Licensing and Certification of Spa Employees

By Caren Thornburgh, President, Virtual Spa

Each member of your professional spa "technical" staff (e.g. Esthetician, Massage Therapist, Nail Technician, Hair Stylist, etc.) will be required to have some form of License, Certification or Accreditation to be employed by you. The complication lies in determining what the requirements are and how you can find out whether your staff is properly trained and certified.

When determining individual state requirements, you need to look for information on all three levels: State, Town and County. Be aware that state requirements and town and county requirements may differ.

Depending on where certification resides in your state, you may need to contact one or more of the following agencies:

  • Board of Health
  • Board of Education
  • Board of Cosmetology
  • Local Town Business Office
  • Local Health Department

Hiring Staff & Background Checks

Aside from the "basic" paperwork of I/9 and W4 forms, you will want to be sure that you perform a thorough reference check and license check on the technician.

Five steps to follow:
  1. Have the prospective employee give you copies of her/his diploma and/or certification, license or both.

  2. If the license is in-state, check with your local board of cosmetology, either on-line or over the phone, to verify the status of the license. Although the license may be current, the practitioner may have complaints waged against them, be suspended or have prior violations on her record.

  3. If the employee is from out of state, check the reciprocity of their license. You can check on-line at Skin Inc. to view each state's requirements. Based on this information, you will then want to contact your state's Board of Cosmetology to find out the process of getting the potential hire licensed in your state.

  4. If you have valid license, you will want to check with your local government to adhere to any special requirements they may require. Some towns may require a copy of a technician's license, a physical exam or a TB shot.

  5. If you are unfamiliar with the professional school that the technician attended, you may want to ensure that school is accredited. Essentially, accreditation means that the school has met the national standard of educational performance set by a non-governmental agency. A list of the accredited schools can be found at the Website of the National Accrediting Commission of Cosmetology Arts & Sciences.

    Additionally, you should have the employee furnish a professional reference and provide their school name and phone number.