Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player


The American Beauty Academy offer a wide range of Diploma and Certificate programmes that are recognised by industry and employers. Many of our qualifications are underpinned by leading industry insurers enabling graduates to avail of professional Insurance cover. The qualifications offered on our beauty Specialist diploma programmes are validated by VTCT an international accreditation authority. The VTCT qualifications are recognised in Ireland and in many countries around the world including USA, Australia, New Zealand, Bahrain, Channel Islands, China, Cyprus, Malaysia, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Kenya, Malta, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Spain.

The VTCT awards are one of the most accepted standards in the beauty industry. The qualification is also highly recognised within the insurance industry enabling the holder to acquire professional insurance cover – for seeking employment or setting up a business.

The VTCT modular system enables students to progress in their chosen field from certificate through to diploma and onto teaching. The VTCT awards are also mapped into the Irish National Qualifications Framework. (  for more information on VTCT)

Other Awards In The Beauty Industry

There are other qualifications that enable persons to gain employment in the beauty industry. CIBTAC and CIDESCO have been around for many years and in more recent times ITEC have entered the industry in Ireland. Sometimes it can be confusing for the beginner who might be researching to train as a beautician – trying to decide who is who – and what is what.

The following information might help you in your quest – however it is strongly recommended you conduct your own research – as the following is only a brief overview.

The different qualifications awarded for the beauty industry are managed by separate companies or organisations. In essence they are separate businesses selling similar products. The content of their qualifications is very much the same covering all the core subjects needed to qualify as a beauty therapist. Training providers (such as ourselves) would be licensed (and monitored) by their awarding bodies to deliver their training programmes.

How Do I Know Which Qualification To Choose?

In recent times there has been an emphasis placed on qualifications mapped into the National Qualifications Framework ( for more information) However if you intend using the training to pursue a career (part-time or full time) you should make sure you can take out insurance on completion of the award. You should ask the college about insurance before you commence your training. When they tell you the name of the insurers you should ring the insurers for confirmation. Although it is not compulsory to have insurance it may be a good indicator that the award is credible.  If you are concerned about the qualifications offered by the college ask who the awarding body is and ring that body to make sure the college is licensed to deliver the awards.

Choosing A Provider

As mentioned already the separate awards discussed are all accepted within the beauty and insurance industry. However, the quality of training is dependent on the individual colleges and how they conduct their business. Ideally, it would be preferable to speak to a past student, although this is not always possible. But there are some early warning signs that might indicate how a college conducts its business such as the next two topics, ‘First Point of Contact’ and ‘When You Start’

First Point Of Contact

When you make the first contact (by phone or internet) is there someone to help with your query? Do you get all your questions answered? Are you happy with the response?

Can they post you information? Does the information arrive promptly or do you have to request it again? If you choose to train with the college will they offer you support outside of course hours?

What kind of support and learning resources will they provide you with during training? Do they have postgraduate courses if you wish to pursue other qualifications?

Can you pay your fees by installments ? Will you have a class timetable when starting the programme ? Can you meet management in person? How experienced are the teachers?

When You Start

When you start your training you should get a class timetable. It is not a good sign if timetables are constantly changed. Ideally you should have consistency with tutors and a clear outline of the subjects being taught. Classes should be delivered as scheduled (except in emergency) with clear aims and objectives for each class. You should be given a good overview of how exams are conducted and what is expected of you in order to pass. If you are having any problems related to your studies or training there should be a procedure to discuss it with management or tutors.


The beauty industry is one of the biggest growth industries in the world with females (and males) now spending millions on products and treatments. A recent survey revealed that the global value of the beauty industry is second only to the food industry. This massive growth has created a vast amount of career and business opportunities.

Not many careers offer as many exciting and glamorous options as the beauty industry. Qualified personnel can pursue careers in salons, leisure centres, spas, cruise liners, retail sales, product sales, product educators, nail technicians, make-up artists, and beauty consultants. And for those really motivated there are a multitude of business opportunities to own your own salon, have your own product range, become an educator, freelance nail technician/makeup artist, mobile beauty therapist or start a business from home.


Careers in The Look Good Feel Good and Wellness Sectors


Choosing a course of study can at times be a challenging undertaking. And you will probably ask yourself the question many times “Is this for me”.

This article is designed to help you answer that question and  will help give you some idea of the skills, knowledge characteristics and interpersonal skills required to be successful in careers such as

  • Beauty therapy
  • Make-Up
  • Hairdressing
  • Complementary therapies
  • Sports Massage
  • Personal Training
  • Fitness instruction
  • The Leisure and Spa Industry

It also looks at the

  • Commitment required to undertake a course of study
  • Key requirements of employers for the above industries.
  • Current trends in the industries
  • Choosing a provider
  • Qualifications
  • Career opportunities

This article is not intended to be ‘definitive’ on these subjects and it is recommended you conduct your own research. However it should provide you with a good starting point and stimulate your thought process.

What type of person is suited to these careers?

These sectors are best suited to those who are creative, enterprising, caring and good communicators.  They are industries which require you to be innovative, supportive of others, responsible, capable of working on own initiative or as part of a team. 

Probably the biggest key factor for success in these careers (besides your technical skills) will be your ability to communicate with fellow workers, management, customers and clients.

In particular, your ability to build rapport, listen and empathize.

So if you are in any way introvert, shy, uncomfortable in groups, or talking to others, you might need to look at some ways of building your confidence and developing your communication skills before entering these industries.

Does my age matter?

Young people (e.g. 17/19) will need to compensate for three of the main challenges faced by any young people when they finish their training and are seeking employment. These are

  • Developing communication skills
  • Lack of industry experience
  • An understanding of customer care (or client care as it is referred to in the industry)
Developing communication skills

If you have decided in secondary education on any of these career choices you could develop your communication skills by joining any societies, work groups or assisting with school events.

A big emphasis in these industries is placed on building rapport with customers. This is the ability to build relationships with customers through listening, use of body language, and being in ‘sync’ with their needs.

A quick Google search on the words “building rapport” should help you understand a lot more about this subject. It will be key to your success in these industries
You could also speak to your career guidance teacher who may also be able to assist you in this area.

Lack of industry experience

Lack of industry experience can also be overcome by diligent application and repetitive practice during your training, which will pay dividends when carrying out any practical tests at interviews. Experience can also be built up by perfecting skills on family and friends during your training.

Another option you might consider when finishing your training would be to do some freelance work to build your skills and confidence. This option has become more prevalent among young people as they become more enterprising and willing to “go it on their own”.

This route could also lead to starting a small business with the proper advice and planning.

Understanding customer care

Customer care and building rapport (mentioned above) are very much linked, although different employers may have their own customer care policies. The training programme you attend should incorporate topics around customer care but you should also research the key customer care issues related to the industry you wish to enter. The following are some key pointers that would apply across all industries

  • Be courteous and respectful
  • Try to remember customers’ names
  • Be knowledgeable in your subject areas
  • Always greet with a smile and firm handshake
  • Listen attentively  
Youth Can Have Its Advantages

Youth can have its advantages, and can be very attractive to employers. Enthusiasm, good presentation, and a sound understanding of the industry you are entering will always go down well at interviews


Maturity and life experiences can be a big advantage in these sectors. Customers are more likely to perceive they are receiving a better service from a mature person. This can be attractive to employers and a big advantage if you want to start your own business or operate freelance. Mature people are also more likely to have the rapport building and communication skills needed to retain customers and build a business

If I Am Returning to education

If you have not been in education for some time there may be some anxieties as to whether you will be able to complete a course of study EG, will the subject matter be too difficult, will I be able to study, how will I manage my time. These are all common anxieties experienced by adults returning to education. So it is important that you research your provider and ask what support mechanisms are in place for adults retuning to education and also do tutors have relevant industry standard teaching qualifications. 

What commitment is required during programmess

Programmes of study for these sectors will require a good degree of commitment and time allocation. Many people can under estimate the commitment required for studying while been attracted by the glitz and glamour associated with the industries.

One of the most common misconceptions in studying subjects in the Beauty, Fitness or Wellness areas, is the amount of study involved, as many of the subjects require home studies and completion of practical case studies which are mandatory for passing exams.

Also, as these sectors place a heavy emphasis on practical skills, you will need to continually practice to perfect techniques in order to become competent and confident.

Some theoretical studies will require you to study subjects such as anatomy and physiology, cosmetic science and medical terminology. However these can be fascinating subjects and will help you in understanding the most important subject on earth; the human body.

Choosing a Provider

It is strongly recommended that you conduct some research on the provider of your chosen Programme of study. This may mean checking their website, phoning the office to have all your questions answered, getting information posted or emailed to you, and ensuring that they have some form of quality assurance.

If possible, it is also a good idea to visit the premises to ensure it meets your expectations and also inquire what support mechanisms are in place to assist you through your studies. If you are considering it as a serious career choice it would be vital that the programme leads to a credible qualification.


There are many places were qualifications can be gained, including VEC’s, Universities, institutes of technology, private colleges and community educational programmes.

If you are going to spend time (and money) completing a programme of study it is strongly advised that the qualification has some form of national or international accreditation. You can find this out by asking your provider and then conducting your own research. A lot of emphasis is now placed on the National Framework of Qualifications which can be viewed on the website of the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland at Your career guidance teacher should also be able to assist you in this area

Current trends in the Beauty, Hair, Complimentary and Fitness Sectors

These sectors, like many others, have been affected by the economic climate with employers and businesses having to adapt business models and cut costs in many areas.

But there is lots of evidence that the worst is over with some thriving through the recession.

Experts are also predicating that the growing interest in feeling fit and looking good has created a growth in opportunities for well-trained professionals. It is estimated that employment growth within the industry over the next 5 years will be strong.

The following are some of the main trends that have emerged in the past couple of years

Employment opportunities seem to continually arise due to the many social and personal factors that contribute to high turnover rates of employees.  Major factors have been unsocial hours of work, maternity leave and persons leaving to start their own businesses.

Studies indicate that these sectors lend themselves to entrepreneurism with persons starting small businesses offering freelance services such as Beauty Treatments, Make Over’s, Personal Training, Pampering Services, Training Others, Distributing Products and Supplies, and working with Teams and Sports Clubs

There has been a significant reduction in initiatives that require capital investment e.g., purchasing or leasing of premises or equipment, as it becomes more difficult to access finance. Caution should be taking if embarking on initiatives such as these in the current climate and should be based on a robust business plan and thorough research

What Will Employers Look For

The following list is typical of the things that an employer will be looking for (besides very good technical skills?)

Communication skills

Excellent communication skills are the number one thing that employers and interviewers look for in a candidate. These can be either verbal or written communication skills but you must be able to prove that you can communicate and work alongside others in an excellent manner.

Honesty and integrity

This is the 2nd most important thing interviewers and employers look for in a person, so it is worthwhile to remember this during the interview process and make sure that any answers you give to questions are truthful as you may be caught out later during the interview if asked the same question in a roundabout way.

Teamwork skills

These are another important asset you must have, preferably you will have backed up any claims you make regarding teamwork in your CV with evidence presented during the interview showing and confirming previous experiences you have had with teamwork skills.

Interpersonal skills

You must be able to prove your interpersonal skills to the interviewer or employer during the interview, skills such as working alongside others, being able to evaluate and accept responsibility, make team work more efficient and identifying methods used when dealing with conflicts.

Strong work ethic

You must be able to prove that you are willing to go beyond the call of duty for your employer and that you are willing to give 100% commitment to the company and the job.

Motivation and initiative

You should give examples during your interview to demonstrate that you are willing to show initiative and can show motivation when left to your own devices.

Flexibility and adaptable

Give examples from previous positions that show your adaptability to situations that can arise and that show you are able to be flexible and not stuck in a rut.

Analytical skills

Try to give examples showing off your analytical skills backing up claims with evidence from previous work during the interview, employers and recruiters look for ways that you have been able to analyse and clearly identify problems.

Computer skills

With today's modern technology focusing on the use of computers, computer skills and an understanding of various types of software are essential, try to prove you are literate in the use of computers and software in your CV or portfolio.

Organisational skills

You will have to prove that you are able to organise in a quick and clear manner and show that you are not afraid to take charge of a situation and find a solution. This again can be shown in your CV with examples from previous jobs.

Career opportunities

Career opportunities are many and varied in these sectors with a variety of positions available throughout the Sports, Beauty, Hairdressing, and Wellness sectors. They also require flexibility in working hours with work schedules divided between daytime, evening and weekends. For those who enter the sectors with a focus on technical skills there are also opportunities to progress to other areas in the industry including management, marketing, sales, distribution, and training others

A quick search on the internet will highlight the amount of small businesses which have developed over the past few years. Many qualified persons now offer services such as Beauty Treatments, Make Over’s, Personal Training, Pampering Services, Training Others, Distributing Products and Supplies, and working with Teams and Sports Clubs It would seem that you are only limited by your determination and imagination.

However you must be prepared to work hard at perfecting your technical and communication skills. You must also be prepared to be flexible in your working hours and realistic about rates of pay at the beginning of your career.

Thank You for taking the time to read this, I do hope it helps you in deciding if this type of a career is for you.