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Don’t Earn “Credits,” Get “Accredited!”
By Laurie McLachlan Brown

Enrolling in a salon institute, beauty academy, or cosmetology school that offers “credits” or “training courses” in hair styling, manicures, pedicures, make-up artistry, or skin care consulting is not the same as earning a diploma or degree from an accredited institute of higher learning.

Don’t be fooled by programs that promote outrageous earnings or make unrealistic job placement claims your first year in the chair as a hair designer, nail technician, or cosmetologist.  Only an accredited school, with an earned reputation, can land you the title, respect, and job you deserve.

A successful, accredited beauty school will produce a portfolio of students who have landed great jobs in reputable salons, as well as visibly demonstrate a cutting-edge approach to today’s styling and cosmetology applications.  They’re proud of the academy’s accreditation status, knowing they’ve worked hard to produce the area’s top-rate stylists.  Not only will an accredited program ensure you’ve received the right training, but is also more likely to offer financial aid, grants, scholarships, and/or loans to help cover tuition costs. 

When visiting the salon institute or cosmetology school, ask where they received their accreditation, and then research that agency on the World Wide Web for a full evaluation.  Some of the most prestigious, national accrediting agencies include:

The National Accrediting Commission for Cosmetology Arts & Sciences (NACCAS)—

the largest agency in the United States which currently accredits almost 1,000 beauty school programs—is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, and serves as a very reliable source of information about the industry.

Also check out the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT), the Accrediting Council for Continued Education and Training (ACCET), or the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).  If you feel like digging deeper, search for the American Association of Cosmetology Schools (AACS), the Cosmetology Advancement Foundation (CAF), and the Beauty and Barber Supply Institute (BBSI).  These sites have a wealth of information to share with prospective hair stylists, nail technicians, estheticians, barbers, make-up artists, and more. 


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