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Understand the industry qualifications and what you need to future proof yours

What is the best beauty aesthetic pathway I should be taking?


When looking to embark on a career in the beauty and aesthetics sector, starting out with regulated qualifications will be a great foundation for the future. CPD or approved courses should be a stepping-stone only or used to add new skills to your existing qualifications.


When seeking out a course to attend, look at the industry set pre-requisites as this ensures you meet the minimum level of experience to attend the training and be able to get insured after. Remember that training academies are a business. They, like any other business require bookings or customers in order to make a profit. Many academies and training providers are ethical in their approach to recruiting students. They hold the correct qualifications to teach, ensure students meet the required pre-requisites and are approved or accredited by a professional third-party company that has high standards of accreditation criteria and provide an effective feedback service for students. This will ensure bad trainers and academies are removed from the platform quickly and only the best training providers are listed, that are driven to improve industry standards.


Excellent training providers will choose accreditors that have the highest authority and credibility and inform students of the pre-requisites required for attending your chosen course.

STEP 1: Get a professional qualification 

A professional qualification is developed and issued by Awarding Organisations Such as CIBTAC, VTCT, City & Guilds, TQUK and Highfield Qualifications. 

With a professional qualifications you to be more employable here and for job opportunities abroad. Employers prefer to employ those that have obtained a professional qualification. Many therapists are now choosing to be self-employed and believe they do not need professional qualifications due to this but Local Authorities (councils) are now starting to observe stricter licensing laws within certain areas, wanting qualifications by awarding bodies so that they can ensure that a certain standard of training has been met. Having a qualification gives you more opportunities and the reassurance that you will always be able to work.


Industry regulation, professional industry organisations are pushing to enforce a minimum training standard across the sector. In time it will be likely that these changes will come into effect and if you have not achieved the minimum standard you may have to stop working.


Not having a qualification that is from an awarding body may also prevent you from obtaining certain insurances or preventing you from teaching in some areas especially qualifications from awarding organisations.

There are a lot of training companies marketing accredited courses as 'qualifications', this is not what is best for your career or your clients and insurance companies are now rejecting people who have followed this way of training.

STEP 2: Post Graduate Training

Once you have achieved your professional qualification you can add to this with post graduate training. For most beauty courses you will need a level 2 qualification and for most aesthetic training you will need a level 3.

Accredited Courses

Accredited courses means that the training academy or course has been through certain processes in order for it to become approved or accredited. Accreditation is often through a number of often independent organisations or insurers.


This third-party organisation should be checking the quality of the course material, the qualifications and experience of the trainers delivering the course and ensuring the ongoing due diligence of accountability. However, in recent years, the credibility of some accreditation providers are evidently stacked towards financial gain rather than to improve and back quality industry training. This became evident with the recent ‘scandals’ of several academies that even with unhappy students reporting poor levels of training and bad behaviour of trainers, the reports were ignored, and the academy remained approved by them as quality training providers.


Prior to getting your courses accredited or booking on to a course, you should find out not only the credibility of the training provider, but also the organisation that accredit them. A list of trusted accreditation providers are listed below.


There are three main types of accreditation or CPD providers within the UK. We will look at some of these in more detail.


CPD Services

CPD as mentioned previously stands for Continuing Professional Development. This is a way to track or record activities that are taken both formally and informally after your initial training or qualifications. CPD activities can ranges from exhibitions, training course or seminar attendance, self-study, or time spent reading industry related magazines or websites.


All trainers should be undertaking a minimum of 30 hours CPD every year and should keep a log of all activities they have taken part in. This ensures that trainers keep updating any skills and staying on top of current industry regulations or changes.


Unlike a qualification that has set learning hours, CPD certificates record the number of time spent partaking in that certain activity. Accredited courses are also not required to be assessed and therefore you may receive a certificate regardless of competency.


It is important to note the number of academies purporting that a course delivered by them and accredited or approved by a CPD provider is a 'Level 3' or 'Level 4' course etc. Only Ofqual backed qualifications can list a 'level' of competency or criteria that the course meets. Any course other than a qualification that you attend is not equivalent to or similar to an NVQ level. They are self imposed levels and often mean very little about the standard or the level of the course being delivered.


The leading CPD companies in the UK are:


· The CPD Certification Service

· Centre of CPD Excellence

· The CPD Standards Office



Non-Accredited Training

Not all training needs to be accredited. If you have an professional or accredited qualification in a treatment, training in new products or a different device is classed as a conversion course, where the aim it to teach you how to use a device or products and the protocols developed for it. In this case it does ot need to be accredited but you will need to be qualified in the type of treatment it relates to. For example, if you are skin peel trained but want to use the innoaesthetics skin peels, you can do a product training course to convert over to them. To easily differentiate the different courses I refer to non accredited courses as workshops and accredited courses as accredited.

Insurance Companies

Prior to CPD accreditation this was often done in-house by insurers, however, with the rise of aesthetics, this has forced more training providers towards CPD accreditation due to the fact that they:


a) Recognise all forms of training, from holistic, beauty and aesthetics with a more flexible approach to teaching methods and teaching platforms.

b) Allow the student more choice and flexibility with a larger variety of insurers that will cover them.


The upside of insurance approval for your courses will give you the confidence that the course is insurable, providing the student meets the pre-requisites set out by the insurer.


Some insurers have strict criteria when approving a course for insurance on their platform, however this may limit the student’s options when it comes to choosing an insurer or insurance may not be easily obtained by their current insurer.


Insurance companies that approve courses include:


· ABT insurance

· Hamilton Fraser

· Westminster insurance

Professional Organisations

In addition to insurers, courses can also be approved by professional organisations. However, the same issues arise as courses approved by insurance companies that the insurance options of students are often restrictive.

Professional organisations are also selective with the courses that they approve and thus you may find that an academy requires more than one accreditation provider, it is crucial that the courses offered are clearly labelled with the correct accreditation provider to avoid confusion. Aesthetic courses are usually not covered by any professional organisations at this present time.


Professional organisations represent the industry and often host trade shows or offer membership schemes to therapists and salons. They can often seek to set standards and are involved in working towards improving industry standards and setting industry regulations.


Professional Organisations that are amongst the highest respected within the industry include:




· Professional Beauty

I strive to make sure all my students are at the top of their profession with whatever they are learning. I'm honest in my approach and if I think there is a better path to take I will recommend this. I keep up to date with changes in the industry and I'm here for all my students if they need me after their training has finished with me.

Insurance companies that except my courses:




Direct Line for Business

Finch Group


Liverpool Victoria

Mint Insurance

Policy Bee

Salon Insurance 4U

Simply Business

Towergate Insurance 

Quote 123

Westminster Indemnity

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