CADILLAC — People from all walks of life, including teenagers fresh out of high school and middle-aged adults beginning a second career, go through the Cadillac Institute of Cosmetology at 205 N. Mitchell St. to become professional cosmetologists.

The Cadillac Institute of Cosmetology is a nationally accredited trade school that provides supervised training in a variety of disciplines related to cosmetology, including cutting, coloring, treating and styling hair, performing eyelash extensions, doing skin and facial treatments, and performing pedicures, manicures and nail dips, among other things.

Owner Ryan Gregory’s parents opened the institute in 1997 and he took over in 2019, right before the COVID-19 pandemic reached the U.S.

“That was an interesting first year,‘ said Gregory, who adjusted to limitations by staggering the hours students attended the institute and opening an extra day of the week. Now that restrictions have been eased, Gregory said they’ve been able to a return to a normal schedule and work flow.

Students going through the program have to put in 1,600 hours of training before they’re able to obtain their cosmetology diploma and eventually take the state exam to receive their license to perform cosmetology.

Students attending full time generally can complete the training in 13 weeks while those who attend part-time generally take around 18 weeks.

For the first 350 hours of training, students can only practice their techniques on mannequins or other students. After 350 hours is reached, they can start serving customers that come into the institute. When they’re serving customers, students are under constant supervision by either Gregory or cosmetologist Hope Bell.

Gregory said he’s noticed more interest in the field of cosmetology in recent months but it seems that no matter how many students graduate from the trade school every 13 to 18 weeks, he just can’t churn them out fast enough.

“I’m getting calls from salons all the time wondering when my next class will be graduating,‘ Gregory said. “Job openings are far more numerous than the number of people getting into it.‘

As far as finding help goes, the cosmetology industry isn’t alone in facing challenges right now but as Gregory attests, the shortage of employees isn’t the result of the job not paying well.

In addition to having the pick of the litter of cosmetology jobs, those who obtain their cosmetology license can rent a chair and make serious money. Those who rent a chair pay a flat fee to use a chair at a salon to serve their clients. Depending on their skill and — equally important — their speed, it’s possible to make hundreds of dollars in a single day of work, Gregory said.

“The more you do it, the better and faster you get,‘ Gregory said.

For more information on the institute, call (231) 775-3642 or go to

Cadillac News