The importance of accreditation

Learning how to do something well is not enough. You need a certificate confirming it. And the certificate provider needs ‘accreditation’.

The dictionary defines accreditation as ‘the process of officially recognising someone as having a particular status or being qualified to perform a particular activity’.

You need a respected organisation to provide accreditation for the training provider who issued the certificate, to say that the training provider knew what it was doing when it awarded certificates to people like you.

This is the only way that a customer can be sure that the certificate on someone’s wall was earned as a result of a proper training experience, not just brought online from Oxford Street University, operating out of a flat above a sweet shop.

Accreditation is all about being taken seriously. You, the eyelash technician, want to be taken seriously, which means you want your training to be taken seriously. So the certificate needs to be from a recognised training provider. Everyone recognises ‘City & Guilds’. If the certificate on your wall says ‘City & Guilds’ no more accreditation is needed.

The accreditation issue comes into play when the certificate isn’t issued by someone like that, but by some salon in Kent, which does a side business in providing training between customer bookings. Then, for their certificate to be taken seriously on your wall, there has to be some stamp on it saying “accredited by…” And then the accrediting body itself needs to be worthy of respect (not just a friendly eyelash emporium in the next village).

So, who is worthy of respect? If the awarding body is City & Guilds, VTCT, or ITEC, they are worthy of respect. Their name on the certificate is enough.

If the awarding body is a commercial business of some kind, which is not itself worthy of respect – that salon in Kent, for example – their certificate is not enough to satisfy a careful customer. But if the certificate also has the logo of BABTAC, The Guild of Beauty Therapists, or the Federation of Holistic Therapists on it, beneath the words ‘Accredited by …’ then the certificate is worth having.

These organisations are beauty industry, large-scale, membership bodies with a long-term involvement in the beauty business. They carry out proper checks of training providers and their imprimatur means the trainer knows what she is doing, she trained you well, and you know what you are doing.

What you definitely need to steer well clear of is small, privately owned, businesses which are not respected industry-standard bodies at all, but just people making money for issuing a stamp.

Accreditation may not matter to you too much as you do your work. No one is really going to question the status of your original trainer when you have been in the industry for a while, doing eyelashes beautifully day in and day out. But if one day you want to set up your own salon, then it will matter. You can’t set up in business without a Special Treatments Licence from your local council. And they require you to prove that you have the necessary qualifications. They usually have a list of required qualifications and the awarding bodies whose qualifications they will accept. So – thinking ahead – it is always worth making sure your qualifications will command proper respect, and open doors for you (namely, the door of your new business) when you need it.