Cosmetologists who want to go beyond simply making over clients' appearances can help people in more profound ways by becoming beauty therapists. According to the Academy of Palm Beach, practicing beauty therapy requires training in practices like aromatherapy, therapeutic massage and facial procedures. Correspondence and online classes make getting the skills and knowledge you'll need to work as a professional beauty therapist more feasible, especially if you want to keep your existing job while you study or if you have other personal obligations.
Becoming a beauty therapist typically means completing a cosmetology program focusing on the discipline. Although correspondence, distance education and web-based learning options offer instruction in courses such as human anatomy and physiology, massage theory, hair removal or sanitation, they don't provide students with the opportunity to take hands-on practical classes. Practical experience is necessary to work with clients and may be a requirement for your state's cosmetology licensing board. For example, the New York state licensing services note that in-state cosmetologists must have 1,000 hours of approved school training and pass a practical exam. Before choosing a correspondence course, check to see if the school is state approved and provides ways for you to get hands-on training.
To help students gain practical experience, some colleges offer blended learning programs that feature on-campus and online courses. This type of program allows you to take some of your courses online, which frees up your schedule, but you still get supervised experience working with clients or in a simulation lab. For example, Daytona College in Ormond Beach, Florida, offers an Associate of Science blended degree in therapeutic massage and skin care. This, like other similar programs, includes courses on massage, hydrotherapy and skin care techniques in a blended environment, with both correspondence and classroom-based courses.
After you complete your initial training in cosmetology or beauty therapy, you'll need to keep up on continuing education requirements to maintain your license. Correspondence or online courses may fulfill your continuing education requirements, depending on your state's specific rules and regulations. Online sites such as cosmetologycampus.com and ContinuingCosmetology.com offer web-based classes that provide the additional beauty training, knowledge and skills that will help your professional practice and keep you in line with licensing requirements.
Using aromatherapy as part of your professional beauty practice can help your clients to relax, de-stress, elevate mood or even relieve pain through the addition of scented essential oil treatments, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Although courses in aromatherapy aren't required as part of cosmetology licensing, the information that you learn can help you to better serve clients in a therapeutic spa environment. If you want to use aromatherapy in your cosmetology career, taking a course or an entire program through an online school offers a flexible learning option. For example, the American College of Healthcare Sciences offers an introduction to aromatherapy correspondence course online. This three-credit course provides students with instruction in the basic history and safe use of aromatherapy, including information about the physiology of smell and the absorption of oils by the skin.
Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.