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The career of a somatologist covers many different aspects and avenues. This can make it a very exciting career choice for those of you who get bored easily. Somatologists have a thorough knowledge of different skin types, as well as which skin care products are suitable for each client. They also give massage and body treatments, remove unwanted hair, tint eyelashes and eyebrows, give manicures and pedicures, as well as offer many other treatments such as waxing.  Most somatologists work in clean, well-lit beauty clinics. Somatologists will also need to learn certain skills if, for example, working with electrical equipment such as electrolysis machines for hair removal.

Somatology is the science of dealing with the body in all its physical aspects. Somatology is a multi-faceted profession in which the Somatologist treats a variety of skin and body problems in a holistic and health related manner. Liesl Teixeira, a somatologist and lecturer at Tshwane University of Technology, decided to become a somatologist because she likes working with people and making people feel good.


A somatologist use to be known as a beauty therapist but the new title encompasses more skills than just aesthetics. The salary of a somatologist varies from area to area, it is dependent on a persons sales abilities as well as other skills. Somatologists earn a basic salary plus commission. Liesl suggests marketing yourself and canvassing clients when you first start out. “Be an entrepreneur.”

Job description

Somatologists treat and prevent disorders involving the skin and body and are concerned with the overall health and well-being of people. They recommend and carry out slimming treatments, sell cosmetics, do specialised make-up techniques, manicures and pedicures, tints and remove unwanted facial and body hair, permanently or temporarily. A somatologist uses a variety of electrical equipment and specialised massage techniques such as reflexology, aromatherapy, manual lymph drainage and Swedish massage.

Pros and cons

The pros, says Liesl are “the sky is the limit, you can own your own business and you can makes lots money”.

The cons, says Liesl are “that the money and success doesn’t happen quickly, meaning you have to work very hard and build a clientele. Also the long hours are another con.”

Required studies and experience

There are numerous places where you can study somatology. Liesl recommends a 4 year course as this will give you access to work in a variety of field. The tecknikon offers two courses, the National Diploma in Somatology and the BTech degree in Somatology. The diploma is 3 years long, whereas the degree is 4 years. The tecknikon also offers prospective students the opportunity of working in the industry while studying. This is through their experiential training. The subjects you would need to have in school are either, Anatomy and Physiology, or Biology, or Science. Tertiary institutions will also look at Maths when you apply.

Personality types

If you are someone who can listen, has drive and ambition, patience, and can focus, then you have the personality for this job. “You need to be comfortable around people and touching them.” You must have vision, stamina and be able to build up your clientele while growing your career. It is important to have continual professional development so that you keep learning. Liesl suggests being a selected introvert for this job.

An average day

For any day, you have to be in before the client and make sure everything is ready for their treatment. You do the treatments the whole day and have to accommodate your clients as well as possible. This can mean that you will work during your lunch hour or even late into the evening. Being flexible is important especially if you will be working from 07:00 until 19:00. Some salons work on a rotation system which will give you a little more freedom.

The best thing about the job

“The fact that you can help people, you make people look and feel good about themselves. When you look good, you feel better. This is a feel good profession,” smiles Liesl.

The worst thing about the job

“The human factor – difficult clients and late clients. The job can also be a bit emotionally draining because your clients might dump all their problems on your shoulders.”

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