Steps to Become An Esthetician

Estheticians, commonly known as skincare specialists, are employed by beauty salons, spas and wellness clinics to provide different beauty treatments to clients. Many professionals are also self-employed with their own private beauty parlors and skincare hubs.

If this is something that you would like to do for a living, then this piece has some useful information. Details about how to get started are also a part of this guide. However, let’s first talk about what the day-to-day job of an esthetician entails.

What Does an Esthetician Do?

As an esthetician, your typical duties will include carrying out massages, performing hair removal procedures and undertaking various kinds of skin treatments (cleansing, facial, exfoliation, etc.). You will also provide expert opinion by recommending the right skincare products and beauty regimens to your clients.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has painted a rosy picture for the future of this profession. According to their reported information, employment opportunities for Skincare Specialists in the country are projected to grow by 11% from 2018 to 2028. So, it is a good time to enter this field if you are interested.   

Steps to Become an Esthetician in the United States

To become an Esthetician in America, you will need to take the following steps.

Step 1: Get a High School Diploma

You must finish high school to be eligible for specialized esthetician/skincare/cosmetology studies. In case you do not have a High School Diploma, then the equivalent GED (General Educational Development) Certificate will suffice.

Step 2: Complete an Accredited Esthetician or Cosmetology Study Program

After completing your High School Diploma, you can enroll in an approved esthetician or cosmetology program. Many technical and community colleges in America offer certificate programs as well as Associate degrees in the field.

A certificate program normally lasts for anywhere between 3 to 12 months (might be longer in some cases). On the other hand, completing an Associate degree will take up to two years. These courses include both traditional classroom sessions as well as hands-on training. You will learn about cosmetology laws, skincare safety, hygiene and sanitation, facial/massage/hair removal techniques, business management, sales, ethics and customer service over the course of your certificate/degree program.   

Step 3: Obtain Your State License

Getting a license is mandatory for estheticians in most states. They all have their own licensing requirements and a test which must be cleared to obtain the license. Your state licensing exam is likely to include both written and practical portions.

Step 4: Start Work as a Licensed Esthetician

Once you have your license, you can start applying for entry-level jobs in the field. As you work your way up the career ladder, it might be a good idea to earn a professional certification. While this is not mandatory, it will certainly enhance your employability and increase your credibility in case you plan on establishing your own salon/spa/skincare clinic.

The National Coalition of Estheticians, Manufacturers/Distributors, and Associations (NCEA) is one regulatory body that offers certifications for estheticians. Their process includes studying a training manual and then clearing the certification exam. Estheticians who are able to do that are considered NCEA-certified.

How Much Does an Esthetician Make in the US?

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded an annual mean income of $38,970 for Skincare Specialists in 2019. The median wage for the same 12-month period was $34,090. Colorado was the highest-paying state with an annual mean salary of $54,810. This was followed by Washington ($54,770) and Hawaii ($53,010).  

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