Clinical skin care professionals - also called clinical, medical or paramedical estheticians or camouflage therapists - help patients heal from disfigurements by providing skin treatments. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, skincare specialists should receive training through a state-approved program, such as those offered at vocational schools or community colleges. These locations do not provide diploma programs, but do offer certificate and associate's degree programs in the field. Interested parties might also consider enrolling in cosmetology programs with skincare courses.
Associate's degree and traditional, 2-semester certificate programs require students to have completed high school or have a GED. Accelerated certificate programs take less than four months to complete; applicants may be required to have a valid, state-issued esthetics practitioner's license.
Certificate in Paramedical Esthetics
Students in a paramedical esthetics certificate program learn to apply camouflage make-up and eyelash extensions, drain lymph nodes through massage, prepare skin for surgery and perform chemical skin peels. They also learn how to determine complimentary colors for chemotherapy patients whose hair and skin color have changed due to treatment.
Students learn to normalize the physical appearance of disfigurements and signs of illnesses, thus giving patients a greater sense of control and an increased self-esteem. In addition to learning about skin diseases, infection control and business skills, students learn about:
- Camouflage make-up
- Chemical peels
- Skin disease
- Color theory
Associate's Degree in Paramedical Esthetics
Though uncommon, some colleges and vocational schools - usually for-profit institutions - offer associate's degree programs for paramedical estheticians. Medical esthetician and paramedical skin care concentrations are available through Associate of Applied Science in Esthetician and Associate of Science in Natural Health programs. Not-for-profit, regionally accredited schools may not accept transfer credits from for-profit learning institutions.
Students prepare for careers in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery by learning about dermatopathology and microdermabrasion. In addition to learning about these advanced skin care techniques, students learn about:
- Dermal oncology
- Relaxation techniques
- Clinical dermatology
- Medical terminology
- Chemical skin peels
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, estheticians and other skin care specialists should experience a 12% job growth during the 2014-2024 decade (www.bls.gov). Reports from the same source showed that skincare specialists in general earned an average annual wage of $35,300 as of May 2015. However, skin care specialists working in physicians' offices took home $41,180 as a mean annual wage, according to the same report.
Although states rarely offer licensure for clinical estheticians, most require general estheticians and skin care specialists to be licensed. For this reason, clinical estheticians must often meet general licensure requirements as well. Licensure is typically administered by a state board of cosmetology and is awarded upon the completion of a state-approved esthetician program and an examination.
Clinical skin care training, available through certificate and associate's degree programs, prepares medical estheticians to assist doctors and patients with medical skin care needs. Students receive training in skin conditions, camouflage make-up and skin care techniques like chemical peels and microdermabrasion. Practicing medical estheticians must meet the general esthetics licensing requirements set by their state.