How to Become a Beauty Therapist

Rugilė Uždavinytė
4 minutes
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A beauty therapist or beautician is a licensed professional that can perform various treatments and use specific substances in order to improve facial and body aesthetics for their customers. As beauty therapists perform procedures that could be harmful if done improperly, most countries have minimum education requirements or state licensing.

Beauty therapists can be separated into several categories with facial treatment experts being the most popular. Other beauty professionals focus more on more niche areas such as hair removal or full body treatments. Each of these areas have their own challenges and require unique skills.

What does a beauty therapist do?

While there are nearly an infinite amount of various beauty therapy treatments a professional can do, most of them revolve around several main areas:

  • Performing hair removal from the face or body.
  • Performing nail uplifts such as manicure and pedicure.
  • Giving massages.
  • Performing spray tanning or tan support procedures.
  • Applying makeup for special occasions such as weddings or photoshoots.
  • Treating minor skin conditions such as redness, irritation, or itchiness.
  • Performing facial uplift procedures such as hyaluronic acid injections.

It should be noted, however, that what a specific beauty therapy expert may do will be highly dependent upon the salon and area they work in. Additionally, extra qualifications may be required to perform procedures such as injections or uplifts as these usually deal with substances that require infection control and careful usage.

Becoming a beauty therapist in 4 steps

In almost all countries and states some level of education will be required before one can legally perform beauty therapy. It is highly recommended to read up on your local laws, state license requirements, and consult with professionals as this guide may not be applicable in your area.

1. Get a high school diploma

A high school diploma will likely be required everywhere where beauty therapy is a licensed activity. Most further training programs and courses will be reliant on the basic education provided by the school system.

In some countries, it may not be required to go through the entire curriculum as it may be possible to enter specialized education programs before finishing 12th grade. Additionally, as beauty therapists are trade-based specialists, few countries will have university or similar higher education courses for the area. It is likely that you will find specialized education programs for beauty therapists in a trade (or vocational) school equivalent, which is your next step.

2. Get into a specialized education program

Almost all countries and states will ask professionals to go through a specialized education program before providing any sort of license. Even apprenticeships will often be gated behind vocational school curriculum, so it’s likely that beauty therapists in your country have gone through the courses and received a diploma.

Additionally, these specialized education programs may be dedicated or focused towards a specific field of beauty therapy, meaning you may need to make a choice yourself during studies into which area you’d like to head into.

3. Apply for apprenticeship

Steps two and three may not necessarily come one after the other. Many beauty therapists continue their vocational studies while being apprentices, so it’s usually a great idea to look for apprenticeship programs before finishing your specialized education.

Additionally, apprenticeship is one of the areas that may differ the most between countries. Practical experience requirements for beauty therapists can range from barely anything to numerous years under a licensed expert. Even if your country doesn’t require an apprenticeship for beauty therapy, it’s still highly recommended to undergo such a program.

4. Earn your license

Another area where beauty therapy professionals may find highly differing requirements is actually getting the license. There will likely be age, education, and apprenticeship year requirements, however, these may differ wildly between states and countries.

Even so, most countries and states will have a written and practical skills exam for beauty therapists. Additionally, dedicated courses may be required for more complicated beauty therapy treatments such as injections or peels.

What are the job prospects for beauty therapists?

While the beauty industry isn’t the most lucrative for customer-serving professionals, it’s still entirely possible to earn a living by performing beauty treatments. According to Indeed, beauticians in the US make an average of $17.33 per hour or a total of $25 to $30 thousand per year. 

Yet, these ranges should be considered as the average beauty therapists rate, not what is possible with many years of experience. There are salons where beauticians with great customer service skills may earn $70 000 per year or even more.

A lot of the net salary for beauty specialists, regardless of position or specialization will depend on time management skills. Being able to attract and book in as many customers as possible without sacrificing quality will have the greatest impact on total income in the long run.

Finally, the beauty industry can be quite lucrative for those that are able to rise to the top. These procedures are growing in popularity with various celebrities and other famous people opting to go through them on a regular basis. If a beauty therapist can acquire these highest class clients, the overall rates can surpass those of experts in many other industries.

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