How Long Does It Take to Become a Certified Esthetician?

certified esthetician working with a client

Do you enjoy telling your friends and family about tips you learned about skin health and makeup application? If so, you might already be an amateur esthetician. Now all you need to do is graduate from a diploma program and pass the certification exam and you will have a brand-new career as a certified esthetician. As an esthetician, you will help your clients look and feel great. Are you wondering how long it takes to be a certified esthetician? You’re not alone.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Certified Esthetician?

Did you know it takes as little as 5 months to graduate from an Esthiology program at a vocational school? They teach you everything you need to know to become an esthetician and start a rewarding career. Once you graduate from a diploma program, you must be certified before starting your first day of work.

What is Taught in an Esthetician Program?

Most esthetician programs teach to the test. Meaning they teach you what you need to know to take the certification exam. The esthetician certification exam will prove to employers that you are ready to handle clients as an esthetician. From setup and client protection to facials and hair removal, the certification will prove your proficiency in Esthiology.

Client Assessment

As an esthetician, you will learn anatomy and physiology in order to understand how the body works, especially the integumentary system, the many layers of skin, and anatomy of a hair follicle. You will also need to know the disorders and skin conditions that are common. This will help you better assess a client’s skin and create a treatment plan for them.

During the assessment phase of the appointment, you will use a standard intake form to identify the client’s skin type, whether normal, oily, dry or combination skin. You will also figure out whether the client has skin conditions like acne, wrinkles or sun damage? An assessment is important for every appointment but especially for the initial consultation. As you work with the same clients, you will learn more about the seasonality of their skin and better help them care for it.

Client Protection

Protecting the client is the esthetician’s number one responsibility. From sanitation and infection control to water temperature and draping. You will also need to understand the signs and symptoms of allergic reactions as some of your clients will be allergic to latex and certain chemicals. Knowing where the first aid kit is, and learning exposure procedures are important to keep everyone safe.

Proper client protection as an esthetician includes sanitation and infection control. When it comes to sanitation, there are levels of protection for different surfaces or instrument. You will cleanse many surfaces like the chair and countertops. You will disinfect anything that touches the client’s skin and sanitize instruments that are reused in between clients. As an esthetician, you will also be responsible for infection control procedures. This will help minimize the risk of infection to your clients and yourself.

When working with clients, it is also important to protect yourself from chemicals and other irritants. Proper safety procedure dictates wearing protective gear like gloves, facemask and/or eyewear. OSHA is a great resource for employee safety and will educate you on the proper safety precautions your employer will need to implement to keep you safe. One of the important OSHA guidelines involves the use of chemicals. There is proper procedure for labeling and storage of chemicals. There is also a safety sheet that employees must fill out anytime an accident or injury occurs.

Cleansing the Face

As an esthetician, you will learn how to clean away dirt, makeup and dead skin cells to make your client’s skin look vibrant. You will learn how to use different types of face cleaners, in liquid and foam formulas. It is also important to teach your clients proper skin cleansing techniques. Cleansing the face is important to maintain healthy looking skin. Cleansing also helps remove build up of dirt, oil and makeup. It helps hydrate your skin, maintaining proper pore size. During an esthetician program, you will learn about skin type and what cleansers are a good match for each of your clients.

Massaging the Face

Part of the cleansing process involves massaging the face. This helps relax your client after a hard day. Massage helps stimulate pressure points on the face and increase blood flow to remove puffiness around the eyes, liven up the cheeks and smooth wrinkles on the forehead. Facial massage also helps promote healthy skin and offers a rejuvenation effect.

Hair Removal

Unfortunately, we grow hair in many different places on our body. Whether it is on the upper lip, arms, legs or underarm, there are many different hair removal techniques that you will learn in esthetician class. During an esthetician program, you will learn how to shave, pluck, wax, tweeze, and laser unwanted hair. Each hair removal procedure has a unique technique that must be mastered to properly remove the hair without damaging the skin. Whether your client shaves every day, waxes once a month or uses laser hair removal for a long-term reduction in hair, as an esthetician you learn the many different ways to help your clients safely remove unwanted hair.


When performing facials, it is important to consider the skin type and any issues the client may have that need attention. During the facial, you will use what you learned about cleansing and massaging the face to help your client exfoliate, relax and cleanse their skin. Proper technique will be learned during an esthetician program.

Makeup Application

There is a specific sequence to applying makeup. Wither it is moisturizer, foundation, blush, or eyeshadow, there are specific tools that help apply the makeup to your client’s face. There is also a routine for makeup removal.

Final Thoughts

As an esthetician, you will help your client look and feel better about themselves. You will learn about skin and hair anatomy so you can cleanse skin and remove unwanted hair. By helping your clients with skin care, hair removal and makeup application, you give them the confidence to start a new career, meet new people or just relax after a hard day. However, what you offer your clients is more than just skin care, you offer a friendship. Take the time to become an esthetician and start making life-long friends.

Are you ready to help others stay healthy and improve their confidence? If so, you could begin your career as an esthetician at the Minnesota School of Cosmetology (MSC).  Our Esthiology Diploma Program is designed to be completed in under 5 months (600 clock hours) with full-time enrollment.  Our esthiology diploma program has been developed by talented, caring, real-world professionals, many of whom still work in the field.  We give our esthiology students experience in skincare, waxing, make-up, application of facials, and more.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming an esthetician and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

*Completion time for this program is defined by 35 hours per week.

What is The Right Mix of Massage Therapy Skills?

Enjoying helping others? Are you a self-starter that can work autonomously? If this sounds like you then massage therapy may be a good career path. During a massage therapy program, you will build the right mix of massage therapy skills to be successful, whether you want to work for someone else or decide to build your own massage practice.  So, what are the skills you need to become a successful massage therapist?

What is The Right Mix of Massage Therapy Skills?

There are a lot of different skills that will help you be successful as a massage therapist. From good communication skills to business savvy, having the right skill set will set you up for success as a massage therapist.

Skill #1: Communication

A large part of your job as a massage therapist is talking with clients. You will need to be clear and concise so that the client understands what will happen during the massage and there are no surprises. Clear communication is the best way to set your client’s expectations for the massage and let them know what will happen during and after the massage appointment.

If you decide to work at a massage franchise business, part of communication will involve colleagues. Whether you are communicating with your fellow massage therapist, the receptionist, or supervisor, it is important to have good communication skills so there are no misunderstandings. You don’t want to double book a room or leave your client waiting while you find the right massage equipment. When communicating with coworkers, it is important to stay professional. The clients are listening and being unprofessional can push a client to another massage therapist.

Part of communication is knowing when not to say anything. Some clients will want to relax in silence. Before the first appointment, ask the client if they like to chit chat during a massage or if they prefer not to talk. Every client is different. Some will want to talk about their day, others will not.

Body language is also a good communication tool. During a massage, if your client winces from pain or jerks their body, ask them if they are experiencing pain. They may have a sore muscle or knot that needs to be worked out. Some clients will think that the phrase, “no pain, no gain” means they shouldn’t say anything during a massage, if it is painful. Once you know a client and they come back for repeat massages, you will be able to interpret the client’s body language better. You will also have a closer relationship and the client will trust you more, so they will be more likely to speak up if something isn’t quite right.

Skill #2: Active Listening

Part of good communication is actively listening to clients. It is important for you to hear what your client is saying before you respond. Ask questions and make sure your client is comfortable before and during a massage appointment. If you didn’t quite hear what they said, clarify before beginning. The client will tell you what they want, you just have to listen.

Skill #3: Customer Service

In conjunction with communication is good customer service. A client expects a certain level of customer service during a massage appointment. Make sure to always have a friendly attitude because negativity can make a client uncomfortable. If the client is uncomfortable, they may not come back for another massage.

Remember that they are your client and that you should keep the relationship professional. After a few massage appointments, you may build a relationship with the client, which is good because they will be a loyal client. Just remember that a poor experience or getting too comfortable and saying the wrong thing can hurt the relationship. If you keep the relationship professional, the client will never feel awkward or decide to stop seeing you for massages.

Skill #4: Compassion

An important skill for every massage therapist to have is compassion. Many clients will see through you if you just go through the motions. If you show a little compassion the client will feel like you care about them. They will be a loyal client.

Skill #5: Self-Starter

When you are a massage therapist, you may have a supervisor, but it will be up to you to manage yourself and your clients. You must have the initiative to prepare yourself and show up on time for your appointments. As a self-starter, you are motivated to offer good customer service and manage your time wisely. You don’t need anyone to tell you what to do and when to do it. Especially if you start your own massage practice and work for yourself.

Skill #6: Time Management

Managing your time is important, especially when working with clients. Ever kept a client waiting? Did you see them the next time they needed a massage appointment? It is important to manage your time, and equally important to respect others time. Make sure you are well organized and plan out your day. With good time management, you may even see more clients and make more money.

Skill #7: Organization

Staying focused is important. You don’t want to double book clients or run out of massage oil before the end of the day. Make sure to keep your calendar organized so that you don’t leave any clients waiting. Keep an inventory of supplies and equipment so that you don’t run out when you are unable to procure more.

Also, organizing your physical space is important. Nothing is worse than going to a massage studio and seeing everything out of place. Dirty towels on the floor, cracking massage table vinyl, or clutter can be off-putting. This will give the client a poor experience and will reflect negatively on you.

You also don’t want to show up for a massage client’s appointment without all your equipment and supplies. Did you forget to bring the pillows to put under their knees? Did you pack the massage oil? Remember to clean the massage table in between clients. Good organization skills are paramount for any massage therapist to succeed.

Skill #8: Problem Solving

Inevitably there will be a problem that you will need to solve. Maybe a massage chair will break, and you need to source a new one quickly. It is important to identify any problems and find a solution that works for the situation. If the massage chair is not ready, maybe you get a temporary massage chair until your regular chair is in stock or is ready to ship. Be methodical about solving problems. Identify the problem, figure out the many different solutions and then pick a solution that makes the most sense.

Skill #9: Adaptability

Part of working as a massage therapist is being able to adapt to any situation. When you enter into someone else’s space, you have to use what you can to create a positive experience. Clients will expect a certain level of customer service when they get a massage. The ability to adapt to your surroundings is especially important when performing massage at a client’s home.

Make sure you can also adapt to your clients. They may need to change or cancel an appointment. If they give you enough notice you can fill the slot with another client and adapt to the new schedule.

Skill #10: Dexterity/Stamina

When performing massage, you will spend most of your time on your feet. You will also be stretching, bending and working with clients an hour at a time. It is important to train for massage like you are an athlete. Being in good massage therapy shape means exercising, stretching and preparing yourself for a long day of massaging clients.

As a massage therapist, you will be working with your hands and fingers to identify tense muscles and apply pressure to relieve those muscles. This takes strong hands. If you treat yourself like an athlete, then you will spend some time strengthening your hands and fingers, in addition to working your core, legs and arms. A good exercise routine with aerobics and stretching will prepare you for those long days of massage.

Skill #11: Commitment to Learning

There are ever changing techniques, massage equipment and other massage accessories. It is important to stay up to date with all the news and new tech that is introduced to the massage therapy profession. During a massage therapy program, you will build a foundation of knowledge and skills that will help you become a better massage therapist. If you want to give your clients the best massage, with the right equipment then it is important to keep up with the changes in the massage industry. Whether it is a new technique or new essential massage oil, keeping up with the new technology and trends will make sure you are providing the best massage you possibly can for your clients.

Skill #12: Proper Hygiene

During a massage, you are in close contact with a client. It is important to adhere to proper hygiene through sanitation. Whether you wash your hands between clients or wear gloves, it is important to not pass bacteria and germs between clients. You will also want to clean off massage tables and equipment between clients, so everything is fresh and clean for each new appointment. The client will expect it of you and having proper hygiene will keep the massage area clean.

Skill #13: Business Savvy

Part of being a massage therapist is running a business. This means you need to get customers to book appointments. In addition to traditional advertising like television, radio and print, a business savvy massage therapist will be able to navigate social media. Using the latest social media will put you in front of new people. Take the time to build a following, that way when you do a good job and have happy customers, they offer testimonials without you even asking.

Good business savvy also means the ability to run your own massage business. During a massage therapy diploma program, you will learn how to start and run a massage business. You will become familiar with light bookkeeping, managing staff and marketing for new clients. After you graduate from the massage therapy diploma program and get a little experience, you will be ready to strike out on your own and work for yourself.

Final Thoughts

Do you have some or all of these skills? If not don’t worry. You will learn a lot of these skills while attending a massage therapy diploma program. You will learn all the different massage techniques, anatomy, physiology and kinesiology of the body, and proper sanitation to keep yourself and your clients safe.  If you are ready for a career that is in demand, then you may want to learn more about becoming a massage therapist.

Want to Learn More?

If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 12 months. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

How Do You Pick the Right Shade of Foundation?

Esthiologist standing in front of a desk with foundation

In the past, foundation wasn’t as exciting as that perfect shade of lipstick or special-edition eyeshadow. However, in recent years foundation, also referred to as base makeup, moved into the spotlight thanks to social media. If you choose to attend Cosmetology school, part of the curriculum reviews the exciting world of makeup application, including picking the right shade of foundation for your clients.

Better Options Than Ever Before

Skin-tone used to be the only factor when deciding on a foundation to buy, but now your clients have many different aspects to consider. Foundation is now formulated for certain skin types like oily, dry, and combination skin. The next improvement was making foundation inclusive of all skin tones and hypo-allergenic standards. Foundation hasn’t stopped its evolution since.

Types of Foundations

With the newest technology in cosmetics, we don’t have to put up with caked-on, sticky, patchy, and powdery foundation that doesn’t quite match your client’s skin type. Foundation innovation has made progress in leaps and bounds, but your clients may not know their available options. By understanding all the formulations of foundation, you’ll be able to make your clients look fantastic. You’ll be in a better position to help your clients find the right shade of foundation that best suits their needs. Here are the different types of foundations available:

Liquid Foundation

Liquid foundations are the first thing people think about when referring to foundation or base makeup. There is silicone, water-based, and the newly popular pigment drops that apply much like a light serum. Liquid foundations typically fall in the medium-to-full coverage range and work well in building up the right look. A liquid base is helpful if the makeup needs to hold up for long durations. Some hydrate the skin, adding a glow, while others dry matte. One factor to consider is liquid foundations can clog pores if they are not non-comedogenic.

Serum Foundation

Serum-like foundation formulas became a go-to choice in the past couple of years. This type of base makeup isn’t just utilized for coverage but comes with skincare benefits and blends with ease. Since serums maintain a specific viscosity, they effortlessly incorporate into most moisturizers, creating a tinted version of your favorite hydrator.

Tinted Oil Foundation

Ultra-dry skin benefits the most from using an oil that wears as a foundation. This type of base makeup is the single-step process to moisturized and well-covered skin and a lightweight, nourishing alternative to heavy foundations and tinted moisturizers or the combination of the two. As the tint works to highlight and even out the skin tone, it fosters an all-over glowing appearance.

Cream Foundation

This foundation formula applies like a soft cream and blends effortlessly into the skin for an even, flawless, and hydrated finish. Creams are easy to use and generally contain a high concentration of pigment to provide adequate coverage. Cream type base is particularly beneficial for dry and mature skin types due to their excellent hydrating properties. However, if your client is using them in humid weather, they should be careful since they crease easier than other types of foundations.

Whipped Mousse Foundation

Extremely lightweight, these formulas are great for clients with oily skin. Whipped mousse foundations, known to prevent clogging of pores, are airy and light. This type of base makeup is air whipped into liquid makeup; it creates optimal coverage with a barely-there feel, making them perfect for clients with oily skin.

Stick Foundation

The easiest dot and blend application, the stick, is one of the most popular foundations. The stick form is mess-free, travel-friendly, and pulls double duty as a concealer. The stick foundation is best for clients with normal to dry skin, a foundation stick has a thicker consistency at first when you glide it on your client’s skin, but it blends well. The thickness is great for coverage, even though the latest formulas are not as heavy as they used to be.

Powder Foundation

Powder foundation is perfect for clients who love the barely-there look. This foundation category comes available in powder and pressed compact versions. Powder foundation is easy to apply, lightweight and dries excess oils. Just prep your client’s skin, conceal any spots, and seal with a light dust of powder foundation. Ensure the skin is adequately hydrated before application, or dry patches, fine lines, and wrinkles may become more noticeable.

Ways to Apply Foundation

The way you apply foundation for your clients determines the evenness, coverage, and overall finish of your client’s look. Just as there are different types of foundation formats, there are various methods of application. No one application method is right for every person, but the application technique varies depending on the foundation applied. Let’s take a look at these five ways to apply foundation:

Finger Application

Using fingers to apply foundation is one of the most preferred application methods. Fingers help lightly blend the product seamlessly into the skin and provide optimal control through tactile sense. Make sure to start with a small pea-size amount of foundation, dot it over the entire face, blend and gently tap it into the skin.

Stippling Brush Application

A stippling brush is a great tool to apply foundation, primarily liquid. Apply foundation in small pea-sized dots using your fingers, then use the stippling brush in small, circular patterns to blend it evenly. Stippling brushes come available in duo-fibers that help give the foundation a smooth, even finish.

Beauty Blender Application

A sponge, known better today as a beauty blender, helps achieve a more even coverage by pushing the foundation deeper into the skin. The beauty blender’s egg-shaped design helps blend the product into areas like under the eyes, around the hairline, and the chin. Ensure that you don’t drag the blender but gently bounce it off the skin in a light dabbing motion.

Flat Foundation Brush Application

Dab a small amount of foundation onto the back of your hand. Tap the brush’s top edge into the foundation and apply downward strokes, evenly spreading it over the face and neck. Pat the brush gingerly on the nose, forehead, and chin, otherwise known as the T-zone. Add more foundation and move to the cheeks and temples. Move from the inside of the face toward the outside for a full, even coverage.

Powder Brush Application

Dot foundation on the skin areas that require coverage and remember a little goes a long way. If your client wants lighter coverage for a natural look, tap the brush lightly into loose powder and gently sweep the brush across the face. Focus first on the T-zone and then work towards the outer edge of the face in gentle downward strokes. This technique gives a sheer coverage appearance like a tinted moisturizer and helps avoid a cakey finish.

Final Thoughts

Do you enjoy making people look their best? If so, a cosmetology career may be right for you. Now is the perfect time to look into cosmetology school. Being a valued member of the beauty industry requires a substantial amount of hard work and dedication, but the benefits pay off in the end. You’ll embark on new experiences, meet new people, and make a difference in clients’ lives while making the world around you beautiful one face at a time.

Cosmetology Program

Want to learn more about how to find the right shade of foundation? At Minnesota School of Cosmetology, we are dedicated to helping our Cosmetology program students develop a solid foundation and a flair for style through hands-on training in basic and advanced industry techniques. You will learn how to cut, color and style hair, give manicures and pedicures, provide spa treatments and perform various skin care techniques from industry-experienced instructors in a professional salon setting.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a cosmetologist and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

What Do They Do During a Prenatal Massage?

Pregnant woman expressing back pain and in need of a prenatal massage

Are you interested in becoming a massage therapist and want to help mothers-to-be with prenatal massage? During a massage therapy program at a vocational school, you learn prenatal massage in addition to other general massage techniques like Swedish and deep tissue massage. With the magic of prenatal massage, you can make a women’s stress go away, even if for an hour at a time.  

What is Prenatal Massage?

Prenatal massage uses many of the techniques of traditional and Swedish massage therapy and adapts them to the strains and stress of the body for a woman that is pregnant. During a traditional massage, the client may spend most of the time face down on a massage table, whereas with prenatal massage the client is on their side with special cushioning and draping to make the client comfortable. As a massage therapist, you will have to be more careful when applying pressure to the pregnant woman’s body, especially in the leg, breast and belly areas.  Prenatal massage is safe and often ordered by a doctor as supplemental treatment for the aches and pains of pregnancy.

How Does A Massage Therapist Perform Prenatal Massage?

A prenatal massage can last around one hour. As the massage therapist, you will make the client comfortable in the proper position either on a massage table or other comfortable location. The first part of the massage involves learning more about the client’s history, aches and pains and any restrictions that their doctor has requested. During the prenatal massage, it is important to keep an open line of communication both verbally and through body language. The body language of the client will tell you as much about their comfort level as what they say to you.

The actual prenatal massage mirrors an adapted type of Swedish massage, where certain areas of the body are off limits since certain pressure points can cause contractions. The legs are also an area of concern for pregnant women as the pressure can dislodge blood clots that have formed from the pools of blood that may settle in the extremities. You may massage the abdomen gently to help with relaxation and stress reduction.

What Are the Other Benefits of Prenatal Massage?

Research shows that prenatal massage can help reduce stress, decrease symptoms of depression, relieve muscle aches and joint pain, and improve labor outcomes, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Prenatal massage can also help regulate hormone levels, help blood circulation, and reduce swelling.

Benefit #1: Stress Relief

Pregnancy can be stressful, with the increase in hormone levels, morning sickness, swelling, aches and pain. Massage therapy is a holistic practice that relieves stress of the mind and body. Stress can come in many forms and for many reasons but an hour of prenatal massage several times a week can help a woman better deal with the stress that comes with pregnancy.

Benefit #2: Decrease Symptoms of Depression

Low dopamine and serotonin levels are associated with depression. Dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter that is a messenger between nerve cells that can deliver a feeling of pleasure to the nerves. A low level of this hormone can cause depression in pregnant women. Serotonin is a natural mood stabilizer, offering feelings of well-being. Serotonin helps brain cells and nervous cells to communicate and pass the same feelings of well-being. Prenatal massage helps elevate the levels of the hormones including dopamine and serotonin through muscle and nerve stimulation, decreasing the symptoms of depression.

Benefit #3: Regulate Hormone Levels

Hormone levels are regulated better with the help of prenatal massage. This leads to a balanced mood and improved heart health. The stress hormones, norepinephrine and cortisol are reduced, and dopamine and serotonin levels are increased. The balancing of hormone levels helps improve labor outcomes.

Benefit #4: Improved Blood Circulation

Pressure is created on the body during prenatal massage to help move the new blood in and old blood out of the body’s muscles and cells. During pregnancy, blood can pool in the extremities and also cause a build-up of lactic acid. Prenatal massage helps the blood better circulate and remove the waste in the muscles with new oxygenated blood.

Benefit #5: Reduced Swelling, Muscle Aches and Joint Pain

Women can experience swelling, muscle aches and joint pain during pregnancy. Prenatal massage helps by stimulating the soft tissues of the body to reduce the fluids that cause swollen joints. This practice helps remove the tissue waste to reduce muscle aches and joint pain. Prenatal massage can also help relieve the aches and pains of pregnancy by improving circulation, reducing headaches, improving oxygen saturation levels and improving sleep.

Benefit #6: Improve Labor Outcomes

One of the most common triggers that can cause stress is the thought of a poor labor outcome. The increased stress caused by this thinking can actually cause the outcome that the woman is worried about. Prenatal massage helps increase the proper hormone levels, reduce depression and help with relaxation and better sleep. All of these benefits from prenatal massage will help improve the labor outcomes.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know more about prenatal massage, want to help women have a less stressful pregnancy? During a massage therapy program, you will learn the proper techniques to keep the woman safe and feeling less stress during their pregnancy. It is rewarding knowing that you are helping improve labor outcomes. Start a massage therapy program today and help your clients relieve stress tomorrow.

Want to Learn More?

If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed with full time enrollment. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

Is it Hard to Learn Massage Therapy?

students at a massage therapy school

Millions benefited from massage, it’s a billion-dollar industry and poised for continued growth. If you’re enthusiastic about wellness, there’s never been a better time to consider massage therapy as a career. You may be asking yourself is it hard to learn massage therapy? Let a vocational school program put you on the path to success, it’s easier than you think.

Is it Hard to Learn Massage Therapy?

Anything worth doing is worth working for. Vocational schools give full-time students the hundreds of hours of instruction required for licensing in under a year. The pace is brisk, and programs can be demanding. For students with a passion for health and the willingness to work with others, classes are engaging and feel less like work and more like a study group with friends. You’ll grow as an individual while learning new skills that prepare you for an exciting future.

What Qualities Do You Need to Become a Massage Therapist?

Anyone can become a massage therapist, but it’s a better fit as a career for students with specific personal qualities, such as:

Quality #1: Empathy

Empathy is the ability to put yourself in your clients’ shoes. It’s essential for recognizing how the client feels about getting a massage. Many of the million-plus potential customers who say they’d like to try it don’t because of physical and psychological barriers.

Massage is an intimate service, so it can provoke discomfort, many people, for example, are reluctant to have one because of body image issues. Empathy lets massage therapists evaluate their services from the customer’s perspective, helping them anticipate concerns so they can adapt massages to meet their clients’ preferences.

Quality #2: Passion for Massage

Passion not only predicts a massage therapist’s job satisfaction, but it also helps build their client base. The ability to self-market without being overbearing is a prerequisite for success in business. You’ll need to feel comfortable reaching out to people and discussing the benefits of your services, so the customer develops the same enthusiasm. Passion shows through in everything you do.

Quality #3: A Thick Skin

Massage is a service industry, so the focus is always on the customer. Most clients are pleasant, but others may be challenging to deal with. Part of working as a wellness professional is the ability to accept criticism and use it to improve your practice, so having a thick skin is a plus. Most complaints are not personal.

Quality #4: A Positive Attitude

Clients choose massage to help them relax or relieve pain. As professionals, it’s up to massage therapists to set a positive tone that enhances the experience. Since most of a massage therapist’s income comes from repeat customers, a welcoming demeanor and an upbeat attitude improve the bottom line. Being positive makes you a pleasure to work with.

Quality #5: Open-Mindedness

The world is shrinking. Like healthcare professionals, massage therapists should be culturally competent, meaning that they’re willing to accommodate different expectations for their services.

Personal space, for example, is valued in Western culture, so it’s not unusual for Americans to feel apprehensive about strangers laying hands on their body. Clients from other countries may have strong opinions about disrobing for massages. It’s important to keep an open mind to different requests and find ways to make your client as comfortable as possible.

Quality #6: Flexibility

One of the benefits of being a massage therapist is employment opportunities. You can work for others, franchises, hotels, spas, gyms and more, or start your own practice. Millions of Americans had a massage last year, and many more are open to it if it becomes more accessible. If you’re flexible, success is waiting.

Business opportunities include starting a fixed practice, an office where clients come to you. But the initial investment can be high, so some massage therapists are taking their skills on the road with chair massage. Once you become registered, travel massage therapy gives you the ability to grow your client base beyond those who are in your immediate area. Travel massage is similar to traditional bodywork except that clients kneel on specially equipped portable chairs. Clients stay clothed, so massages can be performed anywhere with less need for privacy.

Chair massage can be a full-time business that boosts your income when table bookings are light. Why wait for clients to come to you when you bring your services to them? Malls and gyms are courting massage therapists to open kiosks to attract customers, while companies are increasingly offering massage as a wellness benefit for staff. Massage is one of the few fields with as much business potential for massage therapists willing to be flexible.

Skills for Success in Massage Therapy

Vocational schools teach practical skills plus the soft skills massage therapists need to be successful in a competitive field, including:

Skill #1: Communication Skills

Massage therapists work with clients to create custom treatment plans, it’s an information exchange process requiring the ability to listen, build rapport and communicate concepts clearly. Comfort with conversation is a must.

It’s easier said than done however but massage therapy school teach therapeutic communication techniques from active listening to evaluating clients’ body language. You’ll learn how to coax thoughts out of clients while enhancing how they perceive you through body language.

It’s also crucial in the digital age to master electronic communication. At least half of people regularly shop for personal services online, and when they have the option, they prefer to communicate via e-mail or text. Whether it’s advertising on social media or reaching out to clients by text with a special offer, messaging should be concise, appealing, timely and relevant.

Skill #2: Physical Stamina

Massage therapy is physically demanding. Massage therapists need upper body strength to apply pressure to stiff muscles, and they spend most of the day standing. A full-body massage can last up to ninety minutes with only a few short breaks. And since sessions are scheduled when clients are available, some days can be long. Being in good physical condition reduces fatigue and prevents injury.

Skill #3: Manual Dexterity

Massage therapists apply pressure to soft tissue with their hands to promote relaxation. Techniques must be precise to have the intended therapeutic effect. It’s a skill that requires both flexibility and excellent hand-eye coordination. Vocational school programs offer plenty of practice, so with time, most students’ dexterity improves. But if you don’t like to work with your hands, massage therapy isn’t for you.

Skill #4: Problem Solving Skills

Massage therapists develop individualized treatment plans for each client, no two are the same. You’ll need to adapt services for people with physical limitations, medical restrictions or time constraints. If a client can’t visit because you’re booked every evening, consider adjusting your hours to free up more time when demand is highest.

Skill #5: Commitment to Learning

The wellness field evolves. Bodywork techniques improve as researchers learn more about their benefits. Successful massage therapists embrace new approaches, honing their skills through continuing education. Membership in professional organizations, gives graduates access to online courses and other resources. Massage therapists with advanced skills attract more clients.

Skill #6: Time Management Skills

Time is money, so generating income requires sticking to a schedule. In massage school, you’ll learn about time management techniques, from prioritizing tasks to avoiding distraction, by practicing in real-world settings. Appointments are often back-to-back, requiring streamlined check-in and check-out processes plus, massage therapists who own their business have managerial responsibility. Making the most of every minute controls personal stress and maximizes revenue.

Skill #7: Business Management Skills

A quarter of business start-ups fail in the first two years because of poor fiscal management. Being your own boss is a perk for massage therapists but working independently means maintaining a financially healthy practice.

You may need to hire an accountant for complex money issues, such as taxes and investing, but you’ll be responsible for tracking income and expenses, paying bills on time and making sound spending decisions based on cash flow.

Vocational school massage therapy programs teach you the basics of business management. Students learn about accounting and graduate with the skills they need to be successful.

Skill #8: Good Hygiene Habits

Bacterial infections can occur via skin and surface contact, so massage therapists need good personal and environmental hygiene habits. Vocational school diploma programs cover the basics of infection control, from sanitizing equipment to screening patients for illness. It’s an essential part of safe practice and critical in states that inspect massage therapy practices for licensure.

Skill #9: Trustworthiness

The public views massage therapy as a wellness service, expectations are similar to those for healthcare providers. Clients trust you with their private medical information, and they want to know you’ll be discrete.

Trustworthiness also extends to the way you do business. Listening, being empathetic, maintaining competency in your field, and keeping your promises builds clients’ confidence.

Skill #10: Customer Service Skills

Serving people with integrity is the key to building a profitable client base. Satisfied customers spend more because they perceive they’re getting a good value for their money, and they’ll refer you to family and friends. Referrals power the massage industry.

What constitutes superior customer service? Punctuality and personalized attention to a client’s wish lists. Flexible hours, prompt communication and a comfortable atmosphere are plusses. Slow response times on inquires and being rushed are the most common complaints. Massage is a personal service, so the most effective way to retain clients is to give them the experience they deserve. Give them more than their money’s worth, and they’ll likely be back.

Final Thoughts

As other careers become obsolete, opportunities in massage therapy are expanding. Demand for massage therapists is expected to rise in the coming decade. The key to success is investing in quality vocational school training, your effort and dedication accomplish the rest. Your future is waiting.

Want to Learn More?

If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 12 months. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

How Long is Skin Care School?

Woman at a skin care school

Interested in learning more about becoming a skin care specialist? Did you know that you can graduate with a degree in Esthiology in five months? If you attend full-time, you can be working in months, rather than years. What skin care school should you choose and what are the benefits of becoming a skin care specialist? These are all important questions to ask and we will try to answer them below.

Choosing a Skin Care School

Before enrolling in a skin care school, ensure the program suits your career goals and lifestyle. Attending skin care school is a big commitment. The right school or program is accredited to ensure it meets the requirements for licensure.

Online student testimonials also help when determining if a program suits you. See first-hand from actual attendees, and what graduates think whether the program’s reputation holds up. Visit the school in-person or sign up for a counseling session before enrollment. These are all great ways to help you choose a skin care school.

Benefits of Becoming a Skin Care Specialist

There are many benefits to becoming a skin care specialist. Having the opportunity to work with regulars helps to build lasting relationships and trust. Skin care specialists also help clients feel better, look their best, and build their confidence. Another benefit of this career path, is that it affords flexible hours since you typically work by appointment. From salons to doctor’s offices, skin care specialists have many diverse careers available in an upwardly mobile growing industry.

What Do You Learn in Skin Care School?

Skin care specialists typically enroll in a certificate or diploma program that requires less than a year to complete. The school prepares you for the required state licensing exam and eventual employment as a skin care specialist in salons, spas, dermatology clinics, and resorts. The number of training hours and licensing requirements vary by state. However, Esthiology programs must include hands-on experience utilizing mannequins, live models, or a combination of the two. Some of the courses you will take at a skin care school include:

Skin Care

Skin care classes teach common skin conditions and how to recommend routines or treatments. A combination of classroom, laboratory, and hands-on practice prepares you for performing spa treatments, including body wraps, scrubs, and massages. You will learn to use lighted mirrors, magnification tools, lotions, astringents, and other topical applications.

Anatomy and Physiology

These classes teach basic human anatomy and the skin’s physiology, including the circulatory, endocrine, respiratory, digestive, and muscular system’s functions. This course also focuses on the conditions and common disorders of the skin.

Makeup Application

You will explore color theory, identify skin types, and perform makeup applications, including how to properly apply concealer, foundation, blush, lip liner, lipstick, eye shadow, and eyeliner in a hands-on setting. Coursework also teaches the application of eyelash extensions.

Hair Removal

The temporary removal of facial or body hair commonly accompanies skincare treatments. A hair removal class teaches you hair removal techniques like wax, depilatory cream, and tweezing on the face, arms, underarm, legs, back, and bikini areas. You will replicate classroom demonstrations in labs and clinical practice.

Sanitation and Sterilization

In this course, students learn how to protect clients and meet state requirements regarding decontamination and infection control, including proper workstation sanitation and tool sterilization.

Salon Management

Salon Management class is usually one of the last Esthiology courses in a diploma program. It emphasizes sales, marketing, professional ethics, communication skills, building client relationships, and developing professional interpersonal skills. You will learn salon management as well as merchandising and selling retail products.

The Skin’s Layers

When you embark on your journey to become a skin care specialist, you will become familiar with the skin and all its layers. There are seven layers to the skin in all. The skin is the body’s largest organ, which maintains body temperature, prevents water loss, and serves as the initial line of defense against germs, UV light, chemicals, and injury. The first five layers together form a thick outer protective layer of the skin called the epidermis:

Layer #1: Stratum corneum – This layer is made of keratin and is the skin’s topmost layer. The stratum corneum’s thickness is different depending on its body location.

Layer #2: Stratum lucidum – This thin transparent layer is only present in the palms and sole’s thicker skin.

Layer #3: Stratum granulosum – The stratum granulosum secretes a chemical called glycolipids, which keeps the skin cells glued to each other.

Layer #4: Stratum spinosum – This layer, also known as the prickle cell layer, contains antigen-presenting dendritic cells that possess the ability to stimulate naïve T cells.

Layer #5: Stratum basale – also known as the stratum germinativum, this is the epidermis’s deepest layer. In this layer, the cells continuously produce keratinocytes, which play an essential role in making Vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Keratinocytes also produce protein, keratin, and lipids, which contain protective properties. The stratum basale layer also contains melanocytes that produce melanin, a natural pigment responsible for skin color.

Layer #6: Dermis – The dermis is connected to the epidermis and made from collagen, which gives skin its flexibility and strength. This layer houses sweat glands, oil or sebaceous glands, hair follicles, muscles, nerve endings, blood vessels, and other dendritic cells.

Layer #7: Hypodermis – The hypodermis, known as the deepest skin layer, is also referred to as the subcutaneous fascia or subcutaneous layer and sits just below the dermis.

Varying Skin Thicknesses

All over the body, thickness of the skin varies significantly depending on its location. The palms of the hands and soles of the feet have the thickest degree of skin, vital to protection, as the epidermis contains an extra layer called the stratum lucidum, absent in other regions. The thinnest (0.05 mm thick) skin’s location is over the eyelids and behind the ears. Skin thickness differs among sexes, with males bearing the thicker skin due to testosterone stimulation. Age also determines the thickness of the skin with children and the extreme elderly having the thinnest.

Types of Skin

Each skin type contains a distinct set of characteristics and requires individual care. Skin gets classified by factors including hydration, sebaceous secretion, and sensitivity. Although changes in the skin occur with time, health, diet, genetics and weather also helps determine skin type. The five skin types you should know as a skin care specialist include:

Type #1: Normal Skin – The normal type displays a radiant complexion, very few imperfections, barely visible pores, and no severe sensitivity. A normal skin type shows a rosy glow, smooth texture, good elasticity, and no blemishes, flaky areas, or greasy patches.

Type #2: Sensitive Skin – easily irritated and more reactive than the normal skin type. This skin type’s appearance often presents itself as delicate, fragile, and red, accompanied by feelings of discomfort, tightness, or itching. Sensitive skin loses its protective function, creating a breeding ground for microorganisms, increasing the possibility of having an allergic reaction or infection.

Type #3: Dry Skin – In many cases, dry skin is caused by external factors like weather, low air humidity, or hot water, and is typically temporary. However, some people experience an extremely dry skin type condition or may have drier skin as a lifelong problem. This skin type is generally characterized by a tight, rough, itchy feel accompanied by an ashy gray color and small cracks.

Type #4: Oily Skin – has a perpetual shiny or greasy appearance. Oil becomes excessive because of an overproduction of sebum by sebaceous glands, usually determined by genetics. However, hormones play a big role in young people under 30 years old and are typically related to acne.

Type #5: Combination Skin – presents the characteristics of dry and oily skin. The oily area is on the forehead, nose, and chin, also known as the T-zone. In contrast, the cheeks remain in the normal to dry range.

Common Conditions of The Skin

Millions of Americans have common but severe skin disorders or conditions that require immediate attention. As a skin care specialist, you need to know how to identify any client’s skin changes that indicate common skin issues. Here are some common skin problems:


The most common skin problem in the United States is acne. This skin condition often appears on the neck, face, chest, shoulders, and upper back. Breakouts occur due to clogged pores from excess sebum and dead skin. Acne typically makes its debut during puberty and can last well into middle age.

Cold Sores

Many people between the ages of 14 and 49 carry the contagious herpes simplex virus, or HSV, the most common cold sore. Cold sores look like blisters on the lip or mouth, are not severe, and clear up within a few weeks. Carriers should avoid close contact with others during a cold sore breakout.


Rosacea is a disorder that starts with a tendency to blush or flush easily. Redness, dryness, sensitivity, and red bumps typically spread beyond the nose and cheek area to the chin, ears, forehead, chest, and back.


Eczema is typically long-lasting and characterized by dry, scaly patches on the skin. This skin condition, often appearing on the scalp, forehead, face, cheeks, and hands, is more common among children. Care for eczema consists of creams and antihistamines to relieve itchiness.


The most common of the psoriasis conditions is plaque psoriasis. Psoriasis causes the body to generate new skin cells within days that pile on the skin’s surface and create scaly patches. Plaques most often appear on the elbows, lower back, knees, and scalp.

Final Thoughts

A doctor can’t diagnose illness without an examination, and skin care specialists can’t get to the bottom of ailing skin without a complete skin analysis. It’s an essential skill for a successful practice. Now that you know how long it takes to graduate from skin care school, are you ready to learn more?

If you have a passion for performing skin analysis and improving skin health, you could begin your career as a skin care specialist at the Minnesota School of Cosmetology (MSC).  Our Esthiology Diploma Program is designed to be completed in under 5 months (600 clock hours) with full-time enrollment.  Our esthiology diploma program has been developed by talented, caring, real-world professionals, many of whom still work in the field.  We give our Esthiology students experience in skincare, waxing, make-up, application of facials, and more.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a skin care specialist and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

*Completion time for this program is defined by 35 hours per week.

Do you Need a Degree to be a Hairstylist?

mannequin at a hairstylist school

Are you passionate about hair? Enjoy watching YouTube videos about the newest styles and then give your family and friends advice on their hair? If you want to be a hairstylist, the good news is you don’t need a 4-year college degree. However, you do need to attend a diploma program. The other good news is that most cosmetology diploma programs can be completed in under a year. Once you complete the diploma program, you are ready to apply for a cosmetology license and start working as a hairstylist.

Do you Need a Degree to be a Hairstylist?

As mentioned earlier, you don’t need a degree, but you do need a diploma or certification to qualify for a license. It is mandatory in all 50 state that a hairstylist be licensed before they work in a licensed business. Having a license proves that you attended and satisfactorily completed an accredited diploma program. During a diploma program you will not only attend lectures, but you will gain hands-on experience, typically in a student salon. You start working on mannequins and fellow classmates, honing your craft, and then move on to real clients in the student salon. This diploma program allows you to practice your trade, so you are prepared for the licensing exam and that first day of your new career.

What Do You Learn in a Hairstylist Diploma Program?

Not only do you learn all about cutting and styling hair, but you also learn a lot of knowledge that will help you perform your job properly including infection control, sanitation, and draping. By obtaining your license, you prove that you understand how to sanitize hairstyling instruments, salon surfaces and generally keep clients safe while they sit in your salon chair. Further, during a cosmetology program, you learn more than just hair. You learn abut nail care, facials and makeup. The cosmetology program is a complete course on everything you will need to know to work in a salon.

Hair Styling & Cutting

The majority of what you learn and do in a cosmetology program is about hair. You will learn about different hairstyles, braiding, wig and hair extensions, hair coloring, and hair removal. You learn about hair color applications, chemical mixing, lighteners, toners, special effects and corrective solutions. The curriculum will also focus on hair coloring safety and proper procedure, so you keep your client safe.

You learn about different hairstyles from updos to finger waves. The program teaches wet hairstyling basics, comb-out techniques, hair wrapping and blow-dry styling. You learn the principles of hair design, scalp care, shampooing, conditioning, and haircutting.  Part of the techniques of shampooing involve proper draping, protecting the client from water, chemicals and other substances that may touch their skin or clothes. You will also better understand shampoo and conditioner and how to educate your clients on proper hygiene.

Not only will you learn how to cut a client’s hair, but you will also learn how to stand properly to improve posture and cut safely. While you cut hair, you will spend most of your time on your feet, so this program will teach you how to stand properly to minimize the strain on your body. You will also learn about different appliances that you will use during a hairstyling appointment. Hair equipment like rollers, blow dryers, thermal presses, are some of the many that will help you style your client’s hair. After this cosmetology program, you will have mastered the art of hairstyling and haircutting, but there is much more to learn.

Facials & Makeup

Part of the curriculum of the cosmetology program will focus on facials. This is important in conjunction with makeup. You will learn about skin analysis, aromatherapy, skin care products, as well as cosmetics and makeup application. Part of the curriculum includes facial massage and treatment. It is important for you to understand and determine skin types and conditions before consulting with the client.

Facial makeup is also an important supplement to your hairstyling education so you can help your clients with cosmetics, makeup color theory, special occasion makeup, corrective makeup, artificial eyelashes and proper makeup application procedures.

Manicures & Pedicures

Another part of the cosmetology program focuses on manicures and pedicures. As a cosmetologist, you will need to know about manicure tools, disinfection and nail technologies to pass the cosmetology license exam. There are many different nail technology tools, from nail files to separators to cuticle exfoliators and sable brushes. Not only is it important to know proper technique but also how to sanitize tools in a way that keeps your clients safe. There are also techniques that can set you apart including nail art and nail designs.

Being able to perform manicures and pedicures also builds your resume so that you are able to work at a full-service salon or even a spa. Having additional expertise in manicures and pedicures will show that you take cosmetology seriously.

Anatomy & Physiology

Two important courses that are part of the cosmetology program are anatomy and physiology. During these courses, you will learn about the different body systems, the anatomy of the skin, skin health and nutrition, skin disorders and the properties of the hair and scalp. Having knowledge of the body and how it works is important so you can educate your clients. They may ask why they need a pedicure or special chemical relaxant in their hair. You will have the training necessary to educate your clients about their body, cells, tissues, skin, and any disorders of the skin they may encounter. You can also educate them on nail structure and growth and proper hygiene.

Infection Control

A whole section of the licensing exam is focused on infection control. When you work with clients and they are exposed to different bacteria, it is important to understand how to disinfect surfaces and sterilize tools. During the cosmetology program, you will learn about infection, prevention, precautions, and the regulations you must adhere to in order to retain your cosmetology license. You will learn how infection works, how to prevent infection and the proper precautions to take in order to keep clients healthy. Keeping a clean area helps keep both you and your clients safe.

Hairstylist Skills

There are many skills that you will learn and master during your cosmetology program. The skills include goal setting, time management, career management, ethics and personality development. You will also learn how to project a professional image, present yourself properly and show your clients that you care about personal hygiene and the art of hair with your own appearance. Most importantly, you will hone your communication skills from the basics of communication, client consultation, customer service and salon sales. Communication is vitally important for a cosmetologist because most of your job will involve interacting with clients and coworkers. Good communication skills will create a fun and happy atmosphere at the salon.

The Salon Business

As a hairstylist, you will need to know how to attract and create loyal customers. You may also aspire to be a salon manager or even start your own salon business. Part of the curriculum in a cosmetology diploma program includes how to open a successful salon and building your salon business. It is important to get off on the right foot when you are starting a new business and having the formal training from industry experienced instructors will give you that leg up.

Minnesota Laws and Rules

Another important part of the licensing exam and what you learn in your cosmetology program is the laws and rules you must abide by. How to keep clients safe, keeping tools clean, how to advertise, licensing and other rules that you must abide by to retain or renew your cosmetology license.

Finding Employment

One of the last courses you will take in the cosmetology diploma program will prepare you for the workforce. You will prepare for the licensing exam, learn how to write a proper resume, and participate in mock interviews to prepare you with the answers to the many questions an employer may ask. Many vocational schools also offer career services because they have relationships with businesses in the community. Getting a diploma is about more than what you learn but the opportunities you gain to get your career started in hairstyling.

Final Thoughts

It takes less than a year to learn everything you need to become a licensed hairstylist. A cosmetology program will not only prepare you for the licensing exam but also prepare you for your first day of work as a hairstylist. You will get hands-on experience during the program, preparing you to succeed. Complete your diploma and pass the licensing exam, and then start your new adventure as a hairstylist.

Cosmetology Program

At Minnesota School of Cosmetology, we are dedicated to helping our Cosmetology program students develop a solid foundation and a flair for style through hands-on training in basic and advanced industry techniques. You will learn how to cut, color and style hair, give manicures and pedicures, provide spa treatments and perform various skin care techniques from industry-experienced instructors in a professional salon setting.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a cosmetologist and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

Is Massage Therapy School Difficult?

Woman at massage therapy school

Massage therapists heal through the power of touch. Embraced by the mainstream medical community as a drug-free way to treat pain and stress, massage therapy is a multi-billion dollar industry and growing. If you’re motivated by wellness, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The key to success is getting the best education but you might be wondering, is massage therapy school difficult?

Is Massage Therapy School Difficult?

Education is never easy. Learning new things and pushing out of your comfort zone can be tough. But as a student, you’re exchanging your time and money for skills, so going to school wouldn’t be worth it if it wasn’t challenging. For students with a passion for wellness, massage therapy programs are intense but exciting, demanding but not grueling and engaging but not difficult.

What Do I Need to Do to Become a Massage Therapist?

Becoming a massage therapist requires two steps:

Step #1: Graduate from a Diploma Program

A diploma from a vocational school in massage therapy is all you need to take the next step, passing the MBLEx exam.

Step #2: Pass the MBLEx Exam

Massage therapists are expected to be competent in their field. The MBLEx, or Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination, is a nationally recognized certification exam used by most states, including Minnesota, to evaluates graduates’ understanding of key massage concepts. Administered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards, a passing grade qualifies students who’ve met all other criteria for certification. The good news is, vocational schools “teach to the test,” so a large portion of graduates pass on their first attempt.

What Do I Learn in Massage Therapy School?

There is a lot to learn during a massage therapy program. You will learn medical terminology, anatomy, physiology, massage techniques, kinesiology, pathology, clinical lab, and professional business practices.

Medical Terminology

Science has a language of its own, and if you don’t have a medical background, it’s challenging to learn. There are hundreds of thousands of terms, far too many to memorize. Instead, medical terminology courses teach you how to make sense of words based on their four parts, so analyzing any term is stress-free.

Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology

Anatomy is the study of how the body is made; physiology looks at how it functions. As a massage therapist, you’ll collaborate with physicians and other healthcare professionals to achieve wellness for your clients, so having an understanding of the 12 body systems and how they work together is essential.

Introductory Massage Technique

You have to walk before you can run. Introductory Massage Techniques teaches you the fundamentals of massage, from draping and positioning to hygiene and hand techniques. You’ll learn about the history of massage and its most popular forms. It’s foundational to the rest of your education, and you’ll continue to build on these skills in more advanced courses.

Kinesiology and Pathology for Massage

Kinesiology is the study of human movement. Since massage therapists treat problems associated with skeletal muscle dysfunction, the course also includes a pathology primer to familiarize students with the most common muscle disorders, including acute injury, weakness, and stress-related muscle pain.

You will learn how to assess patients for balance, mobility and stability, plus other factors that could affect why patients feel symptoms. Once exclusively physical therapists’ domain, incorporating kinesiology principles into massage is now an expected and holistic approach.

Advanced Massage Techniques

Once you have a grasp of massage basics, the advanced massage techniques course covers bodywork in-depth. You’ll learn more about the most popular types of massage:

  • Swedish
  • Shiatsu
  • Aromatherapy
  • Hot stone
  • Trigger point
  • Reflexology
  • Sports
  • Prenatal

It’s during this class that many massage therapists fall in love with one type of bodywork or another. By the time it’s over, you’ll be better able to envision a path for your individual practice.

Clinical Lab and Practicum

No education would be complete without a chance to practice new skills in the real world. Select vocational schools have student-run massage clinics, others partner with local practices to allow students to work with clients. It’s your opportunity to get a complete view of both the practical and business aspects of massage.

Professional Business Practices

Many new startups fail in the first twelve months because of poor business practices. Since many massage therapists work as independent contractors or own their own businesses, embracing professional business practices is a must.

Courses cover topics such as basic accounting and practice management. While an accountant may be necessary to tackle complex business set-ups and tax issues, a massage therapist should grasp the fundamentals of revenue, expenses and cash flow. Financial planning is critical to making sound spending decisions.

Vocational school programs also teach the essentials of customer service because nothing increases profits like taking good care of your clients. Because massage therapy is a holistic practice, the best way to retain customers is to offer an excellent start to finish experience.

Is it Tough Finding a Job as a Massage Therapist?

Massage therapy is a growing industry, generating billions. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics says job opportunities for massage therapists are expected to grow more than 21 percent in the next ten years, it’s an unprecedented opportunity.

Employment options include working for yourself, as an independent contractor for an established practice, or for a salary in a hotel, spa or massage franchise. The American Massage Therapy Association also reports that some massage therapists work part-time hours in healthcare settings, including hospitals and hospices, with treatment goals ranging from relief of post-surgical pain to stress management for cancer patients. It’s not unusual for massage therapists to work in more than one place, flexibility is what attracts many students to massage as a career.

But while getting your foot in the door in the massage industry is easy, finding your dream job can be a challenge, everyone starts at the bottom and has to pay their dues. Seasoned massage therapists advise working hard to set yourself apart as an expert in one particular type of massage, whether it’s your passion or a niche in your community. Your skills become more valuable with experience, and soon, the sky’s the limit.

Starting Your Own Massage Therapy Business

Millions of Americans had a massage last year, and millions more would try it if it were more convenient. Massage therapists are capitalizing on that idea by starting their own business.

Vocational school programs give you all the skills necessary for success, and with a little business savvy, you can be your own boss. Business opportunities include starting a practice in a fixed location. The initial investment can be high but setting up shop in a high-traffic area can defray advertising costs, bringing clients right to your door.

Other massage therapists are making the most of portable massage chairs, taking their practice on the road. It’s a business you can start on a small budget. Chair massage is similar to conventional massage except that clients kneel forward in an adjustable chair with padded cradles for the chest and head. And because they remain fully clothed, there’s no need to maintain a private changing area.

A massage chair is inexpensive, lightweight, portable and small enough to store in a closet. Instead of waiting for customers to come to you, put it in your car and bring your services to them. Shopping centers, for example, are offering massage as a value-added service for their customers, while businesses are increasingly paying for short sessions as a wellness perk for employees. However, if traveling to clients, make sure to abide by all city and county regulations for approval and certification.

Final Thoughts

Massage offers proven relief from everyday stress. It’s growing in popularity as an adjunct therapy for stress-related disorders, and as a career opportunity, it’s just hitting its stride, there’s much more room for growth. A massage therapy program can be demanding, but anything worth doing is, and the skills you gain will last a lifetime.

Want to Learn More?

If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 12 months with full time enrollment*. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

*Completion time for this program is defined by 35 hours per week.

What is the Best Hair School?

Woman practicing on a mannequin at a hair school

Every hair school and every student are different, so how do you determine the best hair school? First ensure your heart is into hair because, as with anything worth working for, your job takes dedication and perseverance. If you aspire to become a hairstylist more than anything, school becomes a labor of love and a joy to attend. So, get ready to embark on a career path that helps you win a coveted chair at the hair salon of your choice or even open a beauty-centric business of your own.

On Becoming A Hairstylist

Which part of the beauty trade appeals to you? Do you want to specialize in a particular area like hair styling, skincare or nails, or all aspects of Cosmetology? The right school for you has a program that assists in attaining the career you desire. However, it’s a decision to take seriously. Think about why you want to become a hairstylist. What piqued your interest in this line of work? Attending hair school is a choice that sets a career’s trajectory, supplies financial stability, and ultimately improves your quality of life.

What to Look for In A Hair School

You decided you want to be a hairstylist, and now you need the education to get there. Career colleges and dedicated hair schools contain many benefits over traditional higher education institutions but are they all the same? There can be several variations in different Cosmetology or beauty schools. They differ in the programs offered and teaching methods, down to the hairstylist kits provided. Before enrolling in a Cosmetology program, you need to put in the research to ensure you pick the best possible school. So, here are six tips on what to look for in a hair school:

Tip #1: Accreditation

Accreditation is a formal verification that a program or institution meets quality standards and guidelines. Accreditation means they are competent in carrying out specific conformity assessment tasks. These set number of tasks include, but are not limited to, inspection, testing, and certification. Accreditation, in place for many years, is the means of evaluating organizations and now used by many schools, not only in the US but worldwide. In regard to a hair school, this means that the curriculum and course materials meet approval in all the necessary techniques, skills, and information needed to pass the state’s board exam. Broken down further, the college you attend is responsible for all the knowledge required to help you pass your Cosmetology exam successfully. For you, passing the state exam is the ultimate goal to attain a license for hairstyling.

Tip #2: Knowledgeable and Dedicated Instructors

At one point in all of our education, a class with an unenthusiastic teacher crossed our educational path; and in the end, you couldn’t grasp the material. The instructors at a hair school needs to cultivate their passion and their students’ love for the industry. Dedicated instructors make the material exciting and foster an immersive, hands-on learning environment. The instructors should not only teach the program but also provide a support system for students.

One tip to ensure the quality of a school’s teaching staff is to sit in on both classroom and practical training. This gives you a good idea of the instructor’s ability and willingness to help students grasp the required knowledge. Also, instructors should continue their education and regularly attend classes on the latest techniques and newest products in Cosmetology.

Tip #3: Course Offerings

Cosmetology is not a singular subject. Many beauty professions fall under the umbrella of Cosmetology, each requiring a varied set of skills. You need to ensure that the beauty profession you want to pursue gets covered by the courses offered.

Furthermore, suppose you have commitments in life that make a full-time school schedule difficult, like young children or a job to keep paying expenses while attending class. In that case, the right hair school offers a part-time and a night-time schedule to enable you to schedule your studies around your schedule.

Tip #4: Reasonable Cost and Financial Aid

Like any higher learning institution, there is a price for education. Each school charges different fees depending on the courses they offer. Comparing the costs of schools gives you knowledge of what fits your budget. If your dream school is out of financial reach, many accredited Cosmetology schools will offer financial aid, to those that qualify, to help pay for the program. So, check with your schools to see if they provide financial aid options, like grants, student loans, payment plans, scholarships, or work-study programs.

Tip #5: Job Placement Services

Job placement is a service that educational institutions offer to assist individuals in finding work. Examples of a job placement program include a hair school helping students practice interviewing, find externships to satisfy required clinical hours, vocational counseling, and job leads for permanent employment after graduation. Although hair schools are not required to have these services, the best ones offer some career services and job placement counseling options.

Typically, during the job placement process, a placement officer meets with you before graduation and discusses employment plans. According to education, skill levels, and personal circumstances, this placement process offers assistance in developing a positive job-seeking approach. This part of your education usually includes proper resume writing, interview techniques, and job leads. These leads come from salons and other Cosmetology related businesses calling the school to fill their positions. Many companies in this industry prefer new hires straight out of school because their knowledge is fresh. Some employers believe recent graduates who haven’t worked in a salon yet haven’t already molded their work habits.

Tip #6: Satisfied Student Body

While visiting the considered school, talk to some of the current Cosmetology students to learn more about the school. Ask them about their experiences, like the instructor’s ability to deliver material and how their skills grew. If a student is happy with their hair school experience, it’s a good indicator the program is worth considering. Please don’t be reserved about asking questions or bringing up concerns because they were in the same position not long ago. So, they understand all the research that went into choosing the best hair school to fit their individual needs.

Remember, like every student, personal needs are different, and not every school is a one-size-fits-all scenario. Also, take the personal experiences of a student with a grain of salt. A curt response could mean the person just had a bad day, or in other cases, they didn’t make a realistic choice. Don’t disregard these reviews, as you’ll learn from these as well.

Check Out School Reviews

In the days of social media and Google reviews, everyone’s reputation is online, for the whole world to see, including businesses. Ultimately, hair school is a business, meaning they receive reviews online like any other entity. What do people say and think when they’ve reviewed the hair school you’re researching? Is the hair school involved with the community and strive to make the city a better place to reside and attend school? Reputation is crucial because it will shape how potential employers and clients look at you and how you view the school. Most educational institutions have websites and social media pages. Get a well-rounded and honest review of potential schools, you’ll be surprised by the wealth of information provided.

What Do You Learn in Cosmetology School?

A straightforward Cosmetology school covers hairstyling, skincare, nail care, and make-up. You may know that cosmetologists learn hair fundamentals in beauty school, but there’s more to it than just that. At the best schools, you learn, understand, and are given the ability to perform the basics of hairstyling, facials, manicures and pedicures.

Any Cosmetology program is likely to be different, but most of them contain the same primary curriculum. Here are a few of the common topics you will learn:

  • Cutting/styling hair
  • Bleaching, coloring, and highlighting hair.
  • Apply perms to the hair, which includes relaxers, curls, waves.
  • Nail care, common nail issues, and false nail applications.
  • Skincare, common skin problems, diseases, and makeup application.
  • Hair removal methods including waxing and depilation.
  • Salon sanitation
  • Personal hygiene
  • Relevant anatomy, chemistry, and physiology

Final Thoughts

One of the biggest reasons a hairstylist pursues a career in beauty is that they live for expressing themselves through their work. Beauty is an art, requiring creativity. It is also important to be on the lookout for new styles to incorporate in your work. If you enjoy the creative freedom to experiment with new techniques and styles to help clients transform their appearance, then a career in the beauty industry is right for you. Hair school is the first step in your journey. Ensure the learning institution and the staff that you trust with your education shares the same love and enthusiasm for the beauty trade as you.

Cosmetology Program

At Minnesota School of Cosmetology, we are dedicated to helping our Cosmetology program students develop a solid foundation and a flair for style through hands-on training in basic and advanced industry techniques. You will learn how to cut, color and style hair, give manicures and pedicures, provide spa treatments and perform various skin care techniques from industry-experienced instructors in a professional salon setting.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a cosmetologist and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

Is it Better to Wear Eyelash Extensions or Mascara?

Woman applying eye makeup

As cosmetologists, you need to understand what William Shakespeare meant when he wrote, “Our eyes are the windows to our soul.” When we apply eye makeup or eyelash extensions, we resonate with that sentiment. Eye makeup dates back 12,000 years to ancient Egypt when they lined their eyes and eyebrows heavily with kohl, mainly in religious significance, according to Eluxe Magazine. In Egyptian culture, kohl allowed them to emulate the appearance of their gods. The trend spread across Rome and Greece, then India and the Middle East, where women began to wear eye makeup for beauty’s sake. The cost of obtaining the materials for cosmetics use unknowingly ushered in the early class separation of women through the appearance of wealth.

The Historical Infatuation with Eyelashes and Mascara

During Roman times, according to “Plinius the Elder,” when lovemaking, eyelashes often fell out. So, within that culture, long, thick eyelashes were not seen as a sign of seduction but one of virtue. Therefore, if no previous lovemaking occurred, it meant women and men retained their eyelashes, alluding to their purity. To hide sparse eyelashes, natural to some people, they encircled their eyes and darkened the lashes using a combination of kohl and ointment. This application also served as protection for their eyes from the sun’s rays. Mascara took a more patented route in the early 20th century as it went through a few significant formulation and application changes like water-proofing, coloring, and wand revamping.

Or, Is It Evolutionary?

Do you ever wonder why we fancy large eyes in concert with long, thick eyelashes most of all? Maybe the answer lies in science; as humans, we associate more enormous eyes with youthfulness and higher estrogen levels, which means they’re an indicator of fertility. So just like a sizeable waist-to-hip ratio, we’re evolutionarily programmed to find larger eyes attractive, also explaining our love for full, fluffy eyelashes since they create appearance of fuller healthy-looking eyes. By default, we tend to look at people’s eyes more when we conversate. Among everything else, this gaze exchange is one of the more important reasons why women seek endless ways to emphasize and glamorize their eyes by framing them utilizing mascara or eyelash extensions.

The First Modern Mascaras

You’ll be interested to know that crocodile stool was a crucial ingredient in earlier mascaras. Fortunately, today we don’t have to worry about what we are putting on our faces. The first modern mascara, a mixture of lampblack or ash, heated with elderberry juice, was applied while warm to the eyelashes, also a process not without issues. In the early 1900’s, a chemist named Eugene Rimmel invented the predecessor to the mascara we treasure today by using petroleum jelly as an adherent, according to the History of Mascara.

In 1913, the uber-conglomerate Maybelline’s birth came about when T.L. Williams created a similar American eyelash enhancing product for Mabel, his sister. Not too long after, the development of the cake form of mascara occurred. This formulation, made from equal parts of soap and black dye, was applied using  a dampened brush to rub on the cake and then to your lashes. Slightly less messy than Rimmel and William’s creations but still not user-friendly or convenient. Yet, no significant mascara advances came along again until 1957.

Advances in Later Mascara Formulas

In 1957, Rubinstein developed mascara in a lotion form, packaged in a tube and sold with an applicator brush, but the lotion was still messy. The mascara, squeezed from a tube-like container onto a brush, was then applied to lashes. This application was a contention point due to the varying product amount’s glop ending up on the brush. During the same year, Rubinstein launched the first mascara wand, called Mascara-Matic, a metal wand developed to draw the mascara out of a convenient, sleek, golden tube. The wiper’s development, a plastic ring inside the tube’s mouth, was just as crucial as the wand to the mascara’s performance as it determines how much excess formula gets wiped off and how much stays on the brush. This product became the forerunner to mascara today.

With so many options today, we still scout endlessly for the right formula that’s water-proof, sweat-proof, smudge-proof, and washes off easily with soap and water. This dilemma may be why so many women turn to eyelash extensions in place of mascara.

Eyelash Extension’s Painful Beginnings

Alongside mascara’s development, the eyelash extension evolution also took place, giving women an alternative to applying daily gobs of mascara. In the Victorian era, women sewed real hair to their eyelids to create longer and fuller lashes, according to Maire Claire. A fine needle, threaded with a long hair from the scalp, was sewn through the eyelid’s edge at graduated lengths, taking place using cocaine as a topical numbing agent. Although less adventurous women just stuck strands of hair to their eyelash line with an adhesive, this way was not without its issues. Some who dared the gluing process ended up with eye injuries, at times resulting in temporary to permanent vision loss.

Eyelash Extensions Become Mainstream

The turn of the century, the Hollywood starlet, and the onset of moving pictures brought even more attention to the eyelash realm. In 1911, Anna Taylor, a Canadian woman, filed the first strip style patent for temporary, adhesive lashes made from presumably real hair, though the patent didn’t specify. In 1916, similar strip lashes appeared on film for the first time when the director got the film’s wig-maker to hodgepodge some eyelash extensions combining gauze and human hair to glue onto the actress’s eyelids. Even though in the 1930s, Vogue, through their advertisements, made eyelash extensions mainstream, it wasn’t until the 1950s when they created a buzz. The meteoric rise came in the ’60s when the model Twiggy and the invention of synthetic falsies culminated in the long spiderlike lashes and affordability.

The Modern Lash Extension (Semipermanent Lashes)

Between the 1960s to the beginning of the 21st-century, eyelash extensions saw very few significant milestones. We mentioned before, gluing eyelashes onto the eyelids dotted their way through history, and some confuse the popularity in the strip eyelashes of the ’60s with eyelash extensions. Today’s type eyelash extension’s actual development didn’t occur until 2004 in Japan, then introduced here in the US. The eyelash extension adheres to, blends with and enhances the natural eyelashes. Among the earliest that championed the modern eyelash extension were celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, Katy Perry, and Beyonce. Semi-permanent lashes, created from materials including synthetic fibers, animal hair, and silk, are longer-lasting and more natural-looking than ever before.

Who Can Perform Lash Extension Applications?

The requirements needed to perform lash extension applications vary on the state level. In most states, licensing in concert with training as a cosmetologist or esthetician is required. The world of eyelash extensions is expanding by leaps and expected to keep doing so, meaning now is the perfect time to specialize in the field. Training is an affordable commitment, a career choice that earns money for years to come and often allows for a flexible schedule.

The Pros of Mascara and Lash Extensions

As with everything, there are pros on both sides of the aisle. Here we’ll take a look at each application’s benefits and the different reasons why clients prefer one over the other:

Mascara Benefits

Many women still use mascaras as the easiest way to extend, define, and thicken natural eyelashes. A good mascara creates an impression of full lashes without the artificial appearance of traditional strip style eyelash extensions. The vast spectrum of color options in today’s mascara allows us to achieve more dramatic effects. The application of mascara is easy, less expensive, and allows for more daily variation than the application of eyelash extensions. The reapplication and removal creates little to no damage to natural eyelashes. Also, modern mascaras often contain nourishing nutrients and natural ingredients for its breakout-susceptible users.

Lash Extensions Benefits

The most significant reasoning behind why so many choose eyelash extensions is how long they last. Contrary to popular belief, most eyelash extension clients are not uber-glamorous. For some women, convenience is vital; like homemakers, busy businesswomen, yoga instructors, and athletes, a daily makeup routine is not on their priority list. In their opinion, these women find returning at regular intervals for eyelash upkeep more convenient than the daily reapplication of mascara. Furthermore, modern eyelash extensions come available in dozens of designs, thicknesses, materials, and lengths. Clients feel little weight on their real lashes depending on the type of lash they choose.

Which Is Better?

For many women, the choice of mascara versus lash extensions is a matter of preference. However, we found that lash extension’s long-lasting benefit beat out any attribute mascara owns in our research.

Due to the modern lash extension’s popularity, high demand, cost-efficiency, improved process, better material, and variation, opinions on the matter changed over the past decades. In the past, women’s preference between mascara and lash extensions leaned more towards mascara. Eyelashes are a multimillion-dollar industry built on the concept that the eyes say the most about you. It’s an excellent time to get into mastering the art of the eyelash, adding valued clientele and cash flow to your business. Learning how to apply eyelash extensions also adds to your repertoire of services, making you a valuable addition to any salon.

Cosmetology Program

Want to learn more about how to apply mascara and eyelash extensions? At Minnesota School of Cosmetology, we are dedicated to helping our Cosmetology program students develop a solid foundation and a flair for style through hands-on training in basic and advanced industry techniques. You will learn how to cut, color and style hair, give manicures and pedicures, provide spa treatments and perform various skin care techniques from industry-experienced instructors in a professional salon setting.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a cosmetologist and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.