A closer look at the esthetician program suspension

Simple tweaking of the esthetician program could help restore a profit-making college enterprise, students and professors argue
Photo: Tasha Hickey and Jesika Sandhu. level 2 esthetician students. Photo credit
Left to right

The compressed 42-week esthetician program at Algonquin College will no longer accept new students as of Winter 2025, due to financial difficulties.

Every five years, each program at Algonquin College is required to do a program quality review. In 2022, the program PQR meetings got withheld, for a later emendation.

“We waited for a follow-up to find out that our PQR would be set aside. There were other more pressing programs that needed to be accommodated and there was also a lack of curriculum advisors/developers,” said Sylvie Canonico, coordinator of the esthetician diploma program.

Professors and the program coordinator have had time to think of possible solutions to help restore the esthetician program at Algonquin. They are waiting for an opportunity to share their ideas.

“Our recommendation was to change theory classes to one section including all 80 students. That is a significant saving when you consider that level 1 students have five to six theory classes,” said Canonico.

There are approximately 95 graduates per academic year.

“This could balance the cost of practical labs, which is what our program is dependent on, and that is where the financial strain is. We would like to be given an opportunity to revamp our program,” said Canonico.

According to Canonico, the union has been supportive and plans to meet with the staff in the fall.

Algonquin College offers hairstyling and esthetician services by students at a reduced cost to the public. Appointments can be booked at The Salon and Spa Boutique website or reception office.

“Every semester our esthetic and hairstyling students offer services that they have been trained and assessed on to the college community at very affordable prices. Our clientele includes students, employees and individuals from the local community,” said Canonico.

“The types of services change and broaden as the students move up into their programs. We offer retail products and would love to increase the selection of affordable products to our current inventory. There is much more that we can accomplish with our enterprise. Many recommendations were also suggested to improve revenue.”

On average, the salon can book between 25 to 30 people on Thursdays and 25 to 30 people on Fridays. The boutique can earn approximately $5,000 in two days.

“We have a boutique, and see real customers. We bring in money into the college,” said Gillian Gallant, an esthetician student.

“We could even see more customers. Most clients book three services – mani, pedi and facial, and stay in our salon for approximately three hours,” said Kristina Smith, a professor of esthetician services.

A customer can spend an average of $95 for a three-hour visit.

“Esthetician is a voluntary trade in Ontario and does not require a licence. Changing this is way overdue. Manitoba, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia require licensing. However, our program is structured on the vocational learning outcomes and essential employability skills from the Ontario College Program Standard: Esthetician,” said Canonico.

Presently, 95 per cent of the program’s students are women and all of the faculty staff are women.

“As a female-dominant program, we succeed in empowering women with the essential skills to work in the vast industry of esthetics. We pride ourselves on inclusivity in all practices. Losing this quality program would be detrimental to the community of women who come from all over to join our program twice per year,” said Canonico.

“Men, and boys come for services. Being pampered is for everyone,” said Smith.

Students pay a tuition fee of more than $13,000 for local students and approximately $30,000 for international students for the complete program.

“This includes our kits. We are also responsible to wash all the linen that we use at our own cost at home,” said Nawal Baroudi, an esthetician student.

Left to right Nawal Baroudi, Keira Fleming, Desiree Browne, Gillian Gallant, and Talia El-Hajj Ali - 2nd term esthetician students
Left to right Nawal Baroudi, Keira Fleming, Desiree Browne, Gillian Gallant and Talia El-Hajj Ali - level 2 esthetician students Photo credit: Angel Belair-Poirier

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