The skin care industry is on an upward trajectory with no signs of slowing down. Enrollments at beauty schools are up and it seems like everyone wants to be an aesthetician. Multinational companies are buying up professional skin care brands to deepen their portfolios and cash in on the skin care craze and new product lines are being launched almost overnight. Indie brands are disrupting the market in a big way and consumers are trusting them like never before. It is a whirlwind and, to top it all off, you, the new kid on the aesthetic block, have to make a decision on where to go for advanced training. With so many choices – like webinars, online learning, live classes with hands-on training, look and learns, manufacturer’s classes at tradeshows, local esty brunches, individual educators offering advanced classes and seminars, private tutoring, books, and videos – it is enough to make you want to pull your hair out. Rest assured, there is a light at the end of the education tunnel. Let’s take a look at some questions to ask yourself to make the selection process easier.
- Decide what you want to learn. Is it an extension of a topic covered in aesthetics school or a new technique or modality?
- Will this learning add revenue to your practice by adding a new service, revamping what is currently offered, or are you interested in sharpening your skills overall? Either way, you need to decide how it will fit in, understanding the why behind it. Are you taking a class outside of your scope just to learn the technique and fatten your resume? Or, will you be able to actually perform the service? Think of the return on investment.
- Are you open to paying several hundred dollars – even thousands – to take your education to the next level? Or, do you get sticker shock and only want to do the free stuff? Remember, you get what you pay for. Many educators have, in actuality, spent countless hours and thousands of dollars themselves.
- Are you willing to sacrifice your days off for learning and are you open to overnight travel, be it local, out-of-state, or out of the country? Will your family support you? What about childcare or your spouse or significant other? One way many aestheticians take advantage of this is to turn out-of-town classes into vacations, arranging for their kids to spend time at a theme park, at a movie, or shopping. If you are single, bring some of your friends. They can hang out while you learn. Often, you can arrange for golf or scenic tour excursions for spouses or loved ones depending on what part of the country you are in. There are so many options to be creative when it comes to traveling for classes.
- Are you so committed to a brand that you only want to take their classes or learn from their representatives and educators? Instead, be open minded. Always remember, a rising tide lifts all ships. At the end of the day, we share the same industry and we are all working toward the same goals with clients. What we have in common is more than our differences, so stay open to learning from others, even if you do not use their products or services.
- Have you fallen in love with a social media figure and want to learn from them exclusively? If so, have you vetted their credentials and experience? Are they truly qualified? Do they have hands-on experience or are they a one-hit wonder? Do they have advanced certifications themselves? I am not saying you cannot learn from someone with little experience, fresh out of school, just be wise and know that longevity and real practice in the field will deliver a learning experience that can only be achieved with time.
- Do you understand your style of learning? Can you watch a demonstration and instantly get it, only needing class notes to guide you in the treatment room or are you a hands-on learner, needing in-class practice? It is super important to identify this. It may seem tempting to purchase that online class or e-book, but first know your style of learning.
There are a plethora of classes being offered and many ways to take advantage of advanced education. One thing is certain: your license is a license to learn more. Face it, you will not learn everything in aesthetics school. Certainly, instructors everywhere try with all their might to instill every drop of education into their students until the day they graduate; however, we only have a limited amount of time to make sure you get it. Now, it is up to you to take wings and fly.
Denise Gaston is a proud CIDESCO diplomat, licensed aesthetician since 1989, certified clinical aesthetician, and is NCEA certified. Gaston has served as the northern California trainer for Repechage Skincare and as an aesthetics instructor for Miss Marty’s Hair Academy and C.I.D.E.S.C.O. Institute. She is a former spa owner, having had a private practice for 10 years. Gaston is currently the vice president and director of aesthetics at Fremont Beauty College. She is a reviewer for Milady’s Standard Cosmetology Textbook 2008 Edition; Milady Standard Esthetics: Fundamentals, 11th Edition; and Milady Standard Esthetics: Advanced, 2nd Edition. Gaston also serves as a subject matter expert for the California State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology.