March 2010

Jerry Tyler

Blue Highways | by Jerry Tyler


From School to the Real World

After 37 years as a beauty professional, going back to beauty school in 2008 was a choice I made happily.

My mission was to make sure there were connections between the education students receive and what they really need to know in order to be prepared for the world beyond cosmetology school.

Having spent the last 30 years training and mentoring beauty school graduates to prepare them as future professionals, I was familiar with this form of post graduate salon training.

For many years it seemed as if there were two separate worlds: “Planet Beauty School” and “Salon Real World.” The schools seemed focused on teaching their State exams with all the relevant curricula focused on high exam passing rates. While the waiting salons that were to provide entry-level positions had to train the graduates what they needed to know to assure the growth of their business.

These two worlds are finally being merged as most schools, both private and public, are now partnering with industry leaders and potential employers to build a bridge that connects the clinic floor to the salon floor. Industry advisory committees gather information about current, as well as future industry needs and make sure the schools are able to provide relevant curriculums and assure job placement for their graduates.

This real world perspective allows the schools to see how they are aligned with what the beauty industry requires of its future professionals, as it is ever changing.

This new attention to the need to succeed in our craft is also reflected in the educational content being provided by the leading textbook providers such as Milady, Pivot Point and CLIC. They offer real world content and cutting edge technical training in addition to the classic foundational curriculums.

Several states are rethinking the actual requirement of hours and operations to allow the schools the flexibility to teach more industry relevant skills and adapt to the changes in market trends while at the same time promoting consumer protection protocols. This allows schools to position their students for their intended target market with the requisite skills and education needed to meet market demands. This proactive change makes for a more seamless transition from school to salon/spa.

After spending the last two years in the schools and colleges that train our future professionals it is apparent this connection from schools to the real world is something that can change our industry and assure we have a future.

And to do that, it is vital for us to mentor our future professionals. We come to realize that it may have been something we said that touched them and made them say, “I want to be like my stylist,” or “I want that life.” And now that we are established beauty industry professionals, we can change our industry for the better.

And we can do that one stylist at a time. Being a mentor is a gift with life-long rewards that will never be forgotten by either the giver or recipient. Mentoring is a selfless way to gain untold riches with the simple investment of caring and the desire to pass on our own experience in the form of reinvesting in a profession that has so richly blessed us all.

Jerry Tyler’s column Blue Highways is his “Road Less Traveled” perspective on the solutions and challenges facing the beauty industry. Jerry Tyler has been a stylist since 1975 serving as the former artistic director for Vidal Sassoon Academy and currently as Director of Education for Carlton Hair salons. He is also a licensed cosmetology instructor and has served as President of the California State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology.