Cosmetology Program Serves Students and Community

Some of the students in the Cosmetology Program at ACTC are looking forward to moving to a new building next spring, and some are looking forward to graduating and getting a job.

The new 6,000 square foot building is located on Oakview Road at the College Drive Campus. The building will provide state of the art facilities for a cosmetology training salon and will include space for 48 students, 12 more than the current facility at the Roberts Drive Campus.

But for students like Asia Hatfield, the value of the program in not in the building but in the classes.

A Louisa resident and 2006 graduate of Lawrence County High School, Hatfield chose to take Cosmetology at ACTC because its more than structured here than at some private schools. The classes are smaller, theres more one-on-one time and the teachers are always there and very helpful.

I started off in pre-nursing but decided to move into cosmetology because that was what I always wanted to do. I knew Id be happier doing the work I like, Hatfield said. She plans to stay in the Ashland area after graduation and work in a salon. In time, after she builds up a clientele, she would like to open her own shop.

Billie Jo Smith, a 2010 Cosmetology Diploma graduate, is working as a stylist at Feluchees Salon in Ashland, and I love every minute of it. I was really prepared for real life in a salon. The pace is faster than in class, but I know what to do and have been able to keep up.

An Ashland resident and 2007 graduate of Boyd County High School, Smith has always thought about being a stylist. My aunt does hair, and I wanted to do it too. I picked ACTC because I had heard about the college having a higher ranking for passing state boards. I learned a lot and passed my boards with a really high score. Im happy to recommend the program to others.

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.

Special projects, such as free haircuts for military personnel, provide additional real-life experiences. Students also get experience styling wigs through the Stepping Stones program that provides free wigs and wig maintenance to people suffering hair loss, an experience that requires people skills as well as technical skills.

People skills are required with every client, said Belinda Bradley, Assistant 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.

If you love working with hair and working with people, cosmetology is a good field, said Karri Tussey, a May 2011 graduate now working as an Apprentice Cosmetologist at Regis Salon in Ashland.

I had been out of school for 10 years before starting the program and was worried about becoming a student again, said Tussey. But actually, I did better in college than high school. I got all the help I needed and was able to graduate with a certificate with honors.

An Ashland resident and Fairview High School graduate, Tussey returned to school to be able to do more for her daughter, and shes not stopping now. She plans to go back for her master test in cosmetology so that she can do more in the field. Im proof that its never too late to go for your dream, she said, and the future looks great.

While practicing important salon and people skills, students also learn 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; and diseases of the skin, hair and glands.

Salon management is also covered in class, providing basic knowledge for students who might want to manage or own a salon in the future. Cosmetology offers tremendous potential for self-employment, Bradley said. Many students want to eventually open their own salons after they get experience working in the field.

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, spas, wig salons and supply companies, beauty supply companies, beauty schools, funeral homes and nursing homes.

Cosmetology is a growth industry, Bradley said. Jobs are always available, the wages get better with experience, and graduates have the option of becoming self-employed.

This is a great program, and its very affordable, said student Asia Hatfield. When you compare your choices for cosmetology training, ACTC comes out ahead.

For more information about the Cosmetology Program, contact Belinda Bradley at 606-326-2460 or email: belinda.bradley@kctcs.edu.