Career change, massage therapist without level 2 beauty?


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Well-Known Member
Nov 28, 2013
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Hi everyone I haven't been on this site in years and have been busy with my job as a healthcare assistant working nights but really wanting a career change, as I'm not happy where I am atm and want to find a job I enjoy!

I'm looking at studying at college as a last chance for me to find a career I really love and beauty has always come to front of my mind, more specifically massage therapies is what really speaks to me.

I don't have any interest in the nails, waxing or makeup side but really want something in massage/hot stone/reflexology that sort of thing. My question is will I be employable with just a Level 3 VTCT in massage therapy alone? Or will I have to sit through a level 2 in general beauty therapy first to be more employable? There is a college near me offering the L3 massage therapy course with requirements for certain GCSEs that I do have. I want to work in a spa)salon or even a crusie ship as a massage therapist as my end goal

Hope to hear back! Xx

user 156120

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May 25, 2023
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Hi lovely,

My tutor has always said that you can find employment with just the level 3 in massage, in my beauty course we had a couple of girls that only wanted to do the massage aspect, you can find work mainly in a spa or as self employed too.

If you have a look at some of the jobs indeed they ask for a beauty qualification or an equivalent in massage, so I’m sure you’ll be fine with just your level 3 in massage 😊

Hope this helps x


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Premium Geek
Mar 9, 2014
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Hi Starbucks88

You don’t need a level 2 to work in a Spa that doesn’t offer nails/waxing/lash&brow treatments, but you really would benefit from facial training. Otherwise you’re a bit limited, it’s too much to expect an employer to train you in facials from scratch, removing makeup, applying and removing cleanser, gommages, masks seems straightforward but you do need quite a bit of practise to “glide” through the process in a relaxing way. A Spa diploma includes facials to a higher standard than a level 2 - you learn more facial massage techniques and apply face masks down to the collarbones whereas a level 2 facial doesn’t deliver a treatment to the standard expected for recruitment to a Spa - you’d never pass a trade test.

You also need to offer a range of massage skills and related body services. Take a look at the sorts of treatments that are offered in Spas and cruiseliners. Body scrubs are really popular and so are combined massage/facial experiences.. it’s the little things that catch you out when you’re inexperienced - a body scrub removal should feel deeply soothing, not like a bed bath and your client will be annoyed if you leave traces of gritty scrub, or milky residue, nor will she appreciate tepid water of feeling damp. It’s blinking stressful providing a service to a client that has paid over £150 if you haven’t been “drilled” until you can do it on auto pilot.

To work in Spa you need level 3 qualifications to include aromatherapy massage, Swedish, deep tissue techniques, hot stones, Indian Head massage plus a few extras such as manual tan application or body wrapping treatments, and it helps to have something more Eastern or complimentary health focussed because it shows commitment and a breadth and depth of expertise.

Massage therapists have usually covered a 2 year, full time complimentary health focussed course, often with a third year in Spa treatments. It’s possible to accelerate your training via the private college route following CIDESCO or CIBTAC qualifications - these are interchangeable with the VTCT courses offered by a state funded college and often preferred. I went this route and girls from my course were taken on by Urban Retreat, Steiner and all the top names.

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