NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Vocational programs such as cosmetology prepare Metro students for different career fields following graduation.
"We start with the very basics," said Doris Thomas, who heads up the cosmetology program at Stratford High School.
"We go over the periodic table of the elements. We learn all about molecules, suspensions, mixtures, solutions. We do a variety of hands-on activities that actually allow them to see physical and chemical changes."
"We're doing perms, we're doing relaxers, dyes and stuff like that," said one student. "You got to know exactly what you're working with so you won't mess up somebody's head."
The vocational program is designed to give students an option if they don't want to take the traditional four-year college route.
"Certainly there is a shortage of people in vocations these days," Thomas said. "Everybody is not going to college so we need to have a program that helps those children make a living."
Markie Cerreta, whose specialty is eyebrows, has been a program since her freshman year.
She said the experience she's received is priceless.
"It's very important if you want to do hair when you graduate and that's what I plan on doing," Cerreta said.
If these students attended a cosmetology school, it would cost them $10,000-$15,000. But they can save as much as $2,000-$5,000 if they take four years of cosmetology at the high school.
Thomas said they earn hours that they can apply toward training at another school and their state licensing.
The students so well-prepared they handle appointments from the public under Thomas's supervision.
"I love Ms. Thomas," said one student. "She is so sweet and so patient. She just likes to help us. She gives us everything we need."
There are five Metro schools that offer a cosmetology program.