Becoming a 5 Star Beauty Therapist

The health spa industry has seen a dramatic change in the last 20 years. Before, strict exercise regimes and diets were the 'in thing' but all that has changed as the spa resorts of the 21st century focus on 'wellbeing, pampering & relaxation'.

As these resorts strive to be the crème de la crème of luxury and pampering, paying attention to detail, incorporating the best products and skincare the industry has to offer along with lush furnishings and surroundings, the spa therapists they employ have the best opportunities for career development.

Most large health spas carry 4 – 5 product ranges and so the opportunities to get a couple of these under your belt will serve you well especially if you are in the early stages of your career. Other workshops and training maybe also provided by the spa which will strengthen the therapist knowledge and expertise for instance; retailing, exceeding expectations, as well as technical skills and customer care to name but a few.

The hierarchy of a resort spa is more complex than the high street salons, to simplify this I have put them into 3 categories;

The 'Top Management' includes; Spa Director, Spa Manager, Deputy Spa Manager & Training manager.

The 'middle management' includes; Spa supervisors, Head therapist, Training therapist.

The spa staff; senior therapists, beauty therapists, holistic practitioners, spa attendants.

The recruitment for the spa team is a constant theme due to such a large team. Regular recruitment by the spa means that college leaving therapists are more likely to achieve their first position within this organisation. Large spas typically employ their own company 'Training manager' to ensure all the learning needs of the new beauty therapist are met.

The Health spa's menu of services will incorporate not only the treatments from the product houses but their own 'signature blend' of services, giving the therapists that work there a vast array of treatments to perform which keeps the therapist on their toes and takes out the 'repetitiveness' that some careers offer.

Working in the health spa is very demanding so therapists need to maintain good stamina and energy throughout the day, getting plenty of rest the night before, eating light meals during the working day and exercising regularly will maintain fitness enabling you to better perform your duties. The most popular treatment is most resort spas are massage, so masseurs and therapists need a lot of physical stamina and learn to incorporate the use of both forearms and elbows during the massage to prevent 'burn out'.

Etiquette at the spa is formal but friendly, and the majority of the guests spend the day in robes and slippers. Courtesy is the key and you should always allow guests to pass through before you in doorways and corridors no matter how busy you are. Think of swans, they always appear elegant and sophisticated when gliding through the waters to all who see them, but under the water their little webbed feet are working like mad but you would never know it. This is the professional therapist working in the health spa.

What you need to get a job in a 5 Star Spa

1) NVQ 2 & 3 in Beauty therapy

(or /and)

2) Massage/ holistic qualification

3) Previous work experience an asset

4) Happy disposition, positive – can do attitude, a people person

5) References; college tutors or previous employer

How to get a job in a 5 star spa

1) List all Health spa resorts or hotel spas in the UK

2) Write a great CV or get it professionally done

3) Write a cover letter

4) Send by post or by email to all those on your list

5) Wait for replies and arrange interview

6) Prepare for interviewand organise travel arrangements

7) Go to interview: bring certificates neatly filed, immaculate uniform and make up /hair, think positive, have a can do attitude, perform trade test remembering to check client comfort etc.

8) A wait results

9) Choose which spa job offer you wish to accept

10) Congratulations, you can now look forward to a 5 star career

Pros and cons of working in a 5 star spa


1) Chance to get a 5 star resort on your CV

2) A great opportunity for ambitious therapists

3) A vast range of treatments and product ranges to train in

4) Other skills and learning opportunities

5) Working in luxurious surroundings

6) Incentives and product allowance

7) Career development programme

8) Free meals, free uniform, free use of facilities (at some spas)


1) May have to relocate/live in staff housing

2) May have to drive a way to work (most spas are located in quiet countryside)

3) A busy schedule, constantly

4) Lots of massage

5) Large spa area, a lot of running about to next treatment room etc

6) Weekends are busiest, social life suffers


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