From Clinician to Educator: A Natural Progression

For those of us in the Hair and Beauty industry, our passion for making people look and feel amazing is what drives us. We spend our careers (and a great deal of money) continuously learning and attending professional development courses to ensure our clients get the very best we can offer! Our goal is to bring the latest techniques and newest innovations and equipment to your service time. We also educate our clients on how to maintain their skin and hair at home, what routines they would benefit from and what products are best suited to them and their individual needs.

Many of us also enjoy sharing our knowledge, skills and passion with those new to the industry. Taking an apprentice/trainee/new team member under your wing, teaching them and watching them grow and become successful is EXTREMELY gratifying! However, after working in the industry for many years, we see many ‘bad habits’ and ‘shortcuts’ being utilized which often takes away from what is important; 5* customer service. That is what leads many of us to become educators in adult education. What better way to affect change and growth in our industry than to start at the ground level. People often say ‘those who can’t, teach’. Actually, the total opposite is true! Only those who have seen success in the industry and experienced the good and the bad are in a position to teach. We need to be able to bring that ‘real-life’ knowledge to the classroom. Being able to strip down and take your skills back-to-basics in order to teach them step-by-step to fresh faces, is a feat in itself. While education is not for the faint-of-heart, it is definitely a natural progression for many of us. To see the ‘a-ha’ moment in a student’s eyes makes everything worth it!

One of our Clinical Esthetics Instructors at our Calgary Campus, Biljana, shares the path she followed to becoming an educator.

The journey that brings me to today has been exciting and full of life-teaching moments. Much like many young adults, I was overwhelmed by having to pick my career path but my parents went through too many sacrifices to just let me be a “bum” as they lovingly reminded me. I did a bit of everything; let’s call it ‘Open Studies’ (wink). Eventually, as is often the case, my parents grew tired of paying my tuition while I jump from one field to the next and I was cut off. Not something I was happy with but in hindsight, tough love was exactly what I needed. As I was immersing myself in self-pity, a good friend suggested we have a spa day. ‘Huh’? I had no idea what that meant. “You will love it!” she proclaimed proudly. As someone who does this “spa day” thing regularly, she was excited to get started.

As I walked through the doors of the warmest and most pleasant place I could imagine, we were greeted and ushered to our respective rooms to change into the provided robes. The treatment began with pedicures, followed by our manicures and honestly, I didn’t think life could be any sweeter. As my fire engine red polish was drying, another therapist came over and instructed me to follow her for my facial. *Gulp*. Someone will be touching my face? I was unsure but the very moment she took my hand in hers, I calmed down and was assured I would love the treatment. I did. Looking back on it, I don’t remember a thing about the procedure or even her name but what stood out was how she made me feel. I carried that feeling throughout my career and it is the reason I am at this precise moment in my life.

I enrolled to St. Clair College in Ontario in 2004.

Two years later I was employed full-time by my co-op college placement. The spa was a full service spa where I put my training to good use. They had amazing technology, laser equipment and advanced treatments that many others could only dream about. I dove in whole­heartedly and 13 years later I am still continually developing.

Over the last decade, I began to realize I enjoy teaching others about my passion. Whether it’s a client, a new employee or consulting with other businesses, the gut reaction always remains, I love to spread awareness and correct misconceptions. I enjoy the relationships built and the ability to soak up something new each time I work with colleagues or students.

At some point about 3 years ago, I concluded that as knowledgeable and passionate as I was, teaching what I excel at was a whole other ball game. My research led me to Mount Royal University and with their help I became a Certified Adult Educator.

For me, choosing a teaching facility was easy. Delmar was and still is the only acceptable teaching institution to work at. This college has the same passion for education that I see in myself and almost two years later, I can say I was not wrong. I am home.

Regardless of the field you are in, professional development is, at its core, the best way to meet and exceed your career goals. If there is a free workshop, take it! If your employer says, “There is this last minute training available…” , you respond with “What time do I need to be there?”. Take initiative, come to work on time and be prepared to exceed what is expected of you. If there is one thing I can take away from my very first spa day, it is no matter how amazing I felt, my provider did not educate me on products I needed for my skin and I feel she failed me as a therapist.

Lastly, don’t go to work with a selfish mindset. The only way for you to be successful is if you treat your work environment the same as you would your own business. Your employer depends on you to do well. If your workplace isn’t doing well, neither will you.

Please check out Biljana’s website for great information on skin treatments and products!

The great thing about being in the hair and beauty industry is that there are many different paths you can follow! In addition, if you are looking to travel, the skills you learn will follow you! Is it time for you to pursue your passion? If so, join the family and let us guide you on your path!

Delmar Admissions:

Calgary Hairstyling/Barbering: Alison at or call 403-264-8055

Calgary Esthetics:

Julie at or call 403-255-6644

Red Deer Campus:

Azra at or call 403-347-2018

Tara Byrne

Social Media Coordinator

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