How to Become an Esthetician

Esthetician Key Stats
Avg. Salary / year $33,370
Avg. Pay / hour $16.04
Education 0-6 Months
Job Outlook 11%

Are you ready to start a new chapter in your career in helping others to look their very best? Very few careers bring together the art of beautification along with the science of modern skin care.

An esthetician is an individual that specializes in the realm of skin care and beautification.

Estheticians can work in salons, spas or medical treatment centers to perform facials, pore cleansing, body wraps, exfoliation treatments and other spa treatments.

Prior to applying for a job, you will need to be licensed by the state in which you plan on working.

Every state is different, so consult your local State Board of Cosmetology for the licensing details to become an esthetician.

Education Requirements to Become an Esthetician

The education requirements to become an esthetician are a little different than a obtaining a formal degree.

There are private and public schools that offer the courses that will qualify someone to become licensed by the state in which they reside.

If attending classes on a full-time basis, the process can take as little as four months to complete with a part-time student taking about nine months to get the same requirements finished.

The most important aspect of an education to become an esthetician is getting the much needed contact hours.

Contact hours provide a student with practical hands-on experience, which is what you will be doing after graduation anyway.

As mentioned before, there is a state board exam that a student must pass in order to become a licensed esthetician.

Most exams will consist of a written portion and a hands-on portion to demonstrate the acquired skills.

A medical esthetician licensure is also available to those that wish to do some additional training and pass a paramedical esthetician examination.

This different license will allow you to perform treatments that are more on the line of medical treatments.

The State Board of Cosmetology regulates what the scope of practice is, which changes from one location to the next.

Esthetician Job Description

An esthetician is someone who enjoys educating people on the nuances of skin care.

There is a lot of information pertaining to how to care for the skin, which products to use for a specific skin type, the best way to treat acne and the best methods to protect the skin from damage.

Specific job duties for an esthetician will differ depending on the location and business they are employed under.

Some common duties of an esthetician include:

  • Making their clients become more relaxed
  • Perform exfoliations, pore cleansing, aromatherapy and other spa treatments
  • Provide the client with a pleasant atmosphere
  • Market to bring in new clients
  • Help customers choose the best products for their skin type

Esthetician Salary and Career Path

While a typical salary of this job will fluctuate greatly, there is a general range that someone can expect while considering what it takes to become an esthetician.

The average salary can range anywhere from $17,000 to $50,000 a year, which most landing in the vicinity of $29,000.

Many factors can determine the wage an esthetician can earn including their clientele, amount of hours worked, types of services they perform and location.

There is no reason to stop at an entry level position as an esthetician when there are so many more options available to those who are willing to work a little more.

Some may become a manager of a business or even an owner of a salon.

There are also jobs available in marketing, purchasing, consulting or training new estheticians to enter the workforce.

Opportunity awaits those who choose to seize it for their own.

The locations for an esthetician varies just as much as there are treatments to provide clients.

Your future job may be in a salon, a spa, a resort or even on a cruise ship.

Anywhere there are people, there is an opportunity to use your skills as an esthetician.

Some may work in tourist destinations, giving them a balance of work and a wonderful location to spend their free time.

Making the choice to become an esthetician is perfect for those who enjoy being around people and strive to bring out the best in them.

An educational investment of four to 9 months is a very good tradeoff for an average wage of $29,000, with the possibility of tips depending on the location.

Work is typically found in highly populated areas or vacation spots all around the country.

Remember, wherever there are people, there is always room for an esthetician.

BLSThe below information is based on the 2021 BLS national averages.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary


Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
District of Columbia$72,530
New Hampshire$34,140
New Jersey$39,370
New Mexico$26,280
New York$40,330
North Carolina$34,880
North Dakota$35,630
Rhode Island$32,680
South Carolina$29,570
South Dakota$33,870
West Virginia$30,500
Puerto Rico$23,370

The top earning state in the field is District of Columbia, where the average salary is $72,530.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

District of Columbia - $72,530
Massachusetts - $44,240
Michigan - $44,070
Washington - $43,590
Hawaii - $43,370
* Salary information based on the May 2021 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists, OCC Code 39-5012, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an esthetician?

Estheticians perform cosmetic skin treatments, such as facials, waxing, body wraps and scrubs.

They usually work in spas and salons but they can also work under the direction of a dermatologist.

Estheticians are not medical doctors and are not allowed to diagnose skin conditions or prescribe medication.

They are limited to performing treatments that work on the superficial layers of the skin.

Any invasive procedures, such as Botox or facial fillers, must be performed by a licensed medical professional.

Estheticians typically work full-time but they may also work evenings or weekends to accommodate their client’s schedule.

How much does an esthetician make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage for skincare specialists was $15.05, as of May 2018.

Salaries vary widely depending on the region, the employer and the esthetician’s expertise.

Some earn less than $10 an hour while others earn close to $30 an hour.

How much does it cost to become an esthetician?

In order to be able to practice as an esthetician you will need to complete a training program in this field and you will also need a state license.

In order to get licensed, you must first complete a training program that is between $260-$600 hours long, depending on the state that issues the license.

A training program at a beauty school can cost you anywhere between $3,000-$10,000 and more, depending on the school you choose.

After finishing the training program you have to pass a written and a practical exam.

What is the demand for estheticians?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of skincare specialists is expected to grow 11 percent from 2018 to 2028.

This growth is explained, in part, by the increased demand for facials and other skin treatments that are typically performed by estheticians.

Job opportunities are expected to be good, especially if you have previous experience in the field.

How long does it take to become an esthetician?

In order to be able to practice as an esthetician, you will need a state license.

Before taking the licensure exam, you must complete between $260-$600 hours of training.

The exact duration of the program depends on the state and the licensure requirements but beauty schools can typically be completed in less than 6 months by full-time students.

After finishing the training period you can register to take the exam in the state you want to practice; the exam will consist of a written and practical test.

As a licensed esthetician, you may have to participate in continuing education classes in order to keep up with the latest developments in the field.

In conclusion, you can become a licensed esthetician if you have a few months of training and you pass a licensing exam but good estheticians continue to perfect their skills throughout their careers.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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