Esthetician Courses and Classes Overview

Esthetician education programs are relatively short, and courses are offered through cosmetology schools, community colleges, and technical colleges. Let's look at descriptions of a few common classes in esthetician programs.

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  • 1:05 Skin Care
  • 1:33 Facials
  • 1:59 Makeup Application
  • 2:30 Hair Removal
  • 2:55 Anatomy and Physiology
  • 3:19 Salon Management

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Essential Facts About Estheticians

Estheticians are specially trained in skincare, and they typically complete certificate or diploma training that requires less than a year of study. This prepares them for mandatory state licensing and employment as estheticians in salons and spas. Some aspiring estheticians may enroll in 2-year associate degree programs in cosmetology or esthetics.

Common concepts taught in esthetician courses include:

  • Skin types and care
  • Facial masks and peels
  • Exfoliation methods
  • Massage techniques
  • Hair removal

The number of training hours varies by state licensing requirements, but all esthetician programs include hands-on experience using live models or mannequin heads. Many of these programs host a student-run spa where students can gain experience and develop their technical and artistic skills. Some schools also allow students to earn a specialty certificate in an area such as microdermabrasion in addition to their esthetician certification.

Now let's take a look at some courses commonly found in esthetician training programs.

Skin Care

In basic Skin Care, you'll learn to identify common skin conditions like acne and age spots and recommend treatments based on skin type. A combination of classroom, laboratoary, and clinical study helps prepare you to perform spa treatments like body wraps, scrubs, massages, and Vichy showers. Students learn to make use of lighted mirrors, magnification tools, lotions, astringents, and other topical applications.


Estheticians commonly perform facials on their clients. Students in this required class select and apply facial masks and operate high frequency and galvanic facial tools. Exfoliation, microdermabrasion, glycolic facials, and chemical peel applications are practiced in labs and student-staffed clinics under instructor supervision. This course stresses proper techniques and sanitation measures.

Makeup Application

In a makeup application class, students explore color theory and learn to identify skin types and their characteristics. They perform makeup applications using foundation, concealer, blush, eye shadow, eyeliner, lip liner, and lipstick in labs and on guests in school-sponsored salons. They practice day, evening, and special occasion looks, all while remaining mindful of infection control standards. Coursework may also teach the application of false eyelashes and airbrushed tans.

Hair Removal

The temporary removal of facial or body hair commonly accompanies facial and skin care treatments. Students in a hair removal class learn hair removal techniques like wax, depilatory cream, and tweezing. Such techniques may be used on the face, arms, legs, back, underarm, and bikini areas. Classroom demonstrations are replicated by students in labs and in clinical practice.

Anatomy and Physiology

Esthetic students also receive an overview of human anatomy and physiology. While a human anatomy and physiology course covers major organs and body systems, special attention is paid to healthy hair, skin, and nails. Students might also focus on histology, the study of tissues and cells at the microscopic level. This class typically includes classroom learning and lab exercises.

Salon Management

Salon Management class is usually one of the last esthetician courses in an associate degree program. It emphasizes sales, marketing, and communication skills, and it teaches students to develop client relationships and professional interpersonal skills. Students receive experience staffing a salon as well as experience in merchandising and selling retail products. They might also receive instruction on professional ethics and the proper use of company resources.

Common courses in esthetician training programs include:

  • Skin care
  • Facials
  • Makeup application
  • Hair removal
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Salon management
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