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Esthetics Technologist: Salary and Career Facts

Research what it takes to become an esthetics technologist. Learn about education requirements, job duties, licensure, and salary to find out if this is the career for you.

What Is an Esthetics Technologist?

Esthetics technologists and technicians provide nonmedical skincare treatments in salons, spas and other personal care-focused institutions. Their services include facials, makeup application, massage and hair removal. Before or after performing these services, technologists might assess the condition of a client's skin and advise them on skin care techniques or recommend the use of certain products. Some also manage their own practices, and this could require them to manage staff, keep track of business expenses and drum up new business. It is important to note that these professionals must be licensed to work in all but one U.S. state.

The table below outlines the general requirements for a career as an esthetics technologist.

Degree Required High school diploma
Training Required Completion of state approved cosmetology or esthetician program
Key Skills Business skills, customer service skills, initiative, physical stamina, tidiness, time-management skills
Licensure Required Required by all states except Connecticut
Job Growth (2018-2028) 11% (for all skincare specialists)*
Mean Annual Salary (2018) $36,350 (for all skincare specialists)*

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

What Education Is Required to Become an Esthetics Technologist?

Esthetics is an area of cosmetology that deals with skin care, and it's commonly offered as part of a cosmetology program. Beyond high school education, you'll need formal training and licensing to prepare for a career as an esthetics technologist, also known as an esthetician. Your training can last from nine months to a year, but some esthetics training programs may be completed in less time. You'll find such training programs in vocational schools and community colleges.

Training institutions may offer diploma or certificate programs in cosmetology, esthetics or esthetics technology, all of which can prepare you for state licensing. Cosmetology or esthetics programs that offer diplomas might consist of classes on spa science, spa treatments, esthetics clinic, marketing, sales and salon management. A certificate program might give training in such areas as esthetics concepts and salon esthetics, sanitation procedures, product knowledge and business relations.

What Will My Job Duties Consist Of?

As an esthetics technologist, you'll give skin treatments, such as microdermabrasion and exfoliation, as well as providing massage and aroma therapies and offering tips for make-up application. You might also give hot wax hair removal treatments and body wraps. Another aspect of your job may include consulting with your clients, instructing them in proper cleansing and moisturizing techniques, and customizing skin care regimens for them. You might also give manicures and pedicures, as well as performing eyebrow and eyelash tinting services. At times, it may be necessary for you to remove impurities from a customer's skin using simple extraction methods.

Will I Have to Become Licensed?

All states except Connecticut require cosmetologists and personal appearance workers to acquire licensing, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). In order to become licensed, it's necessary to graduate from a state-approved cosmetology school or program. State requirements for licensing vary, but usually, you must be no younger than 16 years of age and have a high school diploma or a GED.

Licensure also requires the successful completion of a state-administered examination consisting of written, oral and practical testing sections. It may be necessary to take continuing education courses in health and sanitation and in esthetics in order to renew your state license.

What Salary Could I Expect to Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that skin care specialists who worked in physicians' offices earned mean annual salaries of $43,880 in 2018. Those who worked in personal care services were paid about $35,740. Payscale.com stated that salaries between the 10th and 90th percentiles of estheticians ranged from $17,000 to $53,000 as of November 2019.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

There are several other job options for individuals who want to work in salon and/or spa environments. For instance, it is possible to pursue a career as a hairdresser, barber or cosmetologist. These professionals provide hair washing, cutting, styling and coloring services. An alternative is a job as a manicurist or pedicurist. These professionals focus on nail care. Like esthetics technologists, they must also meet state educational standards and/or licensing requirements.