Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder but everyone loves to feel beautiful. Have a passion for helping people feel bewitching? Here is how you can get into a non-medical Cosmetology career in the UK.
Skip to Sections:Academic Routes Technical Routes
What do I need?
Depending on which career in Cosmetology you would like to get into, it may vary. Find out about different careers in Cosmetology here.
- Hairdressers and Barbers – No qualifications needed. However you may be more marketable if you have a qualification. Example: NVQ or BTEC
- Nail technicians – No qualification needed. More marketable if you have a beauty therapy or nail treatment qualification.
- Makeup artist – No qualifications needed. However you can become more marketable if you have a beauty therapy or nail treatment qualification. Example: NVQ or BTEC.
- Esthetician – No qualifications needed. However you may be more marketable if you have a qualification. Example: NVQ or BTEC
More information on courses follow below 👇🏽
How to Stand Out?
Volunteer at local salons or relevant sector shops to get experience or even apply for jobs.
Having a qualification under your belt could work wonders, especially if you intend to open your own business.
Learning these skills can be self-taught through Youtube, Pinterest or short-term online courses.
Starting to offer your own services is always an option but remember to go through the proper legal channels first. Internships are also a viable option. Read more about that here.
If you’d like to start a business and would like to know the licences required click here.
Jump to:A-Levels BTEC Diploma,VCTC,NVQ and City & Guilds Access to Higher Education
Further Education is considered Level 3 education in the UK (England, Northern Ireland and Wales). The most common further education route is A-Levels but it’s not the only option. There are coursework based courses like BTEC. To pursue a Bachelors degree you must complete this level of education first.
A-Levels are exam based courses. You can take from 3 A-Level subjects as most university courses require at least 3. For Non-Medical Cosmetology related degree courses, most universities would do not require A-Levels.
If you are intending to do a university degree in Beauty Promotion or a Business related degree, A-Level Business or Media would be useful. Please note it would help to do a business degree if you intend to open your own business (have no worries it is not mandatory).
The other A-Level subjects you choose can be varied. However, you should assess your main interest and sectors you want to work in. This is mainly so you enjoy what you are studying and you are establishing a solid knowledge base.
What qualifications do I need? A-level courses will usually require at least 5 IGCSEs (A*-C)/CSECs (Grades 1-3) . Mathematics and English Language passes are mandatory to possess. It is best to check the specific requirements of the university or college you intend to go to as the entry requirements may differ.
To find A-Level courses search online or Contact us for help.
BTEC Diploma, NVQ, VTCT and City & Guilds
The process of obtaining these qualifications is more practical in comparison to the more theory based academic A-Level. You are assessed solely with coursework.
These qualifications are available at different levels and at Level 3, the diploma can be equivalent to up to three (3) A-Levels. BTECs can be taken alongside other qualifications (such as an A-Level) and can permit entry to university.
- Hairdressers – BTEC Hair and Beauty; Hair and Makeup for Beginners; Fashion, Theatre and Media Hair Makeup Studies; Hairdressing Levels 1-3; Introduction to Hair and Beauty;
- Barbering – Introduction to Barbering, BTEC Hair and Beauty, Barbering Levels 1-2
- Nail technicians – Artificial Nail Structures; Introduction to Gel Polish;
- Makeup artist – Beauty Therapy Level 1-3, Hair and Makeup for Beginners; Fashion, Theatre and Media Hair Makeup Studies; Introduction to Beauty Therapy; Theatrical and Media Makeup
- Esthetician and Spa – Introduction to Beauty Therapy; Massage Techniques; Beauty Therapy Levels 1-3
Want to go to university?
If you intend to go to university, Bachelors degrees in Beauty or Fashion Marketing/Promotion would typically be interested in students with a business based background. Therefore a BTEC in Business is a viable option.
For HND or FdA university courses, required subjects may differ. Doing a relevant vocational qualification in your degree may suffice.
What qualifications do I need? It depends on the BTEC diploma you’re pursuing. Level 3 BTEC diplomas and VTCT will usually require at least 4-5 IGCSEs (A*-C)/CSECs (Grades 1-3). Mathematics and English Language passes are mandatory to possess as well. It is best to check the specific requirements of the university you intend to go to as the entry requirements may differ.
To find these vocational courses, search online, check you local college or Contact Us for assistance.
But what if I’m over 18 and I have no entry qualifications?
Adults can complete an Accredited Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) course. Some courses may make exceptions so always ask.
Jump to:Foundation Degrees Undergraduate Degrees Postgraduate Degrees
Foundation courses can also be taken if your results/tariff points accumulated in a Level 3 qualification were not high enough to allow entry to a standard three-year Bachelors course. Some universities integrate the Foundation year into a four year course. At the end of the four-year course you will receive the same qualification as a three-year degree.
Universities offer foundation courses in things like Makeup and Character Design, Specialist Hair and Makeup, Media Makeup, Prosthetic Makeup Effects, Aesthetic Practice and Spa Management & the list goes on.
To find Foundation courses, enter your area of study and search Foundation degrees here. In the filters select Foundation to only view Foundation courses.
All applications to undergraduate courses are done via UCAS. Undergraduate courses can come in the form of foundation degrees, HND or Bachelors level.
You can do a Bachelors degree in anything ranging from Makeup to Beauty Promotion to Spa Management.
Search any relevant course terms on UCAS throws a wealthy bunch of universities for you to choose from. Search here.
How do I choose which degree?
With the copious choices given, it may make it difficult to decipher which is best for you.
To start narrowing it down, we suggest you first look at the entry requirements to the course and assess your existing or prospective exam/coursework results.
Next, have a look at the modules done by the university and assess if those are relevant to your career if you’ve already chosen. Also view the teaching quality at the university.
Tip: Some university courses offer an integrated placement year where you get the option to work in your industry (most times paid, depending on the job you secure). This provides you with at least one year of experience in your field prior to graduation.
To view all options and courses, enter your area of study and search courses here.
What qualifications do I need? It varies per university but largely universities require at least 70 tariff points for subjects like Cosmetology. Grades in A-Level tend to be at least CCC. BTEC diploma grades required tend to be at least passes. Check the entry requirements per course on UCAS. Some courses have foundation entry options which allows you to gain the qualification and continue the course with lower entry requirements.
If you already have an undergraduate degree and would like to make a career swap, or you would like to further your studies we’ve got options for you.
To progress in your career specialisation is key, therefore if your path is in coastal management or reef ecology a postgraduate degree in that field is the way to go.
Similar to applying for an undergrad degree, click here to view options and courses, enter your area of study and search courses. Filter options to Postgraduate. (Some postgraduate courses may not be listed on UCAS).
On an apprenticeship, you’re employed to do a real job while studying for a formal qualification, usually for one day a week either at a college or training centre. By the end of your apprenticeship, you’ll hopefully have gained the skills and knowledge needed to either succeed in your chosen career or progress onto the next apprenticeship level. – Prospects
You can find apprenticeships in Hairdressing, Barbering, Nail Tech etc.
Search for these apprenticeships online or find an apprenticeship through UCAS here.
Internships & Volunteering
Whether you still live in the TCI or elsewhere, it would help to go to your local salon and ask to volunteer or intern with them to gain experience.
Perform on Point offers you an opportunity to compete for internships in Beauty and through this you can learn on the job. Find out more here.
Unsure about what Cosmetology is, read our explanatory post here.