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OCC School of Cosmetology Makes List of Top U.S. Beauty Schools

OCC Cosmetology PhotoOlney Central College’s School of Cosmetology is celebrating its inclusion on the list of Top 50 Beauty and Cosmetology Schools released by TheBestColleges.org.

“We are very pleased to be ranked as one of the top schools in the country,” Director Linda Miller said. “We constantly strive to improve the program so we are providing more and better services to our students.”

OCC is one of only three cosmetology schools in Illinois to make the list and at No. 27 is the highest-ranked program in the state. Selections were based on a number of factors including admissions, student loan default, retention and graduation rates provided by colleges and universities to the National Center of Education Statistics.

“This year, we reviewed all accredited beauty and cosmetology schools in the U.S. to select 50 that provide students with the best learning experience,” said Charlotte Morris, of the Outreach Team for TheBestColleges.org. “OCC stood out with an outstanding program.”

Miller said OCC’s selection validates the program’s efforts to provide a wide array of opportunities and training in the latest industry techniques. That includes bringing product educators to the West Richland Center, which houses the program.

An educator with the hair-coloring manufacturer, Scruples, recently instructed students on hair painting, an emerging technique, which creates natural-looking highlights.

“She was surprised at how much our students knew,” Miller said. “A lot of the schools she had been to were not teaching it. It is nice to know we are doing things other schools aren’t. It reaffirms that we are keeping up with the latest advances.”

OCC’s cosmetology students also are exposed to the latest trends through their attendance at national hair shows in cities like Nashville and Chicago.

“There, students get to picture what the whole field is like,” Miller said. “They can see there is more to cosmetology than being a stylist behind the chair. They can be a product educator and work full- or part-time as a manufacturers’ representative selling products to salons. They can be makeup artists and even a teacher.”

While enrolled in the program, students participate in both classroom and clinical experiences, learning all facets of the industry, including hair shaping, skin care, makeup, scalp treatments and chemical hair relaxing. Pedicures, manicures, massage and shop management are also covered. Students can complete their certificate in less than 12 months.

Last year, the cosmetology program expanded its opportunities for students by creating a Nail Technology Certificate, which is offered in the evenings. Students can complete the program in two semesters, receiving clinical training in manicures, pedicures, fabric and sculpting procedures, light cured gels and massaging of the extremities. Both programs enable students to work under the tutelage and supervision of the skilled instructors.

“The one-on-one teaching is really helpful,” said Casey Hinkle, a cosmetology student from Fairfield. “I’ve enjoyed the program and I’m looking forward to starting my career.”

Cost is also important to students. Miller noted OCC’s tuition and fees are significantly lower than those of other cosmetology programs. Unlike private beauty schools, financial aid is available for qualifying OCC students.

Miller continues to be proud of her students and their success. This year the program boasted a 100-percent pass rate for graduates taking the state-licensing exam.

“What sets us apart is we have a support team that really cares about our students,” she added.

OCC’s School of Cosmetology and Nail Technology Program are accepting new students for fall classes, which start Aug. 17. For more information or to register, call 618-395-7777. 

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