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Esthetician Certificate and Degree Program Overviews

High school graduates interested in pursuing a career as an esthetician may complete a certificate or associate's degree program. Programs may be offered in esthetics, cosmetology or skin care technology.

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Essential Information

Prospective esthetician students can choose between certificate or associate's degree program to study various skin care procedures, such as hair removal, makeup application, facials, chemical peels and microdermabrasion. Many programs also include hands-on training in a salon-simulated environment. Graduates should be able to use their knowledge of the skin's anatomy to help clients improve the look and health of their skin. Some online courses may be available, but programs still require hands-on training.


Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Aesthetician and Skin Care
  • Barber and Hair Cutting Services
  • Beauty Salon Management
  • Cosmetology, Hair, and Nail Instructor
  • Electrolysis
  • Facial Treatment Specialist
  • Hair Design
  • Make-Up Artist
  • Nail Technician - Manicurist
  • Permanent Cosmetics and Tattooing

Esthetician Certificate and Degree Programs

Certificate and associate's degree programs in esthetics educate students in the science and techniques behind skin care procedures. Upon completion of a program, students will know how to demonstrate different skin care techniques, use different esthetic equipment, keep their work areas sanitary and demonstrate professional skills in a salon environment.

Course topics typically include:

  • Skin anatomy
  • Skin care procedures
  • Facial procedures and makeup techniques
  • Hair removal processes
  • Salon management
  • Esthetic pharmacology and medical office esthetics

Popular Career Options

Graduates of an esthetics associate's degree program are ready for entry-level positions in salon and medical settings. Individuals may also work in health clubs, burn treatment centers, spas or photography studios. Graduates may work as:

  • Skin care specialists
  • Makeup artists
  • Product representatives

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the employment of all skin care specialists, including estheticians, is expected to rise by 12% between 2014-2024. The BLS also found that, as of 2015, these workers earned a median salary of $30,090.

Continuing Education Information

According to the BLS, every state requires skin care specialists, including personal appearance workers, barbers and cosmetologists, to be licensed. An esthetician license may be granted independently or under a cosmetology license. Licensure eligibility typically involves being a high school graduate, at least 16 years old and completing an approved cosmetology program.

Certificate and associate's degree programs related to esthetics include a comprehensive curriculum of skincare topics as well as hands-on experience in simulated salons. Students who complete an esthetician certificate or degree program will have the knowledge and skills required for a career as a skincare specialist.

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