How to Choose a Cosmetologist College near Decatur Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to become a cosmetologist and attend a beauty school near Decatur AL, the task begins to search for and enroll in the best school. It’s essential that the program you choose not only provides the necessary instruction for the specialty you have selected, but also prepares you for passing the licensing examination. When you start your preliminary search, you might be rather 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 kind of school. We’ll discuss a little bit further regarding that in the upcoming section. If you plan on commuting to classes you will want to find a school that is within driving distance of your Decatur residence. Tuition will also be an important aspect when evaluating possible schools. Just keep in mind that because a school is the nearest or the cheapest it’s not automatically the ideal choice. There are several other qualifications that you should weigh when comparing schools, for example their reputation and accreditation. We will review what questions you should ask concerning the cosmetology schools you are thinking about later within this article. Before we do, let’s discuss a bit about what cosmetology is, and what kinds of courses are offered.
Definition of Cosmetology
Cosmetology is a profession that is all about making the human anatomy look more attractive through the use of cosmetics. So of course it makes sense that a number of cosmetology schools are described as beauty schools. Most of us think of makeup when we hear the term cosmetics, but really a cosmetic can be anything that enhances the look of a person’s skin, hair or nails. If you want to work as a cosmetologist, the majority of states require that you go through some type of specialized training and then become licensed. Once you are licensed, the work environments include not only Decatur AL beauty salons and barber shops, but also such venues as spas, hotels and resorts. Many cosmetologists, once they have gotten experience and a customer base, launch their own shops or salons. Others will start servicing clients either in their own homes or will go to the client’s home, or both. Cosmetology college graduates go by many professional names and are employed in a wide variety of specialties including:
- Nail Technicians
- Makeup Artists
- Hair Coloring Specialists
- Electrolysis Technicians
As previously mentioned, in the majority of states working cosmetologists have to be licensed. In some states there is an exemption. Only those conducting more skilled services, such as hairstylists, are required to be licensed. Other people employed in cosmetology and less skilled, such as shampooers, are not required to be licensed in those states.
Cosmetologist Certificates and Degrees
There are primarily two avenues available to receive cosmetology 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 generally take 12 to 18 months to complete, while an Associate’s degree commonly takes about 2 years. If you enroll in a certificate program you will be instructed in each of the major areas of cosmetology. Shorter programs are offered if you prefer to specialize in just one area, for instance hair coloring. A degree program will also probably include management and marketing training so that graduates are better prepared to operate a salon or other Decatur AL business. More advanced degrees are not common, but Bachelor and Master’s degree programs are available in such specializations as salon or spa management. Whichever type of program you choose, it’s essential to make certain that it’s certified by the Alabama Board of Cosmetology. Numerous states only certify schools that are accredited by certain respected organizations, for example the American Association of Cosmetology Schools (AACS). We will discuss the advantages of accreditation for the school you select in the following section.
Online Beauty Programs
Online beauty classes are convenient for Decatur AL students who are working full-time and have family responsibilities that make it challenging to enroll in a more traditional school. There are numerous web-based cosmetology school programs available that can be accessed by means of a home computer or laptop at the student’s convenience. More traditional cosmetology schools are frequently fast paced because many courses are as brief as 6 or 8 months. This means that a substantial portion of time is spent in the classroom. With online courses, you are covering the same amount of material, but you’re not devoting many hours outside of your home or driving to and from classes. On the other hand, it’s vital that the training program you choose can provide internship training in nearby salons and parlors in order that you also get the hands-on training necessary for a comprehensive education. Without the internship part of the training, it’s difficult to obtain the skills necessary to work in any area of the cosmetology field. So make sure if you choose to enroll in an online school to confirm that internship training is provided in your area.
Questions to Ask Cosmetology Training Programs
Following is a series of questions that you need to look into for any cosmetologist training program you are contemplating. As we have previously covered, the location of the school relative to your Decatur AL home, together with the price of tuition, will probably be your first qualifiers. Whether you want to earn a certificate, diploma or a degree will undoubtedly be next on your list. But once you have reduced your school choices based on those initial qualifications, there are additional factors that you need to research and take into consideration before enrolling in a cosmetology program. Following we have put together some of those additional questions that you need to ask every school before making a final decision.
Is the Program Accredited? It’s essential to make certain that the cosmetology training program you select 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 meet their high standards ensuring a quality curriculum and education. Accreditation can also be necessary for acquiring student loans or financial aid, which frequently are not obtainable in 35601 for non- accredited schools. It’s also a requirement for licensing in some states that the training be accredited. And as a concluding benefit, a number of Decatur AL businesses will not employ recent graduates of non-accredited schools, or may look more positively upon those with accredited training.
Does the School have an Excellent Reputation? Every cosmetology school that you are seriously evaluating should have a good to outstanding reputation within the industry. Being accredited is an excellent starting point. Next, ask the schools for endorsements from their network of businesses where they have placed their students. Check that the schools have high job placement rates, signifying that their students are highly regarded. Visit rating services for reviews in addition to the school’s accrediting organizations. If you have any relationships with Decatur AL salon owners or managers, or anyone working in the industry, ask them if they are familiar with the schools you are reviewing. They may even be able to recommend others that you had not considered. Finally, consult the Alabama school licensing authority to see if there have been any grievances submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
What’s the School’s Focus? A number of cosmetology schools offer programs that are comprehensive 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 frequently expand into a management and marketing curriculum. So it’s essential that you choose a school that specializes in your area of interest. If your ambition is to be trained as an esthetician, make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited and well regarded for that program. If your vision is to start a hair salon in Decatur AL, then you need to enroll in a degree program that will instruct you how to be an owner/operator. Selecting a highly rated school with a poor program in the specialty you are seeking will not provide the training you need.
Is Enough Hands-On Training Provided? Practicing and perfecting cosmetology skills and techniques involves plenty of practice on people. Ask how much live, hands-on training is furnished in the cosmetology lessons you will be attending. Some schools have salons on site that allow students to practice their developing skills on volunteers. If a beauty school offers little or no scheduled live training, but instead relies predominantly on utilizing mannequins, it may not be the best alternative for cultivating your skills. So look for other schools that offer this type of training.
Does the School have a Job Placement Program? Once a student graduates from a cosmetology academy, it’s crucial that she or he receives support in landing that first job. Job placement programs are an integral part of that process. Schools that furnish help develope relationships with Decatur AL employers that are searching for skilled graduates available for hiring. Check that the schools you are looking at have job placement programs and ask which salons and establishments they refer students to. Also, ask what their job placement rates are. High rates not only confirm that they have extensive networks of employers, but that their programs are highly regarded as well.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Many cosmetology schools offer financial aid or student loan assistance for their students. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department. Talk to a counselor and find out what student loans or grants you might get approved for. If the school belongs to the American Association of Cosmetology Schools (AACS), it will have scholarships accessible to students too. If a school meets all of your other qualifications with the exception of cost, do not drop it as an alternative until you find out what financial help may be provided.
Enrolled in Cosmetology School near Decatur AL?
If you have decided to attend Beauty School in the greater Decatur AL area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Decatur is a city in Morgan and Limestone counties in the State of Alabama. The city, nicknamed "The River City", is located in Northern Alabama on the banks of Wheeler Lake, along the Tennessee River. It is the largest city and county seat of Morgan County. The population in 2010 was 55,683.
Decatur is also the core city of the two-county large Decatur, Alabama metropolitan area which had an estimated population of 153,374 in 2013. Combined with the Huntsville Metropolitan Area, the two create the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area, of which Decatur is the second-largest city.
Like many southern cities in the early 19th century, Decatur's early success was based upon its location along a river. Railroad routes and boating traffic pushed the city to the front of North Alabama's economic atmosphere. The city rapidly grew into a large economic center within the Tennessee Valley and was a hub for travelers and cargo between Nashville and Mobile, as well as Chattanooga and New Orleans. Throughout the 20th century, the city experienced steady growth, but was eclipsed as the regional economic center by the fast-growing Huntsville during the space race. The city now finds its economy heavily based on manufacturing, cargo transit, and high-tech industries such as General Electric and United Launch Alliance.
Find the Right Cosmetology Vocational School near Decatur AL
Locating and enrolling in the right cosmetologist program is important to receive the proper training to become a licensed cosmetology professional. Make sure to ask all the questions that you need to so as to feel confident about your decision. Make sure to organize all of the information you receive from the beauty school admissions departments, prioritize what matters the most to you, and then use that data to contrast schools. A sensible beginning in your due diligence process is to make sure that the college and program you choose are accredited and have excellent reputations within the field. If you start with that foundation, and address the additional questions presented in this post, you will be able to narrow down your list of schools so that you can make the ideal selection. And when you graduate and pass your licensing examination, you will be self-assured that you are ready to start your new career as a professional cosmetologist in Decatur AL.
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