Friday, April 15, 2011

Should I go to Beauty School?

Photo: www.glamourdaze.blogspot.com

This was the same question I was asking myself last year when I was thinking about changing careers. I just wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I had a college degree that I wasn't using. I had made the decision to stick with bartending after graduating from college because I made more money slinging drinks than I would have working an entry level job in my field. Bartending was fun and easy money, but after seven years I couldn't help but think there was something bigger and better out there for me to do. I've worked at a few office jobs here and there over the years. None of them really inspired me or sparked my creative side.

There was one thing that had been lingering in the back of my mind since high school and that was makeup. I have always loved makeup. I love buying it. I love putting it on. I love wearing it. I always thought that being a makeup artist would be such a fun job. What could be more fun and rewarding than helping to make someone look even more beautiful than they already do while being creative and getting paid for it? The only thing that stood in the way of me ever pursuing this dream of mine was me.

I always had an excuse for why I couldn't be a makeup artist. I didn't know where to start. I wasn't really all that good at putting on makeup myself. I didn't have the right tools. The industry was too competitive. I needed to graduate from college. I couldn't afford to leave my day job. I was too old to be working at a cosmetics counter at the mall. Now that I look back, all of the these excuses could have easily been overcome if I had just expressed a little confidence and exerted some willpower.

So here I was. At yet another fork in the road of my career. What was it going to be? Continue doing something that I was comfortable with doing? Or was I finally going to take the leap of faith, get out of my comfort zone and go after this funny, little dream of mine? A friend of mine would always comment on my skin, telling me how beautiful and clear it was all the time. He thought that my great skin would make me a very successful esthetician. He told me that people pay good money just to try to achieve the great skin I have naturally (thanks Mom!!) My first question to him was, "What is an esthetician?"

After a little research and some soul searching, I decided that this time around, I would take that leap of faith. I was going to enroll into beauty school and get my esthetician license. With my license, I could work with both skincare and makeup. I knew that having an esthetician license wasn't required on order to be a makeup artist, but I liked having options. Besides, I had never worked a day of my life in the beauty industry. Going to beauty school would be a wise way for me to get myself educated within the industry and to see what all my my career options were.

The first thing I did after I decided to go to beauty school was ask my friends who were already working in the industry what school they thought I should attend. After compiling a list of schools that were near me, I went online and checked them out. Each school had a different way of presenting their program online. Some were extremely informative and easy to read, making the decision to go to school very inspiring. Some were of no help at all. They only provided a phone number to call to get more information about the program. Then there was a school that didn't even have a working website. Major bummer.

My next step was to visit the schools I was most interested in attending. I didn't call ahead to schedule an appointment on purpose. Calling ahead to schedule an appointment can be more time efficient, but I wanted to see what the schools were really like when I stopped by for an unannounced visit. It wasn't surprising that a few schools turned me away without having an appointment. They either didn't have anyone on hand to show me around or anyone to answer my questions. The first school I visited took me in right away on my unannounced visit. In fact, they pulled me right up the admissions leader's office, offered me a tour of the school and happily answered my questions. The admissions leader even asked ME a bunch of questions.

Going to beauty school would not be a cheap decision. I knew ahead of time that not only would I have to pay to go to school and acquire new debt, but I would have to sacrifice my current work schedule and current living situation. Going to school would take up a bulk of my time, leaving me less time to work and even less time to sleep and socialize. Gym time, hanging out with friends and shopping would have to be put on hold until after graduation. I wanted to make sure that the school I decided to attend would be worth that sacrifice.

I was happy when the admissions leader asked me why I had decided to go to beauty school, why I wanted to work in the industry and what I was hoping to achieve after graduation and getting my esthetician license. Instead of pushing me to sign up right away, she gave me my first homework assignment. She encouraged me to create a list of spas or salons that I would want to work at after getting my license. She then told me to visit them and ask for recommendations on where they think I should go to school. She also encouraged me to check out other schools in my area. Her point was to make sure that the school I chose was a good fit for me.

So in the few weeks after meeting with the inspiring admissions leader, I made a list of my top ten spas and salons in San Francisco and paid a visit to each one, asking the employees and managers if they thought it mattered where a person went to beauty school and if so, which one in the area would they recommend? I also scheduled appointments to meet with admission leaders at the other schools in my area. One school's admission leader didn't respond to my email or phone call inquiry until two months after I had already started beauty school!!

Once I had collected all of my information and research, I made an appointment to meet with the admission leader of the first school I had visited. I told her that I had made my decision. I would be going to SFIEC, the first school I had visited since I had originally made my decision to go to beauty school. I knew after my first visit that SFIEC would be a good fit for me. The admission leader did too. She just wanted to make sure that I had seen everything else that was being offered and for me to make the educated decision for myself.

Now all I had to do was complete my admissions paperwork, save up as much money as I could before starting class and adjust my work schedule to fit with my new class schedule.

If you are thinking about going to beauty school, here are some things to consider:

1. Decide if this is the right career choice for you and then choose the program you enroll in accordingly.

For example, if you love skin, go for an esthetics program. If you love hair, go for a cosmetology program. If you want to do both hair and skin, go with a cosmetology program. A cosmetology program will be longer than an esthetics program, but you will cover both areas. Just keep in mind that even though a cosmetology program does cover both hair and skin, but doesn't get as detailed into skin as the esthetics program alone does.

2. Make a list of schools in your area and visit each one of them.

Websites are great and can provide a lot of information, but you can't really get the feel for a school until you actually visit it in-person. When visiting, ask to take a tour. Check out the facilities. Is there a salon or clinic floor for students to work on real clients or are you just working on doll heads for most of the program? Are the facilities clean? Do the students seem happy? Can you imagine yourself being there every single day for either 600 or 1600 hours? If not, pick a school where you can. You are going to spend a good amount of time there. Might as well make the experience as enjoyable as possible.

3. Get professional recommendations

Before deciding on which school to go to, visit professional businesses that you know and respect. Ask the employees and managers of these businesses if they think it matters where you to beauty school and if so, which one would they recommend. Ask which schools they think produce the best, well-trained graduates. Also, ask the school to get you in touch with previous graduates and current students. Sometimes its more reassuring to hear it from someone who is either currently going through the program or has been through the program than a person who is paid to enroll new students or a working professional who has had their license for a few years.

4. Save your money

Let's get real here. Beauty school is expensive. The better the school is, typically the more expensive it will be. You get what you pay for. Good schools teach you the core program and prepare you for the State Board exam. The great schools will provide a happy, healthy learning atmosphere, clean facilities, extracurricular activities, networking opportunities, salon or clinic floors that give students a chance to work on real clients instead of just each other and doll heads and extended education outside of the classroom. The sooner you start saving money, the less you will have to budget for financial aid, loans or working a job while in school.

5. Prepare yourself

Not only do you want to have all of your admissions paperwork out of the way and completed before the first day of school, but its also a good idea to plan ahead your life and make adjustments if needed. If you need to change around your work schedule, do it now. There is nothing worse than investing a bunch of money into school only to find out that you can't adjust your shifts at work to fit with your new school schedule. Also, now is a good time to let all of your friends know about your big decision. Having the support of your friends and family is huge, especially when times get tough and all you want to do is give up. Having that positive support will help push you through graduation and hopefully breeze through State Board.

6. Always ask questions

You think you asked a lot of questions during your meeting with the admissions leader? Hah! Making the choice to go to beauty school is a huge decision. If you're changing industries like I did, it will be an even bigger and scarier decision. It's impossible to know everything. If you have questions, don't be afraid to ask them. What is the school's passing rate for State Board? How much real time practice do you get on doll heads versus real people/clients? How many clients do you get to see as a student? Is there financial aid, scholarships, grants, loans or payment plans available? What are the class schedules: full-time, part-time, day program, night program? What extracurricular activities are available for students to participate in? What does the school do to prepare you in the program for State Board? How much preparation do you get for State Board in your program? Are there any opportunities to network with industry professionals while going to school?

Here it is over a year later since I had asked myself if I should go to beauty school. The 17 weeks I spent in school were amazing. They brought out the best of me and the worse in me. Even though I aced the program and earned my esthetician license shortly after graduating, it didn't come without a whole lot of sacrifice and heartache. I worked two jobs during the entire time I was in school just to make ends meet. I suffered from sleep deprivation from having to work nights and be at school early in the morning. Forget about having a social life, I barely had time to get my homework done. Despite all of the sacrifice, the hardest part of beauty school for me was having to get out of my comfort zone each and every day. I had been living my comfortable life, doing things I could do easily in my sleep for the past seven years. Every day at school, I was challenged with something new. I was constantly having to deal with deciding if I had made the right decision. Was this going to be the industry I would leave bartending for and I want to work in? With each experience and struggle, the answer was always yes.

So if you are asking yourself if you should go to beauty school, make the decision only if it is right for you. If you have the passion and the drive, there isn't really anything you can't accomplish. The only thing that is standing in your way, is you.

83 comments:

  1. I love this I'm at a 4 year university right now and i am not happy. But i have the passion for makeup but i wouldn't mind doing hair also. And i am already seeking out schools that has a great skin and hair program. And the cosmetology program is to expensive but the skin program is less expensive. But i plan on making ends meet after i graduate. But i love your what you said at the end of the day the choice is on you.

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    1. The difference in hours between a cosmetology and esthetican program here in California is 1,000 hours. I think that's the main reason why the cosmetology program is more expensive. With your cosmetology license, you can still do everything a licensed esthetician can. You just don't get the razor-sharp focus on skin in the cosmo program.

      If you are considering doing hair, I would suggest getting your cosmetology license. If you get your esthetics license now and then decide that you want to do hair on down the road, you'll have to go back to school to get your cosmetology license. And yes, the choice is ultimately up to you. My suggestion? Follow your heart!

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  2. Wow...this post was exactly what I needed to read! I can identify with the same concerns/fears about "leaping" forward into school. I'm a S-A-H-M..in my 40's...and I'm seriously considering attending esthetician school. I would love to hear how you've been utilizing your new skills...if you're making $$ as an esthetican. I'm scared to take the leap only to discover work in this field would be next to impossible to find. Any input would be awesome! :)

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  3. Taking the leap into any new industry is scary. I left behind eight years of bartending to work in the skin care and makeup industry as a licensed esthetician. It's like with any industry, you have to pay your dues and work your way to the top.

    I'm only in my first year and I am exactly where I need to be at this point. Not quite making the $$$$ yet, but I am moving forward at a rapid pace.

    The first step is deciding if this is the right career path for you. Once you've decided, then you have to take the leap and have confidence in yourself that you'll make it.

    The best piece of advice I got in Beauty School? Always say yes. How are you going to seize an opportunity if you say no?

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  4. What a great reply, thank you!! Wish me luck, as this week I'll be contacting the local beauty school for more information ;)

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  5. Good luck. Keep us posted on how your journey goes.

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  6. What a great post!

    I had just made a 'leap of faith' as going to beauty school last year as well..:) We are all on our journeys!

    Sometimes i compare myself with my friends with stable office jobs ,and get nervous..but at the same time know in my heart that skincare is where my true passion belongs. i feel very fortunate in that.

    I agree with you, that the first steps, and the first few years may be rocky..but then its going all up hill!!

    Thank you for the inspiring post :)

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  7. Thanks Hikari! Congratulations on taking the leap of faith.

    I think the first few years in any new industry is going to be an adjustment. Mine has certainly been bittersweet. I have never worked so hard in my life, but I am having so much fun learning and growing along the way.

    You know what they say, "If you do what you love, you'll never have to work another day in your life."

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  8. This is a wonderful post I must say! I am starting the cosmetology program here at my local community college here in 2 weeks. Yes, it is still expensive, but a lot less than the independent beauty schools here, and my community college has the highest rate of graduates from the cosmetology program compared to any other beauty school in the state, which is a wonderful plus! Reading this made me want to start beauty school already, I don't think I can possibly wait another 2 weeks!!! Once again, this is an amazing post and thank you for the great advice (: it was very helpful
    -Melissa

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  9. I am not sure how much this counts to you, but this entry was exactly what I needed to see. I am signing up for school tommorow. My situation mirrors your past one it seems. Its time to change my life courageously as you did! Cheers

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  10. It counts a great deal to me when I hear that people have been inspired by my story and my blog. I am so happy that I made the decision to go to school. I love working in my new industry. I am madly in love with my job. Good luck with school!!

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  11. I wish I had read this before attending school. I picked a school that really did NOT fit me. They were so caught up in their ways (which varied so much from teacher to teacher that I went insane) and their product. I wish I had learned more about waxing and makeup. Waxing is a huge staple. They have a huge product line and that is great; however, learning what each individual teacher expected you to use was horrific. I just wantd a school that stayed away from the fresh-out of high school grads. I assure you, there is no way around drama at any of these schools. Just don't get labeled as a problem child and keep your head low.

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    1. I'm sorry to hear about your experience in beauty school. I agree with you. Waxing is the bread and butter for most working estheticians. Waxing is also one of those tings you get better at the more time you do it, over and over and over again. I think everyone probably feels they wish they had MORE waxing experience in school, no matter how amazing the school they attended was. There are only so many hours in an esthetics program and so many different topics to cover.

      I hope that the school you attended didn't turn you off to working in the industry completely. Just consider it a learning experience. That's the only way I can make sense of any bad experiences I have to go through.

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  12. This post you made seemed to touch my very life. Maybe you should seek creative writing as well. I too, feel the same way, live with most the same hold backs on things. I put off esti today to deal with money things, but cant express enough how I am looking foward to going in four months from now. just knowing others feel so close to how I am feeling, is comforting, and very encouraging to my soul. Thanks grl

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    1. Seek creative writing? This is the EXACT reason why I write my blog. It gives me an excuse to geek out on anything pertaining to the beauty industry while expressing myself and getting my creative writing fix. Writing, researching and promoting this blog requires a lot of time and hard work, but its a labor of love. It's my favorite creative outlet. I'm so glad that you found my blog comforting and encouraging. That is a huge motivation for me to keep writing in my blog. So a huge THANK YOU is coming right back to you!

      Thanks for reading!!

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  13. Is there an average age of the students attending school to become an aesthetician? I only ask (and worry) because I am turning 38 next week, 4 children who will all finally be in school next year, and I would love to do this with my life...only I am afraid of being the "old" one in the class!
    I've been a stay at home mommy for the past 14 years, and I am both terrified and extremely excited to finally have MY time. Your story was so informative and inspirational!! Thanks so much!!

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    1. Heather, try not to get hung up on age. Age is merely a number. Seriously! Sure in beauty school, there might be a number of younger students running around, but you'd be surprised at how many people come back to beauty school as a way to start a second career. I was one of those people.

      In our estie class of 12, we had such a mixture of people-some fresh out of high school, some in their mid twenties, a few of us in our 30's and even a full-time mom. We all had something in common with one another which was our love for skin and our passion to one day work in the beauty industry. The whole "worry about the age" thing usually goes out the window during your first week of school. If this is something that will make your heart sing, then you should go for it.

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  14. Totally unrelated question, dear & I hope you don't mind.. but I am starting a video bog (there will be written blogs attached) & want it revenue producing. How did you manage to get and maintain advertisers and how do you promote the blog? Are you happy with any resulting income from it? Thank you & I super-love the great energy, smart, friendly writing & the topic - you're going places :)

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    1. Hi! Thanks for your comment.

      I'm happy to share all of my blog promoting "secrets" to you. Since this comment doesn't pertain to the topic of this post, let's take it offline and discuss further. Feel free to email me at kathleenNnevesATyahooDOTcom. I'm happy to answer all of the questions you might have. Hopefully I can get you set up in the right direction.

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  15. Reading this has truly inspired me! I am currently enrolled at a four year college and am not sure that the field I am majoring in is truly my calling. I am also a full-time mom, so it is scary to think about making a big change in our family's lifestyle. I have always been interested in cosmetology but the fact that it lacks the "secure" feeling of an office job makes it a tough decision to make! I think, after reading this blog it only made my desire to do what is in my heart intensify. THANK YOU!

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    1. Thank you so much! It makes me so incredibly happy knowing that my blog has inspired you in some way.

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  16. HELP! I'm in my 50's yes 50's. Have always been told I don't look my age and always pass for a women in her 40's. I'm about to start school in 2 weeks to become an estethician and nail technicain (full specialty). I already have a nail tech license and practiced for 2 years then moved to a state that required more hours so, haven't been able to work for the last 2 years.

    Finally I'm in a position to go back to school, but, I'm really concerned about my age. I worked as a skin care and make-up specialist for a cosmetic company when I was younger and really enjoyed it.

    Now that I'm older, I'm even more aware and concerned about skin care and my appearance. Am I too old? Is this a bad idea? Can anyone HELP me? I'm really worried is this a bad idea?

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    1. Age should never be a factor when you are pursuing a career that you have a passion for. In fact, I find that a lot of clients look to older estheticians as more of an expert in their field as opposed to a younger esthetician. With age, we tend to be wiser and have more life experience. If this is something you really want to pursue, I say go for it. You're never too old to go after your dreams.

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  17. Thank you very much for your input! I cant believe your story!! Because it seems exactly like mine!!! however, I am still working as a bartender and hold my BA degree. I worked at the offices there and there, but always had a passion for make up and skin care! I visited couple beauty schools, but still undecided which school to choose! Thank you again for your input!!!

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    1. Still undecided about which beauty school to choose? Be sure to read this post:

      http://www.mylifeasanesthetician.com/2012/09/the-1-question-readers-ask-me.html

      It's a lot of research and tons to think about, but it's better to put the time and thought into your decision. Beauty school isn't cheap, either financially or time and energy-wise.

      Hope this helps!

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  18. What are you doing now? Are you working in a spa? Was it difficult to find a salon to hire a graduate without any experience? My biggest concern is getting that first job after graduation and at what salary.

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    1. I work one day a week in a salon, offering waxing and spray tanning services. The other five days during the week I at SFIEC, a well-known beauty school here in San Francisco. There are SEVERAL different things I do at SFIEC during the week. To see exactly what I'm doing there 40 hours a week, I invite you to read a recent blog post:

      http://www.mylifeasanesthetician.com/2012/09/look-how-far-ive-come-in-last-4-months.html

      This will break it all down for you in a nutshell. One word for you: BUSY!!

      Oh yeah and somewhere in there I find time to write for my blog. :)

      Believe it or not, there are a lot of spas and salons that would prefer to hire a licensed esthetician fresh out of beauty school without any professional experience. The reason? They get to train and mold that recent graduate into the employee they would like them to be. The hard part is finding those spas and salons. My recommendation? Try the bigger, corporate salons and spas first. They tend to have the best training and hire the most people. Once you have enough experience under your belt, then you can go after a smaller, more boutique-y type of salon or spa. Hope that helps. Good luck!

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  19. I absolutley love what you are doing with this blog. I admire the hard work I know it must have been to do this. I recently graduated from an Esthetician school in NY but I am having a serious skin problem that I cannot get to the bottom of! I moved to an area where we have well water and it's called "hard water". Ever since I moved here my skin has been developing blackheads or Closed comodones...lol. And cyst like lesions! I researched hard water and I did find that because of the mineral content, like calcium and magnesium it can cause clogged pores. Somehow it doesn't let the cleansers penetrate to clean the poors out. It actually traps the dirt in. I'm not sure if all this is accurate but I do know that when I wash with this water it feels slimy, almost like the soap stays on. If you have any suggestions please let me know! Thanks

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    1. Hi Suzanne! Thanks for reading my blog. So glad that you are enjoying it. In regards to your recent skin concern, have you considered visiting a dermatologist? It sounds like the well water could be the culprit of your recent angry skin condition. A dermatologist will be able to take a closer look at your skin and hopefully prescribe something that would target all of those awful flare ups.

      Another option would be to visit a licensed esthetician in your area. Ask if they have other clients in the area who have experienced the same problems you seem to be having with the well water. If so, ask what they suggest in terms of treatment. Unfortunately, I haven't had any firsthand experience with reactions from well water in my area.

      Please keep me posted on your progress and what your dermatologist or esthetician has to say.

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    2. Hi Suzanne! this may be a tad bit too late, but you need a filtration system for your water tank.

      Delete
  20. Hello, i'm trying to decide if being an esthetician is right for me. I don't have perfect skin so it makes me kind of insecure to go into what can be a vain industry.. Also how is the pay? How do you advance? Is there any stability in the industry?

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    1. The great thing about being an esthetician is that you don't have to have perfect skin. A lot of people become an esthetician because they know what it's like to suffer from acne and skin disorders. They want to help others out there improve their skin.

      As far as the pay goes, it really depends on the type of spa/salon you work at, what part of the country you're in and how many clients you have on your books. Estheticians can make as much or as little as they want to. There's such a huge range in this industry when it comes to pay.

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  21. Wow I could seriously hug you right now. This is exactly what I needed to read! I graduated high school in 2011 and attended college for 1 semester, dropping out because I was unsure of what major I wanted to pursue. Now, a year later, I've come to the struggle of if I want to go to Cosmetology School, or back to college with a new major. Honestly, all I want in my future is to fall in love and start a family.. I don't care if i'm greeting people at Walmart, or delivering mail, as long as I have a family. I've always enjoyed doing hair and makeup I just find myself having trouble, like you said, "taking that leap of faith". I also find it very discomforting the way people react when I tell them i'm considering beauty school, it makes it even more difficult for me to believe in myself and just go for it. Although, reading this has helped me quite a bit. Thank you so much!

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    1. Thank you so much Jordan for your awesome comment. I'm glad that you found some inspiration in my blog.

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  22. Omg you just described exactly what I'm going through. Im in a pretty comfortable job, but I know that's not what I want to do. Like you, I have good skin and I've always liked make up. And you are so right- I am the only one holding me back. I just don't know if I will make enough money if I decide to do this.

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    1. You can always start off working part-time while you build up your clientele. Making a transition from one career to another is always scary at first. Working at it part-time is a good way to get your feet wet while going after your dream.

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  23. I feel the same way! I actually have a degree and am working part time as a nutritionist. I want to go to beauty school. I have always wanted to do it but my family discouraged me poo pooing it. Now I have 2 kids and a husband with a demanding job. I don't know if I can swing it, not to mention I am 40 years old!
    Would it be better to go for the clinical ski care specialist vs basic esthetician or combined spa therapy program? Is Aveda institute any good or will that limit me? A new one just moved near me. Any advice is helpful!!

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    1. The only license that I know is required to work on skin here in California is the 600 hour estheticians license. I'm not sure what the clinical skin care specialist or a combined spa therapy program is all about. It sounds like those might be advanced education programs that are available, on top of already having an estheticians license from your state's Board of Cosmetology?

      Aveda Institute was one of the beauty schools I checked out when I first made the decision to go to beauty school over two years ago. The facility I visited was really nice and centrally located. I decided that the Aveda Institute wasn't for me because the school I did decide to go to (SFIEC) had an incredible reputation among spa and salon professionals here in San Francisco. SFIEC was also more accommodating of my work schedule. I could get in and out, going through the program during the day in less than five months.

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  24. My dilemma is that I make pretty good money as a nurse, my job is walking distance, I have good benefits, but I hate it. I never wanted to be a nurse, but to please my mom I did it anyway. I have always liked doing hair, makeup, and nails. I have been thinking about doing the esthetican program, but I just don't know if I will make as much money, if will I have benefits, have to work weekends, or have a hard time finding a job? Do you have any suggestions?

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    1. I know that a lot of people get hung up on how much money they'll make once they get an estheticians license. Honestly, the amount of money you make in any industry is up to you. There are so many different options in the beauty industry. So really, when it comes to salary, the sky's the limit.

      Do keep in mind that anytime you start over in a new career/industry, there is a great deal of working your way up to the top. That means taking an entry-level position, working minimum wage, working weekends and holidays and not having health benefits right away. The good thing is you wont always be the low woman on the totem pole as long as you work hard, put in the time and pay your dues early on in your career.

      I have a friend of mine who just got her license three months ago. She started working for a waxing salon right out of school. Granted, she started off as a receptionist, but that lasted for only a couple months. She is now working for the same salon, full-time, taking waxing clients AND receives health benefits.

      Be sure to check out these other posts to give you some inspiration on getting started in the industry:
      How much do estheticians make?
      Get Rich Quick Tip: Pay Your Dues

      Good luck!

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    2. Hi! I stumbled across this wonderful blog and saw your question about leaving nursing to get your etsi license. Just a thought- you can combine both practices and make amazing money. As an RN with an etsi license, you can work with plastic surgeons, medi spas, dermatologists, and even be a sales rep for medical skin care companies.
      So, if you are scared of leaving nursing I think combing the two is not only convenient, but smart. Your salary options will be much higher!
      I know you posted this about a year ago, but I hope this reaches you and helps!

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    3. Wait- I just realized you posted only three months ago. Now I REALLY hope it helps!

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  25. Thank you, that gives me reassurance. I will find out the 30th of this month if I leave my stressful nursing career for something I've always wanted to do. It scares me to the core knowing that my whole life can change. But I don't want to ever wonder "what if"

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  26. Wow, reading your blog has really made me think deep. I'm 19 and just started university (in england) doing a degree that I know my heart is not in. I feel so unmotivated and this lack of emotion in me at the moment is just turning me upside down. I know deep down that I want to study beauty, but to make the decision to drop out of university to go to beauty school is so overwhelming I'm not sure if I'm ready to make that life changing decision yet. But one thing is for sure though - after only being here for three months I am already so unhappy and am always thinking of other possibilities. Your blog really makes me want to study something im passionnate about; instead of doing a pointless degree just for societal approval

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  27. Hi very useful blog for me.. I want to run a parlour. I wish to give skin care and makeup tips to others. I want to learn about skin tone.. Which is good? Esthetician or cosmetology . I finished my bachelors in engineering. I want a career change..

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    Replies
    1. It really depends on the licensing requirements in your area. Each state in the United States is going to have slightly different hour requirements for obtaining a license. In California, it's 600 hours for an esthetician license and 1600 hours for a cosmetology license. The cosmo license will cover hair and some skin, but the esthetics license will only cover skin. I guess it just depends on the state you're in and what you're looking for.

      I recommend checking out this post on my blog for more detailed information:

      http://www.mylifeasanesthetician.com/2012/09/what-are-license-requirements-for.html

      Delete
  28. I am amazed at how many women are in the same boat as I. I am 41 and have been staying at home with my kids. I have a B.A. and M.A. in Interior Design, but the city in which I live does not have any openings. I commuted to a bigger city in the past, but have no desire to do that again. I have been contemplating going to cosmetology school to get my Esthetician's license. I, too, have been scared that I will put both the time and money into this and still not have a job at the end. Just last week I told my husband that we would have to take a, "leap of faith." Reading these exact words in your blog tells me that this is the right decision for me and to just go for it!

    Thank you!

    Kelly

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kelly, sometimes you have to take the leap of faith to get where you really want to go. Nothing worth having is ever easy, trust me! Good luck to you.

      Delete
    2. Hi Kelly! I'm studying Interior Design currently and I am going to pursuing cosmetology instead. Small world!! There are always jobs in esthetics//cosmetology field- it's a feel-good industry, and everyone needs a little pick me up! Take the leap of faith! Life is too short to do something you don't enjoy.

      Delete
  29. well-just an update, I am in week 7 of a 20 week 600 hour program! To say it is intense is an understatement! I am learning so much, but it is a big adjustment. The good thing is that I know this part is not permanent and I know it will pay off in the end. I absolutely love it and don't regret signing up one bit so if you are hesitating and can't make up your mind-go for it!
    : )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, beauty school is incredibly intense. Most people don't realize how intense the program can be until they are actually in it. Have fun and take good notes. I still have all of my course notes from when I went to school. They are a valuable resource!

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  30. Hi, I loved reading your blog post on this. I am about to finish up my college degree in a year and will be going to beauty school soon after. I am more interested in makeup and hair than just hair, which I know what cosmetology is all about. Do you recommend going for a cosmetology program? I am pretty good at makeup and am studying a short term professional makeup course right now and will be taking up skin and hair classes next week. So I'm pretty excited for that because I've never been good at hair before.
    Were there many international students at SFIEC? I am not from the states but am planning to study (hopefully) cosmetology at a paul mitchell school. Do have any idea if they get placements as well as US residents? Thanks for your help :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A cosmetology program will have a focus on makeup, but if you want a more in-depth focus on makeup, I recommend checking out a school that focuses on makeup. One that comes to mind has a campus in Los Angeles and one in New York:

      Make-Up Designory
      http://www.makeupschool.com/

      I would also recommend taking advantage of any one or two-day, special trainings or advanced education classes and seminars that your school might offer with a makeup focus. The best classes will provide a hands-on portion to the class, That's when you can practice what you learn in the class with the instructor readily available for assistance or feedback.

      As far as admissions, I would contact the Admissions Leader at the Paul Mitchell school that you are planning on attending. They can answer all of the questions you have about placement for international students. Good luck!

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    2. Thanks for your help!

      Delete
  31. Hi, thanks for all your helpful info. I'm a 49 year old man I have always wanted to be a makeup artist ever since I was a child, that would be my dream job ! I've worked many dead end job's which I hated. Do you think it's to late for me ? first of all I'm a man, strike 1, & I'm almost 50 strike 2. I would really appreciate any comments or advise you may offer me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's never too late to start a career in an industry that you love. My only advice? Get started now! What are you waiting for?

      Delete
  32. My wife keeps telling me that she wants to go to Oshawa beauty college. Thanks for the suggestions, I'll have to share this with her.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Drew!

      Make sure that your wife reads my blog post:

      The #1 Question Readers Ask Me
      http://www.mylifeasanesthetician.com/2012/09/the-1-question-readers-ask-me.html

      My best advice is for her to visit all of the school in the area, do her research, ask questions and go with her gut feeling. Good luck!

      Delete
  33. I googled cosmetology school after college and I found your blog. Not only did reading your post inspire me but reading all your replies made me realize that I am not the,only person in the world who wants to go to beauty school after college. I graduate summer 2013 with,my associate in arts and I initially planned to transfer to Washington State not too far from Cali! but hearing it come out of someone else's mouth made,me realize that it was not for me. And seeing those,acceptance letters felt out of place for me. I am going to tour my local beauty colleges.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so happy that my blog posts inspired you. You are certainly not the only person who would rather go to beauty school right after high school than a university. Everyone's path is different. It doesn't mean that its either right or wrong-you just have to decide what is going to be best for you. Good luck!

      Delete
  34. Wow.This is really informative . I love you already <3.Hi kath,I'm 18 this year and I'll attend University this june (Business). I have always been interested in beauty but I doesn't know what course i should attend until yesterday while i was google browsing and finally found your blog. I love business too and i have paid for the first semester of the course. I am planning while attending University I will do research and visits the esthetic schools . I will love to attend esthetic course after I graduated and work in business field for a few years.


    From what I understand after reading blogs, to be an estheticians I need to go to esthetic school such as SFIEC, for entry requirement i just need a high school result. I will be in that school for about 600 hours= 4 months full time(Studying and Practicing-may varied in diff locations). Then I get certificate from esthetic school and apply for board exam and if i pass ,I have the license. Next I can use this license to apply job. Is that true? Please correct me if I'm wrong about the pathway to be an esthetician. Thankyouuuuu so much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Filicia,

      Yes, that is correct. In the state of California, you need to complete 600 hours of school before you can apply to take your state board exam. Once you met the state requirements and passed both the written and practical exam, you're licensed to touch skin in the state of California.

      I think both the mixture of a business degree and an esthetician license is a very powerful combination. Do you have any idea on what you want to do in the industry once you graduate? It's ok if you don't. When I first started school, I thought I had a clear path. Then half-way through my program, I changed my focus within the industry. It's totally normal. Try as many things as you can. That's the only way you're going to know if your truly love something or not. Good luck!

      Delete
    2. I wish I saw your Blog before I enrolled in the School that I went to. I have since graduated and taken the State Board Exam. Unfortunately, I only passed a part of it. I have retaken the Written portion but failed again. I enrolled at Beauty School in the 2nd half of my life as well. My main passion is makeup but after being enrolled in the program I learned to have a deep appreciation for skincare. Afterall, it does go hand-in-hand.

      But, anyway, my experience in the school I went to was absolutely 'horrible'!! I have to say I honestly believe I did not get a good quality education. ... the way I look at is "I'm f'ing finally out of there and whatever I need to learn I'll learn on the job training" HOW SAD IS THAT.

      All I can say is, People do your Research!!!! AUDIT the class/teacher.

      Delete
  35. hi I am kamala ..I live in newyork and I am going to my costomology in ny but I wanna go work in California..can you tell me pls can I use my licenese over there too or I should do something different

    ReplyDelete
  36. As long as you have your license in one state, you can transfer it into another state. Each state is going to have slightly different requirements. Some states are also a little more strict than others and require more regulation.

    If you're still in school, make an appointment to talk to your placement leader. He or she should have specific information on how you can transfer licenses state-to-state.

    ReplyDelete
  37. thank you so much reply ...actually I like to stay in California and I wanted to go to beautician school but I saw they charge so much,,would u suggest which school is better for me?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Beauty schools range in all different prices. A lot of times, the price will also reflect on the area the school is located in. What part of California are you looking to go to beauty school in?

      Delete
    2. Hi Kathleen, I live in the San Jose area, there isn't much beauty schools out here, do you recommend Marinello?
      Thanks!
      Eliza L.

      Delete
  38. I am currently trying to be a makeup artist but like u I don't know how to apply it good but I loveeee it and want to learn how to be a makeup artist. Would I go to school for esthetics?? Would that go into detail about how to apply makeup or just a small portion ??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As far as I know of, you don't need a license to be a makeup artist. I do recommend looking into getting your esthetician license though. The reason being you're going to be working up close and personal with a lot of skin. Having the solid skin knowledge background will only help you in the profession. Plus, having your license could open professional doors for you allowing you to take full advantage of job opportunities you never thought existed before. Just some food for thought. Good luck!

      Delete
  39. I am considering this option as well. Now that some time has passed are there anythings you would change or recommend?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now that I've been working in the beauty industry for three years, I happily look back on my career so far and can honestly say that I wouldn't change a thing. I know that I picked the right beauty school for me. Not only did I gain an invaluable education, but I took full advantage of all of the opportunities that came my way, leading me to future job offers and incredible networking experiences.

      Each professional job I have worked at since I graduated from beauty school has been a stepping stone for the current job I have now, which I love. I couldn't have gotten where I am today without all of those experiences - good and not so good.

      I strongly recommend researching all of the beauty schools in your area before deciding on one to attend. Beauty school is expensive and an investment. Might as well pick the one that will give you the most opportunity and best experience. It will set the tone for the rest of your career in the beauty industry. Good luck!

      Delete
  40. What is a license type 6

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not quite sure what a license type 6 is. Do you have anymore information that you could post about this license? What country/state do you live in?

      Delete
  41. Kathleen, I am so glad I found your site. So here is my question. I want to go to beauty school and my first idea was Estiology, because I have always been interested in the skin and makeup. The thing is I am also finding I am somewhat interested in hair too. I have been told I should just do Cosmetology, because in my state I am covered to do hair, skin and nails. I am considering this, but I am still not sure. Do you hear of Cosmetologist specializing in skin care? I am very unsure what to do. Any advice is appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Sonja

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sonja,

      If you have any desire to do hair, I would strongly recommend going for your cosmetology license. I'm not sure which state you live in, but in California, a cosmetology license covers both hair and skin. Sure, you wont get as much of an in-depth education on skin with your cosmetology license as you would an esthetician license, but in the end you'd be licensed to do both.

      Once you're licensed, there are LOTS of opportunities out there for advanced education on skincare. My favorite is IDI (International Dermal Institute) which is linked with Dermalogica. In addition to teaching product classes to their accounts, they also offer a number of non-product specific classes that cover all sorts of topics within the skincare industry such as acne, aging, hyperpigmentation,waxing, etc. Good luck!

      Delete
  42. hiii, im a dental student in final year..but im not happy with the course. i always wanted to be an esthetician... should i quit and join a good esthetics school ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Life is too short. I'd say if you have a passion to be an esthetician, then go for it. You don't want to look back years later and wonder "what if.." Good luck!

      Delete
  43. This was so helpful. I can relate to you completely..graduated 2 yrs ago and still not happy w job/money. You truly inspired me to take the chance, I'm getting started right now! I love skin and would love to help others take care of their's and to feel confident.
    I was nervous about what people would think switching careers after going to school for so long, but I'm taking my happiness into my own hands.
    Btw, you're beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Melissa! Good luck on your new journey. Please keep me updated on your progress. :)

      Delete
  44. I stumbled upon this post today, and it was exactly what I needed. I've "re-posted" some of your words on my blog (which is a work in progress, to say the least). After digging through your blog more, I'm realizing that I'm trying to do now what you have already done. I've recently created a blog to mark my journey through beauty school. I hope to look back a year from now proud of my accomplishments (as you have had the joy of doing)!

    http://bumblebloom.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  45. thank you for sharing your tips and advice.

    Like you, i already have a bachelors degree (human services and psychology), but ever since i was in high school i wanted to do hair, makeup, nails-everything. But i was always strayed away from it because everyone a like told me a college degree was better. Despite knowing what i had a passion for, i still went the university route. I graduated five years ago. Even while i was in college I wish i had gone for cosmo.Now, i am a SAHM. Hubby works full time and im here w our three young ones during the day. We have managed to save money and are able to pay for beauty school. Im in the perfect position as far as curent lifestyle goes, to purse evening PT cosmo class. Which is great but there is one problem...I live in rural America and there is only one school in a two hour radius. That school is actually a couple miles down the road, so in that regard it would be perfect. the issue is that its well known to be a bad school. Just not great on any accounts except for the fact that they have a nice job placement rate (horrible retention rate tho). The teachers are not that great, in fact they can be quite rude and unhelpful. So its no surprise the instructor turnover rate is so high too. On the otherhand, they do have open clinic to the public and are very in touch with surrounding salons.

    This is my only option. With three kids, my husbands great job, and owning a home, it is not feesable to relocate for school or even drive hours to go to a better school. So my options are to go to a bad school, shell out $20K (!!!), but still end up w a license, which is what i need to do what i love. OR never pursue the dream at all.

    What would you do? Though we can afford the school, im in a bit of sticker shock seeing how sub par it is. If it were a good school i wouldnt be bothered. Nonethess, its my only option and im so conflicted on what to do.

    ReplyDelete