BUDA, Texas — These days you can watch Instagram tutorials to pick up on all kinds of beauty tips. But if you are considering a professional career in cosmetology, you need a state license.  

At Hays High School in Buda, students are getting a jump start on their future through their cosmetology program. 

David Pierce needs a hair cut. As principal of Hays High School, he's usually the one in charge, except for when he takes a trip to the school's full-service salon. These students run "Hair by Hays" under the supervision of instructor Gabriel Lopez.

"I got a lot of kids. Yes, 160 of them," Lopez said.  

The school is excited about the program's success. Enrollment has more than tripled in its four years. Students learn the basics of hair cuts, color and even nail services.

And while it's fun to get pampered and treat others, the end goal here is to become a professional licensed cosmetologist and eventually get paid for it. 

Take Kaylee Talamantes for example. 

"I'm going to high school and getting my cosmetology license so I don't have to graduate and then wait another year or two years to get my license. It is kind of an all in one thing," she said. 

Talamantes plans to do hair part time to make money while she's in college studying another field. Others want to become full-time stylists.

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No matter the plan, Lopez says his class is an investment. 

"So if you went to like more of a private or public beauty school, you're probably looking at 10 upwards $20,000 in tuition," he explained.

But at Hair By Hays, the base price is $475. 

"That covers their student permit, their kits, uniform and an extra $120 for testing fees," Lopez added. 

In order for students to test for their state license, they have to graduate and receive all their credits. 

"It is super important to have a program that interests our kids. Something that gets them motivated and engaged and gets them to school every day," said Pierce.

RAW: Hays cosmetology student gives principal a haircut

"I like that its more of a hands-on class. It's not just sitting there listening to the teacher. It is a balance of both book work and mannequin work," added Talamantes.

Hays High School has the right idea. Students in the cosmetology program are learning valuable skills and reaping the benefits. Lopez can attest to their progress. 

"When they are starting to pick up on skills and they are starting to connect things together, they start to do things on their own. That's when I really start to get proud," said Lopez.

The cosmetology program is so successful they have a 100 % return rate. Students keep coming back. They're motivated to earn that state license.

Aside from class time, students often host special days for the community. They go to nursing homes to pamper the seniors and have even hosted mother/daughter beauty days at the middle school.

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