Skin Care Training Programs and Requirements

Skin care technicians, also known as estheticians, provide cleansing skin care treatments, cosmetic beauty applications and therapeutic head and neck massages for diverse clientele. Training for these skin care professionals involves completion of certificate, diploma or associate degree programs in skin care or cosmetology.

Training Requirements and Recommendations

Many skin care professionals seek formal training by completing certificate or diploma programs. These programs typically last 9-24 months and train students to analyze skin, suggest appropriate beauty regimens and perform facials, massages and other skin care treatments. Often students learn about electrolysis, microdermabrasion and waxing. Accredited certificate and diploma programs also prepare skin care professionals to sit for state-mandated licensing examinations.

An associate degree program in cosmetology may lead to a career in skin care. However, it offers broad based personal appearance knowledge and skills. Students don't just learn about skin care techniques and procedures. They also study salon management, hair cutting and styling, chemical applications, manicuring, pedicuring and scalp treatments. Graduates of accredited 2-year cosmetology degree programs are prepared to sit for licensing examinations and often manage salons and spas or even open their own businesses.

Formal Training

Skin care education involves the study of skin, its functions and diseases, clinical skin care treatments and aesthetic beauty applications. Individuals may choose to complete certificate, diploma or associate degree programs to acquire these professional skills.

Certificate Programs

A certificate program for skin care professionals is the quickest way to start a career in skin care. These programs usually last about one year and provide foundational training for estheticians. Coursework may include skin care theory, facials, bacteriology, sterilization and sanitation. Students may also take introductory courses in business and retail sales. Upon completion, graduates often seek entry-level skin care positions with private or franchise-oriented salons or independent boutique-style day spas.

Diploma Programs

Diploma programs for skin care technicians last nearly two years and offer extensive training in skin care, salon management and therapeutic massage. Students take courses in anatomy, physiology, cosmetic chemistry, skin care analysis, nail care and make-up applications. They also study massage, nutrition, medical terminology and salon management. Graduates are capable of performing transdermal electrolysis, waxing, glycolic peels, light therapy and various make-up applications.

Associate Programs in Cosmetology

Skin care professionals with associate degrees in cosmetology may perform specialized skin care procedures as well as offering guests traditional salon services, such as hair cutting, coloring, styling and manicures and pedicures. These degree programs utilize salon-style classrooms to teach courses in chemical hair applications, shampoo and scalp treatments, hair cutting, hair styling, nail care, business management and retail sales.

Cosmetology associate degree programs also train students in skin care analysis, cosmetic development and chemistry, make-up applications and identification of skin disorders, such as rosacea. Graduates are prepared to manage large or small full-service salons or spas.

Job Experience

Certificate, diploma and associate degree programs for skin care professionals often include salon-style laboratories where students blend skin care theory with actual skin care procedures. Many programs use students as subjects or offer discounted services to the public in exchange for student training. These hands-on experiences provide graduates with beneficial skills when seeking immediate employment upon graduation.

Licenses and Certifications

All skin care technicians and cosmetologists are required to be licensed by their state. Requirements for licensure usually involve completion of an accredited skin care or cosmetology certificate or degree program and successful passing of state-mandated examinations. These examinations often include both written and competency-based sections. Although state requirements vary, continuing education credits are often necessary to maintain licensure.

Workshops and Seminars

Many vocational, trade or community colleges sponsor local annual professional development workshops, seminars and conferences for skin care professionals. The Associated Skin Care Professionals organization serves as the nation's largest professional association for skin care professionals. It offers national conferences, professional development opportunities and a forum for skin care technicians.

Additional Professional Development

Skin care professionals work with diverse skin types. They must be able to analyze different skin types, conditions, disorders and diseases and be able to suggest cosmetic solutions or appropriate treatment options for patients to seek. Skin care technicians must also be savvy with aromatherapy, reflexology and hair removal.

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