staff at Bristol Beauty scool explain the difference between the various qualifications and routes to a career as a beauty therapist

What qualifications do I need to work as a beauty therapist?

Beauty therapist qualifications and training course options explained.

There are many routes to a successful career as a professional beauty therapist and a range of beauty therapist qualifications on offer. Here we’ll help you to decide which course is right for you whether it’s ABT short beauty courses which focus on learning a specific beauty treatment on a day long course, or longer VTCT and NVQ courses that take place over several days or weeks and cover a wider and more in-depth range of beauty skills within the same course.

Beauty therapy is becoming a much bigger and more accessible field of work nowadays, and, whilst it’s great to see so many people following their passions in the beauty industry, getting the right training is crucial to feeling confident and inspired about your future career.

When you become a beauty therapist, you are training professionally in expert face and body care, and often have a great amount of trust placed in you by your clients to treat and look after them professionally. You can train in a wide range of different treatments, or you can specialise in particular treatments, such as massage or waxing, for example.

students on ABT, NVQ and VTCT training courses at Brsitol Beauty School After training, you can decide the type of environment you would like to work in; many students decide to start their own businesses running their own home or mobile salon, but there is also the option to go into an existing salon and work with other beauty therapists or hair technicians.

When it comes to picking the right training course to get you started, navigating the world of beauty courses can be difficult at the best of times. With ABT, NVQ and VTCT course options available, it’s hard to know exactly which one is right for you, and which is going to give you the progression you’re looking for.

At Bristol Beauty School, we pride ourselves on taking the stress and complication out of the mix and giving you the essential facts that will allow you to know exactly which route you should go down. Here is a breakdown of the benefits of each of type of course…

What are the benefits of doing an ABT Beauty Course?

ABT stands for Associated Beauty Therapists and is a training course accreditation. All of our short courses are ABT accredited.

  • All courses are approved and accredited so you can confidently move forward in your business.
  • You will receive a certificate that is insurable in the UK so you can work professionally.
  • Course lengths and durations are shorter as we focus on one specific beauty skill per course, making the courses easy to fit in around your work and lifestyle.
  • Prices are more affordable due to concise course times.
  • You can fit these mini courses in around your current working schedule as they are usually no more than one day per course.
  • Flexible study allows you to balance training with working yourself as a beauty therapist at home or as a mobile therapist.
  • Perfect for beginners looking to ‘dip their toe in the water’ and find out if they will enjoy training as a Beauty therapist.
  • Ideal for working beauty professionals wanting to offer a wider range of treatments to their clients.

Our next upcoming ABT accredited courses: Eyelash Lifting, Russian Volume Lash Extensions, Eyebrow Lamination

See all upcoming course dates >>

What are the benefits of doing a VTCT beauty course?

VTCT stands for Vocational Training Charity Trust and is a worldwide recognised, Ofqual registered accreditation. We currently run two VTCT courses in Facial & Skincare.

  • These courses are recognised nationally and internationally.
  • This qualification is highly sought after in the beauty industry due to the depth of knowledge. acquired and experience gained once trained, which therefore boosts your employability.
  • Offers a potential to work to a higher level – you can train in Level 2 & Level 3 Facial and Skincare courses with us.
  • These courses are more in depth, with a longer running time (usually over the course of a few days).
  • Prices are higher due to longer course length and more in depth, detailed training given.
  • A great foundation for beginners looking to start their career and for professionals looking to build on their existing knowledge

See our upcoming VTCT accredited courses >>

Do I need an NVQ qualification to work as a beauty therapist?

An NVQ stands for National Vocational Qualification and is a type of qualification offered within VTCT accreditation. These qualifications are usually completed within the workplace and assess your ability to actually do the job.

While a Beauty Therapy NVQ can be requested by salons and employers in the beauty industry you do not need an NVQ to work as a Beauty Therapist in the UK and you can opt for the ABT or VTCT course routes above to obtain the appropriate insurance and work professionally.

We run both a Level 2 and Level 3 Beauty Therapy Diploma at Bristol Beauty School which are offered as 14 week fast-track courses with small groups and hands on, focused sessions to enhance learning, this is in contrast to the longer courses at further education colleges where class sizes are much bigger so the courses take longer. This is a great option for you if you want to learn a range of beauty skills, get started as a professional beauty therapist more quickly and you are looking to gain a UK and internationally recognised, holistic beauty qualification. Topics studied throughout the 14 week period…

  • Facials and skincare
  • Lash and brow tinting /shaping
  • Waxing
  • Manicure
  • Pedicure
  • Makeup
  • Client care
  • Salon duties

See our next upcoming NVQ course: Level 2 Beauty Therapy Diploma {September 22 – February 23}

See all upcoming course dates for ABT, VTVT and NVQ >>

Do you have questions about any the beauty course options above and which would be best for you?

Perhaps you’d like to chat about how to start your career as a beauty therapist?

Or maybe you are already working in the beauty industry, and you’d like some advice on how best to develop your career in the future?

Drop us an email to: and we’ll get back to you to arrange a suitable time to chat!

Covid & what to expect at Bristol Beauty School

Covid & What to Expect at Bristol Beauty School

Wow, what a crazy few months this has been! It has certainly been a scary, uncertain and unprecedented time, but we hope you’ve all managed to stay at home and stay safe during this period, and that you’re now enjoying more of a return to normality with the further easing of lockdown after 13th July.

Firstly, we’d like to say to all of our lovely students-to-be who booked one of our courses pre-lockdown – don’t panic! Your places and payments are all completely secure, and your course will be rescheduled as soon as we are able to reopen fully.

Keep checking our social media for more information about when that might be, and in the meantime we will be sending emails advising you as soon as we can. For those of wishing to make bookings from today, if Covid-19 restrictions don’t allow us to go ahead, these bookings will be honoured, so you can continue to book in confidence.

covid 19 precautions at Bristol Beauty SchoolWhilst we’re totally gutted, we weren’t able to offer our full amount of courses, and as much as we can’t wait to see you all again, we completely understand the extra precautions that need to be taken before we can get back to teaching you. As we wait for the go-ahead, we have been and will be busy working hard behind the scenes to ensure all of the students that visit Bristol Beauty School feel confident to go ahead with their training in a safe and secure space.

It might take a bit of getting used to, and we imagine you all feel the same, but we’re committed to making this transition as easy as possible for everyone looking to train with us. As we mentioned, we have now put some new Health & Safety terms in place – read below to hear from Jane about exactly what you can expect once we reopen. You can also find some more information below about our potential online training opportunities, and the option to register your interest going forward.

What to expect when you come for your Training Course

Please read through Bristol Beauty School’s policy now in place to help reduce the spread of the Covid-19 virus yet allow us to work safely, as well as look after you and the team.

  1. Please come to your training course alone and not with friends or family who wish to wait for you unless we advise you differently. We are restricting places and setting a maximum number for each course to reduce the amount of people in the school at one time. We will not be allowing children to visit the School.
  2. The school has allowed for social distancing as much as possible with limited workstations to allow space.
  3. We will continue our Health and Safety and hygiene policy throughout the school, and we expect all students to arrive wearing a mask to keep on during your visit, we will also be wearing them.
  4. We will restrict and minimise numbers for each course to reduce the amount of people in the school at one time.
  5. All students are required to wash their hands on arrival and as they leave. We have plenty of hand gel at each station.
  6. Please bring your own drinks / refreshments and take bottles and cups home with you after your visit.
  7. We will be sending you a training manual for your training via email prior to the training day, you can print off if you like to bring along. Please bring your own notebooks, paper to write on and pens.
  8. Please leave coats and bags in your car to keep the space safe. Only bring what you need into the training room.
  9. The well-being of our team and students is paramount, if we are advised to restrict even more towards the end of this lock down then please expect more restrictions to be placed and rescheduling of your training course.
  10. Any student who is experiencing any symptoms of ill health of any kind will not be able to visit us and must rearrange their appointment in enough time. If you have a booked Training course and don’t feel well enough to attend, please call /email to inform us of the situation at least 48 hours before the training day where possible.

If you are classed as high risk / have any underlying health issues, please follow the government guidelines before making a booking at the salon.

Thank you for all your support and patience during this time. We are really looking forward to welcoming you back to Bristol Beauty School.

As always, we’d love to know what you’ve been up to during this time – so do come over and tell us on our Social Platforms. You can find us at Bristol Beauty School on both Facebook and Instagram, and we would love to hear from you.

Best wishes,

Jane Vickers

See the dates for our our upcoming beauty courses