Beauty therapy careers: how to get started

Looking for a career that makes you look good?

If you’re a people person with an ability to communicate effectively with all kinds of people (and make them look and feel good at the same time), a career in beauty therapy could be for you. But what do you need to get started?

We spoke to The International Career Institute (ICI), an independent provider of over 50 distance learning courses, to find out their top tips on how to break into the beauty industry:


What jobs can I get in the beauty industry?

Firstly, you need to decide which area of beauty therapy suits you best.

Whilst some roles will cover beauty therapy on a wider scale, allowing you to offer a variation of treatments, others allow you to specialise in certain areas of the field – including everything from make-up to nails.

Here are a few of the main careers within beauty therapy, and what they entail:

Beauty Therapist – you’ll provide a range of general beauty treatments, including facials, waxing, manicures/pedicures, basic make up, and more.

Lash Technician – you’ll specialise in eye treatments, including lash extensions, lash/brow tinting, and eyebrow shaping.

Nail Technician – you’ll specialise in nail based treatments, from natural nail manicures and pedicures, to nail extensions and nail art.

Make-Up Artist – you’ll specialise in all kinds of make-up treatments, whether it’s for weddings or other special occasions, or fashion, theatre, or even special effects.

Massage Therapist – you’ll specialise in massage therapy, offering a range of treatments – and sometimes using ear candles or aromatherapy.


What experience do I need?

If you’re looking to break into the beauty industry, gaining some relevant work experience is a good way to get your foot in the door.

Not only will it help you to improve your practical abilities and stand out to employers, it could also help you decide whether beauty therapy is for you – and which specialism suits you best.

This doesn’t mean you need to secure a role as a Beauty Therapist straight away. There are a number of apprenticeships, internships, and volunteering opportunities at salons and spas that allow you to work and learn at the same time.

Starting out as a Beauty Therapy Assistant is also a great way to get started, and will allow you to work your way up and study for a qualification on the job.


How can I stand out?

You’ll need more than just a keen interest in all things beauty to find work in this industry.

In addition to knowing the difference between [insert beauty products here], you’ll also need excellent communication skills, patience, sensitivity, and attention to detail. Manual dexterity (to ensure your lip liner skills are ON POINT) is also essential.

Once you’re sure you have the essential skills and attributes to start a career in beauty therapy, you just need to market them.

This is where your CV and cover letter comes in. Make sure it’s not just up-to-date, but also only includes your most relevant skills and experience. Ones that employers in the beauty industry are looking for.

Providing examples to back up your skills (whether it’s from your hobbies, education, or anything else) is also vital when it comes to showing how you’re a good fit.


Where can I work as a beauty therapist?

You can find a beauty therapy career in a number of environments, from salons and beauty clinics, to health spas, hotels, or even cruise ships.

However, it’s also common for these roles to be self-employed, where you’ll work from your own home or travel to clients’ homes.


What qualifications do I need?

Most Beauty Therapist roles will require you to gain Level 2 and 3 NVQ qualifications.

However, some salons will allow you to study while you work, meaning you don’t necessarily need to get qualified before you can secure a position.

Taking courses within the beauty therapy sector, such as a Beauty Therapy Diploma, is also a great way to learn more about the industry, and give yourself a head-start into a career.

Providing modules in every single area of the industry, courses like this will allow you to weigh up your options, learn a broad spectrum of skills, boost your employability, and figure out what area of beauty therapy suits you best. And, with many providing the ability to study entirely online and at your own pace, you’ll be able to make it work around you.

There are also number of specialised courses that will allow you to find work in a specific area of the industry – for example, hairdressing or massage therapy.


Why study with the International Career Institute (ICI)?

The International Career Institute (ICI) is an independent provider of over 50 distance learning courses.

Not only are they a recognised leader in their field, all of ICI’s courses have been developed in consultation with employers and industry practitioners – making them the perfect tool to boost your career.

What’s more, ICI is on the UK Register of Learning Providers and is accredited by the International Approval and Registration Centre (IARC) as well as the International Association of Private Career College (IAPCC).

Other benefits of studying with ICI include:

  • Interest-free payment plans
  • One of the oldest and largest providers of distance learning
  • Access to a tutor that specialises in your industry
  • Study at your own pace via distance learning
  • Employment assistance upon graduation



Find out more



Ready to start studying? Find a beauty therapy course with ICI today.



 International Career Institute are an independent provider of distance learning courses, offering qualifications in beauty therapy, nursing, counselling, and much more. 



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