Certification and Licensing
If you are considering a job as a skin care specialist, it can be helpful to find out about certification requirements, training programs, continuing education options, and job duties. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that all skin care specialists must be licensed by their respective states, unless they live and work in Connecticut. Each state has its own regulations for licensing. The completion of a state-approved training program qualifies applicants to sit for the licensing exam.
An exam is also required to be licensed. A written test is given and the applicant must either pass an oral test or complete a practical test of learned skills. Some states have separate examinations for skin care specialists and medical estheticians. Check with the National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC) website that can help you determine exactly which exam you should take.
The required amount of training is determined by individual states. Skin care specialist certificate programs are offered through community colleges and vocational training centers. Often, training and assistance may be available through programs such as the federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA). Students receive the core training needed for practice, which covers the theory, science, and practice of aesthetics. Topics of study can include professionalism in a spa or salon environment, skin analysis techniques, light therapy, exfoliation, chemicals used for peels and skin improvement, and makeup application. There are also certificate programs specifically for aspiring medical skin care specialists. In these programs, students learn to assist dermatologists and plastic surgeons to perform skin treatments. Students can learn about scar removal, chemical peels, laser treatments, professionalism in healthcare, anatomy and physiology, and ethics.
Periodic continuing education is required to maintain skin care specialist credentials. Educational programs and seminars may be offered by states themselves or by manufacturers and third-party organizations. Topics may include:
- Acne and rosacea
- Facial massage
- LED light therapy
- Spa business
Licensed skin care specialists work to improve the quality of facial skin. They analyze a customer's skin and discuss possible treatments. For instance, they may use chemical peels to exfoliate skin and cleanse pores. They can also use depilatory wax to remove unnecessary facial hair. Other duties a skin care specialist performs include massage, tinting, and blackhead removal. Medical skin care specialists work in clinical settings where they assist dermatologists or plastic surgeons.
Aspiring skin care specialists in most states must meet basic educational requirements and earn a license in order to practice in the field.