission for Cosmetology Arts & Sciences (NACCAS). Schools accredited by the NACCAS must meet their high standards guaranteeing a quality curriculum and education. Accreditation may also be essential for securing student loans or financial aid, which frequently are not obtainable for non- accredited schools. It's also a requirement for licensing in some states that the training be accredited. And as a final benefit, numerous Birmingham AL employers will not recruit recent graduates of non-accredited schools, or may look more favorably upon individuals with accredited training.
Does the School have an Excellent Reputation? Any esthetician institute that you are seriously evaluating should have a good to exceptional reputation within the profession. Being accredited is an excellent beginning. Next, ask the schools for endorsements from their network of employers where they have placed their students. Verify that the schools have high job placement rates, attesting that their students are highly regarded. Visit rating companies for reviews along with the school's accrediting agencies. If you have any connections with Birmingham AL salon owners or managers, or someone working in the business, ask them if they are familiar with the schools you are reviewing. They may even be able to propose others that you had not considered. And finally, consult the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there have been any complaints filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
What’s the School’s Specialty? Some esthetician schools offer programs that are expansive in nature, concentrating 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 frequently broaden into a management and marketing curriculum. So it's imperative that you select a school that specializes in your area of interest. Since your intention is to be trained as an esthetician, make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited and respected for that program. If your dream is to launch a Birmingham AL beauty salon, then you want to enroll in a degree program that will teach you how to be an owner/operator as well. Picking a highly rated school with a poor program in the specialty you are seeking will not provide the training you require.
Is Any Hands-On Training Provided? Studying and perfecting esthetician techniques and abilities requires lots of practice on volunteers. Find out how much live, hands-on training is furnished in the cosmetology classes you will be attending. Some schools have salons on site that allow students to practice their growing skills on real people. If a beauty program offers minimal or no scheduled live training, but instead depends mainly on the use of mannequins, it may not be the most effective alternative for developing your skills. So search for other schools that offer this kind of training.
Does the School Provide Job Assistance? As soon as a student graduates from an esthetician program, it's crucial that she or he receives assistance in securing that initial 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 skilled graduates available for hiring. Check that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs and find out which salons and businesses they refer students to. In addition, ask what their job placement rates are. High rates not only verify that they have extensive networks of employers, but that their programs are highly respected as well.
Is Financial Aid Offered? The majority of esthetician schools offer financial aid or student loan assistance for their students. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid office. Speak with a counselor and learn 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 as well. If a school satisfies all of your other qualifications except for cost, do not discard it as an alternative until you learn what financial help may be provided.
Enroll in the Right Birmingham Esthetician Program
Picking and enrolling in the ideal esthetician school is important to get the proper training to become a licensed cosmetology practitioner. Be sure to ask all the questions that you require so as to feel certain about your decision. Make sure to collect all of the information you get from the beauty school admissions departments, focus on what matters the most to you, and then utilize that data to compare schools. A reasonable beginning in your due diligence process is to make sure that the institution and program you select are accredited and have excellent reputations within the profession. If you begin with that base, and answer the additional questions supplied in this post, you will be able to filter your list of schools so that you can make the right selection. Once you graduate and pass your licensing exam, you will be confident that you are qualified to launch your new career as a professional esthetician in Birmingham Alabama.