Qualifications for a Career in Spa

The awarding bodies include

Beauty Therapy is taught theoretically with the anatomy of the body, the benefits and effects and contra-indications to treatments, as well as health and safety requirements. Assignments will be given to research in your own time; this may include a spa business plan, an essay on the history of SPA (Salude Per Aqua) or to write up case study reports. Practical subjects are taught by demonstrations and then pairing up to practise techniques and applications. Finally clients are welcomed to the classroom for a small fee to model for students.

CIBTAC offer QCF qualification privately at beauty schools in the UK. They are well known for training high calibre Therapists and provide an a la carte beauty qualification which can be tailored to suit individual requirements. They also include a diploma in spa therapy.

CIDESCO was founded in 1946 and is studied in 33 countries. It is renowned for being the most prestigious in the industry, ensuring high quality Therapists with a world-class qualification. There are 13 CIDESCO schools in the UK.

ITEC offer tailor-made diplomas in beauty and holistic therapies from level 2 – level 4, throughout the UK. ITEC is recognised worldwide and students can study in the classroom or gain an apprenticeship. However, the latter is only run at two locations in the UK.
During training you will do case studies, work experience and research assignments alongside classroom lessons and client sessions. Two years is the usual duration for these courses.

Additional training

During your beauty course you may have the opportunity to gain a holistic qualification in Aromatherapy or Reflexology. If not, then gaining one or two of these after your beauty training will be a great asset to a career in a Health Spa resort. Holistic courses may also include hot stone massage, Hopi ear candles, Indian head massage or Reiki. These treatments are always listed on the spa menu and adding these to your CV will make your application stand out from the crowd. Heat therapy is another course useful to have if you’re seeking spa related careers as opposed to beauty salons. Sometimes these are included in the beauty therapy qualification but smaller colleges may not have sauna or steam room facilities.

These courses can be studied through colleges of Further Education or at independent beauty schools like Cosmetic consultants in Nottingham, or the Carlton institute which has training centres up and down the UK. Some of these additional courses only involve a day of training so well worth pursuing to build up knowledge and skills and set you above the competition. (For further information go to www.carltoninstitute.co.uk)

Once you have gained your first position in a Health Spa company, you will gain further training with the brands that they use there. Destination Health Spas in particular have several product ranges. Within this establishment, you will find one of the product houses will include a marine-based company, whose treatments provide effective body wraps, detox wraps and anti-cellulite treatments which are very popular amongst guests.

These brands include:

•    Pevonia
•    Thalgo
•    Repechage
•    Spa Find
•    Ionithermie

Other brands which you may train with in the spa include:

•    Clarins
•    Decleor
•    Darphin
•    Elemis
•    Espa

There are also many other available brands. Gaining training with two or three brands will increase your skills and experience, enable you to recommend and therefore accrue retail-based commissions and increase your employability in the future.

Spa careers can be developed in three different types of businesses. These being; the destination spa, the day spa and the hotel spa.

The Destination Health Spa include

•    Stobo Castle Health Spa
•    Ragdale Hall Health Hydro & Thermal Spa
•    Champneys

The Day Spa include

•    The Sanctuary Spa
•    Eden Hall Day Spa
•    Spa Illuminata

Hotels with Spas include

•    Devere hotels
•    Marriott hotels
•    The Village hotels

Working within a large team has many benefits; one being a structured career development programme. Another is the incentives for staff to achieve as well as having more luxurious facilities to work in, with a larger scope of treatments to perform.
Experienced therapist

The opportunity to travel is one that will come up frequently as a Spa Therapist since the options to travel whether it is at sea or abroad are plentiful. Short contracts might appeal to the first time traveller, which could include cruise ships or holiday resorts. As they are run by British businesses they will most likely use products you are already trained in or at least familiar with. These are seasonal and therefore require 6 – 9 month commitment.

Finding employment abroad you will notice treatments and products are more similar in some countries than others. For example the Blue Lagoon in Iceland produce their own products based on the natural thermal spa minerals. Australia and America also have their native brands like Kerstin Florian or Li’tya. Companies like Clarins, Decleor and Elemis are renowned worldwide and so are just as likely to be used in a countryside retreat as you are in the desert of Dubai.
It is not just the product knowledge that employers look for in a potential employee but range of treatment experience, a progressive Curriculum Vitae, additional skills like the holistic treatments and of course great references.

Developing your Spa career globally is more common place now. Exotic locations and idyllic islands could be your home for a few months or a year if you worked at, lets say Mandara Company, which run spas internationally with an extensive portfolio in the pacific countries and islands. Then there is Visagist in Norway and the American Willow stream spas; not forgetting the Jumeriah’s, Burj al Arab 7* hotel in Dubai.

A career as a Spa therapist will enable you to work in luxurious locations, worldwide allowing you to meet interesting, well-travelled clients. At each spa you will learn new skills, techniques and applications, build on your previous experience and perfect your craft.


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