Esthetician: Career Outlook and Job Profile

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an esthetician. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties and licensing to find out if this is the career for you.

Essential Information

An esthetician, also known as a skin care specialist, helps people look their best through a variety of cleansing and cosmetic treatments. They usually work in spas or salons, but many are employed in medical offices. Some are self-employed. Every state except Connecticut requires that estheticians be licensed. This generally requires completing a state-approved esthetics or cosmetology program and passing exams. Job opportunities for estheticians should be good over the next few years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), growing much faster than average for all occupations.

Required Education State-approved esthetician or cosmetology program
Other Requirements Licensing required in most states
Projected Job Growth40% from 2012-22*
Median Salary $28,940 (2013)*

Sources: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Career Outlook for Estheticians

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the job outlook for estheticians is very favorable, with an expected growth of 40% between 2012 and 2022 (www.bls.gov). This boom in growth is attributed to new service offerings and the rising demand for skin treatments for medical and cosmetic purposes. The BLS added that workers should have good job opportunities because salons and spas are growing in number. The BLS added that estheticians who have experience should have the best job opportunities.

As of May 2013, the median annual salary for a skincare specialist was $28,940, according to the BLS. The industry that employed the most estheticians was personal care services. The top-paying employers were general medical and surgical hospitals, which paid estheticians an annual average salary of $47,430. By state, Texas had the highest number of estheticians, followed by California, Florida and New York, the BLS noted.

Job Profile for Estheticians

Estheticians fall into the general category of cosmetologists. Specifically, they keep skin healthy through skin care and cosmetic treatments. They perform skin treatment and cleansing procedures. This work includes waxing, massages, hair removal, light therapy and facials. Estheticians are also skilled at selecting and applying makeup for clients to enhance features and hide skin issues.

Also, estheticians may work in the offices of dermatologists and plastic surgeons to help them with patient skincare issues caused by illnesses, accidents or medical procedures. Estheticians may be self-employed, too.

Licensing Requirements

Estheticians are required to have a state license to work. Each state's licensing requirements vary but generally include being at least 16 years old, possessing a high school diploma and completing a licensed cosmetology school program. These programs may take up to nine months to complete. Applicants must then pass a state licensing exam.

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