August 2012

Jerry Tyler

Blue Highways | by Jerry Tyler


Are Current Educational Offerings Relevant to Today's Needs?

The older paradigm was that there was a "beauty school world" and a "real salon world."

This was perpetuated as schools focused their primary education models on passing the state licensing exams because the financial aid they were provided was based solely on passing exam rate quotas set by the funding agencies.

Whether you are a future professional, a licensed professional or an educational provider we all have a major interest in education and its impact on us personally and collectively.

As our professional landscape is continually shifting and evolving, we need to be mindful of the importance education plays in the greater scheme of things.

A crucial question that bears asking is: Are my educational needs being met to prepare me for the demands of this competitive and challenging business environment? Will the basic education I am seeking prepare me for the current demands to succeed and allow me to hit the ground running? Will the skills, strategies and know-how I gain give me an advantage over my competitors as I grow in my professional journey?

This puts the burden on the new licensee to have salon skills that meet workplace demands. Through post graduate assistant training provided by employers or investing in advanced academy courses the licensee can gain the skills required to excel in their craft.

With the new requirement of documented proof of "gainful employment" to retain financial aid levels there will need to be a major shift for schools that focused mainly on state exam scores, if their graduates lack the real world requisite skills to gain and maintain employment. It's no longer enough just go to school to get a license. The new frontier is go to school to gain licensure and a paycheck as an employed new professional.

Today's foundational skills require far more than the technical skills whose mastery once defined success in our industry. The requirement to have the requisite marketing and communication skills to build your business and brand is now a major necessity. The ability to know how to deliver world class customer service is also a powerful component.

The good news is there are schools now offering salon success education as a major component of their curriculum to assure their graduates a competitive edge.

The saddest communication I recently received as a mentor was from a new professional whom I had recommended for an entry level stylist position with a major multi-location salon chain. After a successful first interview she sent me the following text message: "I'm nervous going in with just my beauty school skills."

If not for an entry level position as a licensed professional, what did the 1,600 hours of her beauty school prepare her for?

The operative word "relevant" is in play on two levels. First for the new professional, is the education relevant in the present business landscape? Teaching what were once past success protocols based on old market demands leaves the future professional ill equipped to progress in today's salon world. If the education isn't relevant then the new professional won't have relevance in their new career to stay ahead of the curve.

For the licensed professional the quest is how to stay relevant and evolve as the industry evolves. The challenge here is to continually and constantly improve our skills, service offerings and exceed the demands of our guests. This most often comes in the investment in continuing education. With the continuous advancements in techniques, products and technology we need to maintain an almost vigilant awareness of the new and now. If not our profession will move on without us.

Lastly, to the professional education provider. Do we have, and are we currently able to deliver the content and confidence building skills to educate and train both our future and licensed professionals?

Are our offerings educationally up to the current requirements of the progressive beauty industry's demands to succeed? Are we prepared to continually upgrade our content and skills to be aware of present and emerging market trends and adjust to assure what we are delivering is relevant to today's industry demands?

As a provider of future professional education are we aware of what is required as foundational education so they can confidently enter their industry prepared for what it takes to gain meaningful entry level employment?

Our relevance as professionals on every level will be continually defined by the high standards of quality we deliver as well educated and competent providers. This will always be assured if we are mindful of the need to constantly improve ourselves through educational growth based on current needs and future trends.

Jerry Tyler's column Blue Highways is his "Road Less Traveled" perspective on the solutions and challenges facing the beauty industry. With over 35 years in the salon industry as an industry leader, educator and artist. He is currently "Director of Industry Relations for Carlton Hair , former Board president of the California Board of barbering and Cosmetology and hosts his weekly radio show talking texture, hair and beauty on TEXTURERADIO. Tuesdays and Thursdays 9pm PST