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How to get a career in beauty therapy

Woman getting hot stone spa treatmentJust graduated and thinking of becoming a beauty therapist? We spoke to Maryke de Beer, marketing executive from The International Academy to find out what you need to know before you apply.

What subjects do I need?

You need to have a matric certificate if you want to study a Health and Skincare Diploma or Optional Higher Diploma in Medical Aesthetics and Spa Therapies. Want an extra edge? “If the student has done Biology or Science, it will work to their advantage,” says Maryke.

Is the course academic? 

You will have to hit those books as most colleges provide both theoretical and practical aspects to their courses. The courses at The International Academy are made of a 60% practical and 40% theoretical component, explains Maryke. “We also have our very own beauty salon, day spa and hair salon where students can experience the working environment before they apply for a job,” says Maryke. “This means that you’ll be fully prepared as a beauty therapist before you enter the working world.”

How many hours of experience do I need?

Practice makes perfect! “You’re required to do about 400 SAAHSP (South African Association of Health and Skincare Professionals) hours outside the normal salon hours at the Academy. All of our students work +600 hours in the salon by the time they qualify,” says Maryke.

Should I get an internship? 

You don’t have to get an internship while you are studying, unless you’re at a college which  doesn’t have its own salon as practical hours are a must.

What accreditations should my college have? 

Make sure the college you’re interested in studying at is registered with the FET (Further Education and Training) or Department of Higher Education even if they have international qualifications. “Many beauty colleges are without proper accreditations which means your qualifications will be invalid if you wish to work in SA. Always request to see accreditation numbers. If the college can’t show them to you, then they aren’t registered,” explains Maryke.

Can I work overseas?

You can definitely work overseas and many beauty therapist work on cruise liners and earn money while they travel and gain international experience. “We have a direct partnership with the Steiner Cruise liners. Your first contract is usually 9 months and you’ll earn dollars tax-free. We also have an in-house recruitment agency which helps with national and international placements,” says Maryke. “Just remember, if you want to work overseas make sure you have ITEC or CIDESCO qualifications.”

To apply, visit or call 021 421 6661/011 883 8033 for more info.

Glamour International