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Following on from my last blog on getting results for taxpayers’ dollars invested, I’d like to discuss picking the right course in the beauty therapy industry.  This is a big sticking point, because the current government wants to reduce the proliferation of courses out there to help improve consistency and streamline choices for students to allow them to get the right qualifications for jobs in our and many other industries.

In the South Island, there are now several qualifications in beauty therapy, up from only a handful from a few years ago.  So which do you choose?  And why?

The National School of Aesthetics prides itself on being aligned to not 1 or 2 but 3 international governing bodies: ITEC, CIBTAC and CIDESCO.  Each of these international examination systems are known worldwide and offer comprehensive, well-recognised syllabuses in beauty therapy, nail technology and spa therapies.  We have been aligned with ITEC since our inception in 1985, with CIBTAC since the early 1990s, and with CIDESCO since the early 2000s, when the owners decided to add that system to the school.

These international governing bodies find out the trends in our industry worldwide and put those developments into their syllabuses, meaning our students have the most likely chance of succeeding not only in New Zealand but also pretty much anywhere in the world while working in our industry.

Our Diploma in Beauty Therapy and Applied Aesthetics, Certificate in Nail Technology and Diploma in Spa Therapies incorporate all aspects of every syllabus from every governing body we use.  In short, you get the entire package.

We’ve been teaching in this industry for 25 years, and we aren’t a “new” player to the beauty therapy education game.  With our owners Dr. Noel Turner and Don Kendall having 65 years’ worth of combined experience in this industry under their belts, they know what works and what doesn’t.  Their emphasis on quality outcomes and what is best for the industry means they feel personally responsible for ensuring what a student learns here is relevant to the industry out there and ensures the best outcome for graduate, industry and the school.

One worrying trend I have seen with newer qualifications developed recently in beauty therapy is the exclusion of body electrical treatments.  This component is extremely important for the beauty therapist as he or she needs these skills in order to work on a cruise ship or perform any advanced electrical treatments on the body for clients, including lifting and toning procedures.  Any course you are looking at really needs to include these aspects.

Another worrying trend is the inclusion of aspects like microdermabrasion and IPL into entry-level courses.  These skills are for professionals to learn only (usually) as they are advanced and require intricate knowledge on the workings of the skin and hair.  Microdermabrasion basically strips off the tops layers of the skin; these are important for protecting your skin and body against all sorts of nasties.  IPL (intense pulsed laser) treatments can also be dangerous; when I was receiving IPL treatments when they first emerged on the scene in New Zealand, one of the other “guinea pigs” was burned (through his own fault, I might add) by disregarding home care advice.  As a matter of fact, the rising number of cases of faults by IPL operators throughout the world has seen cases of burns, skin dispigmentation, and all sorts of other problems, and has resulted recently in court cases in New Zealand, New South Wales and Tasmania (off the top of my head).

In short, only a skilled professional should be learning microdermabrasion and IPL: someone with a bit of experience under his or her belt.

A third worrying trend is calling a course “beauty therapy” or “spa therapies” or “nail technology”, when, in fact, it isn’t.

Beauty therapy, in New Zealand, means you have qualified in three distinct areas:  facial therapy; body therapy; and electrolysis.

Facial therapy includes such things as cleansing, toning, moisturising, exfoliation and other facial treatments; eye brow and eye lash tinting and shaping treatments; hair lightening; hair removal through waxing (not including Brazilian); manicure; pedicure; and facial electrical treatments such as microcurrent, faradic, galvanic, direct and indirect high frequency, and so on.

Body therapy deals with anatomy and physiology of the body’s systems; Swedish body massage; figure diagnosis; exercise (limited); and body electrical treatments (as discussed before) including faradic, vibratory massage and so on.

Electrolysis is the removal of hair through electronic means.  While IPL focuses and is most successful on dark, course hairs (they are improving on this), electrolysis works on the majority of hair types.  It has been around for over 100 years.  There are two types any therapist should learn: the blend and short-wave diathermy.

Spa therapies should include a wide variety of treatments.  The wider the skill set, the more treatments you are able to perform in a spa.  Our Diploma in Spa Therapies remains one of the most comprehensive spa therapies qualifications in New Zealand, and offers many different treatments for spa therapists to perform, many of them “staple” treatments in a spa setting.

Nail technology, ideally, should be a course around the 450 hours (45 credits) mark and definitely should be NZQA-approved.  In this course, you should learn not only manicure and pedicure, but also all the different types of false nail application out there (not just acryllic).  In addition to this, nail technology carries with it many different occupational safety and health issues, so you should learn about the chemistry, hazards, safety and so on in your course.

In short, you should investigate thoroughly what course will satisfy your needs and ensure you are the best qualified for the job when you go out into the workforce.  We offer qualifications that allow you to work pretty much anywhere in the world, including cruise ships.

We’ve had thousands of therapists qualify through us with many of them going on into our industry and being amongst the top-pick candidates for jobs amongst employers.

As always, if you have any questions about the National School of Aesthetics or the courses we offer, please feel free to contact us during our office hours, and we will be more than happy to assist you.

Scott Fack is the Director of Operations for The National School of Aesthetics, the South Island’s leading beauty therapy, nail technology and spa therapies training provider.