Aesthetician Certification and Certificate Program Information

Apr 23, 2020

Essential Information

Aesthetician certificate programs are 1-2 year programs offered by junior colleges, trade schools, career training centers, university continuing education departments and private organizations. Most aesthetician certificate programs require students be at least 18 years of age and hold a high school diploma or GED. Some programs also require some prior experience working in the beauty industry. Students study anatomy and physiology, massage therapy, facial treatments and participate in an aesthetics practicum. Due to the hands on nature needed to learn the techniques, these programs are not available online.

Aesthetician Certificate Program

While enrolled in an aesthetician certificate program, students learn to apply skin care treatments to the face and body; wash, cut and style hair; perform manicures and pedicures and provide chemical peels. Training is provided in more advanced skin care techniques, such as microdermabrasion and machine facials. Some aesthetician certificate programs teach students the arts of body massage, reflexology and light therapy. Coursework in an aesthetician certificate program is divided between theoretical explanations and practical applications. Students learn techniques for improving the health and appearance of clients' skin. The following courses are commonly included in an aesthetician certificate program:

  • Safety and sanitation for skin procedures
  • Make-up application
  • Facial hair removal
  • Electrical facial treatments
  • Massage therapy

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 56,660 jobs were held by skin care specialists as of May 2019 ( The BLS also indicated that job opportunities for skin care specialists are expected to grow at a rate of 11% from 2018-2028, much faster than the average for all occupations, due to increased demand for skin care treatment for well-being and relaxation. As of May 2019, the BLS reported the median wage for skin care specialists was $16.39 per hour, with a median annual salary of $34,090.

Licensure and Continuing Education

All states require aestheticians gain licensure or certification before they can legally practice their craft. Each state offers its own licensing procedures, but most require that students complete a formal training program, such as an aesthetician certificate or degree program. Typically, candidates must also pass a written and practical test administered by the state.

Many students who complete aesthetician certificate programs acquire further hair, skin and nail care skills through certificate and associate degree programs in cosmetology. Additionally, many schools offer certificate and degree programs that group aesthetician training with nail technology and cosmetology. After gaining professional experience, graduates may also go on to complete salon management programs or receive training to teach aesthetics and cosmetology.

Students who want to get an aesthetician or esthetician certificate will have to get licensed or certified before they can practice in their state. These programs can be located in various locations such as junior colleges, trade schools and private organizations.

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