Which is the best beauty therapy qualification?

Updated April 17, 2017

Beauty therapy training is intended to provide students with an advanced level of comprehension and skills. The curriculum and instruction of the programme aim to acquaint the students with the concept of overall well-being with the client looked at as a whole. A beauty therapist's qualifications reflect a specific level of training, knowledge and practice. The best beauty therapy qualifications are those obtained from the most prominent associations in the field.


There are a number of different qualifications in beauty therapy, including various certifications and degrees. Many European countries assess a practitioner's skills through the National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs). The NVQs are broken down into level. A higher lever signifies the amount of instruction, education and practice that the individual has undergone. Completion times of the programmes vary according to the qualification that is being acquired as well as the location of the programme. The Comite International D'Esthetique De Cosmetologie (CIDESCO) was established in 1949 to advance the professional competency and value of beauty therapists, as well as to create a solid relationship between the therapists and other practitioners in closely related fields. According to the CIDESCO website, "The CIDESCO diploma is the world's most prestigious qualification in the field of aesthetics and beauty therapy. There are over 160 CIDESCO schools around the world teaching to the internationally acclaimed CIDESCO standards." See the Resources section for a link. The International Therapy Examination Council (ITEC) offers qualifications in beauty therapy that are recognised worldwide. The Confederation of International Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology (CIBTAC) have a distinguished reputation, only granting accreditation to schools that meet all of its requirements. Generally in the United States a programme can take anywhere from one to three years to complete, and it is generally a cosmetology/beauty school or vocational programme. Upon completion an individual earns a certification which indicates that she has been trained in the relevant beauty skills and practices and is equipped to work with clients from a specialised standpoint.


A majority of beauty therapists declare one area of expertise, such as massage therapy, beauty consulting, hairdressing and cosmetology, and then seek membership and certification from the related professional group. For example there is the National Cosmetology Association, American Massage Therapy Association and the Professional Beauty Association. In order to obtain membership in one of the above, a beauty therapist is required to meet specific prerequisites. This may include a certain amount of hours of practice and the number of relevant credits acquired.


A quality training programme in beauty therapy stresses the importance of what is behind a client's beauty and maintenance preferences. For example, if part of the instruction includes facials and skin care, the therapist would not only learn how to provide those services, she would additionally be able to help her client understand what condition her skin was in and why it was in that condition. If a person was suffering from a severe breakout, the therapist might inquire about nutrition, health conditions or other factors that could potentially be the cause of skin disturbance. Afterward, she would advise her client on simple lifestyle changes (like eating habits) that could help to improve the quality of the complexion. An oncology practice may hire a beauty therapist to be available to patients' undergoing chemotherapy or radiation. The side effects of these treatments can take a toll on a person both mentally and psychically. Aside from hair loss there are a number of different symptoms that can be experienced. A beauty therapist would help the client with things like make-up application or give a hair consultation. Apart from the obvious benefits, she would help the patient understand why her appearance may be changing and more importantly, how to deal with those effects.


The goal of a beauty therapist is to support and improve a person's inner peace, which is followed by an enhancement of the external appearance. Services such as hairstyling, nail care and facial treatments, are intended to increase the way a client feels about herself. A beauty therapist creates specifically tailored regiments and services that are centred on the needs of a particular individual. That being said, it is important to understand that there are many different types of therapists, who receive training in specific areas. A mental health therapist would focus on a client's needs or troubles in the psychological arena. She/he would not dispense beauty advice or administer cosmetic-based treatments to her/his patients. Along the same lines, a beauty therapist is not qualified or trained to assess an individual's mental health. Each field of therapy requires different qualifications and training.


If you are looking to pursue a career in beauty therapy it is important to make sure that the programme you are enrolling in is up to industry standards and is able to equip you with all of the necessary qualifications. It is a good idea to contact someone who is in the field and inquire about how she went about obtaining the necessary qualifications for the job. If there is a specific place or environment that you would ideally like to work in, contact the employer and ask what specific qualifications he/she requires his/her employees to have.

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About the Author

Serena Spinello holds two master’s degrees and is pursuing her Ph.D. in medical science. She has been a professional writer and researcher for over 10 years and is an active member of the American Medical Writers Association, Academy of Medical Educators, and the National Association of Social Workers.