Estheticians: Employment & Career Info

Apr 08, 2019

Read on to see what the duties of an esthetician are. Learn about required education and training, and get information about employment prospects, too.

Career Definition for Estheticians

Estheticians, also called skin care specialists, strive to make their client's look and feel younger and more attractive. They cleanse and beautify skin with facials and full-body treatments, apply makeup, remove facial or body hair with hot wax, give head and neck massages, and perform laser treatments to remove imperfections and signs of aging. Many workers are required to sell skin care products. Those who run their own shops are often entrepreneurs involved in all phases of business management and marketing.

Education State-approved skincare program
Licensure and Certification State licensure is required
Job Skills Discipline, physical endurance, good health and grooming, interpersonal skills, artistic ability
Median Salary* $31,290 (2018)
Career Outlook* 14% (2016-2026)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Training for skin care specialists generally takes less than one year to complete and includes courses covering topics such as infection and disease, hair removal, make-up, reflexology and aromatherapy. Attendance at a state-approved program is typically required for state licensure. Accredited programs are listed by the National Accrediting Commission of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences.

Licensing and Certification Requirements

Estheticians are required to earn a state license. Requirements for state licensure vary, but include passing at least a written and practical test.

Skills Required

An esthetician needs physical stamina, as well as good health and grooming. They should have disciplined work habits, an artistic flair, and well-developed interpersonal skills.

Economic and Career Outlook

Opportunities for estheticians are expected to grow by 14% from 2016-2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). As of 2018, the median yearly pay for skin care specialists was $31,290.

Alternate Career Options

Related careers are:

Massage Therapist

Massage therapists use their hands to manipulate soft tissue with established techniques designed to alleviate pain or stress, improve circulation, and provide other health benefits. Massage therapists confer with clients to outline a treatment plan and goals. They may specialize in certain areas, such as Swedish massage or sports massage. Most states regulate and license massage therapists. Although education and training requirements vary, completion of a postsecondary training program is generally required. Aspiring massage therapists may also need to sit for the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx) or the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) exam. The rate of self-employment among massage therapists was nearly 40% in 2016, with a median salary of $39,990 for this occupation in 2017. Per the BLS, employment of massage therapists is predicted to increase 26% from 2016-2026.


Manicurists and pedicurists care for clients' hands and feet, usually in a spa or salon setting. They perform hand and foot massages, skin and nail care treatments, and beautifying treatments like polishing nails or applying artificial nails. Manicurists and pedicurists consult with clients about proper skin and nail care, and they may sell relevant products. Employment requires attending a state-approved cosmetology or nail technician program and passing an exam. Other requirements may apply, depending on the state. According to the BLS, roughly 30% of manicurists and pedicurists were self-employed in 2016. These workers can expect job growth of 13% from 2016-2026, per the BLS, and the median salary for this job was $23,230 in 2017.

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