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Most spa therapists specialize in massage, but it is possible to work as a spa therapist without performing any type of massage. A spa therapist may specialize in beauty treatments, skin care, or other typical spa procedures. In general, what a spa therapist does depends on the spa in question. It is common for spas to expect their employees to learn the spa's protocol on the job but to have a basic background in spa work and massage.
One of the most common parts of a spa therapist's job is massage. Massage is often a major part of a spa's business and may be combined with other beauty treatments. In specialty spas, a spa therapist might perform a very unique or unusual kind of physical treatment. As massage is such a major part of the spa business, most spa therapists have a degree in massage.
A spa therapist might be expected to perform beauty treatments for clients. These might include wraps, manicures, and other skin treatments. Most spas teach their employees how to use all the products the spa offers, as well as how to apply any treatments advertised. General knowledge of beauty and skin health can be extremely beneficial in a spa environment.
There are also parts of working as a spa therapist that do not include clients. Keeping track of money, making appointments, and doing office work can all be required parts of the job, depending on the size of the company. It is common for spa therapists to check out their own clients, meaning that they must be able to use a cash register. Also, because many spa therapists work fairly independently with a regular group of clients, it is important to maintain good relations with those clients through good business practices.
While many spa therapists begin with a career in massage, it is theoretically possible to work for a spa without that training. In fact, some people who hold jobs at spas have entirely unrelated training and provide very unique services to clients. For example, a dermatologist might work in connection with a spa, as might an aromatherapist or a person specializing in hair care. Depending on the spa, these people might work together with the people who provide massages, or the clients might travel from one area of the spa to another. If someone has the capacity to offer a highly unique treatment that might be of interest to a spa, the best way to get employed with a spa is to pitch one's services directly.