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A salon apprentice is someone who is new to the cosmetology industry and works under supervision at a salon in order to receive firsthand job training. Depending on the jurisdiction in which a person works, he or she may have already completed the education necessary to become a cosmetologist or aesthetician and may also be required to hold a license to practice. During training, the salon apprentice may perform basic services for clients and routine maintenance work around the salon while also observing a senior stylist at work. After completing an apprenticeship, the worker may have better job prospects in the personal appearance industry because he or she now has real-world job training.
In many areas, a person must have a license before performing personal appearance services such as cutting hair, offering manicures, or performing facials. Typically, those who wish to obtain a license must complete an approved course of study at a beauty school. Beauty school education typically consists of classroom theory courses as well as hands-on practice working on fellow students and then, eventually, on the general public in a beauty school clinic. It can still be difficult, however, to find a job immediately after graduation without having an established work history. For this reason, some new graduates choose to become a salon apprentice to improve their skills and develop a better understanding of their industry.
Apprenticeships can be found in both independently owned and chain beauty salons. Each salon or salon chain will have its own salon apprenticeship programs. In the best programs, a salon apprentice will not only perform various tasks around the salon and observe other stylus, but will also have an opportunity to work through an established program that gives him or her an opportunity to work in several different areas of cosmetology. If the apprentice realizes that he or she is interested in a sub-specialty of cosmetology, he or she may have the opportunity to work more in that particular area.
Some chain salons require new stylists to serve as apprentices if they don't otherwise have a significant work history. In these programs, the salon apprentice not only performs services for clients, such as shampooing and blow drying, but may also be trained in the procedures and protocols of the chain itself. For example, trainees may be required to learn how to work with the particular product brands used by the chain while also working to develop their professional abilities. Supervising stylists may observe the apprentice and help the salon's hiring manager decide whether that person has the potential for working as a regular stylist at the salon or within the chain.