How You Can Become an Esthetician

To become an esthetician, you need to do formal training in cosmetology and be licensed to practice. Estheticians are primarily concerned with skin care, beauty treatments and provide a range of beauty services for their clients.

Education and training

Estheticians are trained in a large range of cosmetic skin care treatments and understand skin conditions and therapies. This training is not the same as the training of a medical esthetician, which includes actual dermatological treatments, but a related field. Training covers well known beauty and skin care treatments like:

  • Wax
  • Facials
  • Mud treatments
  • Clay treatments
  • Full body treatments

The training is both practical and theoretical. These treatments include basic concepts of skin health, care and an understanding of skin care issues and conditions. The practical element is also valuable experience in fundamental skills and techniques.


In all US states, estheticians are required to be licensed. Licensing requirements vary, but the basic requirements are:

  • Applicants must be over 16 years old.
  • Must have successfully completed the cosmetology training.
  • Must take a written examination by the state licensing authority.
  • May be required to take a practical or oral test.

The work environment

Esthetician work involves tailoring treatments to a very wide range of possible situations and client issues. You need to be a real "people person" to do this work. Skin care can involve considerable stress on clients, particularly sensitive people. An esthetician needs good interpersonal skills and practical client relationship-building abilities.

The workplace for estheticians is usually the classic beauty salon or clinic environment. This is often a very high standard of working conditions. In employment terms, the work environment is often a factor in job mobility. Estheticians, like many in the beauty industry, tend to move up the latter quickly, into better jobs, and the quality of the jobs is frequently a major factor. An esthetician will start in a basic beauty parlor, move up to a clinic, and then move into jobs in major big name beauty clinics where possible. In the industry, working for major league beauty businesses is a real career asset, almost a guarantee of work.

It's important to understand that working in the beauty industry can be truly demanding, tough work. Like many beauty industry jobs, at the higher levels this is also a creative environment. It's also a true business environment. The esthetician may be working with a clinic beauty regiment or a fashion industry "look". Some of this work is pure business for the clinics, and involves big money contracts. The work quality issues, therefore, are extremely important. The fashion client's "look" may involve a complete beauty design including "glowing skin" or other cosmetic, photogenic effects. The esthetician has to produce top quality skin effects, on a practical and economic basis. This work is effectively high fashion, and equally demanding.

Although the basic esthetician's job is a median wage scale job, at the higher market levels, clinics need experienced people for their major clients. That does create some opportunities for estheticians, particularly those who've done a full cosmetology course and have the appropriate licenses.