Esthetician: Career Outlook and Job Profile

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an esthetician. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties and licensing to find out if this is the career for you.

If becoming an esthetician is something you're thinking about, you will need to complete an esthetician or cosmetology program, and obtain a state license. Estheticians may work in a doctor's office, like a dermatologist's or plastic surgeon's, or they can work in a spa or salon. Sometimes estheticians, also called skin care specialists, are self-employed.

Essential Information

An esthetician, also known as a skin care specialist, helps people look their best through a variety of cleansing and cosmetic treatments. They usually work in spas or salons, but many are employed in medical offices. Some are self-employed. Every state except Connecticut requires that estheticians be licensed. This generally requires completing a state-approved esthetics or cosmetology program and passing exams. Job opportunities for estheticians should be good over the next few years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), growing much faster than average for all occupations.

Required Education State-approved esthetician or cosmetology program
Other Requirements Licensing required in most states
Projected Job Growth 12% from 2014-24*
Median Salary $30,090 (2015)*

Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

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Career Outlook for Estheticians

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the job outlook for estheticians is favorable, with an expected growth of 12% between 2014 and 2024 ( This boom in growth is attributed to new service offerings and the rising demand for skin treatments for medical and cosmetic purposes. The BLS added that workers should have good job opportunities because salons and spas are growing in number. The BLS added that estheticians who have experience should have the best job opportunities.

As of May 2015, the median annual salary for a skincare specialist was $30,090, according to the BLS. The industry that employed the most estheticians was personal care services. The top-paying employers were colleges, universities and professional schools, which paid estheticians an annual mean salary of $62,430. By state, California had the highest number of estheticians, followed by Texas, New York and Florida, the BLS noted.

Job Profile for Estheticians

Estheticians fall into the general category of cosmetologists. Specifically, they keep skin healthy through skin care and cosmetic treatments. They perform skin treatment and cleansing procedures. This work includes waxing, massages, hair removal, light therapy and facials. Estheticians are also skilled at selecting and applying makeup for clients to enhance features and hide skin issues.

Also, estheticians may work in the offices of dermatologists and plastic surgeons to help them with patient skincare issues caused by illnesses, accidents or medical procedures. Estheticians may be self-employed, too.

Licensing Requirements

Estheticians are required to have a state license to work. Each state's licensing requirements vary but generally include being at least 16 years old, possessing a high school diploma and completing a licensed cosmetology school program. These programs may take up to nine months to complete. Applicants must then pass a state licensing exam.

Estheticians, or skin care specialists, perform skin care and cosmetic treatments, including cleansing treatments, waxing, massage, facials, and makeup selection and application. They need to complete a state-approved cosmetology or esthetician program and obtain a state license. Estheticians work in medical settings, salons and spas; some are self-employed. Demand for skin care specialists is predicted to be strong with growth at 12% through 2024.

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