Set Education Goals to Reach Your Next Level

by Jessi Marshall, PBA Director of Education and Industry Programs

Whether you are a salon owner, stylist, nail tech, manager or any beauty professional, education is the foundation for everything you’ve accomplished. From your first day at school, you are learning and growing while fulfilling the required education to become licensed. But, have you ever wondered… considering the high level of passion and pride in this industry, why do so many of us stop pursuing professional education?

The simple and most common answer is time. We are all busy professionals focused on the here and now. We often forget to look to the future and actively plan where we want to go. We all want to be successful and continue growing: education is critical to make this happen. This goes well beyond the technical courses needed to maintain your license, rather it is the core classes needed to be a successful, well-rounded professional.

Find the Gaps

Thinking about the many different topics you can take classes on can seem overwhelming. Where do you start? Your educational journey should begin simply by making a list. Write down your strengths and weaknesses concerning your professional and educational goals. By identifying the gaps in your professional plan you can help pinpoint which educational topics you should begin looking in to.

If you are a salon owner or manager and your gaps fall within the operational side of the salon, don’t be afraid to hand out an anonymous questionnaire to the staff. Asking questions with a 1 – 10 scale will allow you to have a baseline to compare to later on.  Conducting this same survey before and after can assist in enabling you to gauge if your educational plans have truly given you the information you need to improve.

Once you know what you need to improve on, you can begin researching where you can find the education you want. Career advancement education doesn’t necessarily need to come from an official school, look at your trade associations as well. With your PBA membership, you have access to a wealth of professional education, including online sessions on marketing, business and management. The best part – watch them from anywhere, anytime!

Make A Plan

Trying to fit education into an already busy schedule can be difficult, but don’t be discouraged. Set realistic expectations and spread out your education so you don’t feel like you are back in school again. If you decide to take a formal, lecture-style class, start by signing up for a single course. By starting off with one, you can gauge how much it truly impacts your schedule.

If in-person industry-specific education is what you’re craving, make plans to attend the PBA Regional Salon Summit in your area. These day-long educational events let you spend quality time with your industry peers and learn the latest trends and best practices from renowned experts to help you take you career and business to new heights. The last 2013 session is this September 9 in Boston (If you’re in the area, don’t miss your chance!). Register now and watch for information on the 2014 Summits at

No matter what style of education you prefer, be sure to keep your list of professional and/or educational gaps with you. Making notes along the way keep you on track and help you to incorporate what you’ve learned into your daily routine.

Evaluate Your Progress

After you’ve completed your courses and implemented your new knowledge into your routine, take the time to review and evaluate your progress. Talk with your salon peers and staff to see if they have noticed the changes you have made. Now is also the perfect time to pass around the survey again to see if your original scores have improved.

Because the goal of this is to learn and grow as a professional, don’t be too critical if you haven’t achieved the results you wanted right away. Change won’t happen overnight. Keep motivated, stay positive and results will follow.

PBA is always adding new on-demand webinars, hosting live webinars, and working to improve your professional education experience. Be sure to check regularly to see what’s new. 

About the Author

Jessi Marshall is the Director of Education and Industry Programs for the Professional Beauty Association (PBA). PBA develops and offers progressive, relevant and quality education for our members. Our live and online education and resources meet the needs of today’s busy professional and cover a range of topics. Along with our Education program, PBA provides our members with Government Advocacy, Signature Events, Charitable Outreach, Research and Business Resources. Visit for more information.