June 21, 2016 - See an update on my progress here!
Hello hello! Exciting and possibly opinion-drawing post to share with you today! As you can see from the title of this post: I have decided to enroll in a nail tech program, but it's not the type of program you might expect. My decision came down to three things: location, availability and cost. I've been holding onto this secret for a while, and I'm happy to have started and to finally tell you about what's going on and why this is the path I've taken. :)
I've actually been thinking about doing a nail program for about a year now, and when I saw a handful of blogs I follow (in particular The Dalai Lama's Nails) posting about enrolling in nail tech programs it gave me the boost I needed to get my butt in gear. There are a few reasons why I'm interested in doing a nail program...
1. I work in the field of mental health and I've seen the pride and happiness that can build up in a person when you support them in putting their best foot forward. I like to think I already provide the mental support, and now I want to provide a more immediate and physical support. In particular: I want to be able to go into shelters and programs to provide free nail care and designs to people who could use an extra boost. I have the connections, I have the informal skills, but I want to polish (ha) those skills.
2. Which leads me to my next point: safety and hygiene. I know the basics picked up here and there, sure. But I want some formal education and time committed to learning how to prep and clean my tools (and clients) properly.
3. Nail art is my hobby and self-care technique of choice. I want to be the best I can be at it, and I feel like I've learned almost all that I can on my own. It's time to expand.
But there were also a few challenges that needed to be addressed before I could decide on a school/program...
1. The fact that I live in Toronto brought about my first problem - nail technicians aren't regulated in Ontario (or most provinces in Canada), and so there aren't very many schools that offer programs. (Which makes sense since technically you don't have to go to school here to call yourself a nail tech.... Isn't that terrifying?!) So it was slim pickings to start with.
2. As you might know I work full-time in a pretty high-stress job, and I work shift work. Because of this I have very specific periods of time available during my week, which I found unfortunately didn't mesh well with the availability of the few nail programs offered in Toronto.
3. The third and final challenge came down to cost. The few schools that do offer programs (like George Brown College and a couple of private career colleges) are quite expensive (in one case about $800 per course for 3 courses - yikes!). Considering I'm doing this more for fun and am still carrying debt from my undergrad and graduate programs? Yeah, no.
A lot of thought went into making my decision. After weighing all the options, doing my research (you can see some links further down) and talking to some friends and colleagues I was ready to commit. My decision? The Academy of Nail Design (TAOND), an online school based out of Southern Ontario that offers a full professional certificate program and requires both theory and practice hours equivalent to those in your regional face-to-face programs (which varies, since you can theoretically enroll from any country and hourly requirements are different depending on the certification body).
Did you check out the site? Kind of confusing and difficult to navigate, right? Don't worry, I did my research first. Even though they could benefit from a better web/graphic designer they seem to have a good reputation. Here's some of the pages I checked out to help me make my decision:
- TAOND Better Business Bureau Review (Mar 2014)
- Certification Announcement from the World Certification Institute (Jan 2014)
- Nails Magazine: Online Nail Training Pioneers in Canada [The Academy of Nail Design School Profile] (May 2013)
- Nails Magazine: Just my Opinion: Why Don't American State Boards Allow Online Training? (June 2012)
It's not the ideal solution (I'd still prefer to have face-to-face class time to learn from an instructor but they do offer a lot of support and communication - the first question I sent got a response in about 10 minutes and that was technically after hours!) but considering everything I think it's the best I can do at this point in time. :) And to be honest, I'm super excited about it!
I know I enjoy reading posts from other bloggers about similar experiences, so let me know if this is something you'd be interested in me keeping you up-to-date on. If not you'll still be seeing the end results, but I'd like to be able to share the journey with you as I do it.
As I said at the beginning I know that the idea of doing this type of program online isn't everyone's cup of tea... I'm generally not a fan of people doing hands-on professional training online (that's an understatement), but the fact that this is more for fun along with all the reasons outlined above means I'm just going to have to swallow down those feelings and give it a try. I'm curious about your opinions on this subject (though I'm not going to let it sway my decision), so if you're open please let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Thanks for reading! Man, this is a long post! Kudos if you made it all the way through. :)
June 21, 2016 - See an update on my progress here!