Becoming a Professional Esthetician

If your goal is to help individuals look and feel their best, a career as an esthetician may be right for you.

Estheticians work with a person’s skin. In fact, there is a good chance that if you have ever received a spa treatment or facial, you have experienced what an esthetician does.

If you feel that you are a people person and love the science behind beauty treatments and skincare, this career could be perfect for you. Read further to know how to become an esthetician without wasting any time.

What Does an Esthetician Do?

Photograph of skin cleaning equipmentAn esthetician is a type of cosmetologist who has specialized in skincare. He or she may provide hair removal, makeup application, certain dermatology treatments and spa treatments. The type of work done is based on the education received and the license that the individual holds.

For example, the ability to perform dermatology treatments, such as microdermabrasion, may require extra educational hours.

While estheticians may perform body wraps and full-body exfoliations, they often focus mainly on the face. By evaluating the skin, providing treatments, cleansing, moisturizing, exfoliating and waxing the skin, the esthetician can remove dead skin cells and dirt, improve the health of the skin, reduce fine lines, remove unwanted hair and improve the beauty of the skin.

Estheticians also educate clients on proper skin care and help them know which products would be best for their skin tones and types.

What Type of Education Does an Esthetician Need?

girl in college graduation uniformEstheticians should begin with a high school diploma or GED. They should then attend cosmetology school, which could be an on-campus or an online experience. Whichever option they choose, they will have to complete a certain number of esthetic class hours as well as hands-on hours.

Each state has a different set of requirements so you will need to check with your state to know how many training hours are required. For example, some states require only 250 hours of esthetician training while others require more than 1,000.

Depending on how many hours an esthetician school requires and whether you choose full-time or part-time esthetician training, you could complete your education in as little as four months. Most students take between nine months to one year to complete their esthetics training.

Classes will cover a variety of subjects, including skincare, hair removal, makeup and body treatments. Advanced classes will be necessary for those wishing to become paramedical estheticians who work in dermatology offices and medical spas.

Is It Required and How To Get an Esthetician License

Upon completing your classes, you will need to check into becoming licensed with your state. All states require estheticians to hold esthetician licenses. In some states, this could consist of a small application fee and proof that you completed a state-approved course in an aesthetician school.

However, other states require you to complete an examination before licensing you. The examination usually comes in two parts. The first part is a written test where you answer textbook knowledge questions. During the second part of the test, you will demonstrate hands-on knowledge.

An additional certification is available through the National Coalition of Estheticians for those who would like to reach a higher educational goal. To get this certification, you must have at least 1200 educational hours, be CPR certified, be a member of the Coalition and hold practice insurance. You will also need to pass an additional test.

Are There Specializations within the Field of Esthetics?

An esthetician may choose to specialize, which can help him or her earn a significantly higher amount of money over the length of the career.

  • Skincare experts educate clients on everyday skincare, help clients choose appropriate skincare products, provide such services as facials and chemical peels and help with acne prevention and anti-aging concerns.
  • Makeup experts apply makeup to clients, help them remove makeup and advise them on the best makeup for their needs.
  • Hair removal experts can remove clients’ unwanted facial and body hair using a variety of treatment options, such as waxing, threading and electrolysis.

The highest paid estheticians are medical or paramedical estheticians who hold advanced degrees and often work under the supervision of dermatologists or plastic surgeons. These individuals will have additional education in skin diseases, patient anatomy, clinical care and advanced devices, such as lasers.

What Supplies Does an Esthetician Need?

cosmetics and skin care productsMost estheticians work under employers who provide the supplies that they need in the salon, spa or medical office environment. However, some estheticians like to purchase their own skincare brushes and brush cleaner to use on clients. You may also want to purchase the following for your personal client use:

  • Face masks
  • Skin extractors
  • Disinfectant sprays
  • Loofahs and sponges for exfoliation
  • Bowls and jars for skincare products

Where Do Estheticians Work?

Estheticians can work in a variety of locations depending on their specializations. Many provide direct client care at the following:

  • Spas and salons
  • Retreat centers and resorts
  • Plastic surgery centers
  • Dermatology offices and medical spas

Some estheticians prefer the retail sector and may work in department stores and boutiques providing the following services:

  • Cosmetics sales
  • Eyebrow waxing and shaping
  • Facial consultations

While there is no specific union for estheticians, you may wish to look into a professional organization that seeks to provide global awareness of what estheticians do and to connect like-minded skincare professionals.

Some options include Associated Skin Care Professionals, Allied Health Association and Aesthetic International Association.

What Is the Job Outlook and Salary for Estheticians?

While esthetics is not the highest paid job in the medical or health care setting, it can still pay well depending on where you work.

With 55,000 jobs across the United States as of 2014, skincare specialists in general could expect to make an average of $30,270 per year and $14.55 per hour according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, with a job outlook of 12% growth by 2024, estheticians can expect to see more job competition and options in the next few years.

The highest paid skincare specialists worked in doctors’ offices while the lowest paid workers were employed in retail settings.

As salons and spas continue to grow across the country, estheticians will have increasing opportunities to provide their special brand of care and self-esteem boosting to clients with all types of skin concerns.

Esthetics can be a very rewarding field for individuals who love personal interactions and who are highly motivated to continue their educations as skincare products and devices constantly change. If you want a career you can be proud of and you want to help others get the beauty that they can be proud of, consider this rewarding career path today.

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