What Is a Beauty Therapist? (With Career Steps and FAQs)

Updated 19 July 2023

Beauty therapists are professionals who provide skin care treatments and cosmetic services to clients. If you're interested in working with others and helping people feel their best, this could be a great opportunity for you. Learning more about this career, including the training requirements and helpful skills, could help you decide your next step. In this article, we answer ‘What is a beauty therapist?’ and provide important career information, including what beauty therapists do, how to become one, what skills they use and how much they make.

Related: Communication Skills: Definitions and Examples

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What is a beauty therapist?

A beauty therapist also called an aesthetician, is a professional who provides cosmetic services, beauty treatments and relaxation techniques. They often work in spas or salon settings. They can also work for retail stores or cosmetic companies. Some beauty therapists work independently, offering mobile services or operating independent spas.

Related: 46 Beauty Therapist Interview Questions (and Sample Answers)

What does a beauty therapist do?

A beauty therapist provides non-medical skincare and cosmetic services for clients. They may specialise in one type of service or perform a variety depending on their employer and training. Common services they may offer include the following:

  • facials

  • microdermabrasion procedures

  • chemical peels

  • laser resurfacing procedures

  • light therapy treatments

  • hot stone massages

  • body wraps

  • temporary and permanent hair removal procedures

  • massages

  • manicures and pedicures

  • makeup applications

  • aromatherapy treatments

  • moisturising treatments.

Related: How to Become a Massage Therapist (Skills and Qualifications)

What are a beauty therapist's responsibilities?

A beauty therapist's responsibilities can vary depending upon their training, employer and specialisation.

Common duties can include the following:

  • analysing a client's skin to determine a cosmetic or skincare treatment plan

  • creating a personalised skincare process for clients and recommending products

  • giving manicures or pedicures to clients

  • performing treatments to promote relaxation, such as massages or body wraps

  • conducting temporary or permanent hair removal using specialised wax, thread or equipment

  • shaping a client's eyebrows and adding eyelash extensions

  • applying makeup and advising clients on makeup application

  • scheduling clients and managing appointments

  • selling additional products or services during a treatment

  • cleaning and sterilising equipment and area before and after treatments.

How to become a beauty therapist

If you're interested in becoming a beauty therapist, consider following these steps:

1. Complete a certification course

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

The first step in becoming a beauty therapist is completing a certification course in beauty services or beauty therapy. You may complete a certification course at a Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institution, which is a type of vocational training organisation. Consider earning one of the following certificates to help you begin your career:

  • Certificate III in Beauty Services: This certificate takes about six months to complete and trains candidates to perform beautician services, such as makeup application, manicures and pedicures.

  • Certificate IV in Beauty Therapy: This certificate takes one to two years to complete, and it trains candidates to become beauty therapists. During the program, students learn how to perform a variety of services, including massage and skincare procedures, and they learn how to schedule appointments and manage their time.

Related: Vocational Training: Definition and Different Types

2. Gain practical experience

A TAFE training program typically involves a clinical portion. During this time, students can gain practical experience working under the supervision of a senior beauty therapist. You may also pursue additional training options, by applying for an external traineeship or apprenticeship. During this time, you can work with an expert beauty therapist, gaining professional experience and developing technical skills.

3. Consider further training

You may begin working with a certificate, but further training could help you qualify for more roles, earn a higher salary and perform additional services for your clients. At a TAFE institution, you may apply for a course to earn your Diploma in Beauty Therapy. These programs typically take a year to complete. During the course, you can further develop your technical skills, learning how to recommend services to clients and perform additional services, such as specialised facials. A diploma can help you qualify for senior beauty therapist roles or provide your own services to clients.

You may also consider additional certificates for certain treatments. Here are some training options you might consider, depending on your interests and career goals:

  • Diploma of Salon Management: This diploma course takes about a year to complete, and it trains students for management roles in salons. You can learn about operating a business, managing schedules and ensuring safety protocols.

  • Advanced Diploma of Intense Pulsed Light and Laser for Hair Reduction: This specialised training program instructs students on how to provide light and laser treatments. This course typically takes about a year and a Diploma in Beauty Therapy is a prerequisite.


  • How to Become a Laser Technician (With Skills and Salary)

  • How to Become a Cosmetic Nurse (With Duties and FAQs)

4. Apply for positions

After completing your training, you may begin applying for positions at salons, cosmetic companies or spas. You may also work independently by starting your own salon or mobile service. As you gain experience, you can use positive reviews from previous clients to help attract new customers.

Before applying, you can create a CV showing your specific technical skills and training. Consider including a list of each service you can provide, such as spray tanning and manicures, to show a prospective employer the tasks you can complete.

Frequently asked questions related to ‘What is a beauty therapist?’

Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about this career path.

What skills do beauty therapists use?

Beauty therapists can use a variety of technical and interpersonal skills to succeed in their careers. Here are some of the most important skills for this role:

  • Communication skills: Beauty therapists communicate with their clients regularly. They can use verbal communication skills to explain procedures, recommend products and build positive relationships.

  • Interpersonal skills: Many beauty therapists have repeat customers who return to them for more services or regular appointments. Strong interpersonal skills, such as active listening and empathy, can help beauty therapists make positive, long-lasting connections with their clients.

  • Analytical thinking: A beauty therapist may analyse their clients' skin conditions to make product or service recommendations. They can use analytical reasoning to help them evaluate the current conditions and make a personalised cosmetic plan based on their observations.

  • Time management: Beauty therapists can use time management skills to schedule appointments and plan their daily appointments. They can assess how long each appointment may take to ensure they have time to meet with all of their clients.

  • Creativity: Depending on the services they offer, a beauty therapist may use creativity to produce designs. For example, beauty therapists who perform manicures, pedicures or makeup applications may make creative decisions.

  • Technical beauty knowledge and skills: Technical knowledge about skincare and cosmetic procedures is an essential skill for beauty therapists. They may be experts in performing skincare procedures, operating laser equipment and applying cosmetic products.

Related: Technical Skills: Definitions and Examples

What is a beauty therapist's salary?

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

The national average salary for aestheticians, another term for beauty therapists, is $32 per hour. Your salary can vary depending on your geographic location, training and employer. The services you offer may also affect your salary because some services require additional certifications or specialised equipment. For example, aestheticians who provide specialised services, like laser hair removal, may earn a higher salary than others providing cosmetic application services.

How long does it take to become a beauty therapist?

The time it takes to become a beauty therapist depends upon the services you want to provide. The minimum requirement for this career is a Certificate III from a TAFE institution, which takes about six months to complete, although this can vary depending on the program. With this certificate, you can apply for beautician roles, which are a type of beauty therapist. These professionals perform makeup applications and some spa treatments.

If you want to perform more services, you can earn a certificate in beauty therapy, which takes one to two years to complete. You can then pursue additional certification or training to complete specialised services. Additional certifications are typically optional and take six months to a year to complete, depending on the course.

Is becoming a beauty therapist a good job?

Beauty therapy can be a great career path for professionals interested in cosmetic products, skincare procedures and relaxation services. This career may also offer flexibility because you can work independently or offer mobile services. Beauty therapists communicate regularly with their clients, building relationships and helping them with their beauty needs. This can be a good career choice for outgoing professionals who enjoy talking to others.

To determine if it's a good job for you, consider making a list of your personal preferences and career goals. Think about your ideal work environment and the skills and traits you currently possess. You can compare this list to the beauty therapist role to help you decide if it's something you want to pursue.

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