a career in beauty therapy by Lynne Archer editor of Guild News
Beauty Therapy is a skilled profession that can provide a satisfying and rewarding career. Training usually takes around 2 years depending on which qualifications are studied for, and how the training is structured. The most popular types of training courses today are NVQ's, but there are a range of private courses available which lead to a beauty therapy qualification. Many private qualifications are recognised by the Guild of Professional Beauty Therapists, but it is important before starting a course that you check that the course will be recognised.
To complete a course in beauty therapy, you will need a good general standard of education in order to enroll, and many schools and colleges ask for English and Maths at GCSE before accepting students. Perhaps more important than academic qualifications is a good personality and a caring attitude. Good therapists are not only technically skilled in the work they do, but they are also "people orientated", and have the ability to put clients at their ease.
On completion of training, the majority of qualified Beauty Therapists will usually be able to find work in a Beauty Centre, Leisure Centre, or Health Farm. Rates of pay for newly qualified therapists are quite modest, ranging between £4 - £5 per hour. Most newly qualified therapists are taken on as employees, which means that they will be paid a set wage every week. However, some Beauty Salons allow their staff to work on a self-employed basis, where the therapist is allowed to retain a percentage of the money taken for each treatment performed.
Mobile businesses provide experience of self employment for a modest capital investment. Overheads are low compared to a Beauty Salon, but the quality of service which can be provided is often inferior, and the travelling time between appointments is unproductive.
Many therapists progress to running their own businesses after gaining several years' experience. The financial rewards involved are much greater, although there is always a corresponding increase in the time and effort which is needed.
There are several opportunities for experienced therapists to work overseas. Most of the large cruise liners take on therapists to work in their Beauty Salons, usually on short-term contracts. Some airlines such as Virgin Atlantic also employ therapists to work on their long haul flights.
The demand for qualified Beauty Therapists has lead to the creation of several posts in training and lecturing. Rates of pay for these jobs are generally higher than Beauty Salon rates, which tends to make jobs in training very popular.
There is strong competition between the skincare and cosmetics manufacturers to sell their products to Beauty Salons, which means that there are opportunities for qualified therapists to find employment as sales representatives.