Aesthetician Education Requirements

Sep 12, 2019

Aestheticians are required to have some post-secondary education. Learn about the training, job duties and required licensure to see if this is the right career for you.

Aestheticians are skincare specialists who use treatments that aim to maintain the appearance of the skin. Treatments include facial hair removal, and make-up application, among others. This career typically requires a certificate and a state license. Those who enter this field are expected to learn skin and hair anatomy along with various topical facial treatments in order to join a burgeoning job market.

Essential Information

Aestheticians are specialists who use assorted treatments to enhance and maintain the appearance of facial skin. Their basic duties include analyzing skin color and condition, choosing and applying makeup, removing stray facial hair and advising clients on their best options for makeup. Those with the proper training may perform advanced treatments, such as chemical peels. Aestheticians work in beauty salons, spas and specialty areas of department stores. This occupation typically requires some post-secondary training, such as a certificate or associate's degree program, followed by state licensure.

Required Education State-approved post-secondary program
Other Requirements State licensure
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 11% for skincare specialists
Median Hourly Wages (2018)* $15.05 for skincare specialists

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements for Aestheticians

Beauty schools and community colleges primarily offer aesthetician certificate programs, although a small number also have associate's degree programs. A high school diploma or GED is typically a precondition for enrollment. The most basic programs may be completed in as little as four months, while more advanced programs take more than a year. Associate's degrees are always 2-year programs and include general education courses.

Course work in aesthetician programs can be somewhat variable. Skin and hair anatomy, cosmetic chemistry, cosmetic application techniques, topical facial treatments, temporary hair removal and hair tinting and coloring are covered as core topics. Advanced topics might include microdermabrasion and laser theory and treatment.

Programs designed for employment in spas might have units on yoga, massage, nail care and body wrapping, while programs with a medical aesthetician component might have introductory courses on bacteriology and infection control, medical terminology, pharmacology and nutrition. Also common are business-related courses, such as salesmanship, customer service, salon management and state cosmetology law.

Licensing Information

For regulatory purposes, aestheticians are classified as personal appearance workers. All states require personal appearance workers to be licensed. Aestheticians generally must have earned a high school diploma, completed a state-approved training program and passed an examination to qualify for a license. Licensing exams typically consist of a written portion and either an oral portion or practical skills demonstration. Medical aestheticians often have to pass a paramedical aesthetician exam as well.

Salary and Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, all skincare specialists earned a median hourly wage of $15.05 in May, 2018. ( The agency predicts 11% job growth for skincare specialists over the years 2018-2028, driven by the popularity of skin treatments for stress relief and health.

Aestheticians are skincare specialists whose skills include hair removal, hair tinting and advising clients on the best make-up for their skin tone. This career path requires completion of a post-secondary degree program such as an associate's degree or certificate, and state licensing. The aesthetician job market is growing at a faster-than-average rate of 11%. Those who enter this career may expect to earn a median wage of about $15.05 an hour.

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