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  • Please pass on my thanks to Helen for an excellent UV Gel nail course in Exmouth. The smaller group made it so much easier to learn and Helen's knowledge and enthusiasm for her subject was infectious. I am very much looking forward to my next course. Also, please thank your administration team for a very efficient booking system. Just waiting for my UV Gel kit to arrive so I can really get started!" - Daphne
  • "Please could you kindly pass on my sincere thanks to your tutors at Windsor. I attended the Xen Tan Training Course at Windsor and was very pleased with the level of expertise and customer service received. I look forward to studying courses with The Carlton Institute in the near future and will recommend your Windsor branch to my students. Your two Tutors were very professional and welcoming. They are a real credit to your organisation." - Rebecca
  • I just wanted to say thank you to Helen in Exmouth for my Body Massage training. I so enjoyed the two days and found Helen such a great teacher! Her experience, knowledge, encouragement and patience was wonderful. At times I did fear and worry what I was doing, but she made me feel at ease it all just clicked together ! I can see the light! My clients will enjoy the extra therapy I can now offer them alongside the reflexology and IHM. I look forward to booking another course next year, Victoria
  • “I've just completed Body Massage training over two day in Belfast, I loved this course. It was delivered by the trainer Natacha, who's skill, expertise & professionalism was second to none. Thank you so much...I can't wait to come back for more”. Glenda
  • I've done my portfolio for level 2 was great, all the support Lynda gave me ..she did a superb job of helping me to finish this ...she is the best u xxx...give her promotion if you can please she is the best in your institute xx Sohni.
  • The service provided by the Carlton Institute was excellent from my initial enquiry through to final assessment and receipt of my certificate. I would particularly like to praise my course instructor Jane. She was highly knowledgeable, friendly and approachable, and had good teaching skills. My experience with the CI was significantly better than another local training provider with whom I had previously taken a course. I plan to take further training with you in the future and would def recommend. Lorraine
  • Hello, I have been to the ear candling course today in bham. Just wanted to say that I totally enjoyed it and Claire was fabulous. Hope to do more courses with you soon, if you have any offers on massage courses please let me know. Many thanks Prab
  • "I've recently completed the training days of NVQ level 3 in Massage Therapy in Chichester with Jane and Jo. I have to say how amazing the training days were, Jane and Jo are so knowledgable and passionate and have the fantastic ability to break large volumes of information down into easily understandable chunks. I absolutely loved my days with them and can't wait to come back to do more courses." - Carrie
  • I just wanted to say a massive thank you for the last two weeks. I have just completed my beauty therapy level 2 and massage therapy level 3 at Leeds and I loved every second of it! Our course leader, Yoselyn, was fantastic. She was so friendly and helpful and it was an absolute pleasure to be taught by her, especially as she was so knowledgeable in all areas. From before I even made my booking, all the staff have been so helpful and supportive. Thanks Carlton Institute! Laura
  • I can honestly say that enrolling on the elite NVQ in Windsor was the best decision I could have made for my career! The tutors are great (without exception), support is available at every step and my placement as part of the course (at Champneys Town & City Spa) has also led to an offer of employment, which I am absolutely delighted with! I highly recommend this route for anyone thinking of taking the same step!" Janet.
  • "May I thank Lynda (Customer Service) again for all of her help and support, which is really appreciated. She is a great representation of the company!" - Victoria
  • I did Sports massage a few years ago at Stockport. It is an amazing course. Out of all the courses that I have done at the Carlton, massage is one of my favourite. Emma
  • "I would like to say how pleased I was with the Body Massage and Hot Stone Therapy courses in Birmingham. I did wonder how so much would be covered in the time, but Claire is an amazing and very talented tutor. I do hope that Carlton will also add colour and crystal treatments to their excellent courses." - Marion,
  • I have thoroughly enjoyed the elite NVQ level 2 in Windsor. I feel I've gained confidence, not only in my skills, but also in knowing that I now have the understanding and knowledge that is required to be a successful therapist. As part of my course I was offered a placement at Bannytne Spa, which gave me invaluable work experience in the industry. The Spa have since offered me employment, which is absolutely fantastic! This is the perfect course for anyone hoping to start a career in Beauty. Chloe
  • Wow!! Yoselyn at Leeds school is an absolute credit to you! Having just passed your 2 day massage course, I am really looking forward to my next two courses this week!
  • After a week off intense training in Birmingham,we got our diplomas :) Big thanx to the most wonderful tutor Claire Who shared so much knowledge and was so patient with us xxx Karolina
  • "I would like to say how pleased I was with the Body Massage and Hot Stone Therapy courses in Birmingham. I did wonder how so much would be covered in the time, but Claire is an amazing and very talented tutor. I do hope that Carlton will also add colour and crystal treatments to their excellent courses." - Marion,
  • Hi there I wanted to email to let you know how much I enjoyed my Reiki course in Birmingham with your tutor Claire. She was extremely informative, knowledgeable and professional. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole day and would definitely look to do courses with her in the future. Kind regards Nicki
  • Just wanted to say what a good morning I had in Burton doing my pedicure training. Sarah


With a vast array of qualifications and options available to you, choosing the course to suit your needs can be confusing. While researching courses you may have found that there are many different accrediting bodies usually in the form of confusing initials. With that in mind, we thought we'd try and make things a bit clearer for you.

What is the difference between a Carlton Institute Diploma and a NVQ / VRQ level qualification?

VTCT/NVQ Certificate
The Vocational Training Charitable Trust (VTCT) is the beauty industry's oldest awarding body. They issue NVQ certificates (National Vocational Qualifications) and VRQ's (Vocational Related Qualifications) which are both internationally recognised certificates. Both are equivalent, and vary according to the subject unit you are taking.

The standards for NVQ certification are set by HABIA, the Government setting standards body for the hair and beauty industry.  You can rest assure that our courses are designed, delivered and assessed to meet these rigourous requirements set by the awarding body.


National Vocational Qualifications vs. Vocational Related Qualifications

VTCT offer NVQ (National Vocational Qualifications) as well as the VQ (Vocational Related Qualification).
Both types of qualifications are fully recognised for insurance and within the industry


  • An NVQ is a work-related, hands-on qualification that focuses on employment skills for you.
  • They've been developed by the industry for the industry.
  • It is a collection of units which, when completed, gives you the full compliment of skills required to work in the beauty industry.
  • The achievement of all units makes you competent or 'work ready' for your new beauty career.


  • A Vocational Qualification is similar to an NVQ in that it is work related and practical and focuses on developing your employment skills.
  • It will apply to a specific subject within that industry.
  • This is great as a 'preparation for work' qualification.

The units that make up the NVQ are chosen and developed by industry specialists (HABIA) who identified the main skills that are required to fulfil a specific job role or occupation.

Where other subjects have value within the sector, but do not wholly contribute to the core of what the industry actually needs, e.g. Reflexology, then the VRQ is offered to ensure a certain level of knowledge is attained and meet insurance requirements.

VRQ's are like 'pockets of skill' within a subject area related to an occupation

Carlton Institute Diploma

Our certificates, although not the highest national qualification, do carry the accreditation of the major industry bodies (BABTAC, GUILD and Embody). As such, the diploma you receive will indicate that you have been trained to a standard high enough for those governing bodies, and will allow you to obtain insurance. The significant advantage of choosing this route is that it offers the quickest and cheapest way to get started.

What qualifications does The Carlton Institute offer?

At The Carlton Institute we offer both the Middle and Upper Tier qualifications. In short the teaching is the same for both types - with the difference being between the amounts of post-course assessment required. Our Middle Tier qualification is the Carlton Institute Diploma which is accredited by Babtac, Guild and Embody (for hopi and hot stones). Everyone who completes our courses will be awarded a Carlton Institute Diploma in their subject(s). On top of this, our Upper Tier qualifications for those of you that wish to achieve them are accredited by VTCT, and on completion of your course work and assessment you will receive certification from VTCT.

Carlton Institute Diploma, VTCT/NVQ qualifications, or both?

For those of you who are considering working for yourself in your own salon or as a mobile therapist then the Carlton Institute Diploma, which is valid for insurance purposes, would usually suit your needs. In cases where you may be looking for employment; in salons, spas or cruise ships, both in the UK and/or abroad, the VTCT/NVQ qualifications that we offer are often preferred.

VTCT or City & Guilds?

We use the VTCT because:
- They are the major awarding body in the UK, the market leader and provider of specialist qualifications in beauty therapy, massage and holistic therapy and nail services.
- Since 1962 they have been the specialists in this field.

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