Once a health and wellness wonder founded around healing natural springs in Europe, spas have evolved into a retreat from everyday life for customers around the globe. As a popular recreational attraction, spas have become not only an essential amenity in upper class hotels and resorts, but destinations in their own right. This industry growth and expansion has created countless job opportunities for spa managers, estheticians, hairdressers and masseurs.
The International Spa Association based in Lexington, Kentucky, estimates that the spa industry will continue to enjoy the massive growth it has seen over the past decade. In fact, in North America this growth has held at an impressive 16% annually for several years. The United Kingdom and Ireland have even better news; spas there have seen their annual sales skyrocket by almost 30% each year, according to a survey commissioned by the Spa Business Association and tourist body VisitBritain.
Eighty-percent of all spas are day spas, creating the uncommon opportunity for spa employees to enjoy regular daytime hours in a service industry. However, destination and medical spas are increasing in popularity. Estheticians and other spa workers interested in international travel will find the opportunities endless as spas around the world, on cruise ships and in resorts are constantly growing and recruiting new team members.
The spa industry also holds unique potential for spa employee growth. Ongoing training, courses and apprenticeships are common for those wishing to improve their skills or learn new treatment techniques. Licensed estheticians and massage therapists might choose to work independently as a contractor within a spa, allowing them to set their own hours and prices without the expensive overhead of owning or leasing their own building and equipment.
It takes a few key people to keep a full service spa competitive. These employees often specialize in a number of treatments, depending on the services offered to their clients.
An ESTHETICIAN is dedicated to providing skin and nail care to their clients. After a training course ranging from six to eighteen months in duration, a licensed esthetician offers facials, body care, manicures and pedicures to pampered spa visitors. They might also take courses to upgrade their skills as new treatments become popular trends, such as body sugaring or different skin detoxifying techniques.
The SPA MANAGER might be an esthetician herself, or she may simply handle the day-to-day operation of the business. They decide which treatments the spa will offer their clients, hire specialized staff, market their spa services and build the business.
The SPA HAIR STYLIST provides cuts, styles, dyes and other hair treatments. The hair stylist has become an important figure in the spa industry, as busy clients seek out one-stop personal care shops. Hair stylists can become licensed professionals after taking an accredited course and completing a specified number of apprenticeship hours.
MASSAGE THERAPISTS provide therapeutic and relaxation massage to their clients. Because there are so many types and styles of massage, they usually focus on two or three different massage techniques and perfect them through training and practice.
SPA SUPPORT STAFF play an important role in the everyday operation of the spa. Receptionists field calls and book client appointments. As spas offer more services to their clients, it is becoming more common for them to have dieticians, aromatherapists, acupuncturists, fitness instructors and even swimming instructors on staff. Destination spas often employ activity coordinators to organize healthy, relaxing activities and events for their guests.
In the business of providing calm and relaxation, many of the stressors of the typical workplace melt away. Spas are typically quiet, peaceful work environments, complete with soft music and lighting. Destination spas and those located within hotels and resorts experience the same peak and down seasons as other tourist industries; spa employees should prepare themselves for these fluctuations, especially if they operate as an independent contractor and cannot rely on a steady salary from their employer.
The Leading Spas of Canada Canadian Spa Industry and Consumer Research Survey reported that the number of spas in Canada alone grew to over 2000 in 2004. In the US, conservative estimates place the number of spas across the country at well over 12,000, with approximately 70% of those being day spas. With so many spas to choose from, there is an opportunity for every type of spa employee! Those seeking the thrill and excitement of big city life will find countless opportunities in trendy city spas. The quiet nature lover may enjoy a career in a destination or resort spa, far from the hustle and bustle of urban life.