Beauty School – a beginners’s guide to research and planning

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Beauty School - ITEC Electrical Facial Course at Bali BISASo you’ve made the decision to become a beauty therapist and so are now researching the best beauty school for you.  First, it is a great career choice as there are so many employment and business opportunities around the globe these days.  Yet, the scope of this booming industry is expansive, so from the beginning it is best to narrow down your field(s) of specialty.  Nails, faces, hair, waxing or make-up?  Organic or high-tech?  Specialist or all-rounder?  Massage expert with beauty expertise or holistic health and wellness body therapist? Quantity versus quality? Male, female or both?

Where to start your Beauty School search?

What better way to choose your optimal beauty school than to personally experience various treatments.  Yes, it requires a financial investment, but it is best to be sure of what you want to study before enrolling in a beauty school.  At the same time, you can speak to your therapists about how they feel about their job.  Your original concept may even change with direct involvement and a second-hand understanding of the rewards and drawbacks of each role.

Narrowing down your Beauty School options.

Beauty School - learning manicure and pedicureSo you are now now certain about what type of beauty therapist you’d like to be. Yet, the range of beauty schools can also be overwhelming.  If your financial circumstance dictate part-time study while you work, then a school closer to home is certainly the best choice.  However, amazingly the array of on-line learning choices is rapidly increasing and it can be effective as long as paired with practical work.

Full time study is ideal as you can put your skills and knowledge into practice much more quickly.  It is wise though not to limit your scope of possibilities to your immediate vicinity as there are many reputable schools worldwide.  And some of them have a tuition that is much lower, even including travel related expenses.  So consider all options as it is an investment in your future.

Also keep in mind that more general spa schools offer beauty courses as stand-alone modules.  This can be a good option as you are able to enroll in the specific courses of interest, and if desired pair these with bodywork classes.  This is a logical direction for those who plan to work in a spa environment.  At the Bali International Spa Academy (BISA) there are many students who are choosing to take our new ITEC accredited essential facial care and electrical facials treatments course with the Balinese Traditional Spa Rituals course which is endorsed by CIBTAC and combines bodywork with compatible aesthetic practices.   This can give you a set of unique skills to help you land your dream job.

What accreditation do you need?

The simple answer is that it depends on where you plan to work.  You will have to do this research on your own. A general rule of thumb is to have an internationally recognized certification as this gives you the greatest credibility and chances for relocation.   The most widely accepted awarding organizations in the world are CIBTAC, ITEC, VTCT and CIDESCO whom requires a lengthy internship process.  National and local certification is also available at private training institutes, but be sure to check-out their beauty school credentials.

What do look for in curriculum content?

This will depend on your focus, whether a multi-skilled practitioner or a specialist such as a bridal make-up artist or facial expert.  However, it is important to be aware of the time breakdown between theoretical studies in the classroom and hands-on practical experience.  Furthermore consider whether will you be working in a setting that replicates a realistic work environment.  Sometimes you will actually work in a fully operational spa or salon, while most schools have their own om-site facilities with discounted  services to attract guests.  A professionally run student salon or spa provides invaluable work experience.

An educational aspect that is often overlooked is the degree to which the beauty school prepares students for the business world.  It is quite vital to learn the basics of spa / salon operations; health safety and hygiene; and customer care.

What else to consider when researching a beauty school?

If the beauty school is in your area, then be sure to visit it before.  Pay particular attention to the cleanliness of the premises.

If studying further afield, then be sure to review their curriculum in detail to ensure it matches your objectives.

Other questions to explore;

  • What does the tuition include?  For example will you be provided with cosmetology kits to practice with, or is this your responsibility.  These expenses can quickly add up!
  • Similarly, are you provided with training manuals and / or video training materials, so that you can retain them as references when you kick off in your new job.
  • The quality of the facilities.  Ideally it should represent the type of venue that you eventually wish to work in.
  • Are the tutors experienced in their field with credible accreditation?  Are they committed to the industry as demonstrated by continuous expansion of their knowledge and skills. If this level of detail is not published, ask ask them directly as it is representative of their dedication to the profession.
  • Do they have a job placement service?  If so what is their ratio of success.
  • Likewise ask about their graduation percentage has if they have a high drop-out rate this indicates poor content delivery.
  • Do they maintain close relationships with businesses in the community?  Many schools with strong connections make their students available to offer their services to fund-raising events…….. a great way to log in more training hours in authentic settings.  These connections can also be important when seeking employment if you plan to work locally.

I hope that these tips are useful.  If you would like to contact BISA directly, send an email to

Portrait of Penny Ellis, President / Director of Bali International Spa Academy in Sanur, Bali


Penny Ellis

Founder and Director

Bali International Spa Academy










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