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Beauty Therapist

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A beauty therapist is a professional who specializes in a range of beauty treatments.

This is a broad category of services, and it encompasses most treatments you’d receive at a salon.

It includes hairdressing, nail care, and skin care.

Beauty therapists can also provide massages, trim eyebrows, and other similar services.

Does this appeal to you?

In this guide, I’ll talk about everything you need to know about a career in beauty therapy.

Beauty Therapist: The Basics

People often confuse beauty therapists with aestheticians, cosmetologists, or beauticians.

These fields are all similar because they relate to a person’s physical appearance.

All of these professionals are qualified to provide the same basic services.

For example, you could consult any of them for advice on healthy skin care.

That said, each field also has its unique focus.

What is a Beauty Therapist?

A beauty therapist is an expert on many beauty treatments for the face and body.

These treatments cover a broad range, but all have the same role: making the client as beautiful as possible.

What Does a Beauty Therapist Do?

Besides basic salon services, beauty therapists often branch off into a specialty.

Common specializations include cosmetic injections, derma therapy, laser therapy, and reflexology.

You can increase your earnings by specializing and building a reputation for a particular treatment.

Work Opportunities in the Beauty Therapist Industry

Since beauty therapy encompasses so many fields, there’s no shortage of work opportunities.

image showing a beauty therapist massaging a woman's shoulders

Beauty Therapist Job Description

A beauty therapist can perform any number of services.

Specifically, they should be competent at hair removal, facial treatments, and lash and eyebrow treatments.

They’re also qualified to provide nail treatments and massage therapy.

While a particular therapist may offer more services, these are a beauty therapist’s core competencies.

Top Beauty Therapist Jobs and Careers

Besides providing general services, a beauty therapist can also specialize.

Many professionals move into a particular specialization because it’s something they’re passionate about.

For example, someone with a passion for makeup might specialize in makeup applications.

Other common specializations include:

  • Facial treatments
  • Nail treatments
  • Massage therapy

Where Can a Beauty Therapist Work?

A beauty therapist can work just about anywhere.

A salon is an obvious choice that comes to mind.

However, there are plenty of other opportunities.

Most hotels and resorts have beauty therapists on their staff.

Many beauty therapists get their start by working from home.

You can even make house calls to your clients.

Current Career Job Openings

As I mentioned above, the beauty industry is booming.

Here are just a few jobs that are open right now.

What It’s Like to Be a Beauty Therapist

If you’re considering a career in beauty therapy, you probably have some questions.

First and foremost, what is it like to be a beauty therapist?

Here’s a broad overview.

Is Being a Beauty Therapist Hard?

Generally speaking, no.

Like any career, though, it requires study and practice.

You don’t become an expert makeup artist or pedicure specialist overnight.

You have to hone your skills.

You also need to have a passion for what you’re doing.

Otherwise, like any job, it will become tedious.

Is a Beauty Therapist Job Stressful?

Yes and no.

The work itself isn’t stressful, particularly if it’s something you enjoy.

That said, you’re going to be working with the public.

From time to time, you’ll run into unpleasant or demanding clients.

Common Beauty Therapist Work Day

A beauty therapist’s work day will vary depending on where they work.

It will also depend on whether they’re specialists or provide more general services.

Beauty Therapist Tasks & Duties

A beauty therapist will have some or all of the following responsibilities:

  • Performing face and skin treatments such as exfoliation, cleansing, and facials.
  • Providing manicures and pedicures.
  • Removing unwanted face or body hair.
    This can involve waxing, threading, or other methods.
  • Advising customers on the proper use of makeup and other beauty products.
  • Providing massage therapy services.
  • Applying makeup for bridal parties, models, and special occasions.
  • Providing artificial or UV tanning services.
  • Encouraging customers to buy products from the salon.
  • Making appointments and attracting new clients.
  • Working a cash register and processing customer payments.

Beauty Therapist Work Hours & Schedule

Most beauty therapists work on a regular schedule.

However, therapists at salons or resorts may have to work odd hours.

Beauty Therapist Dress Code

Beauty therapists typically wear a smock or other covering while providing treatments.

Underneath, business casual is the norm.

Does This Career Field Embrace Work/Life Balance?

Yes, especially if you’re freelancing.

As a solo beauty therapist, you can set your own schedule.

Beauty Therapist Salary & Income

Another thing you probably want to know is how much you can earn.

What do beauty therapists make?

A beauty therapist’s pay will vary based on their experience, local demand, and cost of living.

However, the majority earn a solid middle-class income, and sometimes a little better.

How Much Do Beauty Therapists Make?

According to information from Glassdoor.com, the average US beauty therapist earns $60,769 per year in 2022.

This includes average wages of $41,059 per year, plus $19,710 per year in tips and other bonuses.

The same report shows a likely salary range of $38,000 to $123,000.

The lowest reported wage for a beauty therapist is $28,000, while the highest is $290,000.

Keep in mind that these numbers can be somewhat skewed.

That $290,000 beauty therapist probably works for A-list celebrities.

Overview of the Beauty Therapist Industry

The beauty industry is a growing field with plenty of room for opportunity.

Here’s what you need to know about the business side of things.

image showing a beauty therapist doing a facial to a woman in a spa

Beauty Therapist Field: Career Progression

To become a beauty therapist, you first need to take a beauty therapy course.

This will get you the background knowledge you need to be successful.

While you’re studying, take the opportunity to practice. Work on friends and family.

If your community college has a program for students to work with the public, participate.

Once you’ve earned your state license, you can get a job at a beauty salon, or start working from home.

You can also take more classes to specialize in a particular type of treatment.

Is Beauty Therapist a Good Career?

If you’re passionate about beauty, yes!

Any career is good if you love what you’re doing.

Beauty Therapist Job Outlook

The job out for beauty therapists is excellent.

I pulled my data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) but had to use “Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists” as a proxy.

Demand for Beauty Therapists

According to the BLS, demand for hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists is expected to rise by 19%  by the year 2030.

They project that the overall job market will grow by 8% over the same period.

Beauty Therapist Facts

  • Texas employs more hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists than any other state.
  • Delaware has the highest concentration of these professions.
  • Washington, DC pays the highest wages.

Jobs Related to Beauty Therapists

Requirements, Skills, and Education Required for Beauty Therapists

Like most lines of work, not everybody is well-suited to be a beauty therapist.

Here are the skills you’ll need and the standards you have to meet.

image showing a woman at a spa seeing a beauty therapist and carrying spa supplies in a room

Who Should Consider a Beauty Therapist Career Path?

First and foremost, you need to be enthusiastic about making people beautiful.

You also need to be good at working with the public.

Who Should NOT Consider a Beauty Therapist Career Path?

If you’re not passionate about beauty, you shouldn’t be a beauty therapist.

You should also think twice if you’re not comfortable serving the general public.

Is it Hard to Become a Beauty Therapist?

Not particularly.

However, it does take study and practice.

What Do I Need to Become a Beauty Therapist?

To legally work as a beauty therapist, you’ll need to earn a state license.

Besides that, you’ll also have to meet some other basic requirements.

Requirements for Becoming a Beauty Therapist

Beauty therapists need to have a high school diploma.

In practice, you’ll probably have to start by freelancing if you don’t have a degree.

What Skills Does a Beauty Therapist Need?

A beauty therapist needs to have good communication skills.

You also need to maintain a professional appearance.

What Education Does a Beauty Therapist Need?

In most states, a beauty therapist must have a high school diploma.

Can You Become a Beauty Therapist Without a Degree?

Yes, but it’s a lot easier if you have an associate’s degree.

What Experience Does a Beauty Therapist Need?

A therapist with no degree needs around 3 to 5 years of experience before most salons will hire them.

Beauty Therapist Education & Schooling

To become a beauty therapist, you’ll want to earn an associate’s degree.

It also helps if you’re able to work while you study.

What is Taught in a Beauty Therapist Course?

Beauty therapist courses include both classroom work and hands-on learning.

How Long Does a Beauty Therapist Course Take?

Like most associate’s degrees, a beauty therapy education takes four semesters.

Beauty Therapist Education Options and Degree Programs

In the US, there are no beauty therapist education options above the associate’s level.

Bachelor’s Degree

Some beauty therapists may want to earn degrees in related fields like sports medicine or physical therapy.

But this is not required to become a therapist.

Master’s Degree

There are no relevant master’s degrees for beauty therapists.

Schools for Beauty Therapists

The best place to study beauty therapy is your local community college.

Costs are affordable, and most offer plenty of opportunities to practice.

Steps to Become a Beauty Therapist

First, you need to earn a high school diploma.

This is the bare minimum in most states.

After high school, you can try to earn your state certificate right away.

In practice, you’ll want to enroll in an associate’s degree program for aesthetics.

In some states, you can also choose to enter into an apprenticeship with a licensed beauty therapist.

Different states will have different requirements for education and experience.

Once you’ve met their standards, you’ll be ready to sit for the state license.

Frequently Asked Questions

image showing elements of a spa laid out

Does a Beauty Therapist do makeup?

Most of the time, yes.

Some only do basic makeup, while others specialize in makeup for special events.

Wrapping Up

A beauty therapist provides many services to help people maintain their appearance.

They treat nails, hair, and skin.

They provide advice on how people can care for themselves.

They even provide massage and hair removal services.

If all of this appeals to you, it’s easy to start.

There’s no shortage of open jobs, and training is as close as your local community college.

Now is a great time to start a career as a beauty therapist.

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