Aesthetician: Career Profile, Occupational Outlook, and Education Requirements

Explore the career requirements for aestheticians. Get the facts about the job duties, training and licensing requirements, along with job growth and earnings potential to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Esthetics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is an Aesthetician?

An aesthetician is a skin care specialist who can work in a number of locations, including beauty salons and spas. They typically start by making an evaluation of a clients skin condition then discussing possible skin care options with clients to determine what treatments to apply. In some cases they may refer clients to medical specialist, such as dermatologists. As part of their treatment they may remove hair and clean skin. They may also apply makeup and advise skin products. The following table provides information for this career:

Education Required Aesthetician certificate from an approved cosmetology or esthetician program
Training Required On-the-job training
Key Responsibilities Evaluate skin conditions, provide treatments, facials, waxing
Licensure & Certification State license
Job Growth (2014-2024) 12% (for all skincare specialists)*
Median Salary (2015) $30,090 (for all skincare specialists)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are My Duties as an Aesthetician?

As an aesthetician, also called an esthetician or skin care specialist, you perform a variety of skin-cleaning and beautification procedures. These include makeup application, facials, head and neck massages, full body treatments, blackhead removal and hair removal. You typically accomplish hair removal by waxing, but with proper training could use lasers.

Specific duties could include examining and evaluating skin conditions, conferring with customers about their preferences, explaining treatment options, selecting cleansers and coloring agents, applying treatments, providing referrals to medical professionals (for clients with skin diseases or serious conditions), cleaning work areas or keeping records.

Who Could I Work For?

You're most likely to find employment in the personal care services industry at beauty salons and spas; according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these facilities either employed or leased work space to the most aestheticians ( A limited number of opportunities are also available in physicians' offices, hotels, outpatient care centers and department stores. Approximately 40,190 people worked as aestheticians in 2015, and that total is projected to reach 61,600 by 2024. Growth is expected to be driven by the popularity of skin care treatment for personal rejuvenation and relaxation. As of May 2015, you could have expected to earn a median salary of $30,090.

What Education Will I Need?

A skin care, aesthetician or esthetician certificate is sufficient formal education. O*Net Online reports that as of 2015, about 10% of surveyed aestheticians had some college education but not a degree, while 87% had acquired a postsecondary certificate ( Certificate programs are widely available from community colleges and private beauty schools.

In an aesthetics certificate program, you learn skin anatomy and physiology, skin analysis, hair removal techniques, massage techniques, makeup techniques, sanitation processes and disinfecting procedures. Programs may be composed of multiple short classes addressing each subject individually or 3-4 classes addressing multiple topics. Hands-on practice and training is a major component of many programs. A certificate program typically lasts a year or shorter.

Will I Need a License?

Nearly all personal care workers, including aestheticians, must hold a state license. With some variations, to be eligible for a license you have to be past age 16 and have a high school diploma, a credential from an accredited aesthetician training program and a passing score on a licensing exam. Exams may include a practical or oral portion in addition to a written portion.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Careers related to aestheticians include barbers, hair dressers, cosmetologist, manicurist, pedicurist and message therapist. Barbers, hair dressers and cosmetologists are responsible for providing clients with haircuts, styling hair and completing a range of other beauty services. Manicurists and pedicurists are responsible for helping clients maintain healthy fingernails and to toenails. Massage therapists, who can also work in spas, use massages to manipulate muscle tension and alleviate pain.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Empire Beauty School

    Empire Beauty School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Empire Beauty School:

    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • Westside Tech

    Campus Locations:

    • Florida: Winter Garden
  • West Tennessee Business College

    Campus Locations:

    • Tennessee: Jackson
  • West Georgia Technical College

    Campus Locations:

    • Georgia: Waco
  • W Academy of Salon and Spa

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Danville
  • Victoria's Academy of Cosmetology

    Campus Locations:

    • Washington: Kennewick
  • VICI Aveda Institute

    Campus Locations:

    • Wisconsin: Greenfield
  • Wiregrass Georgia Technical College

    Campus Locations:

    • Georgia: Valdosta
  • University of Spa & Cosmetology Arts

    Campus Locations:

    • Illinois: Springfield