business SOS column where we get experts to answer your beauty industry business queries

Q Sorry for the ‘cold’ email.  I am interested in starting my own business and want to only offer facials. I have looked online and found TAFE courses and the like, but also found one on Australian Beauty School.  They do not offer Certificate III but instead they offer a Certificate of Completion. When I spoke to them they said they get private accreditation but still industry recognised (external – international approval and registration centre).  I tried calling but they said to do my own research, so I have been searching and hope perhaps you can guide me.  Would the certificate of completion I get through ABS be legitimate and allow me to run a business of giving facials?

Thank you in advance, I hope you don’t mind me reaching out.

A According to Secretary of Hair and Beauty Australia Wendy Michetti (Co- Director of Museo Skin + Spa + Hair), there is no regulation, be it [voluntary] or mandatory in the beauty industry. “Consequently, it is confusing for students to understand what is their best option. While all RTOs [registered training organisation] must be accredited with ASQA, that does not mean all education providers are. Also, some private colleges will offer courses that, while valid in Australia, may not be recognised globally,” says Michetti.

We suggest that the best entry point is a Cert III / IV or a Diploma from an accredited provider, as your base qualification. This will give you a great foundation getting those basics right will set you up for a successful career. This can be at a public institution, such as TAFE, or a private college. With the basics covered, shorter courses offered by institutions that might not be registered with ASQA, or where you are only offered a completion certificates, absolutely play a role in keeping you up to speed with the latest trends and techniques.

In 25 years, I have yet to see an applicant apply for a job that hasn’t earned at least a certificate from a recognised organisation. A completion certificate alone for a course would typically not be enough.”  

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) is the national regulator for vocational education and training (VET), responsible for regulating approximately 90% of Australian training providers, and accrediting VET courses to ensure nationally approved standards are met.

An ASQA spokesperson says “A Certificate III is a nationally recognised qualification. Some industries recognise certain courses that are not nationally recognised training. Non-accredited training courses are not regulated by ASQA.

In some industries, minimum qualification requirements are set by legislation. For example, anyone serving alcohol in Australia must have completed an accredited responsible service of alcohol course. Any course you select should meet the minimum requirements so it’s important to find out if such requirements exist for your industry.

Before signing up to a VET course, we advise students to ensure that they understand what they are committing to, what the course will deliver, and what the course costs. We have published information to assist students selecting a training provider (Choosing a provider | Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA)).”

The summary

Our takeaway is that a certificate of completion is not a legal term that means anything with the regulatory or accreditation framework. And that the regulatory framework itself isn’t all that clear! A certificate of completion (or anything other than a Certificate III or IV) can be useful to demonstrate upskilling once you have been awarded recognised qualifications (we’re working on a piece about micro-credentialing and a certificate of completion would be perfect in this scenario), but does not take the place of earning a Certificate III or IV in the beauty therapy field.

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