Haircuts to Dentistry and More: Get Low-Cost Services From Students


You need your teeth cleaned. You need a haircut. You really want a massage to get rid of the tightness in your back and shoulders. You don’t, however, have the scratch to make any of this happen. What you might not know is that a surprising number of services can be had on the cheap by getting them from students rather than accomplished masters of the trade. (See also: The Best Ways to Whiten Your Teeth)

Why You Can Trust Students

You might be a little reticent about getting a root canal from a student dentist. I’d even understand if you were worried about getting a haircut from an apprentice barber. However, your fears are largely unfounded. The truth about students providing services?

  • They’ve already clocked enough hours of classroom learning and hands-on training to qualify for performing services for the public.
  • They’re carefully supervised by their teachers. This is especially true of professional hopefuls like student dentists. In this case, the students often have a DDS hovering over at all times calling the shots while they perform the manual labor.
  • Their careers are on the line. Even the smallest mistake at this point can completely ruin a student’s future. They have a lot more at stake than a bad haircut or even, for that matter, a botched wisdom tooth extraction.

What Services Can You Get?

Just about every school teaching a trade has to have some way for students to learn their trade by doing the real thing. Examples of things you can get done by students include:

  • Hair cutting and coloring
  • Dental work
  • Massages
  • Auto repair and auto body work
  • Catering and meals

Finding services in your area is generally not as simple as logging on to Google, however. Search terms for “student services” generally yield more results about what options there are for students than what options exist for you.

So How Do You Find Cheap Student Services?

The best way to find cheap services from students and trainees is to inquire at local colleges and trade schools. Give a call to the department head of the relevant discipline or just call the main desk and ask what services the school provides, if any. Then ask how you can become a guinea pig for students... actually, you might want to avoid the phrase “guinea pig,” but otherwise the process is the same. Often medical schools, hairdressing schools, and dentistry schools have price lists on their website for people coming in for students to train on. In other cases, you might need to do a bit of legwork.

Alternately, you can try searching for the specific service you want, i.e. “student barber” or “student dentist.” If you live in a city of any size, chances are quite good that most of the services you currently pay top dollar for can be had significantly cheaper than what you’re currently paying.

Is It Worth It?

Whether or not it’s worth it depends a lot on what your definition of “worth it” is. If you’ve desperately got to get dental work done, this is a no brainer. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t get too attached to her hairdresser and isn’t that particular about her haircut, by all means start going to a student beautician. If you’ve just got to get your car back on the road, give a call to the local trade school and see what you can work out.

Remember that the services offered by students aren’t always on the same level as the experienced pros. However, you might not be able to tell the difference. The best advice I can give you is try out some student services and see how they work for you. If you like what you’re getting, keep saving money. If you don’t, find other ways to save money in your budget.

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Guest's picture
Thad P

These are great ideas for saving money! I have a friend who went through dental school and was constantly talking about the great deals that could be had on dental work.