Aestheticians: Job Description and Salary Information

Aestheticians require little formal education. Learn about the training, education, job duties and licensure requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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Aestheticians are skin care specialists who work in the beauty, medical or fashion industries, providing facials, hair removal, exfoliation, and even makeup or skin formula application tips. This growing field requires a certificate from a cosmetology school and state licensure. This article will describe the various jobs that aestheticians perform, as well as requirements and career outlook information.

Essential information

Aestheticians or estheticians provide skin care services in salon, spa, retail, or medical settings. Their job is to enhance the quality of skin through services such as facials, color analysis, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, hair removal, etc. Aestheticians go to cosmetology school to earn their educational training and obtain state licensure.

Required Education Certificate program
Other Requirements State licensure
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 12%*
Mean Salary (2015) $35,300*

Source: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)*

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Job Description

Aestheticians specialize in skin care. They perform a variety of facial and body procedures intended to increase, improve or maintain the appearance and health of human skin. Depending on exact job title and working environment, this may include facials, laser or wax hair removal chemical peels, makeup application, exfoliating body wraps and microdermabrasion, which involves the sloughing of dead skin cells.

Aestheticians may work in the fashion, beauty or medical industry. Aestheticians working in the beauty industry are commonly employed by spas, salons or retail stores, and provide some or all of the services outlined above.

Medical aestheticians generally perform many of the same duties, but often do so in different settings, such as hospitals or private doctor's offices. They work with plastic surgeons or other physicians to perform various skin care procedures on patients undergoing plastic surgery or other operations. Medical aestheticians employed by plastic surgeons may educate patients on the proper ways to care for their skin before and after surgery. This often includes providing special skin formulas and demonstrating how to use them.

In hospitals, medical aestheticians generally work with critically ill patients, such as cancer patients or burn victims. They teach them how to apply makeup to properly mask scarring, discoloration or other skin issues resulting from health problems. They can also provide makeovers or facials with the goal of increasing patients' mental well-being during and after traumatic surgeries or illnesses.

Aesthetician Licensure and Education Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), all but one state requires personal experience workers, including aestheticians, to obtain licensure in order to work in the industry ( While licensing requirements vary from state to state, some education and experience is generally needed in order to take and pass licensing exams, according to the BLS. Aspiring aestheticians can get the training required for licensure by enrolling in certificate programs at beauty schools, career training institutes or community colleges.

Certificate programs in aesthetics educate students fully in a variety of skin care procedures, as well as provide instruction in color theory, enabling students to become well-versed in selecting the ideal cosmetic or skin care products for specific skin tones. Students also learn about the uses and merits of various aesthetic products and styling tools. Applied instruction is part of most aesthetics certificate programs, which includes gaining hands-on experience by performing procedures on customers.

Aesthetician Salary Information

Aestheticians may be paid hourly or receive an annual salary. The BLS states that aestheticians working in the fashion and beauty industries also receive tips from their clients, commissions for selling products or both. Skincare specialists, including aestheticians, earned a mean annual salary of $35,300 in 2015, according to the BLS.

Aestheticians can work in salons, spas, retail outlets, doctors' offices or hospitals. The work they do can promote skin health, educate post-surgical patients, or increase a patient's self-confidence about their appearance. Demand for aestheticians is growing, and aestheticians can receive training through a cosmetology certificate program.

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