careers beauty therapist

Beauty Therapist Jobs

Beauty therapist jobs… did you know?

Beauty therapists help clients feel great inside and out. Often working in salons and spas, they apply a range of beauty techniques ranging from manicures to massage and facials. You’ll need to be able to offer eternally popular treatments while keeping up with the latest beauty technology. You’ll also need to keep up with the latest trends. Things like fish pedicures could be popular with clients one day and old news the next!

THE TRAINING WILL NEVER STOP: When you begin your career, you may start off as a Level 2 beautician. With extra training and qualifications you’ll move up to become a fully qualified Level 3 or advanced beauty therapist. With so many treatments out there, from IPL laser treatment to hair removal by electrolysis or massage techniques ranging from Swedish massage to stone therapy, you’ll most likely be learning exciting new beauty techniques for the rest of your career – because the quest for beauty will never end.

Industry: Hair and Beauty

Beauty therapist job trends

How much money can you make as a beauty therapist?

£15,000 – £20,000 (UK average)

Recent labour market information says you can earn on average between £15,000 and £20,000 a year as a beauty therapist in the UK.

Your starting salary can vary because of factors like level of experience, training, or location. Your salary as a beauty therapist will increase over time as you build skills, knowledge and experience.

What entry qualifications and training do you need for this job?

School, college and training

You may not need any formal qualifications to become a beauty therapist, but beauty school qualifications can help you build your technical skills and experience. Working to make a client satisfied with their appearance – and even using practical skills for massage and technical skills for equipment operation – is a big responsibility. No spa or beauty salon wants an angry or disappointed customer.

An advanced or level 3 course in beauty therapy will give you the skills you need to be fully qualified. As a fully qualified beauty therapist you will find it easier to find work and have your skills trusted by employers and clients.

Example beauty therapy courses:

  • Level 3 qualifications in beauty therapy
  • BTEC national diploma in beauty therapy

Some courses may need you to have at least three or four GCSEs or their equivalent at grades 9-4 (A*-C). Ideally these will include English, maths and science.

Some college courses may also accept a Level 2 qualification in beauty therapy.

You can also do higher education in beauty therapy by doing a foundation degree or Higher National Diploma (HND).

To get onto one of these courses, you’ll usually need four or five GCSEs or their equivalents including a science, at least one A-level or two H grades, and a BTEC national award in beauty therapy or a Level 3 qualification in beauty/spa therapy.

Relevant foundation degrees and HNDs you can do include:

  • Beauty and Spa Services
  • Beauty and Complementary Therapies
  • Salon and Spa Management
  • Beauty Therapy with Health or Management Studies

Apprenticeships and traineeships

Getting your first job as a beauty therapist can be difficult, because employers often want you to have experience.

Many beauty therapists get their foot in the door as a trainee beauty therapist. If you go on a beauty therapy trainee scheme, you will earn a salary and gain a qualification while you work. This is a useful way to build up that much-needed experience while you’re still training for your qualification, splitting your time between college and the salon.

Career progression and further qualifications

Once you’re a fully qualified spa or beauty therapist you could work in all sorts of places like:

  • Spas
  • Beauty salons
  • Hotels
  • Health clubs
  • Holiday resorts and cruise ships

With time and experience you could become a spa or salon manager. You could also get interested in Field Sales, or becoming a regional manager.

You don’t have to stick to the world of commercial beauty, either. You could also move into fashion, media make-up or theatre.

You could also become self-employed (once you’ve built up enough skills, experience and client trust in what you can do). As a self-employed beauty therapist you could work from home or travel to clients. You could even set up your own beauty salon.

What experience do you need for beauty therapy jobs?

Work experience

Get a work placement at a spa or salon. It’s a great way to make useful contacts with people in the beauty industry. At the same time, you can learn new skills and put your knowledge into practice.

If you get a work experience placement, aim to impress – you could gain paid work helping out on reception in the evenings or at weekends, and may be offered job opportunities there once you’ve qualified.

Examples of relevant work experience include:

  • Work shadowing (even if it’s just for a day)
  • Work placements in a company
  • Work placements on a college or university course

What skills do you need for beauty therapy jobs?

Useful skills to highlight to your employer when applying for beauty therapy jobs include:

  • Customer service skills to make clients feel welcome and put them at their ease
  • Communication skills to explain procedures to clients in a clear and tactful way
  • Negotiation skills to sell beauty products (which can help you earn commission)
  • Self-management skills if you are self-employed
  • Personal hygiene and grooming – you are an ambassador of the salon or spa and are expected to look professional and presentable at all times.

Vocational qualifications and work experience will help you build these skills over time.

What does an beauty therapist do?

For many, working in the beauty industry is a dream job. It may help you to know some basic information about the work environment of a salon or spa:

  • You may need to work evenings and weekends. Spas and salons make money from repeat visits from clients, so need to stay open for them as much as possible.
  • You may be on your feet a lot of the time, carrying out treatments for clients.
  • Days can be busy, but there can also be quiet periods where you will use your self-management skills to keep busy and get stuck into tasks like cleaning rooms and equipment or folding towels.

Example job responsibilities:

  • Giving clients facials involving cleansing, massage and toning processes
  • Giving clients make-overs, applying make-up and giving make-up advice
  • Giving clients manicures, nail art applications and pedicures
  • Offering treatments like massage, aromatherapy, reflexology and hydrotherapy
  • Providing spray tanning or tanning using ultraviolet (UV) rays on sunbeds
  • Carrying out hair removal procedures such as waxing or eyebrow threading
  • Giving clients the latest technological treatments to improve body tone and shape, such as treatments involving electro-therapy
  • Carrying out non-surgical skin improvement treatments.

You may also carry out administration tasks such as:

  • Answering the phone and greeting guests at the reception desk
  • Booking appointments
  • Keeping records of client medical and treatment histories, referring clients to a doctor if required
  • Checking and ordering supplies

Your first steps into beauty therapy jobs

To find jobs for young people in this role, search on job boards for words like these in the title:

  • Trainee beauty therapist
  • Apprentice beauty therapist
  • Junior beauty therapist
  • Junior beauty salon assistant

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