Cosmetology And Esthetics School Rankings
In the US, a whole industry has arisen focused on the ranking of universities and colleges, with the majority of these rankings focused on bachelor's and master's degree programs at universities and 4-year colleges, or the institution as a whole. Beauty schools and cosmetology and esthetics programs are not usually part of the mainstream institutions that get ranked by US News &World Report, The Princeton Review, The Washington Monthly or the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU). This doesn't mean there are absolutely no rankings to consult for these programs, though! A number of cosmetology and esthetics programs are found at the community and career college levels. Two main sources of general community college rankings (designed to identify the "best" schools and programs according to quality and value) are The Washington Monthly and Career College Week, and schools and programs may also ranked, or at least discussed, by industry-specific print and online publications (for instance PCI Journal, a professional journal dedicated to skin care), so a library and Internet search can be helpful.
There are also less "official" rankings in popular sources like websites offering student reviews (for instance VastRank.com or StudentsReview.com). Professional associations, such as the American Association of Cosmetology Schools may also offer awards and honors for teaching excellence, and looking at who they have honored can also be used to supplement your 'ranking' of schools.
Each of these sources, however, has its own particular set of criteria for evaluating schools and programs. In the case of the controversial Gourman Report (which ranks all undergraduate programs), the author specifically refuses to disclose his methodology. How then should all these rankings be interpreted?
First, the ranking reports usually come with data to support conclusions, and while data collection can be subjective (in the case of student reviews in particular), the editors of these reports generally make an effort to ensure that statistics are comparable. So the reports can be used by you to compare institutions and schools on the basis of the data provided.
Second, the statistics that come from the rankings can also suggest topics that need to be studied in more detail. For instance, these programs often offer industry placements, but if the ultimate employment rate of grads are low, you may want to ask why.
All college rankings have one other thing in common: they are a list of institutions and schools. Scanning the list might suggest a beauty school that you hadn't considered or perhaps even heard of. Used this way, the rankings can help expand your list of schools that can then be researched in more detail.
However, you should never judge a beauty school or program based on rankings alone. Rankings can be helpful, but there are other factors that need to be taken into consideration. Schools that are less prominent may have a program that better suits your needs. Lesser known regional colleges and institutes can also be a good choice if you wish to remain close to home during your studies. Often times, these schools have strong relationships with local industries and employers as well as more flexible programs. Once you have accumulated this information, you can create your own beauty school rankings.
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