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Beauty therapist

Beauty therapists carry out face and body treatments to help clients look and feel better.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £15,000 to £20,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

To become a fully qualified beauty therapist, you’ll usually need to complete a college qualification in beauty therapy. 

You could start as an assistant in a salon or spa and study for qualifications on the job, or do a full-time or part-time college course while looking for work. 

You could also train with a private beauty school.

CIBTAC and CIDESCO have more information about studying for beauty therapy qualifications.

The Hairdressing and Beauty Industry Authority (HABIA) has more information about careers in beauty therapy.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • a friendly and welcoming manner
  • the ability to make clients feel relaxed
  • the ability to explain procedures clearly to clients
  • tact and diplomacy
  • the ability to sell products and earn commission
  • business awareness if you’re self-employed

3. What you'll do

You’ll provide a range of face and body treatments. Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • giving a facial by cleansing, massaging and toning a client’s skin
  • giving a makeover by applying and advising on make-up
  • shaping eyebrows and colouring eyelashes
  • giving a manicure, pedicure or other nail treatment like extensions and nail art
  • removing unwanted facial and body hair
  • giving electro-therapy treatments to improve body tone and shape
  • giving non-surgical skin improvement treatments
  • offering UV (ultraviolet) and spray tanning

You may offer other treatments like massage, aromatherapy, hydrotherapy and reflexology.

As well as carrying out treatments, you may also:

  • answer the telephone and greet clients
  • book appointments
  • check and order supplies
  • keep notes of clients’ medical histories and treatment programmes
  • refer clients to a doctor if needed

4. Salary

Starter: £15,000

Experienced: £17,000

Highly Experienced: £20,000 or more (Salon managers)

You may also get tips, and be paid extra for products you sell in the salon. 

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work from 9am to 5pm, including Saturdays. Some salons offer evening appointments.

You could work in a high street salon or beauty clinic, health spa, hotel, or on a cruise ship. You could also be self-employed, working from home or visiting clients in their own homes.

You may spend a lot of your time standing. You may need to have colour normal vision.

6. Career path and progression

With experience you could progress to salon manager.

You could become self-employed and get your own salon, work from home or travel to clients.

You could also move into fashion, theatre or media make-up.

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Last updated: 08 December 2016