Cosmetology industry growing in Las Vegas despite pandemic

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — There’s no doubt you have heard the term — the great resignation. Maybe you’ve been wondering what people are doing for work. Well, some are changing to different professions.

One industry seeing a boom in spite of the pandemic is cosmetology. In Las Vegas, the beauty industry is attracting a whole new group of eager cosmetologists.

Dry-erase boards, charts, lectures, it’s everything you’d expect in a classroom but this is no ordinary class. These men and women are here for hands-on training. Many are swapping 9-to-5 for flexibility and creativity.

“This is my passion to do hair,” said Linda Ormejuste, cosmetology student.

She left a career as a research assistant.

“I’ve been thinking about this for a while,” she said. “I want to do something for myself.”

Ormejuste enrolled at the Cosmetology Institute of Las Vegas and she’s not alone.

“Before the pandemic, 2019, we did about 51 students,” said Cosmetology Institute of Las Vegas owner, Denise Dixon. “Last year we enrolled 269 students.”

She says her school has a 97% graduation rate and she thinks there are a couple of reasons why enrollment quadrupled.

“A lot of people were facing layoffs at the height of the pandemic, so people are just looking for that backup plan.”

Even though beauty shops had to shut down for a brief time, Dixon says cosmetologists got creative because clients still want to look their best.

“The need for it never went away,” Dixon said. “For instance, nail technologists, they started making press-on nails and making money that way. Hairstylists were making wigs. They were still able to make some sort of income even though they weren’t able to work with the public hands-on.”

Another benefit, moms like Ormejuste say cosmetology gives them more of a work-life balance.

“I can do this on my terms,” she said.

Work as much or as little as you want whether it’s hair, skincare, or nails.

“It’s an industry that continues to grow every year,” Dixon said.

And for anyone looking to swap careers, Ormejuste says don’t be afraid.

“It’s a beautiful journey, you’ll enjoy it.”

It takes about 1,600 hours to complete the full program, just shy of a year if you attend full-time. They also offer discounted salon services for the public which enables the students to further their experience.

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