Advice needed regarding VTCT Beauty Academy Course


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Jul 31, 2020
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Hello everyone! I've decided I want to pursue a career as a Nail Technician after recently being made redundant and would appreciate any advice you guys have regarding this. I've always enjoyed doing manicures and nail art on myself and i'm absolutely kicking myself for not doing a beauty course when I was in college! I'm based in York and unfortunately the only nail focused courses seem to be those 'Fast Track' 3 - 5 day £300 - 400 ABT accredited courses offered by a few different companies.

I've done some reading on here about accredited courses vs NVQ and gathered that an NVQ / Level 2 is preferred as it shows you've learned in-depth regarding nail anatomy etc by doing assignments and exams. I would have loved to study a level 2 nail qualification at York college but it seems they only provide a Level 2 in beauty which is held on an evening for 3 hours and costs around £3345. I figured it would be better to get a qualification in a Nail focused course rather than general beauty since it's only nails that I want to do right now.

I'd like to start off in a salon to help myself gain experience in a supportive environment and then move to self employed with a cabin beauty room once I've got my own place. However most salons around me seem to be a rent a chair basis. Friends have advised that to rent a chair I could just do a few ABT accredited courses and get fully insured and that would be enough, but I'd like to do this the most professional way.

I came across a VTCT Level 2 Certificate in Nail Technology offered by The Beauty Academy, it's advertised as being able to complete in 16 weeks but you have up to 12 months to complete. I was wondering if this is the right course to do which would allow me to be fully qualified to work in a salon. Their course description states the following;
"You will learn the theory of the treatment firstly, and spend the majority of the training days acquiring and demonstrating your practical skills, with a short break for lunch. Once you have completed all training and coursework, you will arrange to attend a multiple choice written assessment day and practical assessment days to achieve your VTCT qualification.

Once you have completed your practical training day with us, there is no additional work to be completed. The Beauty Academy diploma certificate will be sent to you within 1-2 working days and you can then begin working from home or mobile once insurance has been obtained.

Aside from your practical training, your qualification course also involves home-study and assessments as required by the awarding body VTCT. The qualification requires written coursework to be submitted and marked by an assessor before you can be progressed to the assessment stage.

At the time of booking your qualification, you will be sent your study materials (including: workbooks; Student Study Guide; revision notes and our Student Handbook) to get you started with your written coursework, which must be completed at home. You will require access to products/tools and models at home in order to complete treatments towards your portfolio and also for your practical assessment days.

From my understanding I would book the practical days first and then once I've completed those I would then do all my theory and practice at home, submit coursework and then book my assessment days to achieve the VTCT which would qualify me to work in a salon? Please correct me if i'm wrong! This course is £999 and then a starter kit for £175 + gel lamp for £60. It looks to be very good but I can't find any reviews regarding this VTCT course anywhere, I did a few searches on here but all they all seem to be about The Beauty Academy's fast track courses which are just ABT accredited. So if anyone is able to advise or recommend another course please do!

Apologies for such a long post I just wanted to make sure that I'm looking at the right course and doing things right before committing to anything!
Hi Claudia, wow, NVQ level 2 courses are expensive at York college! My local college charges £1k - £1.5k for L2 NVQs in Hair and Beauty (current prices), it's the level 3s that are £3k+.
I did the L2 VTCT Nail Tech course privately 15 years ago, at the same time as doing my L2 NVQ Beauty at college. Both are awarded by City & Guilds. I did the Nail Tech at a local academy and paid around £200 back then. Be sure to find out the detail of what you will be learning, my VTCT was basic nail anatomy, nail prep, acrylic tip 'n' dip extensions and general polish application, rather than gels. I attended for six practical inhouse sessions and had to complete an at-home portfolio of another 12 sets of nails, before sitting a final timed practical assessment at the academy.
The VTCT is absolutely fine on its own for you to work as a qualified nail tech, but the L2 NVQ Beauty will teach you gel polish application plus a lot of other treatments, which you may want to fall back on in the future as earning potential. There is a lot of competition out there in respect of 'gel nails only'.
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Hi Whodaenaj! Thank you for your reply i think it will be really helpful for anyone who comes across this thread that is in the position I was in!

I ended up enrolling onto the Beauty Academy L2 VTCT Nail Technology course and I’ve really enjoyed it, it seems to be the same structure as the VTCT course you did and thankfully my in-house training sessions were very small classes and on some days students hadn’t turned up so I got tonnes of 1 to 1 time with the tutor which was amazing. I’m currently building my portfolio up and decided to buy my own products (Young Nails & Ikon.IQ) rather than the kit they offered. We’ve covered Anatomy, Prep / maintenance & removal, Mani/Pedi (+luxe), Gels, Acrylic extensions, and Gel extensions. It seems they now no longer offer the exact package that I’m on so I was lucky to book it when I did as it’s now been separated into 2 different courses I believe on their website.

Once I’ve done my practical assessments and exams I’ll definitely look into some more training to further my development because I’ve had a blast doing my training so far and cant wait to learn more!

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