adult woman attending beauty school

Is it Too Late to Start a New Career?

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One question we often hear at the admissions office is how old is too old to go to beauty school. And you may find yourself in a beautiful office, with a beautiful succulent, and you may ask yourself, “Well…is it too late to start a new career in the beauty industry?”

The answer is…no. It is never too late to start a new career. Throughout the years at The Institute of Beauty and Wellness, the cosmetology program has seen students from all different backgrounds.

While some of our students start their cosmetology education right out of high school, many students start beauty school later in life. Some of our students have retired from corporate careers to pursue their life-long dream of becoming a hairdresser. Our cosmetology program is for people of all ages, and because our program is so short, it allows non-traditional beauty school students to graduate quickly and start working their dream job sooner.

Don’t believe us? We sat down with one of our cosmetology alumni, Clare Censky (@clarecensky), who left her previous career to attend beauty school and follow her dreams. Read her unique story and discover the path that led her to attend The Institute of Beauty and Wellness.

Cosmetology Student Clare Censky

Aveda IBW: Tell me about your education and previous work experience?

Clare: I graduated from UW-Milwaukee in 2012 with a degree in business and landed my first job at Kohl’s Corporate in Menomonee Falls, WI. I worked in the buying offices for five years starting as an analyst in the baby department and moved up to the position of assistant buyer in both kids and junior apparel.

When did you first become interested in the beauty and wellness industry?

I have always had a fascination with doing hair. I used to play with my mom’s hair when I was young and did all of my friends’ hair in high school. I even tried cutting my friend’s hair in the bathroom (eek!). The interest continued even throughout the years I attended UWM.

Why did you choose to attend The Institute of Beauty and Wellness?

The Institute of Beauty and Wellness has a great reputation in the area and Aveda has a great reputation all over the world! I fell in love with the school during the tour because it looked like a salon, not a school. After going to college, I did not want to go back to a campus. I wanted to feel like I was already in the beauty industry and this school was a great fit for that.

What was the reaction from family and friends?

I have had overwhelming support from my family and friends because they know this has been a dream of mine for so long.  My parents wanted me to go to a traditional college right out of high school and I am grateful for my education, but now I am going to school for something I love and they are both so excited for me.

What has been the highlight of your education?

This school has taught me solid foundations that I can use when I graduate. On top of that, there are so many experiences where students get to use their own creativity and do amazing things. The Edwin Neil Contest we had was an amazing experience where we can try crazy out-of-the-box ideas and work as a team. The “trashion” show we had in April allowed us to create our own editorial looks and do a funky, crazy updo (which are my favorite)! All of these experiences allow us to try something new without the fear of failing.

What advice would you give to someone who is worried that it is too late to attend beauty school or are considering a career change?

I saw a painting when I was trying to determine what my next step was going to be. It read, “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” I knew right then and there that I wanted to pursue my long-term goal of owning a salon and attend beauty school. I quit my job and started school two weeks later. I do not regret that decision for a second. If you have dreams, every day you should be working to achieve them. It is never too late to start.

The bottom line is that it is never too late to start a new career and find a job that you love. If you are interested in enrolling in our cosmetology program, take the first step and schedule a visit or contact us to learn more.

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