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The Toronto Sun CareerConnection


Treat yourself to a spa education at Elmcrest College

By Nick Candiotto
Toronto Sun

Elmcrest College's standing in the spa industry is evident with a simple perusal of the career of the school's managing director.

"I'm one of the founding directors of Spas Ontario, vice-president of the Canadian Spa Association and a very active member of the International Spa Professionals Association," Jack Morrison says. "Prior to Elmcrest College, I was the managing director at Elmwood Spa -- Canada's largest day spa."

The school itself draws on Morrison's vast knowledge by bringing together more than 20 years of operational experience and more than 25 years of educational excellence. In fact, Elmcrest College has built a reputation for exceptional quality within the spa industry at the provincial, national and international level -- a reputation cemented by its graduates.
Jack Morrison, managing director of Elmcrest College, says the school is responding to the needs of an industry that is growing at a rapid pace. "The demand for staff, especially qualified staff, is still staggering," he says. (Photo, Elmcrest College)

"We have the distinction of being the only school in the province with a 100% pass rate in the statutory registration examination at the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario," Morrison adds.

In addition to its highly successful massage therapy program, the college, established in 1976 as the Zehava Beauty Centre, is the first and only school in North America to offer a full-time diploma program in spa management.

"The spa industry in North America generates approximately $10.7 million a year and it is still growing," Morrison notes. "But the demand for staff, especially qualified staff, is still staggering."

Elmcrest College responded to this need with a comprehensive spa management program -- addressing the need for top-quality administrative, management and staff training programs customized for the spa industry.

"Every component of all the courses is tied directly into the spa industry," Morrison says. "We know how excited the industry is about our program, so we remain on top of the industry needs so our graduates can hit the ground running."

Launched in September of 2003, the faculty of spa management is made up of three programs that address all levels of the spa team. From management to support staff, Elmcrest's programs are geared to a successful career in the spa industry.

The spa customer service professional program is a two-month course that prepares graduates for work as a concierge staff at a spa. Utilizing the unique host/hostess software in use at spas, the major focus of the program is client service.

The spa leadership program is a six-month supervisor program. Graduates will be able to run a department in a large spa and are capable of managing a smaller level spa. The course curriculum includes an emphasis on coaching skills and finance and human resources training.

The spa manager-director program lasts 10 months and provides graduates with the necessary skills to run a spa.

The curriculum covers the entire spa experience -- from communication and budgeting skills to the strategic management tools.

"All of the programs are supplemented by real spa experience," Morrison adds.

"Our students all work at the Elmwood Spa -- gaining valuable work experience and applying their new skills."

In addition, Elmcrest has set up mentorship programs with spas across the province -- providing students with the opportunity to speak with owner/operators.

"At the end of the day, our graduates are not just stepping out of the classroom looking for work," Morrison says. "They're ready to do the job -- and do it well."

For more information about Elmcrest College, call 416-630-6300 or visit the school's website at

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