How to start a career in Beauty Therapy

Do you take pride in your personal appearance and find joy in helping others, making them relax and showing them their true beauty potential? Why not become a beauty therapist? The demand in beauty-related services is growing, and you can either go broad or specialise in an area that interests you most.

Beauty therapists offer a range of services for face, hair and body, such as facials, scrubs and massages, as well as manicures, pedicures and hair removal. Spray-tanning and makeup applications can also be part of the job description. There are ample opportunities for beauty therapists in New Zealand, and the more training and experience you have, the higher your chances of finding well-paid employment. As a beauty therapist you can also start your own business and set your own rules, creating the lifestyle you always wanted.


In order to become successful and establish a recurring client base, you need to have the right skills and knowledge to survive in the industry.


To understand your client’s needs and provide them with quality care, you need a good understanding of the human body as well as conditions and illnesses affecting mainly the skin, nails and hair.


What we eat has a huge impact on how we look like. Vitamin deficiencies, for example, can show up easily on your skin, nails, face and hair. As a beauty therapist, you will be able to spot if something’s not quite right and will be able to give therapeutic as well as nutritional advice on how to combat certain conditions.


You will have a fair understanding of the ingredients used in cosmetic products and how they affect the human body. You will also be aware of available beauty treatment methods and will need to keep yourself updated on the latest technologies by training in new services such as Permanent Makeup or Microblading.

Health & Safety

As with any profession, the beauty therapy industry has its own health and safety regulations as well as hygienic standards which you will be familiar with.

Business skills

Knowing how to market yourself, your products and your services is especially important if you’re planning on opening your own salon. But even if you’re working for someone else, excellent customer and communication skills are non-negotiable if you want your customers to trust you and return.


The good news is, that you don’t necessarily need to undergo specific training to become a beauty therapist. However, if you’re planning on making beauty therapy a successful and well-paid career, investing in a certificate or diploma is highly recommended. Courses are offered part-time and full-time all through New Zealand.

A valuable option is to achieve a Level 4 Certificate in Beauty Therapy via an apprenticeship. Over 2 years you will get hands-on experience and learn all the necessary skills from qualified beauty therapists. An apprenticeship will also help you avoid getting into debt because rather than taking out a student loan you get paid while you study, learn and work. Afterwards, you can choose to study towards a Level 5 Diploma in Beauty Therapy which will increase your understanding and deepen your knowledge on body treatments with placements usually taking place in salons o spas.

Once you have completed your schooling you can choose to become a member of the New Zealand Association of Registered Beauty Professionals. You will be regularly updated on news and events about the industry, you can network with other qualified beauty therapists and look for job and training opportunities nationwide.

If you’re still at school, but thinking about becoming a beauty therapist, you can give your career a kick-start by choosing subjects such as health education, biology and maths. For year 11 to 13 the Gateway programme is another great way to gain insight and experience into the beauty therapy industry.

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