Beauty therapist

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Penny Jones works in a health spa as a beauty therapist. Her job involves performing a wide range of beauty treatments, taking bookings and recommending treatments and products to clients.

What are your main responsibilities?

I have a different number of appointments each day, depending on what treatments people want. A full body massage or facial, for example, can take an hour, while a wax might only take ten minutes. In between appointments, I set up the next treatment, take payments, give advice and make new appointments.

What hours do you work?

I work eight hours a day, five days a week on a three-weekly rota, either from 10.00am to 6.00pm or 12 noon to 8.00pm.

What special skills do you need?

You have to be a caring person and a good listener. It's important to make people feel comfortable as sometimes they are worried or tense when they arrive. Time management is a vital skill too.

What is your working environment like?

The spa is relaxed and modern, with soothing music playing in the background. It is very clean, comfortable and pleasant to work in. There is a reception area where we greet clients and display our products, as well as individual treatment rooms.

Who do you work with?

I work in a team of ten therapists. One or two therapists specialise in holistic treatments, such as reflexology, aromatherapy and Reiki. The rest offer treatments like manicures, pedicures, waxing and facials.

Why did you choose this type of work?

I have always been interested in beauty. Initially, I did make-up and hair removal, but then I found out I could do a beauty therapy course which combined wellbeing, health and beauty, with opportunities to specialise in areas like aromatherapy and electrolysis.

What training have you done?

I have completed training in different products, learning specific treatments like non-surgical face lifts, special massage techniques and false nail applications.

Do you use any tools or equipment?

I am trained to use electrolysis (hair removal) equipment and spray tanning equipment. I also use a steamer for facials and tweezers for hair removal.

How do you see your future?

In the future I would like to teach beauty therapy.

What do you like about your job?

The work can be hard and physical, but there is plenty of variety. I like the fact that we are working at the cutting edge of skin care and treatments – it means that we are always learning. You also receive a lot of job satisfaction by dealing with happy clients.

What are the particular challenges in your work?

We work to set targets that can be challenging to meet. Sometimes, you are managing people's expectations of how they are going to look and feel, and these are not always realistic.

Penny's route to a career as a Beauty therapist

  • A level equivalent (Bosnia).
  • ITEC Beauty Therapy.
  • CIBTAC Beauty Therapy.
  • CIDESCO International Diploma in Beauty Therapy.

Penny's Beauty therapist tips

  • Stay open to learning all the time.
  • Stick to your goals.

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Beauty therapist salary

  • A newly-qualified beauty therapist could start on around £13,500.
  • More experienced technicians can earn up to £16,500.
  • If you move into management or set up your own salon, you can earn up to £25,000.

Beauty therapist career

  • Beauty therapists usually do a beauty therapy course for one or two years full time before training in specialist areas. Qualifications include NVQs/SVQs Levels 1 to 3 in Beauty Therapy, NVQ Level 3 in Spa Therapy, a BTEC national diploma, SQA national certificate modules, Vocational Training Charitable Trust (VTCT) awards, Vocational Awards International (IHBC, IIHHT), International Therapy Examination Council (ITEC) awards, a City & Guilds certificate, a HNC/HND in Beauty Therapy, degrees in beauty therapy or cosmetic science, City & Guilds specialist awards and a Guild Training Institute (GTI) certificate.
  • Some private beauty schools offer qualifications from the Confederation of International Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology (CIBTAC), the international examination board of BABTAC (British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology Ltd).
  • Advanced Apprenticeships are available in Beauty Therapy. They lead to NVQ/SVQ Level 3.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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