Beauty therapists specialise in skin and body care, including the hands and feet. They offer a wide range of treatments to improve clients’ appearance and to increase their sense of wellbeing.
You could be:
getting to know and understand your clients’ needs by completing a health questionnaire with them and discussing their answers
cleansing and toning the clients' skin using steam treatment, face packs and massage with special oils and creams
advising on and applying make-up, and giving eyebrow and eyelash treatment
carrying out specialist treatment on hands and feet (manicure and pedicure)
removing unwanted hair from the face and body using waxing, threading, electrolysis, laser or intense pulse light (IPL) treatments
offering nail treatments, including nail extensions and nail art
providing electrical treatments, such as microdermabrasion or vacuum suction, to parts of the body to improve muscle tone and skin condition
offering other specialist treatments, for example massage, aromatherapy, hydrotherapy, reflexology or spray tan application.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual salaries may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of the company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Starting salaries for beauty therapists in Scotland begin around £14,000 a year. Senior beauty therapists may earn from £20,000 to £25,000 a year. Tips and commission from the sale of products can supplement salaries.
Some employers, such as hotels, may offer live-in accommodation.
You will work in a clean and hygienic environment.
You usually work with one client at a time in a cubicle or private room. You might do manicure or pedicure work in an open area, alongside other staff and clients.
If you are self-employed you could be working from your own home or visiting clients' homes.
You would usually need to work some Saturdays and evenings.
You usually enter by taking a one or two year full time course at college.
The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) offers various levels of qualification: National Qualifications and Certificates (NQs and NCs), Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs), and Higher National Certificates and Diplomas (HNCs and HNDs). Entry varies from no formal entry requirements for some NQs and NCs to 2 Highers including English and a science subject (preferably Biology), or other relevant national qualifications at SCQF Level 5 or 6, for some HNDs.
Most employers expect entrants to hold an HND or minimum SVQ at SCQF Level 6 qualification.
There are SVQs at SCQF Levels 5-6, in Beauty Therapy. There are also SVQs at SCQF Level 6 in Spa and Massage Therapy and SVQs in Nail Services.
Depending on the treatments you provide, this can be a tiring job.
You should not be prone to allergies.
Jobcentres generally have a range of vacancies on offer. You could find work in spa therapy centres, hotels, beauty salons or on cruise liners.
excellent interpersonal skills for dealing with clients
some knowledge of human biology
good listening skills
an eye for detail
good artistic skills if specialising in areas like make-up, nail art or skin decoration.
You need to be:
able to build your clients’ confidence in your treatments
smartly dressed and well presented
tactful, patient and persuasive
There is a wide range of further training courses available to those who enter this area of work.
In addition to the SQA courses mentioned above, there are qualifications awarded by the following organisations: City and Guilds; Federation of Holistic Therapists; Hairdressing and Beauty Industry Authority (HABIA); Vocational Training Charitable Trust (VTCT); Scottish Therapy Academy; The Guild of Beauty Therapists.
Qualifications offered by the Confederation of International Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology (CIBTAC), the International Therapy Examination Council (ITEC) and the Comité International d’Esthétique et de Cosmétologie (CIDESCO) give you qualifications that are recognised all over the world.
Beauty therapists can also do further training in the field of complementary therapies and then offer treatments such as aromatherapy, reflexology, Reiki and Indian Head Massage.
With experience you can open your own salon.
If you are self-employed and provide electrolysis treatment, you must obtain a licence from the local authority you operate in.
You could move into sales and marketing in the beauty industry.
There may be opportunities in film and television work.
You could move into training or into teaching in colleges of further education.