Cosmetology program reopens at pTEC’s St. Pete Campus

BY Marlo Scott, Columnist

ST. PETERSBURG – Are you looking for a career or need a career change? Do you enjoy helping others feel good about themselves? Then the cosmetology program at Pinellas Technical Education Center (pTEC) St. Petersburg Campus sounds right up your alley?

The program offers professional cosmetology training that can lead to exciting career opportunities such as being a make-up artist, aesthetician, hairstylist, salon owner, platform artist, natural hair stylist, nail care technician, educator and more.

When the program relocated to the Clearwater campus back in 2007, it left a hole in the community. St. Pete residents felt that they shouldn’t have to travel so far for a quality education.  And when the program returned, so did the community.

“There was a need for the program to return to this campus,” said Boe Norwood, assistant director at the St. Pete campus. “We’ve seen that need fulfilled from the amount of students entering our first few classes.”

Currently, there are about 40 students enrolled. The course is 13.5 months long and 1200 hours.  Students receive a certification from pTEC upon course completion and are then eligible to apply for state licensure.

“We are very interested in collaborating with salons in the community to ensure we are producing the type of professional the industry is looking to hire. Our goal is to provide salon ready professionals!” averred Barron.

On any given day, you will see a variety of activities going on.  Students are giving manicures and pedicures, giving facials and applying eyelashes.  Some may be applying color to mannequin heads or giving haircuts.

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The salon is also open to customers.  For a small charge, clients are able to receive services based on student ability. Upon entering the salon, clients are welcomed by the students being trained in customer service and the art of professional communication.  The atmosphere is upbeat and energetic.

And that kind of high energy is stressed by the team of instructors who knows what it takes to keep customers coming back.

“I work with a great team of people,” said Instructor Tenise Crum, who taught at the Clearwater campus for seven years and is also a stylist at the Silverlining Beauty Center.

Marion Davis, who has been in the field for 20 years, started this past January and brings a wealth of knowledge and style to the program. She is also the owner of Blessed by the Best Salon.

The night program runs Monday – Thursday from 4:30 – 9:30 p.m.  The instructor is Kristin Henderson, and like the other three instructors, is an alumnus of the pTEC St. Pete Campus. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Phycology, a Master’s Degree in Education and has been a licensed cosmetologist for over a decade.

The head of the department, the capable Barron, oversees all of these instructors. She got her start in cosmetology in the early 1980s. She has explored many aspects of the industry working as a make-up artist with Fashion Fair, Lancôme and Clinique. She has owned her own salon, worked as an educational specialist and platform artist with Sebastian International.

Barron has taught in Pinellas County Schools for 23 years, beginning her career at pTEC in 1991.  She worked as both evening and day instructor until taking a sabbatical to finish a degree in elementary education. She worked at Perkins Elementary as a  S.T.A.R.S. third grade teacher until 2013.

“I love working with the kids – but my first love is the hair and fashion industry, so when I got a call to come back to pTEC, I jumped on it! I couldn’t wait to get back,” exclaimed Barron.

When Barron returned, she got a chance to create and design the current workspace for the students that also gives the clientele that real salon experience as soon as they walk through the doors.

“We outgrew the area that used to be the classroom from the start.  The administration team of Arlene Corbin, Boe Norwood and Ann Marie Clarke quickly approved more space to accommodate the growing class.  I couldn’t be more delighted,” said Barron.

Even though they have that great space conducive to learning, the students are able to step out of the classroom and onto the main stage.

So far they have attended the Mainstream hair show in Tampa and the Bonner Brothers show in Atlanta. Towards the end of this month, the students will find themselves attending the Premiere Orlando International Beauty Event.

“Our administrators are very supportive of these field trips. Some of our students recently went to Pensacola to compete for skills at the state level. I am so proud of them,” said Barron “we brought home a silver medal, which was above excellent for new students competing for the first time.”

pTEC’s cosmetology program also offers continuing hours for those who need to review their skills as required by the state board, and for persons moving to Florida from another state and need to get a license.

“I desire for my students to enter the job market with confidence. Not only will they be directed to the best jobs in the Tampa Bay area, they will also be successful business owners and employees and not just hairstylist in this multi-million dollar industry,” finished Barron.

For more information on the cosmetology program, please visit or call 727-893 2500. Financial aid is available. See ad on page 6.

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