Throughout my involvement with the nail industry, I have noticed that when an employer pays the fees for continuing education, many nail technicians do not seem to take learning as seriously as they would if they had paid the tuition themselves.

My observations come not only from an educator’s point of view, but also from being a salon owner and student. When I instruct a class, I try to casually survey the attendees to get an idea of who has been sent by a salon and who is there independently. It never ceases to amaze me that many times the only ones taking notes are those who have paid their own way. I have also attended classes where fellow students have signed in and then left during the break, never to return.

At our salon, we don’t pay for continuing education, but we may reimburse the nail technician for meals or expenses, depending on the situation. We also arrange for in-salon classes, which have worked really well.

No matter who pays for the cultivation of your career turn yourself into a sponge. Give the educator (who has probably given up a day off to nurture you) your undivided attention. Stay until the class ends, and take notes so you can refer back to them later. If you are holding back from shows and classes because you have to pay for them yourself, consider your future and don’t let anything deter you from learning. The nail industry is constantly changing. Chemical systems keep advancing and new tools and techniques continue to emerge. You will never waste your money on self-development and wisdom. Always consider them a great investment and remember ... knowledge is power!

Linda Champion is a an educator for NSI, a nail technician, and manager of the 1997 Salon of the Year award-winning Golden Shears in Runnemede, N.J.

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