Skin Care Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

To become a skin care specialist, it is necessary to complete an esthetician program that has been approved by the state, and then pass a licensure exam (in all states except Connecticut). Programs are most commonly available at community colleges and technical schools.

10 Schools with Skin Care Programs

The following schools offer skin care programs:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition (2015-2016)*
Johnson County Community College Overland Park, Kansas 2-year, Public Certificate $2,730 In-district
$3,180 In-state
$6,420 Out-of-state
Bluegrass Community and Technical College Lexington, Kentucky 2-year, Public Certificate $3,704 In-state
$12,536 Out-of-state
Cape Fear Community College Wilmington, North Carolina 2-year, Public Diploma
$2,654 In-state
$8,798 Out-of-state
North Shore Community College Danvers, Massachusetts 2-year, Public Certificate $4,536 In-state
$10,104 Out-of-state
Olympic College Bremerton, Washington 4-year, Public Certificate $3,837
Spokane Community College Spokane, Washington 2-year, Public Certificate
$3,388 In-state
$8,726 Out-of-state
West Kentucky Community and Technical College Paducah, Kentucky 2-year, Public Diploma
$3,624 In-state
$12,456 Out-of-state
Clover Park Technical College Lakewood, Washington 2-year, Public Certificate
$5,382 In-state
$12,855 Out-of-state
Central Georgia Technical College Warner Robins, Georgia 2-year, Public Certificate $2,674 In-state
$4,810 Out-of-state
Saint Paul College Saint Paul, Minnesota 2-year, Public Diploma

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Outside of shampooers, all personal appearance workers must be licensed and must have attended an approved program before attaining a career in this field. Consider the following when looking for skin care schools:

  • Students should check that the program has been approved by the state board of cosmetology.
  • It is critical for students to make sure that the program provides the training necessary to meet the eligibility requirements to take the licensure examination in the state in which they intend to practice.
  • It can be helpful to find out the percentage of graduates who pass the esthetician licensing exam on the first try, as this can indicate the quality of the program.
  • Students may want to find out about the school's training facilities, including simulation labs and on-campus salons, in order to ensure that they will gain experience with high-quality skin care products and industry-standard equipment.

Certificate and Diploma Programs

Certificate and diploma programs for estheticians typically provide the coursework and practical clinical experience that students need to become eligible for licensure in their state. In most programs, students learn about skin care-related topics such as facials, body treatments, hair removal and makeup, as well as safety and sanitation procedures. They may also study business-related topics that can contribute to professional success in salon environments. At some schools, students can complete a certificate in a particular specialty area of interest, such as facials. Some programs allow students to choose between day and night classes in order to accommodate the needs of working professionals.

Associate's Degree Programs

Associate's degree programs for estheticians are less common than certificate programs, but they are available at a few schools. In addition to meeting the eligibility requirements for state licensure, students in associate's degree programs also complete general education coursework, and they may be required to complete a capstone project prior to graduation. An alternative degree option for aspiring estheticians is an associate's degree in cosmetology, which includes skin care studies within a broader program that also covers topic such as haircutting, hair styling and nail care. In total, associate's degree programs take about two years to complete.

Continuing Education Classes

In order to maintain esthetician licensure, some states require skin care specialists to periodically complete continuing education requirements. Some schools provide standalone credits that confer CEU credits. Classes may focus on specialized skin care procedures, such as oxygen infusion facials, acids or peels, or they may focus on business concerns, like maintaining client loyalty. These seminars and workshops usually last for a few hours on one or two days.

Skin care programs are available at the diploma, certificate and associate's degree levels; some schools also offer continuing education courses for licensed professionals. Students should consider the success of graduates on licensure exams when choosing between schools.

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