Demand for cosmetologists is expected to grow this decade and Iowa Lakes is the latest community college to add a cosmetology program.
“It feels like more than two years of process because there are many steps for program approval, curriculum development, approval with the state — the Board of Cosmetology, the Higher Learning Commission, then you start worrying about facilities,” says Tom Brotherton, executive dean of the Iowa Lakes Emmetsburg campus.
Office space on the campus has been converted into a salon.
“It looks good. It fits in the space. It’s convenient,” Brotherton says. “It’s just really a great addition.”
Laurie Pearson, coordinator for the program, says traditional cosmetology schools don’t offer the associate’s degree that Iowa Lakes cosmetology students can earn.
“Plus our cosmetology students get to have an understanding of college life,” she says. “They can go into sports. They can be in choir, so there’s a lot of different activities that a student can enjoy here at Iowa Lakes.”
Seven students are in the program’s first class and Pearson expects numbers to increase this fall. Many other Iowa community colleges offer continuing education and degree programs for cosmetologists. In the last decade, demand for cosmetologists in Iowa was slightly higher than the national average.
(By Brian Wilson, KLGA, Algona)