ALLIANCE – Tre’Vaughn Hawkins has known he wanted to cut and style hair since sixth grade.
“I tried cutting my own hair and messed up,” he said. “So, I just started to keep trying, keep trying on my own head. Then my friends started letting me cut their hair.”
Two years ago, Hawkins decided to enroll in the cosmetology program at Alliance High School. He graduated last spring with his cosmetology license.
Now, the 18-year-old has his own chair at a hair salon in Alliance.
What is the cosmetology program?
Alliance High School’s cosmetology class is a two-year, 1,500-hour program that teaches students a variety of skills in the beauty industry.
Senior cosmetology instructor Lisa Scanlon said students develop skills such as cutting and coloring, styling, permanent waving, manicures, pedicures and skin wellness. They also spend time in the classroom learning about topics that include safety and sanitation, chemistry, anatomy, electricity and diseases and disorders of the skin.
Students in the program service clients during school hours, which allows them to gain real-life experience in the profession. Additionally, they must complete an 125-hour internship between their junior and senior years.
The cosmetology industry has been predominantly female for years. Tony Fiore, executive director of the Ohio Salon Association, said roughly 77% of salons in Ohio are owned by women, while 80% to 90% of barbershops are owned by men.
Fiore said it is difficult to determine whether there has been an increase in men studying cosmetology because the state does not track such data, but industry provides many career opportunities for both men and women.
“There are licensed cosmetologists in the state of Ohio that make over $100,000 a year,” he said.
Hawkins saw enrolling in Alliance High School’s cosmetology program as an opportunity to develop his skills. Not many boys participate in the program, Scanlon said. She described Hawkins as a “kind, respectful and talented” student, and said he was determined to achieve his goal of finding success in the industry.
Hawkins completed his internship in summer of 2020 at RL Xperience, a hair salon at 700 N Union Ave. The salon is owned by Robert Fountain, a 2008 graduate of Alliance High School’s cosmetology program.
“I was basically job shadowing the salon, and I really liked it,” Hawkins said. “We had to have a certain number of hours for the end of the summer, and it will help you determine whether you want to do it or not.”
When students finish the program at the end of their senior year, they test for cosmetology licensure at the Ohio State Cosmetology and Barber Board.
Hawkins earned his certification when the class traveled to Grove City for testing in June. Now, he has his own chair at RL Xperience. He said it’s exciting to have a job so quickly after graduation.
“It feels great,” he said.
Fiore said cosmetology programs like Alliance High School’s provide opportunities for students to connect with local salons and barbershops, which can help them find work after graduation.
“Sometimes you don’t see that necessarily with private sector salons that may have their own clinics where they want students to be working,” he said.
Hawkins advises anyone interested in cosmetology to continue working on their skills and pay attention to the latest trends in the industry because they change constantly.
He hopes to someday have his own hair salon.
Reach Paige at 330-580-8577 or [email protected]
On Twitter: @paigembenn