Choosing A Course Provider

With so many training schools and courses to choose from, how do you know what’s best or right for you?

Here’s what Julie wished she’d asked before she took several of her early training courses when starting out. Her experience has shaped the training opportunities she provides for her students as a result.


1.     Is the course accredited by a reputable body so you can obtain the necessary insurance to practice?

This is essential as you need to have adequate insurance cover in order to practice. If you’re already in Beauty, you need to ensure that your existing insurance provider will cover you once you have completed the course.

All of my courses are accredited by The Guild of Beauty Therapists and Lash Inc.

2.     Does the course attract Continuous Professional Development (CPD) points as a testament to learning and development?

The accrediting body advise on the amount of CPD that you can earn on successful completion of a course. The higher the CPD, the greater the learning and development structure. There’s more about CPD here

I have deliberately designed my courses to earn high CPD.

3.     Training courses vary in cost, but is it value for money?

Excellent training does come cheap and cheap training is often money wasted as Julie knows only too well from her own experience. She’s also had to retrain students who’ve taken cheaper courses and she’s also enrolled on them to see for herself! Ask yourself, ‘does this company want to help me to succeed or are they just after my money?’ Sadly, you often get what you pay for.

I truly believe that poor training puts you, your clients and our industry at risk. The same is true if you have taken a great course but many years ago. You may network on Social Media but a lot of well-intentioned advice that’s offered is not accredited and are often unsafe or unclean practices.

4.     What does the course include?

Some courses offer a kit that’s included in the price and others invite you to purchase one. If you’re new to the industry, you don’t know what you need. Is your course provider is affiliated to a product brand? If so, that’s what you’ll get. That’s okay if its good quality and the products are relevant. Top tip – run for the hills if their kit contains a tray or bag of loose 0.25mm thick J curl lashes as these are very ‘old-school’!

Check if you can use other brands after you qualify as some brands cleverly tie you to theirs. With the opportunity to test the market, you may find another brand whose products you prefer or offer better value for money.

5.    How comprehensive is the course?

This is important. Applying eyelash extensions using the products we use is a treatment that requires professional training. I personally worry when I see a course that certifies a beginner in a day. I also worry when I see a course that has very little practice time on real models.

In social media forums, I constantly see our colleagues asking questions about some of the must fundamental basics as they haven’t been taught and haven’t practiced them. This truly horrifies me.

No one should learn the essentials by asking colleagues on social media. Who’s to say that they’re right and whether you’ll be insured if you follow their advice?

This is why my courses are comprehensive and far from cheap! I won’t leave someone in this vulnerable position. I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night!

You shouldn’t learn essential aspects about this delicate treatment by making mistakes on the job. That puts people in danger. That puts you at risk of litigation and it’s deeply harms the reputation of our industry. This is why all of Julie’s materials are comprehensive with full colour illustrations that are backed up with helpful videos to cater for peoples preferred learning styles.

6.  What training materials come with the course?

I’ve been on training courses with no course manuals, ones with very little in them and others that are a black and white photocopies of a photocopy!

A comprehensive full colour illustrated manual acts as your reference guide. Better still, with supporting videos that you can refer back to.

Sadly, you may even find that an Academy is using Copyright Infringed material so their training manuals or materials are not theirs to use. This may be because they took a short cut into the industry by plagiarising or they have purchased them cheaply from an unscrupulous seller, perhaps in good or blind faith. An older version of my training manuals have been copied and abused because of their quality so I’m precious about protecting my Copyrights due to the level of time, energy, passion and money that has been invested. Reputable Academy’s using my materials with my permission will have entered into a licensing agreement and be officially certified and able to reassure their students of that fact.

7.     Can you take pictures or film part of the course or demonstration?

Your trainer may be talking you through a presentation or demonstrating an intricate technique. I’ve been on several courses where I wasn’t allowed to take photos of the presentation or film the trainer in action as a way to remember it. Is this value for money?

I offer students a copy of the presentation so they can make their own notes against each slide and I’m happy to be filmed as I work! There’s a caveat though – it’s for personal use only and not to be shared or posted on social media!

8.     How soon can I qualify?

There are courses where you can get your certificate in a day and on the day. Others takes longer as they require a mix of face to face tutoring along with independent learning to consolidate your knowledge and understanding.

Don’t be fooled by speed and price. This is not a quick skill to master and it just cannot be done in a day! Your training course and certification is just the start of your lash learning. It’s a journey and you need to make sure that your course provider is there to guide you to flourish rather than flounder.

9.     How big are the class sizes?

An essential need to know! You’ll have more quality time with your tutor in one to one or small class setting so you’ll get much more from the course that you’re paying for. You’ll need it. Imagine that your tutor is demonstrating an intricate technique in front of a big group of people who are gathered around them. Can you really see what they’re doing and how they’re doing it? No way!

You need to be so close and the best position is looking right over their shoulder. You’ll also need to see techniques demonstrated several times without other eager students trying to do the same and getting in each other’s way.

One to one or very small classes offers that opportunity along with the chance to learn at your own pace and preferred learning style.

10.     Do I have to ‘pass’ the course’ and am I assessed?

Many short courses offer a certificate at the end of the one day session. You only may have applied an extension or two on a training head or model without a sufficient level of guidance, supervision, coaching or assessment.

Would you now feel confident to treat a member of your family, your best friend or a paying client? Perhaps not. I certainly wasn’t and this was the experience I had on my first course. It set me up to fail.

It should be necessary to achieve a standard that the training school has set and agreed with their accrediting body.

It should be necessary to achieve a standard that the training school has set and agreed with their accrediting body. If a student is struggling to meet that standard, a good trainer works with them to devise a realistic development plan that may involve continued practice and an assessment at a later date.

A reputable training school will not certify someone who has not reached the required standard and is not ready for it. It puts them, others and the industry at risk.

In some cases, no matter how determined the student and how great the teacher, there are times when a student needs to hear that this is not the career for them as they’ve yet to demonstrate that they can perform the treatment safely. A good trainer would not shy away from having an honest conversation. After all, that training school would be certifying that they’ve trained the student to a competent level to apply lashes! Would you want that person anywhere near yours? I thought not.

Students are usually assessed by observation and questioning to check their knowledge and understanding during their time in class. Further assessment is often done as many good training schools invite students to submit a portfolio of case studies for assessment in order to pass their course. In addition, I specifically ask students to continually reflect and consider what went well and why, what didn’t go so well and why and what will they would do differently next time. If you practice this self-reflection, you’ll continuously improve your service. Otherwise, if you do what you have always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got…that’s not self-improvement.

11.    Does the trainer ‘do lash extensions’?

If your trainer also services a client base, then they’re using their skills and that’s important. If they keep their professional knowledge and skills up to date by taking courses and networking, they’re likely to be a better tutor.

12.  Are trainers who are award winning lash stylists better?

I think not. These are two very distinct skills. A lash stylist may be a fantastic lasher who’s won a competition or few but that doesn’t make them a fantastic trainer.

13. Should I be guided by word of mouth recommendations or reviews?

Reviews and word of mouth recommendations are great but they are not the whole story! I booked my first lash course following on a recommendation and it was awful. I had a very different background to the person who recommended it as they admittedly take things at face value whereas I question everything and want to ensure that facts are facts and not myths! It goes to show how subjective recommendations can be.

14.    Will you get to practice on a model?

There’s a big difference between placing extensions on false lashes fixed to a training head and treating the real thing. The adhesive behaves differently when bonding a plastic extension to a real hair. Also, lashing a real person can be a very daunting experience and it should be done under close supervision to ensure that students are both competent and confident to treat when their trainer isn’t there!

15.  Will students practice on each other?

You need to know if some of your time in class will be spent as a model for other students. Whilst you get to experience what it’s like to be treated or treated by a ‘newbie’, you’re missing out on time that you have paid to be taught yourself. Is this what you’ve paid your course fees for?

16.    Would online training suit me better?

Check whether you can obtain the necessary insurance cover if you complete an online course. They’re an alternative for those who can’t travel to a good trainer or have other demands on their time and want to study that their pace, e.g. around work or childcare. It’s also a way to revisit sections of a course too.

Whilst this is convenient, ask yourself if you’ll get what you need from it as we all have different learning styles and needs. Face to face training can correct or adjust a wealth of things that will make the key difference between ‘getting it’ or ‘trying your best at it’. You’ll be able to interact with your tutor at the time and they can see what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. With online training, no camera angled demonstration will be as good as someone beside you, guiding you through as you practice. Often, a slight adjustment on the position of the tweezers and the tension can make all the difference!

17.    Will your tutor still be willing to offer advice after you have completed their course?

There’ll always be queries that arise where you need to speak to someone you trust, no matter how experienced you are. Good training schools offer ongoing advisory support and this is invaluable. Sadly, too many people are turning to social media forums for advice and I worry about the implications of this. It’s well-intentioned but not always safe and clean practice that would keep you insured.

18.  Can you re-take the course if you’re struggling or have extra guidance?

We all learn in different ways and at a different pace. Good training schools will offer extra tuition to help students to get to where they need to be. This may be an opportunity to re-take the course or better still, devise a development plan and work with them on the specific aspect that they are struggling with as this is a far more effective use of a student’s development time.

19. What’s the difference between independent trainers like yourself, and companies that have trainers all over the country or world?

There’s a huge difference. Independent Trainers like me have set hundreds, if not thousands of hours aside to devise their own course manuals, learning materials and lesson plans and have worked with an Accrediting Body to ensure they are fit for use. In effect, they know their material inside and out!

Some independent trainers are purchasing ready-made materials as they may not have the time, skills or resources to create their own. As I’ve been in the training industry for so long and have had many manuals accredited, I help colleagues in this position by licensing my materials for them to use. It fits with my mantra about helping to raise the standards in the industry and offer great materials is just the start.

Trainers who train a company’s courses have not had to create their own materials as it’s all done for them. I haven’t expanded my Academy this way as I would then have less control over the quality of the training being delivered in my brands name.

20. Are Case Studies really necessary?

Yes. Case Studies are essential to help students to consolidate what they have learned from tutored guidance and to receive feedback to help them refine their work. A good Academy will insist on seeing evidence of each Case Study in turn so they can offer guidance on aspects that their students need to focus on.

Julie prides herself on offering very detailed feedback and looks for how the Lash Artist has used that feedback to improve.