Clinical Esthetician Training Program Information

Learn about training programs for professional clinical estheticians. Get information on educational prerequisites, common coursework and job prospects to make an informed decision about your education.

Essential Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, clinical estheticians fall under the category of skincare specialists. These professionals are typically required to complete a state-approved program before they can obtain licensure and practice their craft. There is no special licensure available for clinical estheticians, and licensure requirements for general estheticians vary by state.

Certificate in Medical Esthetics

In contrast to general estheticians, clinical estheticians work in the medical field, helping patients who suffer from extreme scarring of the skin as a result of illness, injury or related issues. In addition to clinical duties, they might also need an understanding of medical terminology, billing issues and insurance. The courses offered in clinical esthetician programs are not typically standardized, since states don't offer licenses for medical estheticians. Completing these programs generally takes two semesters, but some intensive programs can take less than four months to finish.

Education Prerequisites

Applicants must have completed high school to gain admission. Because of the accelerated nature of the intensive training options, these programs may require applicants to have a currently valid state-issued license to practice general esthetics.

Program Coursework

Students learn to help patients get back some control over their appearance and to regain a bit of self-esteem in the face of disfigurements and the visible indications of illness. While enrolled in a certificate program in medical esthetics, students learn how to work in medical settings, prepare a client's skin for surgery or determine new color charts for patients whose hair and skin colors have changed because of chemotherapy. They also learn how to perform chemical skin peels and lymph drainage massages, and apply camouflage makeup or eyelash extensions. Additionally, these programs typically cover the following material:

  • Pharmacology
  • Skin disease
  • Infection control
  • Color theory
  • Business skills

Employment Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) employment predictions for estheticians showed an expected 38% increase in job opportunities from 2008-2018 ( In 2010, the BLS reported that skincare specialists took home a median annual wage of $28,920. Skincare specialists working in physicians' offices for the same reporting period averaged $39,540.

Licensing Information

Many states require general estheticians to gain licensure, though separate licensure for clinical estheticians aren't offered. Licensing boards may require aspiring estheticians to take courses that are standardized by an organization, such as the National Association of Career Colleges (NACC). State requirements for general estheticians can differ by state, usually varying the number of training hours required. Some states that offer esthetician licensure require professionals to complete continuing education hours in order to renew licensure each year. All aspiring clinical estheticians should look into state licensing regulations to determine what specific types of classes they could be required to complete.

Associate Degree in Esthetics

Though uncommon, some colleges and vocational schools - usually for-profit learning centers - offer associate-level medical or paramedical esthetician training. Programs offering concentrations in this field might confer an Esthetician Associate of Applied Science or an Associate of Science in Paramedical Skin Care degree. Admission seekers must have finished high school or completed their GED.

Similar to certificate programs, some degree programs are able to offer training regardless of standardization, as long as a student is already licensed as an esthetician or doesn't require licensure. However, students with no background or training in esthetics may want to enroll in a degree program that can prepare them for general esthetician licensure as well as provide them with specific training in medical esthetics.

Program Coursework

Programs offer training in advanced skin care theories and techniques, like microdermabrasion. Preparation for cosmetic and reconstructive surgery careers includes coursework in dermatopathology and the application of camouflage makeup. Programs also typically cover the following:

  • Dermal oncology
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Clinical dermatology
  • Medical terminology
  • Chemical skin peels

Popular Career Options

Trained clinical aestheticians are employable in a variety of professional medical settings. Potential employment locations include:

  • Dermatology offices
  • Hospitals
  • Physicians' offices
  • Plastic surgery clinics

Continuing Education

Not all states require continuing education to maintain a license as an esthetician. However, some schools and for-profit learning centers offer practical courses for those that do require professional development or for students who'd like to advance their skills. Additionally, joining a professional organization, such as the National Society for Paramedical Esthetic Professionals, could offer continuing education opportunities and career guidance.

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