Making A Career Change to Massage Therapy

Making a career change is never an easy decision. When you have wonderful mentors and peers encourage you, the journey becomes a breeze.

LeAnn Balmanno is a recent Massage Therapist graduate who made a career change that changed her life forever. LeAnn made the decision in early 2018 to

Massage Therapy graduate
LeAnn Balmanno, Massage Therapist graduate of June 2018

follow her dreams. While working as a Guest Service Media Coordinator at John Joseph Salon, she became familiar with the massage therapist on site and wanted to learn more.  LeAnn would always tell her fellow co-workers that she was interested in massage therapy, but was told she was too outgoing and bubbly to be in the field.  For the longest time LeAnn believed them, but she didn’t give up. LeAnn wanted to make a change in other people’s lives to make them feel great about themselves.

Researching Massage Therapy Schools

Once LeAnn decided to take the first step to become a massage therapist, it was time to research schools. That is where the Minnesota School of Cosmetology came in. LeAnn visited an open house at our Plymouth location and fell in love. The atmosphere, the course hours and, most importantly, the instructor, Diana Oberg made LeAnn’s decision easy. When you find a school that can make your new career change easier, you know you will excel at what you love.

Transforming Lives as a Massage Therapist

“I truly love helping people and I love how each person has a different style when it comes to the way they massage. It is a very creative job that can change people’s lives for the better and I am so proud to be a massage therapist,” says LeAnn.

LeAnn was employed before graduating from the program. She now enjoys working her dream job at The Woodhouse Day Spa in Maple Grove. LeAnn also received her license through the city of Maple Grove to help her career expand when she is ready.

“MSC was more than a school for me, it changed not only my life but my family’s life as well.”

– LeAnn Balmanno, Minnesota School of Cosmetology-Massage Therapist graduate of June 2018.

Employer Spotlight: Great Clips

Great Clips has been around for 35 years, has 145 locations in the metro, 4200 across the country, and has competitive training and wages, room for advancement and management positions.

Kristin Hoogheem, Great Clips Liaison

Great Clips has been working with the Minnesota School of Cosmetology for years and they have hired many of our graduates. They also provide a school liaison named Kristin Hoogheem. She is always staying engaged with the students and graduates at all times, according to Minnesota School of Cosmetology’s Campus Director, Jill Hocking.

“She attends our graduation ceremonies and brings gifts for every graduate, she pops into campus and brings flowers at graduation clock outs, she substitutes at Minnesota School of Cosmetology as needed, they attend our fashion shows and career fairs, they bring our students additional education seminars, they offers full benefits, competitive wages and additional compensation on top of hourly wage,” said Jill.

Windy McGuire, Minnesota School of Cosmetology graduate, is currently employed at Great Clips, and shares that she couldn’t be happier with where she is in life.

“I thought I wanted focus on color at a full-service salon, but after working at Great Clips and seeing that I don’t need to find my own clientele and still I’m still able to make a lot of money, I decided that Great Clips was where I wanted to begin my career,” said Windy. “I have been completely happy and impressed with both my schooling at Minnesota School of Cosmetology and my career at Great Clips!”

Minnesota School of Cosmetology graduate, Jessica Castillo, who also works at Great Clips shares how she loved going to Minnesota School of Cosmetology.

“The teachers were very caring and did everything they could to help you be successful. All of the product knowledge we got was fantastic and I won’t forget it! Now working at Great Clips, I’m very happy. I’m making a living and wouldn’t imagine anything to be different,” said Jessica.

Click here to learn more about Minnesota School of Cosmetology and why you should choose us to turn your passion into your profession.

Graduate Performs ‘Man Makeover’ on Twin Cities Live

Holly Kleshold’s, Minnesota School of Cosmetology alum.

“Want it more than you’re afraid of it”, is one of Holly Kleshold’s, graduate from Minnesota School of Cosmetology, favorite quotes and something she reminds herself of every day.

Holly’s journey started seven years ago when she decided to enroll at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Little did she know, that was probably the best decision she ever made, according to Holly.

“I enjoyed my time at Minnesota School of Cosmetology, I was in the evening program, as I worked full-time during the day. That was the first thing that prepared me for the real world,” said Holly. “I also had to work two jobs my first year in the industry.”

She has been at working at Simonson’s Salon & Spa for more than four years now where she works 30-35 hours a week. Her current income at Simonson’s exceeds what she used to make working two jobs, 70 plus hours a week, according to Holly.

Holly on Twin Cities Live: 

I am so thankful for the opportunities given to me through Simonson’s. We have consistent education, to keep current with trends and we are also partnered with/the official salon of Twin Cities Live (TCL). They do segments every few weeks featuring different services we offer.

Holly’s Man Makeover on Jim on Twin Cities Live.

I was asked to do an on screen men’s makeover for the show, I was so excited but incredibly nervous at the same time. We shot the segment at the salon, with the hosts and a one man camera crew. We focused on waxing, men’s color and cut.

Jim was my model, very nice guy, with a mustache that hadn’t been shaved in over 20 years. We waxed his brows, ears and nose, blended his gray hair and gave him a much needed, updated haircut. Last but not least, Jim shaved his mustache. He looked at least ten years younger and I could tell he felt great, he had that genuine smile, a sure sign of a happy client.

Click here to watch Holly’s Segment on Twin Cities Live. 

Holly’s Experience at Minnesota School of Cosmetology:

My time at Minnesota School of Cosmetology was inspiring, exciting, overwhelming at times. There were many times where I questioned if I was right for this industry, but this industry has helped me discover who I really am. Also, my instructors pushed me to get out of my comfort zone which, I think, is the key to growth.

I am continually faced with challenges, because every client is different and has different needs. However, that’s what I love about my job. I love that I can make people feel good about themselves and in turn they make me feel good about myself. It is amazing how one client can turn your whole day around.

When I graduated five years ago from Minnesota School of Cosmetology, never in a million years did I think I would be teaching people to do the things I struggled with nor would I have ever imagined I would be on television, but hard work and stepping out of your comfort zone sure do pay off.

I am so thankful for the opportunities that I have been given and will go in to every day with an open heart and mind. How rewarding it is to be a part of this ever changing industry. I am so thankful I decided to take my first steps at Minnesota School of Cosmetology.


Alumni Spotlight: ‘Support and Education at MSC Led to Success’

When Betsy Schafer was looking for a cosmetology school, she said the friendly and welcoming environment was one of the reasons why she chose to attend Minnesota School of Cosmetology.

“Talking with the instructors, I was able to see that they were there for the students. The cost of the program, as well as what that consisted of, were also reasons why I chose MSC,” Betsy, cosmetology

Now more than eight years after graduation, she says the instructors still know her name. Betsy landed a job at Moxie Hair Salon in St. Paul just a few months after she graduated and is currently working there today.

Betsy has transitioned to a lead shift manager and said she loves the variety her career offers.

“I have had the opportunity to learn about the business aspects of the industry – everything from productivity, to inventory, to guest relations, to promotion creation, to training, and everything in between. There is a constant opportunity for education. I work with an amazing team, have built relationships with guests, share the same focus and values that Moxie has, and have enjoyed working with Arrojo,” she said.

Schafer credits her success to the support and education she received from instructors at MSC.

“There was constant support, guidance and motivation. I also appreciated the variety of product and color lines I was educated in. It allowed more of a range of opportunities following graduation, and made me better-rounded,” she said.

When she graduated, Schafer said she felt prepared and was looking forward to entering the beauty industry.

“Not everything will come easy, but keep your focus and have goals for yourself. Find your “WHY”: what brings you to work every day. Also, know there are SO many opportunities in the industry; so don’t limit yourself and your abilities,” Betsy said.

Tips from Career Services: No. 1 Mistake to Avoid When Job Hunting

At Minnesota School of Cosmetology (MSC), help finding a career doesn’t stop when you graduate. One of the biggest advantages of going to MSC is the continued help you will get throughout your cosmetology career. Whether is your first job or a transition in between, out dedicated career services staff is there to help you.

Our employment assistance starts with our curriculum to ensure students are educated on being Jobs Search Applicant Career Employment Hiring Conceptprofessional, job search tools and resources and career-planning strategies.

MSC cannot guarantee you a job after you graduate, but we can do the best we can to help you find it. Some of the services we help with include:

  • Finding current job openings in cosmetology
  • Cover letter writing, resumes and portfolios
  • Interview do’s and don’ts
  • Networking and advice

“Since the average job search can take about 6-9 months, I advise students to make an appointment with me early to begin planning their career,” said Mindy Meyer, career services coordinator at MSC. “I encourage them to get acclimated to school during basics class and then seek assistance with their job search when they reach intermediate class. This gets students thinking about what type of salon they would like to work for so when they reach advanced class they can apply to salons and land their first job before they graduate!”

Resume Building Tips from MSC

Get Involved in School! Join MSC Student Council, work as a tutor or volunteer as a mentor.

Develop Professional Relationships with your instructors, MSC staff and peers.  They are a built-in network and will become very valuable to your job search!

Get Good Grades and include them on your resume: Graduate with honors with an overall grade 95% or higher, perfect attendance, highest retail sales, etc.

Join a Professional Organization such as Salon and Spa Professional Association. Attend beauty shows, outside classes by industry leaders and learn new trends!

Gain Relevant Experience now through part-time employment or even volunteering at a salon! . It’s a great way to gain experience, make contacts and get your foot in the door at a salon. Contact a salon of your choice. Introduce yourself and ask if they need any help sweeping hair, stocking the dispense, etc. You will learn a lot from observation and will begin building your network!

ALWAYS Look for Ways to Enhance Your People Skills.

The following list will help job seekers locate job postings and research their field and prospective employers.

If you are looking to enhance your career, you could go back to school for a degree in business administration or business management. MSC graduates can qualify for a scholarship or transfer credits at Globe University, a member of the Globe Education Network.

If you are ready to get starting on a career in cosmetology, email us or call 651-432-4635 to speak with a representative today.

Where are they now? 9 Questions for MSC Graduate Ashleigh Carberry

Minnesota School of Cosmetology’s (MSC) primary mission is to produce employable graduates into the cosmetology industry. Since we are a career college, our number one goal is for all graduates to be successful in their field! We were happy to interview our MSC-Plymouth alumni Ashleigh Carberry who graduated in 2015. We love hearing graduate success stories!

What was your career path before graduating from Minnesota School of Cosmetology? My career path before graduating from Minnesota School of Cosmetology was working 12 years in the fast food industry at Arby’s.Ashleigh C

Why did you choose to attend MSC? I choose to attend MSC because I loved the atmosphere. When I walked in, all the faculty and students made me feel welcome and a part of the family.

How did your education enhance or change your current career path? I landed a job at JCPenny’s Salon where I have continued to learn and enhance my skills.

What piece of advice would you give to students considering a career in cosmetology? Take your schooling very seriously and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Take a lot of notes.

What do you enjoy about the cosmetology industry? Every day is different. This industry is always changing and you are constantly learning new things. I love building relationships with my clients and making them feel good.

Where has your job taken you? I have started my career and have already learned so much from my mentor, he plans to retire within the next five years and would love to see me replace him. I can just see my career going very far.

How has your education at MSC impacted your professional life? MSC helped me learn how to communicate with clients over the phone, at the front desk, and how to talk to clients professionally during a consultation.

What is your favorite memory of MSC? I have two favorite memories from MSC. My first is I have Turners Syndrome and MSC allowed me to invite the TS girls from my chapter to get mini makeovers. It made them all feel special and gave them a boost of confidence it really meant a lot to all of us. My second favorite memory is when the school did my wedding party’s hair, nails and makeup.  The students did an amazing job and I was asked all night where we had gone.  Everything turned out better than I had ever dreamed and we all looked amazing.

What is the most valuable information you learned while you were in school? Client consultations are very important, and you should be doing them for every client. It is also very important to follow manufacturer’ instructions.


MSC Alumna Hired Before She Graduated, Thanks to Hands-On Training

Vyset Koumalasy is a nail technician at A La Mode Boutique and Nail Spa in Edina, Minn., a position she landed before she graduated from Minnesota School of Cosmetology (MSC).

“The program (at Minnesota School of Cosmetology) definitely prepared me for this career. It’s very hands-on,” Vyset explains.

Students at MSC learn to perfect hair, nail and skin care techniques through both theory and lab, and clinical hours. Vyset enjoyed the immediate hands-on experience she got working on manikins and fellow classmates, and eventually clients.

Vyset originally chose to attend the MSC campus in Plymouth, Minn., because it was brand new, but her instructors were far from beginners in the field. Not only did her instructors teach Vyset the techniques she needed to know for her career, but they helped her find her job.

“My instructors were awesome,” says Vyset. “[They] got to know you as a person. They figured out what your goals were.”

Vyset says she still keeps in touch with some of her instructors who helped her every step of the way while she was attending MSC, as well as after graduation, something she says she never thought she would find in a school.

“My overall experience was very exciting with MSC,” says Vyset. “Once you’re done … you have so many different fields you can go into with a cosmetology license.”

The cosmetology field is perfect for Vyset because she loves people, and she absolutely recommends MSC to anyone who has a passion for cosmetology like she does.

“It’s worth it,” she says.

Visit to learn more.

Where Are They Now? 7 Questions for MSC Graduate Dominique Beard

Written by Jeff Bishop, career services coordinator

Minnesota School of Cosmetology’s (MSC) primary mission is to produce employable graduates into the cosmetology industry. Since we are a career college, our number one goal is for all graduates to be successful in their field!

We were happy to interview our MSC-Plymouth alumni Dominique Beard who graduated in 2013. We love hearing graduate success stories!

Why did you choose MSC?

I chose MSC because I liked the versatility in the program, which was something I didn’t feel like I found in other schools. The educators have a wide range of knowledge and experience, and the environment was always very welcoming. As far as scheduling goes, there were multiple options that allowed me to complete the program in a timely manner and have a life outside of school. I was able to work part time and have time to spend with friends and family.

MSC-Plymouth alumna Dominique Beard

How did your education enhance your career path or change your career path?

My education enhanced my career path by giving me a foundation as a new stylist in a modern salon. I felt that after graduating I was able to adapt to different salon settings, which helped me find the best fit for me. The leadership team gave me realistic expectations of what working in the field would be like. For example, catering to certain types of clientele, different type of employment and job opportunities, and where your career could take you over time.

What piece of advice would you give to students considering a career in cosmetology?

I would tell students to consider all of their options, and to base your decisions from things that will benefit you, and where you would like to go in your career. I would say not to just live in the now, think about where you would like to see yourself within the next couple of years and have a vision. There are so many opportunities in the beauty industry—don’t settle for anything less than what you want. MSC definitely made me feel like part of a family and they want all of their students to be and feel fully prepared when they step out into their salons.

What do you enjoy about the cosmetology industry?

As a stylist, I most enjoy getting to know my team and my guests. I draw my inspiration from people and things that surround me. I also enjoy learning things from the more experienced artists on my team. There are so many tips and tricks that you can learn from others, and it’s about finding different things and putting my own twist on them! I also love changing trends, and taking continuing education to stay current!

Where has your job taken you?

After graduating, I began working as a stylist at Juut Salonspa. In this time, I have completed the required advanced training program. Post training program, I was placed as a full-time stylist at the Juut St. Paul, one of seven locations. In my time working for this company, they have molded me into being a well-rounded stylist. They have pushed me to build a loyal clientele. I also learned to analyze different areas of my business, which has really allowed me to grow and expand out of my box. I was first introduced to this salon when I saw them at the MSC career fair. I never would have imagined myself working in an Aveda Concept Salon, but I’m grateful that my training from MSC gave me options.

What is your favorite memory of MSC?

My favorite memories from MSC were the potlucks. Whenever someone completed the program, we all got together had a big potluck! I always thought it was just so nice that we could all come together and celebrate and support each other!

What is the most valuable information you learned while you were in school?

The education at MSC is great because they strive to produce well trained students. I think the most valuable information that I took away would be handling the business side of things. Along with having great technical skills, I really appreciated learning about all the behind the scenes, such as tracking your sales, productivity, how many guests are you retaining, and what areas you are lacking in. If you ever wanted to run your own business, or manage/own a salon, these things are equally important.

Where Are They Now? 7 Questions for MSC Graduate Amanda Cooler

Written by Jeff Bishop, career services coordinator

Minnesota School of Cosmetology’s (MSC) primary mission is to produce employable graduates into the cosmetology industry. Since we are a career college, our number one goal is for all graduates to be successful in their field!

We were happy to interview our MSC-Plymouth alumni Amanda Cooler who graduated in 2013. We love hearing graduate success stories!

MSC-Plymouth alumna Amanda Cooler

What was your career path before graduating from Minnesota School of Cosmetology?

I didn’t quite have a career path before I started at Minnesota School of Cosmetology, since I started at MSC right out of high school. I knew I wanted to work with people, but for a while I wasn’t sure which career path would work best for me. I went through so many different types of career paths that let me work with people and none of them suited me. It wasn’t until I realized that I loved doing hair and helping people achieve the look they were hoping for that I knew—MSC was the path for me.

Why did you choose to attend MSC?

I first thought of MSC when my mom went to Minnesota School of Business. I knew a little bit about how they ran and that they were a great system. I saw the commercials on TV and decided that was where I wanted to go, but the Woodbury location was just a little too far from where I live. One day I was watching another commercial and they stated that they were opening a campus in Plymouth; while that was still a little far away from me, it was better and more doable. MSC was the one and only school I toured. and I just knew it was for me.

How did your education enhance or change your current career path?

When I started, I was in a mindset that I would only want to cut hair or only want to color hair. I thought I was going to specialize until I started learning, and I realized that I loved everything. I loved cutting and color, perming and styling—it wasn’t a one track career for me. I learned great techniques to help me with up-dos and now I love them. I share a passion with people that I never thought I would all thanks to the wonderful education I received while at MSC.

What piece of advice would you give to students considering a career in cosmetology?

It is a hard career—with long hours on your feet, and it can be very tolling on your body. As long as you walk into work each day with a mindset of how great it is, it is the greatest career you could choose. Cosmetology can be physically and emotionally hard, but at the end of the day, it’s all worth it.

Where has your job taken you?

I am currently working at Northern Pine Salon and Day Spa in Zimmerman, Minnesota. This position has given me an opportunity to be able to meet so many new people and learn so much more about our industry. I have the opportunity to further my education with classes and watching all my fellow stylists with their clients. This industry brings so many learning opportunities.

How has your education at MSC impacted your professional life?

MSC impacted my professional life a great deal because while I was there, the staff helped me understand some of the important keys to our profession. I know it is important to always be early, always have a professional attitude, and above all else, help each other strive for greatness.

What is the most valuable information you learned while you were in school?

The most valuable information I acquired during my time was not to let anything change who you are. Things are going to be tough and seem scary sometimes, but when it comes down to it, all that matters is that you are proud of who you have become and where you are in your career. That is what is going to stand true through your entire life with anything you do.