Shamira Burton: Passion deferred

Shamira Burton is a proud PTC graduate working as a cosmetologist

BY RAVEN JOY SHONEL, Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG — Shamira Burton heard about the Cosmetology program at Pinellas Technical College (PTC) while attending Gibbs High School. After graduating in 2005, she quickly enrolled in the program.

Burton’s desire to become a cosmetologist helped her persevere through changes the cosmetology course was going through while she was a student. 

“It was difficult because it wasn’t very many people in the class. There weren’t many clients coming in to practice on,” Burton recalled. “Then, for a while, we went without an instructor; we had a sub. That was around the time when they shut down the program, and we had to go to the Clearwater campus.”

Burton stuck with it and became a licensed cosmetologist; however, she now faced new obstacles. On top of becoming a new mom, she found it hard to get people in the doors.  

“It was hard trying to build clientele, and I didn’t have the mindset that I have now,” she said. 

In her early 20s and lacking that stick-to-itiveness, she decided to go into the medical field after only a year as a cosmetologist. Eight years passed, and Burton grew discontent. 

“I always had a passion for hair,” she said. “It was like one of those light bulb moments. I realized I was in the medical field longer than I wanted to be.”

During her time as a CNA and a medical secretary, she never stopped styling hair. Burton was the go-to stylist for friends and family.

“I wasn’t happy with what I was doing. I knew I always wanted to do hair, but I just wasn’t sure how to get back into it.”

One day she had enough. Burton inquired about her expired license and found she only needed to take a short exam and pay to get it renewed. She never looked back. 

Three years into her second career as a cosmetologist, things are booming. She found a mentor that taught her how to build clientele and continues her education any chance she gets.  

“Whatever I feel like I need to do to boost my knowledge such as cutting or coloring classes, I make an effort to attend,” she stated. “I believe in always learning and developing yourself. Education is very important to me.”

Fortunately for Burton, she just so happened to land a job with a shop owner who teaches continuing education classes. For the last few years, she’s been working under Consuelo Mackey-Perry, owner of Tabatha Exquisite Touch Salon, located at 1614 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.

  “When I got back into the industry, I had a whole different mindset. I believe in myself a lot more.” 

With a few more years under her belt, she realized that if you’re not following your passion, you’re doing a disservice to yourself. She also found that 12-hour days in the medical field are a lot longer than 12-hour days in a salon. 

 “I really enjoy hair,” she concluded. 

For those of you who are wondering about the Cosmetology program on the St. Petersburg campus, it is alive and well. In 2016, the campus unveiled a brand-new state-of-the-art salon to the public. The close to $300,000 renovation ensures students are working with industry-standard equipment.  

As for Burton, she offers a variety of services such as color, cut, braids, crochet, natural hair, sew-ins, lashes and eyebrows. 

About the Cosmetology program

The Cosmetology program is a 1200-hour PELL eligible course that is featured on both the St. Petersburg and Clearwater campuses. Students are prepared for employment as cosmetologists with eligibility for Florida State Licensure.

For more information on the more than 40 programs offered at PTC, visit myptc.edu or call 727-893-2500 in St. Pete and 727-538.7167 in Clearwater.

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