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!