TULSA – As the country struggles with the growing student-loan debt crisis, one Oklahoma college is teaching a trade and giving its graduates an extra boost as they start their careers.
Clary Sage College promises the possibility of getting a degree in a year or less and the skills you learn are immediately applicable in a work environment. According to the college, approximately 82% of their students receive financial aid.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for skilled hairstylists and cosmetologists is expected to go up in the next decade. The predicted growth, according to government researchers, is higher than the average for all occupations.
“However, workers should expect strong competition for jobs and clients at higher paying salons, of which there are relatively few and for which applicants must compete with a large pool of experienced hairstylists and cosmetologists.” said the Bureau.
Pam Martin, the campus director at Clary Sage College, started her career as a cosmetologist but wanted to share her experiences and expertise with others. Martin wanted to make it so that young adults could provide for themselves.
“I wanted to be able to help young people feel empowered,” Martin said.
Martin says that her favorite part of teaching is the light bulb moment, the moment when whoever you’re helping suddenly understands what they didn’t a moment before.
“That ah-ha moment is just great and getting to help someone like that, whether it be professional or personal life, is fantastic,” Martin said, “I love getting to mentor young people.”
Clary Sage is different from other colleges in that it has many opportunities for students to get real-world experience. The fashion course offered, for example, goes to local boutiques and helps with set-up and marketing while the interior design students go to an interior design firm to learn about what it’s like in the field.
Martin’s advice; look into the program you want to go into and the job opportunities that it provides you with. Be present, don’t let yourself get in the way, and have a plan B.
Cover photograph by Bekah Disney/ENN.