Institute of Technology welcomes new cosmetology and barbering program

The view from inside the salon at the Academy of Hair Design at the Institute of Technology, featuring brand new salon equipment for student use. CHRISTIAN MATTOS/CLOVIS ROUNDUP

Looking for the right beauty school can be a hairy situation, but not for the students at Institute of Technology.

With the addition of the new cosmetology and barbering program, Clovis students will be able to train at the Academy of Hair Design at IoT and pursue their haircutting goals.

With dual licensing in both cosmetology and barbering, instructors Ramanda Ramirez and Phoua Kue provide hands-on learning and one-on-one lessons with the 15 students currently enrolled in the program.

Ramirez serves as the program director and also wrote the curriculum for the program. She explained that students choose either cosmetology or barbering to study at the Institute over the course of 10 months, or 1,680 hours. All students will learn to cut both men and women’s hair, and they will learn everything required by the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, she said.

“What divides cosmetology and barbering is barbers can use a straight razor – cosmos can’t. Cosmos do nails and makeup where barbers don’t,” Ramirez said.

Students attend classes Monday through Friday studying five-week modules under their specific scopes of expertise. Topics include hair cutting, sanitation and disinfection, electricity, anatomy, nails and more.

Students will be able to experience working “on the floor,” as Kue put it, thanks to the brand new salon on campus. The ribbon cutting for the salon took place Oct. 15, and it will be open to the public for $5 haircuts in December, Ramirez said.

“We’ll also be offering color and chemical services, but being that we’re a hair-focused program, we’re only offering hair services to the public,” Ramirez said. “We also have over 400 students on campus, so we’ll be hopefully using them as clients, as well.”

For cosmetology student Jordan Bischof, the timing was right to attend the beauty school at the Institute.

“It takes a lot to do this – it’s basically like a full-time job, it’s 41 hours a week,” Bischof said. “It was a very big leap of faith, so to have not only the support of [Ramirez and Kue] but the faculty itself and other classmates, that’s probably been the best part because I didn’t know I’d have that coming in.”

The Institute’s program is different from others because the instructors teach using Apple TVs and iPads. It’s a paperless classroom, Ramirez said, and students are able to use the technology to begin to market themselves through the use of social media.

“For the cosmos and barbers, having an iPad, they can take before and after pictures, they can start building their portfolio,” Ramirez said. “It’s not only a tool they get to use for the study side, but also for the marketing side.”

The school also has a partnership with Wella Professionals, which allows the students to familiarize themselves with salon products.

For Kue, who has been teaching for more than 30 years, having students show up on time every day adds to the positive experience.

“We have fun and we also learn at the same time, so it makes the students very engaging,” Kue said. “They look forward to coming every single day since they don’t know what we’re going to do.”