Where will this course lead?

On successful completion of the course you will be qualified to enter Higher Education to pursue a Higher National Diploma or Degree course. You will also develop the necessary skills to enter the workplace or apprenticeship should you choose to do so.

What will I study?

Do you want a future in the professional makeup industry? During this course you will study a range of specialist make-up techniques for fashion, film and theatre which will include makeup for TV, special effects makeup and theatrical makeup for stage such as fantasy creatures and historical looks. You will also learn how to create and apply prosthetics, scars, bruises and wounds. You will design different looks inspired by your own areas of interest and create them.

You will also carry out historical research relating to fashion trends and cultural differences which will inform the creative work you undertake. You will discover different visual art techniques such as design illustration and photography as well as some costume and accessories production along with hair styling. You will gain experience by working in a realistic working environment and by attending media productions, entering stage competitions and completing a work experience placement. This may involve some evening and weekend work.

How will this course be delivered?

The course is classroom based with individual, small team and wider group workshops, exploring and developing ideas, designing looks, creating prosthetics and makeup application. There will be a number of assignments each year which will allow students to work on their own choice of outcomes. There are many routes that our students like to pursue which are linked to their personal interests and career goals, which may include horror, fantasy, fashion and many more and our students are encouraged to experiment with all of these areas.

Design boards and sketchbooks are used to document the development of your ideas throughout each assignment and should contain your initial research, visual studies, design development and experimentation, along with your final designs and evaluation. It is expected that you annotate your ideas and reflect on your development as the assignment progresses. You will also use photography to document your final outcomes.

What qualifications will I get?

The course leads to a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Theatrical Makeup (equivalent to three A-Levels). It is a two-year, full-time programme at Level 3.

How will I be assessed?

Assignments form the basis for coursework. The lecturing staff will introduce each new assignment as the course progresses. You will be assessed all the time you are working, but your main assessment is through assignment work, where you will be graded for each assignment and then given an overall grade for the final assignment of each year. Attendance and application in all areas is essential for successful completion. Most of your work will be completed in a sketchbook and on design boards.

How do I get a place on the course?

You should apply through the College application process, via the website, telephone, or open events etc.

What are the entry requirements?

4 GCSEs at grade C/grade 4 or above including English Language and preferably a creative subject such as Art, Photography or Textiles, or a Level 2 qualification in a relevant vocational subject area at a merit grade and GCSE English Language at grade C/grade 4 or above.

On interview you are requested to present a portfolio of images showing photographs of your makeup work and/or illustrations of your designs.

What else do I need to know?

A full makeup kit and uniform is required for the course. Details will be given on how to order this before the course starts. Study visits to museums and art galleries are included in the programme. Additional visits where applicable for specific coursework input, are also required. Students must access the art studios off timetable to continue working on coursework and private study of at least three hours a week.

At the end of the first year, and moving into the second year of the course, you will receive advice on university courses and apprenticeships, along with methods of application. Guidance regarding the job market and employment opportunities will also be available. Portfolio building will form an important part of the second year as you prepare for interviews.

What can I do after this course?

You can progress onto university, an apprenticeship, freelance work, employment in the makeup industry. Skills learnt on the course are also transferrable into such subjects as backstage within performing arts and media production.


Stratford-upon-Avon College

Start Date






Course Fee

N/A For 16 to 18 Year Olds

Course Code


Study Mode

Full Time

Salon Manager

Job holders in this unit group plan, organise, direct and co-ordinate the activities and resources of hairdressing salons, beauty treatment and similar establishments.

What’s Involved?

Salon Managers determine staffing, financial, material and other short- and long-term needs. They control the allocation, training and remuneration of staff. They provide clients with information and advice on styles and treatments, and resolve any complaints or problems. They also ensure clients' records are maintained. They undertake and/or direct hair treatments and/or beauty therapy. They check and maintain any equipment, and ensure that all safety requirements are met. They also demonstrate, advise on and sell hair and/or beauty products. They ensure financial accounts for the business are maintained.

Arts Director

Arts officers, producers and directors assume creative, financial and organisational responsibilities in the production and direction of television and radio programmes, films, stage presentations, content for other media, and the promotion and exhibition of other creative activities.

What’s Involved?

Art Officers/Producers/Directors choose writers, scripts, technical staff and performers, and assume overall responsibility for completion of project on time and within budget. They direct actors, designers, camera teams, sound crews and other production and technical staff to achieve desired effects. They break scripts into scenes and formulate a shooting schedule that will be most economical in terms of time, location and sets. They also prepare rehearsals and production schedules for main events, design of sets and costumes, technical rehearsals and dress rehearsals. They ensure necessary equipment, props, performers and technical staff are on set when required. They also manage health and safety issues. They select, contract, market and arrange for the presentation and/or distribution of performance, visual and heritage arts.

Freelance Stylist

Freelance stylists shampoo, cut, colour, style and treat hair. They are self employed and will often travel to clients.

What’s Involved?

Freelance Stylists discuss customer requirements, analyse hair condition and other relevant features to define and advise on hair style. They wash, condition, bleach, tint or dye hair and provide any necessary basic scalp treatments. They also cut and trim hair using scissors, clippers, razors and combs. They use combs, brushes, blow-dryers or set wet hair in rollers to style or straighten. They shave and trim beards and moustaches. They collect payment, arrange appointments and clean and tidy salons. They also maintain client records and keep up-to-date with new products, styles and techniques. They ensure hair products are stored and used appropriately and observe relevant health and safety factors. They demonstrate, sell and recommend hair care products to clients and advise them on hair care.


Artists create artistic works using appropriate techniques, materials and media; design artwork and illustrations; and restore damaged pieces of art.

What’s Involved?

Artists/Illustrators conceive and develop ideas and ways of working for artistic composition. They select appropriate materials, medium and method. They prepare sketches, scale drawings or colour schemes. They also build up compositions into finished work by carving, sculpting, etching, painting, engraving, drawing, etc. They approach managers of galleries and exhibitions in order to get finished work displayed. They use artistic skills to restore damaged artworks. They liaise with writers and publishers to produce book illustrations. They also market and sell finished work directly to customers. They produce work on commission basis for clients.

Make up artist/Beautician

Beauticians and related workers give facial and body beauty treatments, apply cosmetics and dress wigs.

What’s Involved?

A Beautician discusses clients requirements, analyses and advises client on appropriate skin care, and applies treatments to the face or body. They massages scalp, face and other parts of the body and carries out spray tanning. They use waxing, threading, sugaring and other epilation techniques to remove any unwanted body hair. They clean, shape and polish finger and toe nails, apply nail extensions. They apply make-up to hide blemishes or enhance facial features and advise clients on skin care and make-up techniques. They perform specialist treatments for conditions such as acne, apply skin rejuvenation therapies. They recognise problems and refer clients to medical practitioners if appropriate. They also advise clients on diet and exercise to assist in weight loss and slimming. They maintain client records, sell and advise on cosmetic products and services, and ensure appropriate health and safety issues are addressed.

Special Effects Make Up Artist

A special effects makeup artist is in charge of transforming an actor's appearance when they have to look scary, bloody, beaten up, older-any transformation that requires more than what a regular makeup artist is responsible for.

What’s Involved?

A special effects make up artist is responsible for utilising prosthetics, cosmetics, appliances, and spirit gum to create realistic wounds, abrasions, creature features, deformities, aged-up wrinkles, or anything else that will further immerse the audience into the world. Despite the industry's reliance on CGI, the special effects makeup artist's ability to bring visuals to life through practical techniques is an essential role on the set of any genre film or show.

Freelance Beauty Therapist

Beauticians and related workers give facial and body beauty treatments and apply cosmetics.

What’s Involved?

A freelance beauty therapist discusses clients requirements, analyses and advises client on appropriate skin care, and applies treatments to the face or body; massages scalp, face and other parts of the body and carries out spray tanning; uses waxing, threading, sugaring and other epilation techniques to remove any unwanted body hair; cleans, shapes and polishes finger and toe nails, applies nail extensions; applies make-up to hide blemishes or enhance facial features and advises clients on skin care and make-up techniques; performs specialist treatments for conditions such as acne, applies skin rejuvenation therapies; recognises problems and refers clients to medical practitioners if appropriate; advises clients on diet and exercise to assist in weight loss and slimming; maintains client records, sells and advises on cosmetic products and services, and ensures appropriate health and safety issues are addressed.

Predicted Employment

How much can I earn?


Employment by Region

The career paths provided are to give you an idea of the careers that you could progress onto in the future. However, for some, you may need to complete higher level qualifications and gain experience before your dream job becomes a reality. The information provided is to support further research and to generate some initial career ideas when choosing a course. Please check entry requirements to degree courses, apprenticeships, and jobs as this may vary from year to year and across providers. For further advice and guidance, please contact: careers@solihull.ac.uk.
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