Skin care specialist program at PTC

A new state-of-the-art full service salon will be open to the public in October offering low cost skin care services by budding estheticians, such as 20-year-old Raven Pendola pictured here working on fellow student Kimberly Graham with help from Instructor Shereka Solomon.


BY MARLO SCOTT, Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG – The cosmetology program just got a little larger at the St. Petersburg campus of Pinellas Technical College (PTC) with the addition of the Facial Specialty course. Whether you’re adding to your resume or starting off in the cosmetology field, this short certificate program will make you more viable in the growing beauty industry.

The Facial Specialty program is a 260-hour course that will take approximately three to four months to complete. Upon completion a student will have the knowledge and skillset to take the Florida state board examination.

With a license in hand, a skin care specialist, also called an esthetician, has the options of working in a salon, a spa, for a dermatologist, become a makeup artist or even a beauty editor for a magazine or blog.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projected an employment growth of 12 percent from 2014 to 2024, which is faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is driven primarily by women clients – although men are increasingly seeking skin care specialists to battle the appearance of aging.

“It’s a good program and it’s shorter so it doesn’t take long to receive your certification so you can go out into the workforce and begin making money,” said Skin Care Specialist Instructor Shereka Solomon.

With skin being the largest organ on the body, students will not just focus on the face, but the health and beautification of the whole body.

In the Facial Specialty program, students will learn manual techniques and mechanical ones, such as how to work with steamers, light therapy and microdermabrasion machines. They will also learn massage techniques, makeup application, eyelash application and tinting and hair removal techniques, such as tweezing, waxing, sugaring and threading.

Students will be required to learn the science of skin to fully understand skin care. They will learn the about the different layers of skin, proper pH levels, different environmental elements that affect skin and diseases and disorders of skin such as rosacea and eczema.

A full licensed cosmetologist herself, Solomon said she is passionate about education and not just for the students, but for the clients as well.

“We help to assist in the overall health of our clients, but we want them to also know how to properly maintain their skin as well. The most important thing is at home; proper home care is where it all starts,” she said.

Learning to give proper consultation is also expected of students.  Solomon said students must learn how to listen to their clients and formulate a plan to get their clients back on track.

“Find out their lifestyle, some of the things they eat and their activities, and really listen to them to find out what the root may be,” said Solomon.  “I worked with a couple of clients where just small tweaks in their diet or having a consistent skincare regiment changed everything for them.”

Sometimes a client may need more help than an esthetician can provide, and a properly trained esthetician will know when to refer them to a dermatologist.

Students are also taught how to apply makeup for different skin types and skin tones, facial shapes, correct flaws and enhance beauty.  They learn color theory and how to apply makeup for special occasions such as for the stage and photo-shoot work.

Solomon teaches her students how to “learn and understand and decipher what makeup type or techniques you want to use based on the environment or event you are working.”

Students are not only taught how to apply make with different tools, but how to properly clean those tools and control infection.

“Sanitation is very important. Bacteria can cause problems, which can cause breakouts and skins disorders,” stated Solomon.

Within the 260-hour course, there is section dedicated to business skills to help prepare students for career planning, growing their skincare business, selling products and services and business and personal money management.

“We want them to learn technique and to have skills and be creative, but we also want them to be entrepreneurs and have a great sense of business skills as well,” Solomon averred.

She said the course really prepares the student to be business savvy and to establish and create a solid business for themselves that will hopefully build wealth in the community.

“I really want to focus on the business aspect and helping them to have a clear vision and goal setting, teaching them how to get from point A to point B,” she said. “We ask students what they are passionate about so we can come up with a plan so when they step out of the door, they hit the ground running.”

A Florida State University graduate, Solomon credits the beauty industry for helping get through college. She was able to set a work schedule that didn’t conflict with school and was able to actually pay for her classes with the income she brought in.

“So if you have that certification even if you decide you want to go to college or start another business along those lines, you can be an entrepreneur or work for a spa while you’ll get your education,” she said.

Solomon is putting out the call to the community for help. Unlike other traditional cosmetology programs where students can work on mannequins, the Facial Specialty program needs live skin.

Starting in October, PTC will be offering low cost manual and mechanical facials, eyelash application and tinting, hair removal, makeup application, facial massages and more. A basic facial and consultation can take anywhere between 15 and 30 minutes so calling for an appointment is advised, but walk ins are welcomed.

“We need people to come in because it helps the program continue and the students thrive,” she said, stating her goal is for the students to build a clientele while still in school.

Class hours are 7 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Monday through Friday. To quality for enrollment, a student must be at least 16 years old with a high school diploma or GED.

The cost for the program is $1,783, which includes books, a student kit and equipment. Students may be able to get a portion of the tuition funded by Youth Connect through Career Source Pinellas.

If you are interested in a new career as skin care specialist, or a cosmetologist looking to become more viable in the beauty industry, please call 727-893-2500 or logon to

One Reply to “Skin care specialist program at PTC”

  1. April Barron says:

    Thank you for this excellent article on the new Skin Care Program. We are excited about offering the program and services to the community. We look forward to bragging about our other program – Nail Specialty. We also have just completed renovations in the Cosmetology Department, so we’ve got great information and services to offer. Thank you again.

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