Typically therapists can find work in salons, spas or aesthetic clinics. Each environment differs in the core treatments they offer.
Salon Based Therapy Roles
A beauty therapist provides beauty treatments; the precise nature of those treatments largely depending on what the therapist is trained in and the treatments favoured by the salon’s customers. Popular beauty treatments are: waxing, spray tanning, manicures, pedicures, nail enhancements, facials and massage.
The majority of employers will require their beauty therapists to be qualified to a minimum of NVQ level 3 or equivalent in beauty therapy.
However the competitive nature of the beauty industry means that salons are continuously adding more services to their salon menu and therefore beauty therapists are deemed more employable the more treatments and products they are trained in. Of particular importance at the moment is training in: Threading, intimate waxing, laser hair removal and eyelash extensions
It’s important therefore that therapists engage in continuous personal development to boost their treatments portfolio.
If you’re based in a salon you may also be expected to perform some reception duties including meeting and greeting customers, answering the phone and taking bookings. And beauty therapists nowadays also have a responsibility for promoting and selling retail products and treatments for which they receive commission.
Beauty therapists with at least 3 - 5 years experience working in a salon environment are typically referred to as senior beauty therapists. Senior therapists as well as commanding a higher salary often take on supervisory responsibilities and may be expected to help train and develop more junior therapists
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Salon owners will often hire a beauty manager to oversee the day to day running of their salon and to manage the team of salon staff. Beauty managers will typically be qualified therapists themselves with several years experience. Some beauty managers will continue to be hands on with treatments whilst others will take on more of a business manager role.
Beauty managers can expect to be responsible for:
Personnel operations. Recruiting staff, providing in-house training sessions, supervising and motivating therapists and front desk staff
Commercial operations. Devising treatment and retail sales targets, responsible for achievement of monthly KPI’s
Salon operations. End of day cash up, Opening and closing of premises, manage stock levels, oversee housekeeping duties
Marketing operations. Roll out in-house promotions and events
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If you are confident therapist and love providing lots of information with regards to the skin and retail products this may be the perfect job role for you.
You can either work in a Salon or Spa and much of the time you will be performing facials, either relaxing or electrical depending on the client’s needs.
Most establishments use a few different product ranges, so you can never get bored with all the different products you will be using daily.
If you have covered your basic beauty therapy training and have a creative streak in you then this job role has endless avenues
This is one part of the beauty industry that pretty much changes constantly with quicker ways and new techniques of achieving the best-looking nails. If you’re the therapist or the client, you will always be faced with an exciting new treatment to impress yourselves with.
You can learn to work with acrylics, gel/shellac, bio sculpture, nail art plus many more…
Read our in depth career advice for becoming a nail technician
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Spa Based Therapy Roles
Spa therapists can find themselves working in the most luxurious and outstanding places… 5 star hotels, impressive hydro spas and resort spas.
Spa therapists provide many more body treatments (typically wraps, soaks and scrubs) especially massage than their salon therapist counterparts. Although facials and spa pedicures are still popularly sought treatments.
Most spa therapists will have an NVQ level 3 in beauty therapy or spa therapy or an equivalent qualification. Spa therapists can also go on to specialise in providing specialised holistic treatments such as reflexology or aromatherapy.
Read our in depth career advice for becoming a spa therapist
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As the name suggests, massage therapists work exclusively on providing massage body treatments. Popular spa massage treatments include deep tissue massage, hot stone massage, aromatherapy massage, Swedish massage, ayurvedic, Acupressure and Indian Head massage.
Being a massage therapist requires a lot of stamina as you’ll be booked in to provide back to back massage treatments which require a lot of physical input from the therapist. Adopting the correct techniques will be essential to avoid repetitive strain injuries.
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Holistic therapists specialise in providing complementary or alternative therapies and treat the client’s body, spirit and mind. There are many treatments that fall under holistic therapies such as acupressure, crystal healing, homeopathy and reflexology.
Many colleges offer specific and tailored courses for each specific discipline
Many spa therapists will aspire to progress into spa management. Spa managers will assume responsibility for the overall day to day running and profitability of the spa together with effective management of all spa personnel.
Typical duties of a spa manager will therefore include:
Setting and maintaining spa standards - ensuring health and safety regulations are met, housekeeping and cleanliness, staff presentation, managing stock levels, customer service
Profitability of spa. Setting budgets and KPIs, income generation, driving team to achieve revenue targets
Looking after Personnel - Recruiting and training of spa staff, rostering and managing columns
Some spa managers in addition to the above duties will also be expected to provide treatments
Spa managers are typically requested to be qualified to NVQ level 3 and have lots of treatment experience under their belt as well as proven supervisory skills. You can also attend specific spa and wellness management courses such as those offered at the University of Derby
Read our in depth career advice for becoming a Spa Manager
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Clinic Based Therapy Roles
Within the last few years aesthetic non surgical advanced beauty treatments have been making a big impact on the beauty industry with a surge in demand for aesthetic treatments such as dermal fillers, laser hair removal, microdermabrasion and chemical peels, botox injections, laser skin resurfacing ….. And so the list goes on.
The consequences of not providing the above treatments properly can result in significant injury or physical harm to the client and therefore some of the treatments will require additional training and qualifications
Aesthetic therapists typically work within aesthetic skin care and laser hair removal clinics offering treatments such as lasers, radio frequency, dermabrasions, microneedling and advanced skin peels.
Many senior beauty therapists armed with several years experience and an NVQ level 3 or equivalent progress to becoming aesthetic therapists. Although many clinics will provide the training for their particular treatments and equipment used, increasingly clinics now also ask for and NVQ/VTCT level 4 certificate in laser and intense pulse light (IPL) and/or laser core of knowledge.
Read our in depth career advice for becoming an aesthetic therapist
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Aesthetic Nurse (Nurse Prescriber)
Aesthetic nurses are typical RGN registered nurses that have entered the aesthetics industry and provide treatments such as fillers and laser treatments.
If they are to be able to prescribe BOTOX treatments then they must attend a V300 nurse prescriber course and gain that qualification.
COSMETIC RETAIL AND SALES ROLES
If you’re a beauty cosmetics junkie and can’t get enough of the latest beauty products then you might want to consider a career in beauty retail.
Beauty Advisor / Sales Consultant
Beauty advisors typically are employed by cosmetics, fragrance and skin care brands such as Benefit Cosmetics, Elemis, Molton Brown, Clarins and Liz Earle to work on their beauty counters within department stores such as John Lewis and Debenhams. Some of these product houses also run their own boutique brand specific stores.
As a beauty advisor you’ll be acting as a brand ambassador for the products you represent advising customers on the benefits of your products and the best product choices for their particular needs and concerns.
Beauty advisors work to sales targets and will have daily, weekly and indeed monthly sales targets to achieve
Some beauty retail positions require no formal beauty qualifications but increasingly product houses are requesting level 2 in beauty. There is now also a NVQ level 2 certificate in retail sales that can taken at college.
Read our in depth career advice for becoming a beauty advisor
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Beauty Counter Manager
Beauty Counter Managers are responsible for the overall appearance and display of their beauty products together with the profitability of their counter. Typical responsibilities will include:
Stock management. Effective stock control and ensuring all visual merchandising and presentation of stock is in accordance with company standards and attractively displayed
Ensuring beauty advisors have excellent product knowledge and that high levels of customer care and service are given.
Read our in depth career advice for becoming a counter manager
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Business Development / Field Sales Rep
Business development managers and field sales reps are important roles within the beauty industry and essential if product houses are to get their brands and equipment into salons, spas and clinics.
Sales reps will work on existing client bases as well as identify new business opportunities to promote and push products. Sales staff will need excellent product knowledge and be able to present and demonstrate the products they represent.
New business development and field sales staff typically work within a territory covering all businesses within a specific geographical area. Much of their time is spend on the road attending salon/spa appointments and trade shows.
Read our in depth career advice for becoming a business development consultant / field sales rep
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EDUCATION AND TRAINING ROLES
Beauty and Skincare Trainer and Educator
Beauty trainers typically find work with product houses such as dermalogica who provide training courses for salons and their staff that retail their products. And of course colleges running training courses such as CIDESCO, NVQs also need beauty educators who can both train and assess students.
Beauty educators will require an NVQ level 3 in beauty therapy plus experience working within the beauty industry together with an assessor qualification and PTLLS, Cert Ed, PGCE or equivalent qualification
Read our in depth career advice for becoming a beauty trainer
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Whatever career you decide to embark upon within the beauty industry we’re sure you’ll agree it’s a vibrant industry full of variety and dedicated to making people look and feel better about themselves.