You’ve tolled away at beauty school for days on end, absorbing as much knowledge and getting as much experience as you possibly can. Finally, your well-earned graduation day comes, followed shortly by your taking (and passing, of course!) your state board exam.
Now what? We’ve asked a recent graduate, a school founder, and a salon owner who hires newly graduated techs about how well beauty school prepares you for the “real world.”
Beauty school definitely gives you the technical skills needed to perform in the nail technology industry. You’ll learn the techniques of manicures, pedicures, arm massages, and more.
I can’t speak for other beauty universities, but at Tricoci we also train our students in customer service, giving them experience practicing the protocols of interacting with salon guests – everything from a firm handshake at the door to exactly how their nail station should appear for a great first impression. We teach the etiquette protocols of high-end salons so that, when hired, the graduate already understands how to fulfill the salon owner’s expectations. We use “secret shoppers” to conduct periodic checks on our students. These shoppers get nail services, then report back to us about how the students performed.
Of course, in this industry, there’s a continuous learning process. The faculty, including myself, are students of our students – we learn with them, and from others in the beauty industry, every day.
I find the nail techs who went into school because they had a love for the beauty industry or a desire to have a creative job come out with a great attitude and a willingness to dive into the salon environment. They practiced not only what was going to help them pass the test, but what they would need to be successful in the salon (such as massage and nail art).
Then you have the tech who went to beauty school because she was lost and this seemed easy. These techs slacked during their hours, can barely paint a French tip, and have no client skills. These techs barely make it through the test and training in my salon.
When any tech first comes in for a job, she does a manicure and pedicure on either myself or another tech. We have had “newbies” pass this interview on the first try, and we have had experienced techs we’ve had to do more in-depth training with. Training can be as simple as teaching them our protocol and products or as extensive as having them “shadow” nail techs, practice, then guide them onto the salon floor gently. Newbies, with the right motivation, can be superstars in no time!
As a September 2006 beauty school graduate who received a license in October, I think beauty school does prepare you for your job to a certain extent. In the school lab, I learned a lot about the body and its functions, as well as about different nail-related bacterial infections. But I would have liked to have learned more about nail art. I did supplement my education by taking classes with Creative Nail Design, and I highly recommend this route. There was overlap with what I learned in school, but I think I learned it better at the advanced education classes.
I think more people need to go into the schools to teach the different techniques. I think we could learn more if we went back to apprenticeship – where you work in the salon where you will later be working with your own clients. You would work with experienced nail professionals, making it easy to figure out the tried-and-true methods that work best.
Since I’ve started working in the industry, I’m really enjoying it. I’ve learned a lot from my co-workers and will continue to go to classes to keep up with trends. I think that will keep me excited about this career for a long time.
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