Esthetician Licensure Information and Requirements

Sep 22, 2019

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

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Skin care is an important part of a person's health and an esthetician specializes in providing this care. They must complete a state-sponsored training program and each state has its own specific requirements. After completing the program, estheticians must pass a state licensing exam.

Essential Information

Estheticians are trained skin care specialists who administer skin treatments and head and neck massages, perform hair removal procedures and apply makeup. They might find work in a variety of settings, such as beauty salons, doctors' offices, day spas or makeup counters. Diploma, certificate and associate's degree programs in cosmetology or esthetics, which include hands-on experience, can prepare individuals to become licensed estheticians. After graduating, individuals have to meet age requirements and pass a licensing exam to obtain state licensure.

Required Education Diploma, certificate or associate's degree in esthetics or cosmetology
Licensure State licensure
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 11% for all skincare specialists
Median Salary (2018)* $31,290 for all skincare specialists

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Licensure Information

Individuals who want to work as estheticians must usually obtain a license from each state in which they want to work. Depending on the state, applicants might receive a license in esthetics after they graduate from a training program and pass a licensing exam. Prospective estheticians might wish to consult with their school or state cosmetology board for specific information regarding their state's licensing process.

Licensure Requirements

Individuals who want to become licensed estheticians must usually be at least 16 years old, and they're typically required to complete a certain number of hours in a state-approved training program. Prospective estheticians can choose from a variety of schooling options, such as certificate, diploma or associate's degree programs in esthetics or cosmetology. Programs can span from several months to two years in length. Depending on the program level, students might learn about topics that include chemistry, equipment use, massage and makeup techniques, nail care and sanitation procedures. Students are also expected to complete hands-on experiences.

License Examination

Upon graduation from an esthetics or cosmetology program, aspiring estheticians are usually required to apply for a state license. These individuals must take and pass a state's licensure exam to legally begin work. This test might consist of written and practical portions, and it typically covers the core subjects learned during an esthetics training program. Depending on the state, estheticians might be required to pay a fee for the exam and license.

License Transfer and Renewal

Estheticians are expected to renew their license after a certain period of time. Depending on the state, individuals might need to submit a renewal fee. If an esthetician wants to work in another state, he or she must typically apply for a new license in that state. This application procedure can include submission of current license verification and, in some cases, completion of a new exam.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts 11% employment growth for skincare specialists from 2018-2028 ( In May 2018, individuals in this occupation earned an annual median wage of $31,290, according to the BLS.

Estheticians are held to state standards requiring a specific number of hours in a state-approved training program. These programs teach a variety of skin care topics. Once finished, prospective estheticians must take an oral and written examination to demonstrate their proficiency and earn state licensure.

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