February 11, 2011

Try DeKalb Tech’s cosmetology program

People want to look good, even when times are bad. Folks may cut back on spending, but they still want to maintain their personal appearance, said Larry Grant, lead instructor for cosmetology at DeKalb Technical College.

“In the recent recession, we saw people space out their hair appointments longer. They might go eight weeks instead of four weeks between cuts, but they didn’t quit coming altogether,” Grant said. “People come to us to feel better about themselves.”

As a result, cosmetology has been a stable industry for the last few years. And it’s a growing one today, thanks to an increasing population, the popularity of hair coloring and advanced hair treatments, and the addition of more full-service spas and salons.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that jobs for hairdressers will grow by 20 percent and that the demand for skin care specialists will increase by 38 percent through 2018.

DeKalb Technical College offers a diploma program in cosmetology at its Clarkston and Covington campuses. Students take 15 months to complete the diploma program, going to class full time four days a week and completing some coursework online. With the college switching to semesters this summer, the cosmetology program will admit 18 students twice a year.

“There’s a waiting list to get into the program, but students could take their core classes while waiting,” said Grant, a hairdresser for 38 years.

Cosmetology is not for everyone.

“It helps to have a little bit of artistic ability and an eye for design, but what really matters in this business is attitude,” he said. “Our job is all about service. If you care about people, enjoy being around them and want to do something to make them happy, there are great rewards in cosmetology.

“You can make good money and enjoy what you do. If your goals are all about me, me, me, you’re not going to do well.”

Cosmetology applicants must have a high school diploma or GED. The students begin by taking classes in sterilization and cosmetology theory before learning various techniques for shampooing, cutting, coloring, permanent waving and relaxing hair, as well as giving manicures and pedicures.

Students hone skills and gain the necessary hours for licensure by working in the campus salon. They take various roles in the salon, learning business, sales and cosmetology skills.

Upon graduation, students can take the exam to earn a license from the Georgia State Board of Cosmetology.

“We have a 100 percent pass rate and no trouble placing our students,” Grant said.

Most graduates take jobs in salons and work on commission or rent booth space, making about $15,000 to $18,000 a year to start. As their skills improve, many open their own shops or specialize so they can command higher prices.

“We teach basic skills, but cosmetologists never really stop learning. The good ones continue to take classes to stay fresh,” Grant said. “Some will go on to learn advance skills in nail or skin care and specialize. How far you take your career is up to you.”

The total cost for the DeKalb Tech program is $3,881, including tuition, books, supplies, uniform and an application fee for the licensure exam.

1 comment:

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