ACTC Cosmetology Students Learn While Doing | ACTC

ACTC Cosmetology Students Learn While Doing

Learn by doing could be the motto for the Cosmetology Program at Ashland Community and Technical College and get a career in what you really like to do could be the mantra for the students.

I love it, says Chanel Prince-Kitchen, a Master Cosmetologist at Ashleys Salon and Boutique in Grayson. I dont feel like Im working when Im in the salon because this is always what I wanted to do.

A 2012 graduate of East Carter High School, Chanel graduated from the Cosmetology program last December. I came to ACTC because I had heard good things about the program, she said. I wanted to be taught and not have to learn on my own like at some schools. When I started work, I felt prepared because we had covered everything in class.

Hands-on Cosmetology training takes place in a real beauty salon that offers a full range of hair and nail services to a clientele of students, college employees and area residents. Salon skills include permanents, manicures and pedicures, facials and scalp treatments as well as hair cutting, styling and coloring.

Student Stasha A. Johnson, a 2014 Raceland-Worthington High School graduate, likes the program because it gives her structure and a good foundation in the basics while allowing her to become creative. I want to make people beautiful, she said. She wants to earn a certificate and work in a salon.

In order to give students experience in working with clients, the salon offers free haircuts to the active military personnel, veterans and all ACTC students throughout the year. Free haircuts are also given at scheduled time to groups such as Boyd County special needs students, Pathways clients, Ashland Area Housing authority residents, and Adult Education job readiness class students.

Students also get experience styling wigs through the Stepping Stones program that provides free wigs and wig maintenance to women suffering hair loss from chemotherapy or other serious conditions.

These practical experiences gives students the chance to develop the people skills that are important when working with clients, said Belinda Bradley, ACTC Associate Professor and Cosmetology Program Coordinator. Students must be prepared to interact with people in a pleasant way, explain cosmetology processes, recommend styles or treatments and provide a positive experience.

Student Jocelyn R. Lemaster, a 2014 Johnson County graduate and Rush resident, appreciates the real world situations that will prepare me for my career. We interact with clients everyday just as if we were working in a salon. She is interested in the hair color aspects of salon work.

Alexandra E. Wilson, an Ironton resident and 2014 Hillsboro High School graduate, heard about ACTC from former students. She appreciates how the teachers push you to do your absolute best. She wants to work in a salon while studying to become a special effects makeup artist.

While practicing important salon and people skills, students also learns that Cosmetology is more than style and color. Classroom topics include safety and sanitation, histology of the hair, skin, nails; muscles and nerves of the face and neck; elementary chemistry with emphasis on sterilization and antiseptics; diseases of the skin, hair and glands; and massaging and manipulating of the muscles of the upper body.

The small class sizes at ACTC allow one-on-one interaction between students and teachers, and that really helps, said Hannah M. Sexton, a 2014 Boyd County High School graduate and Lawrence county resident.

Academic classes and salon experiences are supplemented by visits from local salon personnel and technical product classes from major cosmetology companies.

I highly recommend the program at ACTC, said Prince-Kitchen. My advice to anyone considering cosmetology is to visit the program and ask the instructors questions. Cosmetology is harder than it looks because you have to know the chemistry and the safety as well as styling and cutting.

Salon management is also covered in class. Cosmetology offers tremendous potential for self-employment, Bradley said. Many students want to eventually own their own salons after they get experience working in the field.

Jason A. Green, an Elliott County High School graduate now living in Grayson, wants to eventually get a Masters license and own his own salon. The low tuition for quality classes is important, and the instructors care about the students and help us whenever they can, he said.

Green also enjoys activities available to ACTC students, and he portrayed Bob Cratchit in this years ACTC Theatre production of A Christmas Carol.

Other college activities for include participation in service projects such as food and hygiene product drives and student projects such as the annual Halloween costume and Christmas Tree contests.

Winning the canned food drive and getting third place in the Christmas tree contest were fun, said Brittany J. Hall, a 2013 Paul G. Blazer graduate. ACTC is awesome, because in addition to making life-long friends and being able to interact one on one with my instructors, Im learning what I need to be successful. She would like to eventually open her own salon and spa.

Cosmetology Options

The Cosmetology Program offers a cosmetologist diploma and cosmetologist certificate. Both provide the 1800 instructional hours required by the State Board, but the diploma program includes additional computer and general education courses. An apprentice cosmetology instructor certificate is also available.

Graduates who pass the State Board Apprentice Exam can complete a six-month apprenticeship and then take the State Board Master Exam to become licensed cosmetologists. Both tests are administered by the Kentucky Board of Hairdressers and Cosmetology.

Graduates can find job opportunities in salons, spa's, wig salons and supply companies, beauty supply companies, beauty schools, funeral homes and nursing homes. Graduates also have the opportunity of going on to become teachers.

Ashland resident Cynthia G. Cox is working on her second career. She graduated from Boyd County High School in 1991 and completed CNN training at the college. After working for a while, she decided that cosmetology was her preferred field.

Cox earned a cosmetology certificate at ACTC in 2012. She worked for required three years as a cosmetologist in order to come back for her Apprentice Cosmetology Instructor Certificate. Now a Student Instructor of Cosmetology at ACTC, she expects to graduate next fall. Everything you need to excel in your field is accessible here, she said.

For more information about the Cosmetology Program, contact Professor Bradley at 606.326.2460 or email:

The Cosmetology Building is located off Oakview Road on the College Drive Campus. The salon is open to the public Monday through Thursday during the spring and fall semesters. Patrons can call the Reception Desk at 606.326.0565 for an appointment, and walk-ins are welcome. The Salon will be closed December 8 through January 18 for the semester break.