How To Become an Esthetician in the UK

Estheticians are also called skincare specialists. They assess the condition of a client’s skin and provide treatments to support its health and appearance. To become an esthetician in the UK, expect to complete a level 2 or level 3 diploma in beauty therapy before you can qualify to practice. As part of such a course, you will choose to specialise in skincare and undertake modules in providing facial electrical treatments.

There is much more flexibility and choice around where to work and what kind of clients you serve as a licensed esthetician than compared with a skincare specialist. As a result, many people moving to work in the UK from overseas choose to become licensed as a skincare specialist instead of as an esthetician, providing they meet certain conditions. Working as an esthetician also involves having a wide base of knowledge about skin conditions, facial massage, cleansing, exfoliation, masks and restoring hydration, so be prepared to learn a lot if you choose this career step!

1. Education and Training Requirements

Those who wish to become estheticians must typically complete a course of study at an esthetics or cosmetology school. Students in all states must obtain a license after completing a state-approved training program. Although a high school diploma or equivalent is usually required for admission to a training program, in some cases, students may be able to enroll without it (US Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Because a state license is required, most programs will also require students to be at least 16 years old. Much of the coursework in an esthetician training program is dedicated to teaching students how to provide a variety of skin treatments. Common subjects of study included in training programs are: Anatomy, physiology, and nutrition of the skin: this is the most important aspect of any esthetician training program as it is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the skin and its health so that they can identify any problems.

Chemical treatments and exfoliation: coursework often includes a thorough examination of different types of exfoliation, such as mechanical and chemical, and students will be expected to comprehend how the skin might react to potential treatments. Hygiene and first aid: this is designed to ensure that students conduct treatments in a safe manner and that any accidents or adverse reactions can be dealt with appropriately.

Client care: as well as providing practical experience, esthetician training programs are designed to develop the rapport-building skills needed to support clients through treatment; this is frequently offered as part of a practicing, lab-style class.

Laser training: an increasingly important part of many esthetician training programs, laser or light-based treatments for skin conditions are now often included in the coursework offered. Many programs designate a focal area of study, such as a specific type of esthetician work (for example, skin care, facial treatment, or waxing) or licensure.

While students will receive a well-rounded qualification which allows for different career paths, some esthetician training programs might offer special certification in a niche area. Programs usually take at least several months to finish, but some may take longer, depending on the content and the number of class hours required.

Work experience requirement varies by state but many programs provide students with the opportunity to gain experience working with real clients as part of their study, under the supervision of program instructors.

2. Licensing and Certification Process

It is not enough to find an esthetician school in the UK and complete the necessary training. After meeting esthetician school requirements, you need to apply for a state license to practice. In addition to choosing the right grooming school, ensure that it is in a location where you can also have plenty of support from prospective employers.

The first step begins by completing a recognized program. The licensing authorities need to be sure that you have mastered the necessary skills and theory work before they give you a professional license. All states have their own certification and professional licensing requirements. However, they share the same minimum hours training requirement. You will need to complete at least 600 hours of tuition before you can apply for a license.

Most students complete these training hours and additional qualifications within an 18 month period. Students receive certificates to confirm each stage of their training after successfully passing a small test in each respective area – for example, skin care or make up. It is a compulsory requirement, meaning all your training must be conducted in a local, licensed school. Work based or online learning will not satisfy the minimum hour training requirements needed for a professional license.

After fulfilling all the examination and completion criteria, you are now able to apply for a professional esthetician’s license, permitting you to practice in the state. Professional license is a legal requirement and authorities checks are routinely made to ensure that all those working within the industry have up to date certification. Educated Therapists are often pursuing further career in teaching or advanced clinical work. As a result, many beauty schools provide more focused qualifications in addition to entry level programs.

Licensure requirements for these advanced esthetician programs may differ from the standard. However, for entry level programs, students must complete 600 hours worth of training within a licensed location.

3. Job Opportunities and Career Outlook

Manicurist and pedicurist careers were expected to grow by a whopping 13 percent from 2016 to 2026, a much faster rate than most other professions. People are spending more money on self-care and preventative foot and hand care. Especially as the population continues to age, more elderly people will continue to seek out nail treatments to help them remain healthy and active.

Jobs for skincare specialists, including estheticians, were projected to increase by an impressive 14 percent from 2016 to 2026 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most of this growth is due to the rise in popularity of skincare and body treatment! From 2017 to 2024, the number of jobs in the beauty industry was projected to grow by a healthy 13%.

There is a growing need for skincare services across the UK, and beauty employers are struggling to recruit for highest demand occupations, a list which beauty and spa therapists are included on. Spa therapist careers were predicted to increase by a substantial 20 percent from 2016 to 2026. As mentioned above, the demand for personalized and preventative skincare services and treatments is predicted to increase therefore the opportunity for work for newly qualified and established therapists are set to rise together – good news all round!

The prospects for newly qualified therapists are encouraging with around 87% of graduates going into employment or further study within 6 months of finishing their course. Also, there are opportunities to travel with this career- take a look at the CIDESCO website for some of the fantastic establishments where your qualification could take you!

4. Specializations in Esthetics

There are many areas in which an esthetician may choose to specialize, and the specific specializations available often vary by the regulations for estheticians practiced in individual countries. In the United Kingdom, many estheticians choose to pursue specializations such as micropigmentation, advanced skin study, and holistic therapies.

Micropigmentation is a technique used to apply permanent makeup to the skin in the form of eye lining, lip lining, and color washes to the cheek and mouth areas. Estheticians who specialize in micropigmentation must complete a separate education and training program before they are allowed to perform these types of procedures. Advanced skin study specializes in the use of more invasive therapies than those that are traditionally used by estheticians.

Specializations such as advanced electrolysis and microdermabrasion, as well as the use of laser and intense pulsed light therapy are commonly included in an advanced skin study curriculum. In general, estheticians who specialize in advanced skin study work closely with medical professionals and provide care for individuals with a variety of skin conditions, such as acne or rosacea.

Unlike either complete medical estheticians or dermatologist, esthetician specialists working with advanced skin study provide only nonsurgical, noninvasive aesthetic services. Holistic therapies is the final specialization that was highlighted by a UK esthetician. Holistic therapies, according to the article “Holistic Therapies for Estheticians,” focus on “treating each individual as a whole, including their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.”

These types of estheticians use alternative treatments, such as aromatherapy, reflexology, and stress relief, as part of their service offerings and help their clients to manage skin conditions by providing counseling and emotional support, as well as treatment for the physical appearance of skin conditions.

5. Continuing Education and Professional Development

Esthetician licenses in the United Kingdom expire after three years, so the esthetician is responsible for ensuring that they have completed a required number of continuing education hours in order to renew their license. The minimum amount of hours required for continuing education is 600 hours (i.e. 200 hours per year) over a 3 year period. It is a good thing to check on the local laws and regulations, as this number varies from state to state.

There are a number of different types of continuing education courses that an esthetician can take. Some may choose to advance their skills in esthetics so that they can provide their clients with a wider array of services. For example, they may choose to specialize in advanced courses in microdermabrasion, chemical peels, or laser therapy. Other estheticians might choose to specialize in holistic health services and would take courses in aromatherapy, reflexology, and other spa therapies.

Additionally, there are courses in education, business, and marketing that can help to prepare the esthetician for a career of training other skin care professionals, owning their own spa, or advancing to a position in management. It is important for estheticians to stay current in the field, as continuing education not only helps to improve their practice, but it can also open the door to many new opportunities.

Well-seasoned estheticians who have a desire to transition to a role of educator or corporate esthetician generally must have a certain number of teaching or field work hours to qualify for a license in a specialized area. By researching the continuing education requirements of specific related careers, an esthetician can prepare themselves early in their career, rather than having to complete further schooling and hours later.

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