At 16, Marissa Lopez knew she wanted to be a hair stylist. But it wasn’t until Lopez, a student at Mesa’s Westwood High School, started attending the EVIT Academy of Cosmetic Arts that she fell in love with the artistry of cosmetology.
“I loved it because (as a high school student) I got to do what I wanted to do in life,” she said.
Thirteen years later at age 29, Lopez is operating two cosmetology businesses in Scottsdale and loving her career as a successful hair stylist and makeup artist – a career that she trained for at the East Valley Institute of Technology at a fraction of what it would have cost had she attended a private beauty school.
As a public career and technical education school, EVIT does not charge tuition to high school students who reside in 10 East Valley school districts – Mesa, Scottsdale, Chandler, Tempe, Gilbert, Higley, Apache Junction, Fountain Hills, Queen Creek and J.O. Combs. These students attend their high schools for a half-day of academic subjects and then EVIT for a half-day of tuition-free advanced career training in one of more than 40 programs offered, such as Cosmetology, Culinary Arts, 3D Animation, Automotive, Welding and much more. Tuition-based programs for adults are also offered.
All EVIT programs except Cosmetology are two and a half hours long each day; Cosmetology students attend for four hours to ensure they meet the Arizona State Board of Cosmetology’s requirements for a license. After taking Cosmetology for two years in high school, EVIT students return as tuition-paying adults for about four weeks to finish up the 1,600 hours required by the state board. By the time they have completed their EVIT program and obtained their cosmetology license, EVIT students will have paid approximately $2,032 or slightly higher. If they wait to take all of their training after high school at a private beauty school, they could end paying as much as $20,000.
“I was really lucky to have the opportunity to go, and not only to go, but to go for free and being able to spend the time being focused on my career,” Lopez said.
The EVIT Academy of Cosmetics Arts
is offered at EVIT’s two central campuses in Mesa – the Dr. A. Keith Crandell (Main) Campus, 1601 W. Main St., and the East Campus, 6625 S. Power Road. In 2016, the Main Campus academy was expanded and renovated into a modern, spa-like facility with state-of-the-art equipment and studios. The Main Campus academy also includes EVIT’s Aesthetics program specializing in the science of skin care and makeup application.
EVIT students have a 98 percent high school graduation rate, and two out of three go on to college. Within one year of completing their training, 85 percent are in jobs, college or the military.
For over eight years, Lopez has worked as an independent stylist at Salon D’ Shayn in Scottsdale, and last year she started her own business, Royal Glam Crew, which specializes in elite hairstyles and makeup for weddings and other events.
“It does bring joy and happiness to my life because I don’t dread coming to work,” she said. “I love what I do – and I owe it to EVIT.”
Follow EVIT on Twitter @evitnews
. Use hashtag #WeAreEVIT