The Academy of Nail Design in Meaford, Ontario, Canada, offers an extensive online training program.

I’ve worked in the nail industry for over half my life. I love everything about it. I love the art of it, I love the science of it, and, as an educator, I love teaching others what I know.

I’ve always believed that my true calling is to share the knowledge that I have spent years acquiring with those who contact me. Any educator will tell you that nothing provides more career satisfaction than to see light bulbs go off in a student’s head when presented with information that changes her life forever. I remember my own light bulb moments clearly to this day.

I believe everyone will agree that quality education is the cornerstone of every successful nail professional’s career. But did you know one of the top complaints of students across the globe is the inability to access quality education? And did you also know one of the top complaints of clients is that many services are provided by uninformed professionals?

So why do we make it so difficult for students to access quality programs? Distance issues, family, or job obligations are often cited as the reasons that willing students choose not to follow the career path of their dreams. Should anyone be limited or punished for not having access to quality educational programs?

Online training has permeated every educational corner of the world and it’s high time the beauty industry got onboard. And why not? Online training is accessible, affordable, and fun.

Canada-based The Academy of Nail Design is forced to turn away U.S. students from its online nail tech program due to U.S. state boards’ refusal to recognize online education.

Canada-based The Academy of Nail Design is forced to turn away U.S. students from its online nail tech program due to U.S. state boards’ refusal to recognize online education.

At The Academy of Nail Design we have been running educational programs both in class and online for over 12 years. And our students around the world have told us they love it. In recent years we’ve fielded calls from thousands of American students begging for the opportunity to enroll in our online nail program, but the majority of states don’t yet permit it. Why?

On one hand hesitation could be understandable given that most online programs provide instruction without the presence of an instructor (even though with today’s technology and program delivery methods widely available, I find that is no longer a valid hesistation). However if you break down an in-class program, the majority of required program hours are spent on lecturing and memorizing theory — and isn’t this the basis of most online programs?  

If the average student could access even just the theoretical portions of their programs online, it would cut their required in-class time by almost half, therefore making attendance at in-class sessions a much more realistic proposal.

The benefits for students to access online training programs are numerous — travel and time savings and a work-at-your-own-pace schedule that suits many students in these times. But the benefits for a school to offer online training programs are just as numerous and revenue-generating.

By offering even just the theoretical portions of their programs online, schools would be able to fill their classrooms with pre-qualified, theory-ready students who are prepared to focus solely on mastering their practical skills. One of the most common complaints from beauty school graduates is that they didn’t spend enough time mastering practical applications. Instead they spent countless hours in theory lectures — also a waste of a valuable educator’s time I might add.

Schools would be able to lower overhead costs by cutting the time that students are required to spend in class, therefore translating into more affordable program tuition costs that would draw larger numbers of students. Schools would also be able to afford to offer tuition discounts to students who take all or part of their programs online — an option that is invaluable in a time of economic challenges.

Graduates would have spent all their in-class time mastering the practical aspects associated with their careers, making them feel more satisfied with their skill set and future employers would find them more competent direct from graduation.

Jennifer McKittrick is the founder of The Academy of Nail Design (Meaford, Ontario, Canada).

Jennifer McKittrick is the founder of The Academy of Nail Design (Meaford, Ontario, Canada).

I think this would also make student enrollment rates soar, given that attending programs would now be accessible and affordable. Online training solutions can provide quality content to any student, anywhere.

At The Academy of Nail Design we are as proud of our online training program as we are of our in-class program. We’ve had students perform better online then in class, because for some (due to distance or other obligations), they know this may be their only chance to participate in a program at all.

We realize that there are jurisdictional and accreditational issues with state policies, but state boards should at least permit the submission of online program proposals by already-accredited schools, as their online program offerings would contain the same content as the already-approved curriculums. The only difference is the method in which the content is delivered.

I think it’s time that U.S. schools and students start asking their local cosmetology boards directly why they aren’t accepting online training as a norm in our industry.

What is the board’s answer to a student who is willing to pay to go to school, but the closest facility is a five-hour drive away? That’s reality in many states today. Or a student whose desire is to become a nail professional, but must take a full 1,600-hour cosmetology program that will cost him or her a full year away from job or family?

Today’s students are demanding training be accessible and attainable and they understand and desire an affordable modern solution.

It’s time to step forward and adjust “old-fashioned” thinking into profitable, affordable training solutions for all students and all schools! I mean, WHY NOT?

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.