Online Esthetician Courses and Certification Information

Few online courses are offered in esthetics due to the amount of hands-on training involved in this field. Continue reading to learn more about the courses that are available, and check the certification requirements for aspiring estheticians.

Essential Information

Esthetics is a category of cosmetology that emphasizes the health, care and beautification of the skin. Estheticians are required to be licensed by their state, and students must typically complete 600 hours or more of hands-on training and theory education.

The majority of beauty schools, technical schools and community colleges only offer on-campus diploma, certificate and associate's degree programs in esthetics because of the hands-on nature of the field. However, some esthetics programs are beginning to combine traditional learning with online classes. At least one program has recently added two classes in the theory portion of the esthetician program to their online course listings. Courses in physiology and anatomy of the human skin, business, law, sanitation, salon management and communications can be delivered in an online format and are a part of certain esthetician programs.

Coursework Overview

Certificate and Diploma Programs

Certificate and diploma programs in esthetics cover a variety of topics regarding the fundamentals and theories of skin treatment. They typically involve hands-on training with sensitive chemicals and equipment and, as aforementioned, cannot be taken online. Skill training is usually accomplished through two or more practicum classes. Certificate programs may be completed in as little as one semester; diploma programs generally take a bit longer.

The following areas of study are commonly covered in esthetician certificate and diploma courses. Among them, the topics that don't require hands-on training may be offered online:

  • Nail care
  • Advanced skin care
  • Skin analysis and massage
  • Cosmetic chemistry
  • Make-up application and color theory
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Medical terminology
  • Introduction to therapeutic massage
  • Communication

Associate's Degree Programs

At the associate's degree level, many esthetician programs offer students the option of selecting an emphasis in either medical or spa esthetician studies. Core class requirements are the same as the certificate and diploma requirements, with additional courses required for the emphasis selected. Medical esthetician courses may include nutrition, pathology, biology and chemistry, while spa esthetician courses generally include massage techniques and a massage practicum.

Regardless of emphasis, associate's degree programs in esthetics typically include general education coursework in areas such as the following. General education courses may be available in an online format at some schools.

  • Arts and humanities
  • Communication
  • Natural science
  • Math
  • History

Certification Information

All states require estheticians to be licensed; however, qualifications vary by state. Typically the requirements are a high school diploma or GED, being at least 16 years of age and graduation from an accredited state-licensed school with a minimum grade point average of 2.0 in each course. The license exam generally consists of a written exam, oral exam and a skills assessment test. Continuing education courses are often required for license renewal.

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