Beauty therapist

Do you enjoy pampering your friends when they’re feeling sad? Are beauty products a doddle for you to use? Do you look at other people’s make-over’s and think you could do a better job?

If this sounds like you, and want a job where you get paid to give makeovers, then maybe it’s time to consider a career in beauty.



So, what will I actually be doing?

Working in a beauty therapist job, you’ll be responsible for administering a range of treatments to clients.

If you’re based in a salon you’ll also be expected to perform some front of house duties including meeting and greeting customers, answering the phone and taking bookings. Beauty therapists are sometimes also responsible for promoting and selling beauty products.

Treatments you might have to give to clients include:

  • Waxing
  • Massage
  • Manicures and pedicures
  • Tanning
  • Eyelash tinting and eyebrow dying

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The finer details...

Before carrying out any of the treatments you’ll need to ask your client to complete a medical questionnaire so you’ll know about any allergies or health issues they may have.

You could be employed by a salon, spa or health club, with working hours often done in shifts. Full-time therapists will work 37- 40 hours per week but there are plenty of part-time and flexible working options for those looking for it.

Money, money, money

Looking good can pay, as beauty therapists fresh from completing their Level 3 qualification earn around £13k per year. Gain a few years experience and your salary will rise to around £17k per year while managers can earn around £25k per annum.

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The good points...

“There’s no other job I can think of where you meet so many different kinds of people and help them look and feel the best they can,” says beauty therapist Louise.

“I love the way you get to meet such a variety of people and carry out different types of treatment. It’s always changing and there’s always the chance to update your skills.”

As well as the job satisfaction of making your clients feel fabulous, beauty therapists are always learning new skills and are the first to know about new products and treatments (always a good way to make your friends jealous).

...and the bad

“If you’re a mobile therapist it can be very tiring moving everything from one place to another and if you’re self-employed the work can be a little unpredictable.”

Is there study involved?

To work as a beauty therapist you’ll need a Level 3 NVQ/SVQ certificate in beauty therapy or equivalent - such as the BTEC National Diploma in beauty therapy or the ITEC Level 3 Diploma in advanced beauty therapy.

Once you have gained your Level 3 qualifications there is a long list of areas you can specialise in including: spa therapy, holistic treatments (such as reflexology or Reiki), nail technology and spray tanning.

Beauty therapy is a fast-moving industry and there are always new treatments and products being developed. It’s important that therapists understand any changes in the industry and update their skills accordingly, so it can be a lot of work.

Additionally, many beauty therapists add management training to their roster of skills to become a salon or spa manager. You could even pass on your skills and become a tutor or assessor.

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OK, I'm interested... But is it really the job for me?

Just having knowledge isn’t enough to succeed in this job, you’ve also got to have the right personality. “Technical skills are important but it won’t make you a good beauty therapist… above all you need to have really good communication and social skills,” says self-employed beauty therapist Louise Macintosh.

As well as having an outgoing and chatty personality, beauty therapists should also be:

  • Self-motivated
  • Professional
  • Have a keen awareness of health and safety issues.
  • Ability to create a calm environment where clients can relax.
  • Good listener
  • Be able to treat client information with confidentiality.


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