Cosmetology Student

CATEC is celebrating National Hairdresser Appreciation Day, celebrated this year on Sunday, April 25th.  And, Charlottesville-Albemarle Technical Education Center (CATEC) is celebrating its Cosmetology program and all of the stylists in our community who not only support our Cosmetology program but also have managed to continue providing excellent service when faced with difficulties this past year.  

CATEC’s Cosmetology program is a two-year program consisting of 840 training hours. Students study hair, skin, nails, and their related care. The curriculum is grounded in theory that prepares students to practice procedures in clinical lab and classroom settings. Students use mannequins for manipulative skill practice, training in safety and chemical processes related to permanent waves, relaxing, soft-curling, lightening, and hair color. Students learn to care for skin, hands, and feet, developing expertise in providing facials, manicures, and pedicures. Additionally, as part of the program curriculum, students study business management and instructors Karen Brown and Jackie Waller spend countless hours of classroom time emphasizing workplace skills. Brown, who teaches Cosmetology I, says she loves seeing students grow during their two years in the program. She says, “Once students enter and see the broadness of the program and the many options they have within our field, it ignites a fire that is visible.  To watch the pride that they feel when they master a hands-on project ignites my fire.  When these young ladies and gentlemen begin I get to watch true passion develop as they progress.”

Cosmetology II students spend their second year progressing in their learning and preparing to take their Virginia Board of Cosmetology examination. Cosmetology II Instructor Waller says, “The second-year students are relatively settled in as they come in.  Then we begin more advanced skills and theory.  I think what I enjoy outside of the Cosmetology skills, is watching the growth in their individual development.  They begin to understand ‘life,’ it's struggles, how they need to adapt, and knowing that this path will give them success not only in Cosmetology but also in their adult lives.” In addition to earning their Virginia Board of Cosmetology licensure, students can also earn certifications in Pretty In a Minute Experience, and Barbicide. This year, students also had opportunities to become certified in Barbicide COVD-19 and human trafficking.

Once licensed in the state of Virginia, professionals are able to provide beauty services such as shampooing, cutting, coloring, and styling hair, applying makeup, dressing wigs, performing hair removal, and providing nail and skin care services. The projected job growth in Virginia for the Cosmetology industry shows an increase of 10%, with Virginia earning approximately $6,000 more per year than the national average. Brown estimates that, to date, there are more than 500 CATEC Cosmetology graduates working locally in the industry. Two of them, Instructors Brown and Waller, are both graduates from the program!

CATEC is a regional technical education center that helps high school students and adults obtain the jobs they seek. Students have opportunities to practice hands-on and work-based learning activities alongside academically-driven curricula. CATEC prides itself on its built-in value, equity-based programs, and contribution to students' learning journeys.