How to Become a Medical Aesthetician: School & Requirements

Mar 23, 2021

To become a medical aesthetician, an interested individual will need a high school diploma or GED after which he or she may pursue cosmetology certification or a related training program. A state license is usually required. The licensing exam includes a written test, and in some states, a practical test.

What Is a Medical Aesthetician?

Medical aestheticians are state-licensed skin care specialists who work in healthcare facilities. They provide skin care treatment and makeup tips to patients whose illnesses, injuries or surgeries have affected their appearance. Training can vary, but most medical aestheticians must complete a state-approved cosmetology program where they learn about skin conditions and procedures. Aestheticians must be licensed in all states (except Connecticut), which usually calls for passing a written, and sometimes a practical, examination.

Required Education State-approved cosmetology training program
Licensing All states except Connecticut require licensing
Projected Job Growth (2019-2029)* 17% for skin care specialists
Median Annual Salary (2019)* $34,090 per year for skin care specialists

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

How to Become a Medical Aesthetician

  1. Check the eligibility requirements for your state
  2. Choose a medical cosmetology program that fits your goals
  3. Take advantage of internships and volunteer work while completing your training
  4. Become a licensed medical aesthetician

Attend Medical Aesthetician School

An aspiring medical aesthetician needs a high school diploma or GED certificate to enter cosmetology school. Each state's board of cosmetology approves relevant training programs, which last up to nine months and lead to diplomas or associate degrees. Students learn about skin care procedures such as facials, microdermabrasions, specialty masks and hair removal.

While there are no specific medical aesthetician requirements, some candidates take college-level biology, anatomy and other science courses in addition to their aesthetician training. Others may complete a 1,200-hour aesthetician training program where they learn about the latest scientific and technological advancements. An aesthetic school background will prepare for the licensure examination, but work or volunteer experience in a medical setting develops valuable practical skills.

Earn a License

Medical aestheticians must be licensed to practice in the U.S. Although requirements vary by state, candidates generally need to complete an approved cosmetology program and pass a state licensing examination that consists of a written test, and in some states, a practical test.

Career Information for Medical Aestheticians

Medical aestheticians work in hospitals, physicians' offices, care centers and other healthcare facilities. Plastic surgeons and dermatologists commonly employ medical aestheticians to perform procedures including medical peels, exfoliations and photo light facials under their supervision. They also apply prescription skin care products and treat wounds for patients who have recently undergone surgery.

In hospitals and clinics, these professionals support patients having operations and medical treatments that affect the skin. They teach injured patients to use makeup to reduce the appearance of facial swelling, skin discoloration and hair loss. They show trauma victims how to clean and care for sensitive skin and how makeup can cover affected areas, such as burned facial skin. Medical aestheticians also comfort patients and boost the self-esteem of those receiving long-term treatments.

Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of skin care specialists is projected to rise much faster than the national average, by 17%, from 2019-2029. In 2019, the BLS reported median annual wages of $34,090 for skin care specialists. Those working in outpatient care centers, hospitals and offices of physicians earned the top wages.

Medical aestheticians have a broad variety of environments in which they may work when they become qualified. To qualify, they need to complete a state-approved cosmetology program and pass the state's licensing test. The employment outlook is slightly brighter than average for aestheticians over the next decade. As the population ages, individuals needing the skills and assistance of aestheticians due to disfigurement from injury, illness and surgery is likely to increase.

Expert Contributor: Kristyn Blandford Kristyn has a master's degree and 11+ years' experience in health-related fields, including administration, client services, and clinical supervision.

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