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Esthetician: Career Summary, Occupational Outlook, and Educational Requirements

Explore the career requirements for estheticians. Get the facts about salary, job outlook, education requirements and job duties to determine if this is the right career for you.

What is an Esthetician?

The role of an esthetician is to help better a client's skin and facial beauty, working within the specifications of the client. Estheticians work at spas and salons and provide various skin care treatments, such as those for removing dead skin or improving its appearance. They also may sell beauty products and recommended them for clients. The job may entail running business operations as well. Estheticians work in the beauty industry and typically focus on skin care. Read the table below for information about becoming an esthetician.

Degree Required Certificate program
Education Field of Study Esthetics, cosmetology
Key Skills Head and neck massage, facials, skin treatments, makeup and hair removal
Licensure* Required in all states except Connecticut
Job Growth (2018-2028)* 11% for all skincare specialists
Average Salary (2018)* $36,350 for all skincare specialists

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Can I Expect In a Career as an Esthetician?

As an esthetician, you cleanse and beautify a client's skin through head and neck massages, full-body treatments and facials. You may also apply makeup and remove body hair. Giving manicures and pedicures may also fall under your job duties. Recommending and selling skin and body care products to clients may also be a part of your job.

You may work full-time, but part-time work is common. It is also normal in this career to work variable schedules. Employers typically include spas and beauty salons. However, work may be available with doctors, which may allow you to perform advanced tasks such as deep chemical peels.

What Is My Occupational Outlook?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job openings for estheticians, also called skin care specialists, were estimated to increase 11% between 2018 and 2028 (www.bls.gov). An aging population interested in better lifestyles could contribute to this faster than average growth. Qualifying for jobs within high-end establishments may be easier if you are licensed and experienced.

What Are the Educational Requirements for This Career?

In most states, completion of an esthetics training program and licensing are required to work in this career. Most esthetics programs award a certificate and are completed in one year or less, but some associate programs may be available. The curriculum may include hands-on work with clients in conjunction with classroom study. You may take courses in cosmetology esthetics and salon concepts such as sanitation, skin treatments and science, business practices and make-up application.

Most programs teach the fundamental techniques for administering treatments to clients including facial techniques, make up application methods and eye brow tinting procedures. In advanced programs, you may learn about techniques like laser treatments.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

A few other occupations in this field may also be of interest. Each demand postsecondary education, whether through a certificate, diploma, or associate degree program. A manicurist/pedicurist focuses on nail care. Massage therapists are less concerned with beauty and more with making a client's body feel comfortable and relaxed. Barbers, hairdressers, and cosmetologists work mostly with hair and makeup. Most of these careers usually take place in salons.