I really wish I lived in a state that required ongoing education in my industry... but, it doesn't. Hence part of the reason NSS are so prevalent, imo. However, I do not consider myself, and other nail techs of my caliber, "in competition" with these places; I am better than they are.
Just one of many aspects of why I'm better -- I take classes anyway. Just because they aren't required in my state does not mean you shouldn't be taking them. And, just because they are only offered by specific companies whose products you may not use doesn't mean you shouldn't be taking them, as well. ALL efforts to further your education can be beneficial.
With that in mind (plus the fact that I actually *do* use CND products), I took the second of three MASTER classes offered by CND this past Monday. This one was "Master Sculptor" -- all about their Brisa gel line. I've been using the Brisa system since it came out (& since I graduated beauty school) in 2004, but I know I can always improve my skills... and I may even learn something!
Sure enough, I picked up a couple new tricks for laying a nice pink & white, as well as how to do a faster p&w rebalance. I also learned that CND reformulated their bonder; you now must cure it for 10s in your UV lamp. During class, I got to play with different pink "builder" gels (they also have clear, white, and black); some of which can be used as a cover for shorter nail beds, bitten nails, &/or marks of trauma on the nail bed.
We also got a preview of CND's new line of pigment powders... :)
Anyway, two down, one to go!