Beauty school is a type of vocational or “trade” school. This means that your learning centers specifically on a type of skill, like cosmetology or hairdressing, and prepares you for a career in a specific industry. This is in contrast to traditional universities, which often take four or more years and educate people in a particular subject, like history, math, or science. People who go the traditional route frequently qualify for a longer list of careers, but they also have less of a specialty in one profession. If you go to beauty school you will receive very specific training so that upon graduation you have the certifications to be hired by a hair salon or go into business as a cosmetologist and immediately establish loyal clientele. Institutions vary in exactly what classes they offer, and a lot of schools have their own titles for their courses, but a lot of the learning is essentially the same. Ultimately, the goal is to get you to a point where you can obtain a license and find satisfactory employment. So exactly what type of classes will you take?
One of the areas that many schools will focus on is hairstyling. This includes all the subjects you will need to be proficient in as a hair stylist, such as education in hair cutting, different hair styles, coloring techniques, wigs and hair extensions, and perms and relaxers. Classes will include all aspects, beyond simple memorization of what styles look like. You’ll learn how to set up your station and sanitize all your materials, how to select the right tools for a specific technique, and what the right products are to use. You’ll learn about the difference between styling wet and dry hair, how to achieve specific looks for your clients, and when to use tools like blow dryers, curlers, and flat irons. You’ll learn the theory behind hair color, how to apply different dyes, and what kinds of colors to use on different types of hair. Courses may also include how to make wigs and information about chemical relaxing, waving, and curling.
Makeup, Skincare, and Nails
There’s a lot more to these topics than some people think. If you choose to work in a salon, you may need to be knowledgeable about nail topics as well as different makeup techniques. You might also need to know about skincare, including hair removal. In these courses, topics often focus on eyebrow shaping and waxing, different skin types and facials, and skincare products. You’ll also learn how to apply makeup, including an understanding of cosmetic color theory and what to use on different face shapes and types. One of the ways you are tested could include completing a mock consultation with a client, in which you will have to make recommendations for makeup, skincare, and skin services based on their specific needs.
Business Development and Services
Some institutions have courses that go beyond techniques and applications and actually teach you about other aspects of a retail business. One example of this is business building, which will come in handy if you choose to open your own salon. You’ll learn how to be a manager, how to be professional and set standards and expectations, how to make crucial decisions, and how to setup compensation. You might also learn about professional development, which teaches you how to be a successful beauty professional. Topics include everything from personal ethics, state laws and rules, communication and interview skills, and resume writing. Lastly, you’ll likely have a class or two in retail sales, where you learn about more administrative aspects of the profession, including booking clients and upselling.
Of course, the exact classes you take will depend on where you enroll, but these categories serve as a general guide of what you can expect to learn.