Nails 101: A Student Blog

Meet Alissa

by NAILS Magazine | August 28, 2012

For the past 11 years I have been a stay-at-home mom. Although I love being there for my husband and three children, I never thought I'd be away from the workforce for so long. I received a BA and later an MA in Speech Pathology and started my career working with children with special needs in the birth to age 5 population. I truly loved it, and felt that I was making a difference in people's lives. I loved the kids that I worked with, and enjoyed getting to know and educating their parents. My husband and I decided to start our own family, and I was delighted to be able to take a year off from work to spend with my beautiful baby daughter. The preschool that I worked for had just linked itself with a daycare center, so I thought I was set. Reality set in when I realized the daycare center was not properly staffed, and the environment was not a safe one. As you may or may not know, those in the teaching fields are not paid as well as they should be. My hourly wage actually equaled what a mature sitter charged, which forced me to leave my career to stay home with my daughter. I loved every moment of it, but always thought I'd go back. Four years later, we were blessed with twins, a boy and a girl. 

Two months ago, we moved from our home in Seattle, Wash., to Florida, so my husband could go back to school. We are both in our 40s, and believe you are never too old to learn. I considered going back to speech pathology, but realized I had been away too long for my liking. I also remembered all the reports, meetings and take-home work that kept me extremely busy. I loved my families, but didn't know if I could truly invest all the time that I used to devote to them like I did before kids.

At the beginning of July, I decided to treat myself to a mani/pedi at the local nail salon, as my husband was at school and I was feeling lonely. Nail services have always been a treat for me. Believe it or not, even though I grew up in New York I never had the experience until I was 24. I fell in love with them! The nail technician at the salon, Ben, told me how he had just moved from Georgia, and that his girlfriend was also attending school. He had been doing something else before but couldn’t find work here. He had family in the nail industry, and found out that in Florida you only need to complete a 240-hour certified program to receive your license.

When I got home, I immediately researched schools in my area, and found the Hollywood Institute of Beauty Careers ( I set up a meeting and the rest is MYSTORY! My program runs Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and should take me about 10 weeks. I had signed up for the 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. class that would take only 6 weeks, but after the first day, I realized the demand was too great. This way I can stay later if I'd like to get things done, but I have the option of leaving if I have family obligations.

What I love about becoming a nail technician is that I can still be an educator and use my creative side. I can counsel my clients and continue to be a lifetime learner — thank you Internet! My goal is to work in a high-end salon/spa and perhaps become a manager. I would also like to volunteer my services, at some point, to pamper moms and dads of children with special needs. These parents give so much of themselves every day. Who deserves a break more than them?

— Alissa Krieger

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