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Skin Care Technician Salary and Career Facts

Learn about the education options and state licensing requirements for skin care technicians. Review the types of beauty treatments they perform, and find out how much a skin care technician typically earns.

What Does a Skin Care Technician Do?

As a skin care technician, also known as an esthetician, you would work in a beauty salon or day spa with individual clients seeking a variety of skin care services. In addition to giving typical treatments like manual and electrical facials, you also perform chemical peels, hair removal, skin analysis, body treatments, massages and more. In a salon, you work with a variety of skin care products like facial and body masks, moisturizers and oils, as well as skin care materials like extraction instruments, lasers and electrical current and microdermabrasion tools. You may advise clients regarding skin care techniques and product recommendations based on their skin types and issues. If a client has skin issues that are beyond your scope of practice, you may refer her or him to a dermatologist. In the table below, you can learn some additional details about this career:

Degree Required Diploma or certificate
Education Field of Study Cosmetology, esthetics
Key Responsibilities Perform various skin treatments for clients, provide advice to clients, refer clients to dermatologists
Licensure Requirements Licensure required through state cosmetology boards
Job Growth (2018-2028)* 12%
Median Salary (2018)* $31,290

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Education Do I Need to Be a Skin Care Technician?

Most skin care technicians complete a diploma or certificate program in esthetics. These programs are commonly offered at community colleges and beauty schools. Some schools offer Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree programs in esthetics, but most associate's degree programs are in cosmetology with a specialization in esthetics. If you enroll in a diploma or certificate program, you can expect to be in school for about a year or less. Associate's degree programs generally take two years to complete.

Esthetics education programs teach you how to care for skin and manage skin problems through a variety of techniques. Opportunities are available to work in a student beauty salon, practicing on real clients and fulfilling the requirements that individual states have for the licensing of estheticians. You also learn about safety and sanitation, basic anatomy and physiology and laws and regulations for estheticians.

How Do I Get Licensed?

Estheticians are licensed through state cosmetology boards. To get licensed, you need 600-1500 hours of documented esthetician training, depending on the state where you will be licensed. After paying a licensing fee, you must take written and practical examinations. The practical examination will require you to demonstrate your abilities in front of licensed professionals. After you get licensed, you will have to keep your license current, usually by renewing it every 2-3 years.

How Much Can I Earn?

In 2019, PayScale.com reported that the salary range for estheticians in the 10th-90th percentile was $17,000-$53,000. This broad salary range is a result of the varying prices for skin care services. If you work in a small salon that charges small fees, you will generally make less than estheticians who work in upscale salons that offer skin care services at higher rates. Skin care specialists earned a median annual salary of $31,290 in 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.org).

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Similar education and training is required for careers as cosmetologists, manicurists and pedicurists. Cosmetologists perform skin and makeup analysis, facials or scalp treatments and other beauty services. Manicurists and pedicurists typically treat clients' nails, and they may perform services that include cleaning, polishing, decorating and massaging. All of these professionals may work in salons or spas.