Collier and Lee Counties Edition
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More Career Choices at Florida Academy

Anyone contemplating a career change may be wise to consider one that is in high demand by employers suffering a serious shortage of candidates to fill open positions. “As a result of massage therapy becoming even more mainstream, we receive calls and visits nearly every day from new and already operating spas in Collier and Lee counties, as well as throughout Florida. They call and ask us to send them our graduates. The demand is way up, but student count is way down. We don’t have enough people to fill their job openings. Some of the growth is due to the increasing number of spas franchises opening up across the U.S.,” says LJ Zielke, owner of the Florida Academy, in Fort Myers.

According to an American Massage Therapy Association consumer survey, interest in massage therapy as a career peaked nationally in 2009, while the number of franchise and independent spa locations continue to increase. “On the flip side, the students that now enroll here are very passionate about learning about massage and are excited to get a selection of employers to work with,” advises Zielke.

New Classes in Medical Assisting and Barbering

The Florida Academy has been approved by its accreditor to offer courses in medical assisting. “This certification will expand the career of a massage therapist who has been in the field a while. She or he will be able to work in a medical setting without taxing their body as much as they do with massage,” explains Zielke.  

Cosmetology students that usually do not enter the academy immediately after graduating from high school focus on how to cut and style hair, as well as how to mix and use color. Another addition to the academy curriculum is barbering, which includes cutting and styling elements, along with how to remove facial hair and trim hairlines, beards and mustaches using a straight-edge razor.

Because cosmetologists in Florida cannot legally work with a straight-edge razor, barbering is a good complement for hair stylists that want to expand their services or anyone inspired to open their own barbershop, which according to Forbes, is a growing trend in the U.S. and around the world.

While there was a decrease in barbershops from 1992 to 2012 and an uptick in 2013, there is now a boom. The National Association of Barber Boards of America estimates growth at roughly 10 percent and advises that brick-and-mortar shops are king, accounting for 81 percent of men’s grooming product sales.

In addition to nationally accredited programs for barbering, massage and cosmetology, nail technology and skincare, Florida Academy also offers a nationally accredited heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) technician program. This program is built around expert instructors, leading-edge equipment and trusted brand names in HVAC. The affordable program is designed for hands-on learners that want to get into the job market quickly, and graduates benefit from the academy’s lifetime job placement assistance. Florida Academy also offers continuing education classes.

Florida Academy is located at 4387 Colonial Blvd. (Colonial Center), in Fort Myers. For more information, call 239-489-2282 or visit

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