Nail Life - Choosing your education
A year and a half ago, I set myself the goal of choosing the best Nail Technology education I could, it wasn't easy, but here I am today, and I don't regret a single thing! This post aims to give you my top four guidelines to choosing the best possible starting point in your career journey.
If you are in Europe you'll be able to relate a bit more to the items listed below. If you are in the USA, or anywhere else in the world, you can still take a few notes, and the core questions are valid wherever you are. You will be able to make a confident decision on which education path to take if you answer the questions below:
1. What type of certification are you looking for?
Here the choice lies between accredited certification or renowned certification. Accredited certification implies obtaining it from an official body when recognised standards by that body or the institution it represents have been met. Where a renowned certification is widely known, but not necessarily officially recognised by either insurers or governments alike, or abide by any regulatory body standards. Neither, directly imply a certain degree of quality, but each will directly affect your ability to establish a business after its successful completion, your ability to work abroad or your ability to be insured.
To answer this question you need to decide if you are going to stay abroad or establish your business in a specific area/country. Then understand if there are restrictions to setting up a business in that area depending on your certification. You should also reach out to a few industry insurers and know wether there are limitations to obtaining your treatment certification depending on your education. Well established salons or industry professionals are also a good source of knowledge. Approach a few salons in your area about what type of certificate do they look for when hiring.
2. What training institution are you going to choose?
Typically there are two main options you have to consider before you start looking at specific schools. Are you opting for brand education or college education? If you have the answer to the previous question you will have been able to weed out a few options here. If, to operate as, i.e.: a Nail Technician you need a college certificate or one accredited by specific accreditation bodies, then you need to look for schools or colleges that will provide you the option to take an examination by that body or that is recognized by that body.
To answer this question you also need to decide wether you want to start small, with perhaps a more self-contained course in a specific area like natural manicures or hairstyling, a full cosmetology course where you learn about all things beauty, or something in between like Nail Technology or Hairdressing. I choose to obtain an ITEC Level 3 Certificate in Nail Technology because I would be fully insured, and salons in my area prefer to employ professionals with a higher level of education which provides training on all systems and is not brand restricted or specific. Insurance companies would also be able to offer full coverage for my qualifications which was essential for me, as I was planning on working mobile to start my nail career.
3. What are your goals?
I briefly touched on this in the previous point, and here you need to decide wether you want to pursue a hobby or a career. If, much like many of my course colleagues you just want to learn how to do your mum's nails without hacking at them, then maybe a few days with a brand or a local beauty college will do. But if like me, you've found your true calling in the nail [read any sector of the beauty industry at all] industry then you need to tread lightly and plan well. This is where you ask yourself -
If you are passionate about it and you don't see yourself doing anything else but [enter your life's mission here], then prepare to make time for it and have money for it, because your journey is only starting!
4. What is your budget?
You have to budget for two very precious things: time and money. No one is going to give you back all those days spent in a terrible education institution listening to an educator that has no clue about what the nail plate is and where the eponychium starts (let along knowing how to pronounce the word eponychium). So this question will force you to review all precious points and explore them further. Likewise, you need to have the money to invest on just the right education that is going to make your goals possible.
Do not, and I repeat, do not in any circumstance whatsoever sacrifice your goals for money. Do not bargain your education quality, as you will be pawning off your future and your goals.
Don't waste your time on anything that isn't hands on, that isn't recognised and up to the best industry standards. Remember that you get what you pay for.
Once you've been able to answer all these questions and you have a list of schools that might fit the bill, remember to fact check! I've written a post a couple of days ago that will help you do that very thing. In short, use the internet, look for reviews, visit all of them and talk to the students and the educators. This will quickly allow you to understand if you feel comfortable there and if you identify with the place. Trust your gut - because you've done all the research already!
I would love to hear about your experiences with this topic, especially if you have some tips and tricks to share! Feel free to comment below!