By AMANDA KIMBLE
ERATH COUNTY (June 23, 2016) – Cosmetology instructors Sara Croft and Cindy Allred have made a career of shaping how people feel about themselves. Each woman began their careers as cosmetologists – making men and women look and feel their best. The duo now works together, sharing their knowledge and hands-on experience with students at Ranger College Erath County School of Cosmetology.
The vocational undergraduate certification program offers students a fast track to a career, boosting confidence and making the primarily female learners breadwinners in a growing industry.
Together, Croft and Allred tout three decades of industry experience. Under their direction, Ranger’s Erath County cosmetology students prepare themselves for an employable future with lessons that stretch beyond the typical 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
The program is currently in its summer session and includes about 30 students with coursework that includes an hour and a half of theory every morning, followed by several hours of lab work in a full-service salon located at the Stephenville campus.
“In the summer, we work about 10 hours a day,” Croft said. “Everyone enrolled has to complete a summer session.
“They have to complete 150 hours before they are allowed to touch a client. People always come in and say they want my best student, but I can guarantee each of them on the floor are at that level.”
While the program requires a minimum of 150 hours before hitting the sales floor, the instructors do have the final say. Croft said she will hold students back if they are not capable of providing the quality services clients expect – and deserve.
The walk-in clientele includes male and female community members who are served on a regular basis. Hours of operation during the summer session are 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Thursday. During the fall and spring semesters, the doors are also open 9:30 a.m.-12 noon every Friday.
The salon is located on Ranger’s Stephenville campus at 1835 West Lingleville Road, where there is a designated client entrance on the north side of the parking lot.
The school’s full menu of services includes everything expected from a salon. Haircare services like cuts, coloring, highlights, styling, braiding and cornrows, flat ironing, weekly rinses and updos for special occasions are available. The instructors also keep students in line with the latest trends as well, giving them tips for filling requests for things bright and vivid hair color – pinks, purple and blues – and those that require refined skills such as ombre coloring.
Other offerings include to facial waxing, eyebrow dying, manicures, pedicures, facials and more. Pedicures are currently only available as a “dry service,” but Croft said the program is expected to receive two pedicure chairs in the fall, which will allow the full-service soak and scrub techniques found in nail salons.
“We watch over their work and nobody’s (clients) building without being checked,” Allred said.
The services are offered at reduced rates, and senior citizens receive an additional 10-percent discount – making a haircut and set less than $4 each – every Monday-Wednesday.
For a complete list of service and prices, stop by the salon.
Entry-level students who haven’t logged enough hours or others whose work is not yet approved for servicing the public practice their developing skills on mannequins. The cosmetologists in training also practice techniques on fellow students. It is a process they repeat for many months before graduating from the program and into the field.
“It’s nine-month program,” Allred said. “But when you figure in all of the breaks, it takes about a year to complete.”
That 12 months includes more than 1,500 hours of instruction. Ranger College Erath County offers three semesters cosmetology classes each year and allows students to begin at any time.
With only two instructors on staff in Stephenville, the program can only accept 50 students – 25 per instructor – at any given time. And the popularity of the program means the local area will see many new stylists entering a growing number of salons to begin their careers.
But Allred said completing the vocational program doesn’t mean everyone will be successful.
“It all depends on how much they care and how much they put into it,” she said. “It’s about a lot more than cutting hair – they have to have knack for the business and the personality to succeed.”
“And not everyone can cut, dye and bleach hair,” Croft said, adding that the industry requires more knowledge that some students expect. “A lot of them say they didn’t know would have to learn about chemistry, anatomy and even some electricity.”
She also said variations in salons – from those only offering basic haircare services to others that offer facials more – gives cosmetologists the ability to find employment that best fits their talents.
The program also offers a reduced-rate course that allows junior and senior-level high school students to graduate and enter the workforce. And Croft said many students become cosmetologists to help fund their educations as they work to bigger goals such as becoming a nurse.
For more information on Ranger College Erath County School of Cosmetology, visit the Stephenville campus or visit the school online here.