How to Become a Beauty Therapist
Beauty therapy is a fantastic career option for people who love to make others look and feel great, inside and out. From relaxing body massages to top-quality makeup looks, beauty therapists offer a range of beauty services to clients from all walks of life.
This career is ideal for anyone who wants to use their beauty expertise and cosmetic creativity to help others to feel themselves, whether through a soothing skin treatment, a bronzing tan, or a beautiful wedding makeup look. Discover how you can get started on your career in the beauty industry today.
What Does A Beauty Therapist Do?
Beauty therapists provide a variety of beauty treatments and services to help clients feel and look their best, from relaxing massages to professional makeup artistry.
Working in beauty salons, health spas, health centres, cruise ships, and as self-employed individuals, the life of a beauty therapist is all about using expert beauty skills to help clients feel fantastic.
They provide a variety of skincare and beauty treatments for the face and body, including:
Alongside providing a variety of treatments, beauty therapists also often manage client bookings and perform administration duties. For self-employed beauty therapists, admin duties such as managing finances will also need to be done by themselves unless they hire a finance specialist. During the day-to-day treatments that beauty therapists carry out, excellent hygiene and health standards need to be adhered to in order to ensure the safety of clients and staff.
How Much Does A Beauty Therapist Earn?
The average salary for a beauty therapist is around £23,000 per year, according to the National Careers Service. Experienced beauty therapists can earn up to £25k per year, and entry-level beauty therapists can expect to start at around £16k per year.
What Qualifications Are Needed To Become A Beauty Therapist?
Beauty therapists will need to have an in-depth understanding of skin science and health as well as how to perform different spa treatments and therapy treatments. You can attain the knowledge you need through vocational qualifications such as NVQs, maintaining health and hygiene standards, the beauty industry standards, and customer service.
The most common route to becoming a qualified Beauty Therapist is by completing an NVQ Level 2 or 3 in beauty therapy. These are available as college courses and private beauty schools where you can learn practical skills such as performing beauty procedures in class or during a placement alongside theoretical classwork.
However, you can also study online and gain practical experience by working in a salon, using your theoretical knowledge and applying it to real clients. If you want a primarily practical experience, then an apprenticeship in a local salon could be a great option for you also.
University degree courses can also help you get into beauty therapy, such as a BA in Make-Up and Hair Design, Cosmetic Science BSc, or Media Makeup Artistry BA. Although you will need a further qualification to ensure you have the required skills to perform services, these qualifications are an excellent grounding for the knowledge you need and can help you gain employment at a salon whilst undertaking your NVQ.
Exploring Beauty courses can be the best place to start when looking for the first steps to take towards becoming a beauty therapist.
What Skills Are Needed To Become A Beauty Therapist?
Beauty therapy is a highly-skilled career, requiring many hard and soft skills to succeed. You may already have many of the skills needed if you are suited to a career as a beauty therapist.
From client experience to business management, a beauty therapist needs to have a diverse knowledge base and a lot of passion for helping others look and feel incredible. Some of the critical skills a beauty therapist needs are:
Excellent listening skills
Communication and customer service skills
Expert knowledge of beauty therapies and skin health
The ability to cater services to a client’s skin and preferences
The ability to carry out beauty procedures to a high level
Basic IT skills for managing appointments and finances
Ability to sell and promote products
Discretion and the ability to empathise with clients
Does Becoming A Beauty Therapist Need Any Work Experience?
Beauty therapy requires practical skills in applying beauty therapies and interacting with clients. Therefore gaining work experience to some degree is essential. If you are undertaking an NVQ Level 2 in beauty therapy, then practical sessions will enable you to get hands-on experience carrying out beauty procedures.
Alternatively, you can study your NVQ alongside working in a salon or undertake an apprenticeship, which further provides experience working with real clients in a salon environment.
Entry requirements for an NVQ Level 2 Beauty Therapy qualification vary. However most institutions require at least 2 GCSEs grade C and above, including Maths and English.
Although work experience is not essential, it can greatly increase your chances of being accepted on the course. Suppose you enrol on an NVQ Level 3 Beauty Therapy course. In that case, you will likely have entry requirements, which are having extensive experience in a salon environment and having an NVQ Level 2 qualification.
Gaining work experience might be challenging. However, if you have customer service experience of any kind, this will be a great advantage.
Perfecting your beauty and makeup skills at home using your own beauty products also demonstrates a dedication to this career path and can be used to boost your application. You can also explore opportunities working full-time or part-time in beauty sections at stores, such as on the makeup counter or applying for receptionist roles at salons.
Career Prospects For A Beauty Therapist
Beauty therapists harbour a variety of skills in all areas of beauty, from massage to makeup, and there is a range of potential careers to explore with a beauty therapy qualification. Beauty therapists can progress on to becoming salon managers once they have gained substantial work experience.
Many beauty therapists also choose to work independently either from their home, their own salon, or travelling to clients, providing beauty treatments themselves and being self-employed. There are also opportunities to work in theatre, movies, or fashion, with careers such as makeup artistry for catwalks and special effects makeup for movies.
Working in the beauty industry can be a rewarding experience, and if you’re passionate about makeup, making people feel good, and learning about the latest styles, this could be the career for you.