Students find a career in school cosmetology program
SAN BENITO — Susan Lopez always had an interest in cosmetology — ever since she began creating new hairstyles on her dolls.
The San Benito High School cosmetology instructor has worked in the field for 22 years. She has such a powerful passion and dedication to her career that she can’t even imagine herself doing anything else.
“I always liked cosmetology and knew I was expected to pursue a career so I decided to go to cosmetology school and I loved it,” she said smiling. “It was the best thing I ever could have done.”
After earning her cosmetology license, she decided to go back to school to receive her instructor’s license.
For the past six years, she has been guiding San Benito High School’s cosmetology students through their own paths of success. With every lesson and inspirational words of advice, she continues to help her students obtain their dream of working in the industry.
Every year, 20 juniors are accepted into the cosmetology program, which consists of two level courses. The first course students take is Cosmetology I and the following year, they move on to Cosmetology II. In total, students in the program are required to complete 1,000 hours in order to be eligible to take the state board exam.
With the Cosmetology Program, San Benito High School juniors and seniors are able to receive their cosmetology license for free. The school provides students with the classroom supplies, equipment and even state board exam testing supplies.
According to Lopez, the program allows students to save about $10,000 to $18,000 on tuition.
“This opportunity is extremely helpful because a lot of the times we have students who come from different economic situations where their parents cannot afford to send them to school,” she said.
In addition to saving money on tuition, the program also helps students save time. According to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation website, people who have a cosmetology license only need to complete 300 hours to obtain a barber’s license instead of needing to complete 1,500 hours.
San Benito High School senior Rogelio Mendoza plans to obtain his barber’s license after he graduates. He hopes to own a barber shop one day.
“This program should get more recognition because it’s a good opportunity that helps a lot of kids who don’t have enough money to pay for a big college tuition,” he said. “Other career paths I took were hard for me so I am thankful I am able to gain experience in this industry.”
Another student joined the program because he felt inspired to pursue the same career as his mother and grandmother.
High School junior Ramon Pinon plans to work side-by-side with his mother and grandmother in their salon so when he found out it was available, he said he went for it.
“I also want to prove that cosmetology is not just for girls because I have noticed a lot of people tend to think it’s only for girls. But this program is also helpful for a lot of students, even those who want to become a barber,” he said.
Lopez says a lot of people think cosmetology is not a career and that it’s one that doesn’t make money. However, this program enables them to start working right after high school.
“People think just because cosmetology seems like fun, that it’s not work and I don’t understand why they feel that way,” she said. “I always tell my students not to let anyone put them down because we do so much more than ‘just cutting hair.’”