Student at Bali BISA

Spa And Beauty Qualifications What are The Key Differences?

balibisaBali Bisa

Spa And Beauty Qualification

Spa And Beauty Qualification

By Penny Ellis, Founder, Bali International Spa Academy, CIBTAC Centre of the Awards

The Bali International Spa Academy known as Bali BISA offers our own BISA courses and programs, plus an array of CIBTAC and VTCT qualifications. We carefully considered which of the major awarding bodies worldwide to feature in addition to our Bali BISA course line-up. CIBTAC, CIDESCO, VTCT and ITEC are all excellent with quite similar course content. Yet on closer inspection each has its own advantages and things that are not positive, so knowing exactly what suits you personally is vital.

Bali BISA, situated in a popular vacation spot “Bali the island of the gods” Indonesia attracts many international students.  

Determining The Best Choice

It is easy to understand why one of the most frequently asked questions amongst prospective students is which certification(s) is the best. Before we can make an appropriate recommendation, we must learn more about each individual student. We typically ask them the following questions:

  1. What experience do you have in the spa, beauty or wellness industry, if any?
  2. Where do you plan to work after completion of the courses? This matters for those wanting to work abroad because some countries may not accept only state and government qualifications. Consider your future work location and select the appropriate international qualification if legally required.
  3. What is your long – term plan? For example, some students aim to open their own spa, travel as freelancers or work on cruise ships. Others aspire to move up to supervisory or management roles, while some simply want to keep working as therapists with a broader skill set.

This will give us the basic information to provide them with several options.

About BISA Certifications

Throughout its 19+ year history, employers worldwide have gladly accepted BISA certifications. The school’s reputation over time has strengthened given the quality of its graduating students and industry accolades. In fact, many spas now ask us to train spa therapists on their behalf as they appreciate the effectiveness of our training methods.

My team and I created the 5-to-90-day BISA modules based on many years of combined experience. We constantly refine these modules and add new courses to stay in tune with industry standards, employer expectations, and consumer demands.

While BISA certificates enjoy global acceptance, some countries mandate that individuals acquire at least one qualification from an awarding body like CIBTAC, CIDESCO, VTCT, City & Guilds, or ITEC. We can give advice about mandatory minimum standards, but as regulations regularly change it is the responsibility of the student to research current legislation in the countries they wish to work. Your embassy or the country / regional professional spa association are useful places to start the investigation.

Still, when the law requires one of these qualifications, many students prefer boosting their qualifications with extra BISA courses. Also, many working therapists pick BISA courses to efficiently broaden their skills or meet ongoing education needs, given that Bali BISA fees are usually lower.

In addition to the lower course prices, students can also comfortably stay in Bali for relatively little money while enjoying all that the “Island of the Gods” has to offer fascinating Balinese ceremonies, stunning temples, shimmering rice terraces cascading down mountain slopes, tasty cuisine and world- class beaches. All of these value-added benefits make Bali BISA very attractive for students from all over the globe.

Furthermore, one can master virtually any massage, body treatment, and aesthetic skill in five days— even BISA’s management modules follow a five-day schedule. This timeframe becomes possible due to comprehensive training manuals, ample time for practice, and experienced, dedicated trainers.

Students find that it is easy to find a course start date that suits their own schedule as many courses start every Monday throughout the year, and all courses have a Monday start date at least once per month. As a small school, scheduling can often be adjusted to meet a student’s timing preference.

BISA Courses Endorsed by CIBTAC

The industry asked CIBTAC to authenticate the standards of training, product and equipment providers. The endorsement process is meticulous as each business must undergo a thorough quality assurance inspection by a CIBTAC Board member to verify their promises. However, this ensures consistent delivery of exceptional standards, making a CIBTAC endorsement of tremendous value for prospective purchasers.

Bali BISA was the first and still one of only a few spa training centres to have some of its own tailor- made courses and programs officially endorsed by CIBTAC. These have become quite popular, as students receive the benefits of both BISA and CIBTAC certification in bodywork, which is not as frequently found in international qualification offerings.

Currently, Bali BISA offers the following CIBTAC endorsed opportunities:

  • 10 Days CIBTAC Endorsed – Balinese Massage Course
  • 10 Days CIBTAC Endorsed – Hawaiian Lomi Lomi Massage Course
  • 10 Days CIBTAC Endorsed – Intuitive Massage Therapy Course
  • 10 Days CIBTAC Endorsed – Warm Stone & Crystal Therapy Course
  • 12 Days CIBTAC Endorsed – Maternity Program
  • 15 Days CIBTAC Endorsed – Ayurveda Course Program
  • 15 Days CIBTAC Endorsed – Shiatsu Program Course
  • 15 Days CIBTAC Endorsed – Slimming Program Course
  • 15 Days CIBTAC Endorsed – Thai Program
  • 15 Days CIBTAC Endorsed – Spice Islands Program
  • 20 Days CIBTAC Endorsed – Balinese Traditional Spa Rituals Course

About CIBTAC Qualifications

Based in the United Kingdom, the Confederation of International Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology is one of the longest-established awarding bodies within the health and beauty sector. The international industry considers CIBTAC a leader in their field given their consistent ability to produce graduates of the highest calibre. First-rate employers seek out CIBTAC certification holders, as  they know the high level of training they will have received. They offer a wide portfolio of courses in beauty therapy, spa, wellbeing, diet and nutrition, sports therapy and several other complimentary and holistic qualifications.

They have developed their courses in collaboration with government agencies, industry leaders, employers worldwide, and even individual therapists to ensure customization that caters to the evolving requirements of the global industry. CIBTAC have been instrumental in continually raising standards in order to meet the objectives of employers across this rapidly growing sector.

They are well-known for their rigorous examination process which uses a diversified range of assessment methods and a portfolio designed to showcase learning and skills. A CIBTAC examiner evaluates the practical exams and supervises the theory papers. While they maintain strict grading standards, they have set the pass mark at an achievable 60%, and superior performances receive credit or honors ratings. Any failed subjects can be re-taken.

Therefore, spas, wellness centres and similar organizations truly value and seek out CIBTAC graduates as they are confident that they possess the professionalism, understanding and competency to start adding their own flair to treatments as soon as they begin working.

Through close collaboration with numerous governments internationally, aligning with their criteria as well as UK standards, they have gained official acceptance in 26 countries. They continually expand the list and regularly review it. This is a huge benefit for students as it enables them to legally obtain employment in some of the world’s most desirable locations.

They feature two types of accreditations. The QCF (Qualification and Credit Framework) course structure divides into three levels, acknowledging achievement through the award of credit for completed units and qualifications. It provides flexible routes to full qualifications by making them attainable in small steps. The most recent framework provides for consistency across all vocational qualifications.

In contrast, there be-spoke qualifications (at BISA they are known as tailor-made) are all referred to as diplomas. They are not restricted to the same criteria as QCF.

About VTCT Qualifications

The Vocational Training Charitable Trust, known as VTCT, is a government-approved awarding organization in the United Kingdom. Since 1962 they have been at the forefront of developing the country’s vocational system of qualifications. They are also actively participating in various new educational initiatives, including the incorporation of general education skills and online assessment.

They enjoy a high reputation for their service industry qualification packages, particularly in sectors such as Hairdressing & Barbering, Beauty Therapy, Complementary Therapy, and Sport & Active Leisure. VTCT is the largest provider of qualifications in massage, aromatherapy and reflexology. This sector is rapidly expanding, and new qualifications for skills such as Reiki and Crystal Therapy are consistently being added to meet the demands of practitioners.

With more than 800 approved centres, VTCT has an ever-expanding list of centres throughout the UK, Ireland, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Cyprus, India, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Indonesia and many more nations around the globe. Their intention is to diversify into even more markets through innovation, acquisition and partnerships.

VTCT offers different international qualification levels such Awards, Certificates and Diplomas, but they do not relate to academic status. Instead, they indicate the complexity of the tasks covered in each module.

While CIBTAC uses practical and theoretical exams in order to pass or fail students, the VTCT approach to assessment is quite different. As their qualifications are based primarily upon practical performance, the VTCT assessors and Internal quality assurance (IQA) continuously check the progress of a student against VTCT requirements. If during a formal assessment, the assessor believes that a student is not yet competent, they will explain why and advise exactly what to do before the re-assessment. They conduct as many reassessments as necessary until achieving 100% competency in the particular skill and level.

There is no VTCT final exam. Instead, their syllabus encompasses on-going written work and case studies. This helps tutors quickly identify strengths and weaknesses and give assignments targeting areas requiring further study. There are also many mini-written exams that can be repeated up to three times. VTCT have online exams for the theory elements of a course. 


VTCT staff evaluate a consolidated portfolio of evidence containing all written work for the final confirmation of 100% competency, which is the only acceptable score. This portfolio is extremely valuable for graduates as it proves to potential employers and non-UK regulatory authorities that they possess the necessary skills. This system of ongoing self-assessment at Bali BISA and the accumulation of written work make it much easier for students to progress at their own pace. Individuals already in the workplace find it ideal, as it requires little to no time off, given that much of the theory work can be completed at home. Additionally, it creates much more flexibility for students to start their desired course when it is most convenient.


Choosing the Right School and Qualification

Making decisions about a school and, if applicable, an international qualification is a crucial step, whether you’re starting out or a seasoned professional.

Self-Reflection and Local Considerations

It’s advised to start with self-reflection to guide your research. If you’re planning to work in your current area, checking local regulations and business demands for therapists is straightforward.

International Considerations

If you plan to work elsewhere, especially in a different country, thorough investigation is essential. Different countries have specific regulations and recognized qualifications for work purposes. Some employers may require specific certifications, and there might be prerequisites for obtaining Professional Indemnity Insurance.

Challenges in the USA

Relocating to the USA, in particular, presents challenges due to varying regional requirements, especially for physical treatments on human beings.

Personal Preferences and Ambitions

Consider what aspects of spa, beauty, health, and wellness appeal to you, aligning with your personality and ambitions. This insight will help you choose the right course combinations or comprehensive programs.

Narrowing Down Your Options

At this stage, narrow down your school options and carefully evaluate them. Not all schools are equal. The quality of the first inquiry response, website content, student testimonials, press coverage, and blogs can offer valuable insights. Don’t hesitate to ask plenty of questions, as this decision significantly impacts your career.

The Bali BISA Difference

I and my team are proud to deliver excellent training for students from around the world. Being a relatively small school, we provide very high levels of training in-tune with the pace of progress of each student. Our Balinese tutors are not only accomplished therapists themselves, but they are genuinely compassionate about giving the best training to students, no matter their background.

We strive to reply within 24 hours with detailed information specific to your enquiry. However, the sooner you give us detailed information about your objectives, the sooner we can lay out several viable options for your consideration.