Esthetician Careers

Estheticians are beauty industry professionals who assist clients with their skin care routine. An esthetician analyzes the client’s skin to offer advice on the best skin care routine. They also provide facials, massages and aromatherapy treatments as well as teach the client about and apply makeup. Estheticians receive advanced professional training before acquiring their state license to provide this service to clients.

Education and Training

To become a licensed esthetician, a student must have a high school diploma or a G.E.D. and must complete a formal training program in a cosmetology school. Most training programs last at least 9 months and some lead to an associate degree. These programs train the prospective esthetician in all aspects of skin care, waxing and makeup as well as business practices. There are also advanced courses available for already licensed estheticians as continuing education to keep up with the latest industry trends. Classes are a combination of lectures and hands-on training, helping the future esthetician gain valuable experience. The length and number of minimum hours for the training programs depend on the state in which the program in located and where the esthetician will be seeking his license.

Licensing and Certification

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, to become a licensed esthetician in most states, the student must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 16 years old.
  • Have a high school diploma or G.E.D.
  • Complete a training program in a state-approved cosmetology school.
  • Pass the state licensing exam, which have both written and practical sessions.
  • Additionally, most states charge a fee for this license which must be paid before the license is awarded.
  • Each state sets up its own license requirements. New York, for example, requires all applicants to be at least 17 years old, to complete a 600-hour training course, to pass the written and practical knowledge tests and to pay the fees for testing and licensing. The state of Alaska requires a 350-hour course or 350 hours of apprenticeship and charges higher fees for the initial license and each subsequent biennial renewal.

Some states have reciprocity agreements which allow estheticians to move to a new state and continue working in their field without completing all the state requirements again.

Job description and Daily Duties

Estheticians work with clients to assess their needs and provide advice and treatment for the scalp, face, neck and shoulders. They also do makeup analysis and guide clients towards the best products for their skin type and needs. According to the BLS’ OOH, many also sell skin care products to clients. On a daily basis, estheticians meet with clients to discuss their skin care issues, necessities and goals, provide treatments, accept payment for their services and sterilize and clean their tools and workspace. About half of all estheticians, like other beauty industry professionals, are self-employed. They normally work at barbershops, salons and spas. Some estheticians specialize in the medical field and work in dermatologists’ offices.


The Occupational Outlook Handbook lists the median hourly wage for estheticians as ranging between $10.82 and $10.94 an hour. About half of estheticians earn more than this, while the other half earns less per hour.

Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects job growth for estheticians at a healthy 16 percent between 2010 and 2020. Many of the job openings will be to replace professionals leaving the industry. However, there is increased competition expected in the higher paying salon and spas, since new estheticians will be competing with experienced ones for these positions. offers you the ability to search for esthetician schools in your area to find a quality esthetics institution that fits your needs. Upon completing your esthetics program, you can obtain your state esthetician license and begin a rewarding beauty career.

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