A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Become an Esthetician in 2024

Updated on 03/26/2024


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  1. Estheticians specialize in improving skin health and appearance and offer personalized skincare advice.
  2. Estheticians work in various settings such as salons, spas, hospitals, and resorts, providing ample job opportunities.
  3. Becoming an esthetician costs $3,000 to $10,000, and practical exams have a 70-80% pass rate.
  4. Estheticians earn an average of $42,554 annually, with variations based on experience and location.

Are you passionate about skincare and helping others feel confident in their skin? If so, you might have considered pursuing a career as an esthetician.

So, in this step-by-step guide, we'll discuss the requirements on “How to become an esthetician, education, certifications, programs, licenses, and more!

Who is An Esthetician?

An esthetician is a skincare expert who helps people make their skin look and feel its best. Whether it's getting rid of wrinkles, dealing with sunspots, or tackling pesky blemishes, estheticians are on it.

You'll usually find them working in salons or spas, but they can also work in places like hospitals, movie sets, or fancy resorts. Estheticians can specialize in various things, like aromatherapy, body treatments, or theatrical makeup. So, if you ever need someone to help you look and feel your best, an esthetician is your new best friend.

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What Do Estheticians Do?

As a licensed esthetician, you can do a lot of things to help people take care of their skin, like:

  1. Removing unwanted hair: This could mean using wax or other methods to remove hair people don't want.
  2. Treating acne and other skin problems: You might use special treatments like chemical peels or massage techniques to help clear up pimples or reduce puffiness around the eyes.
  3. Doing facials: This involves things like steaming the face, scrubbing away dead skin, and putting on creams and masks to make the skin feel nice and look better.
  4. Giving personalized skin care advice: Because everyone's skin is different, estheticians can suggest the best treatments and products to keep each person's skin healthy and happy.

How to Become an Esthetician: 5 Simple Steps

Becoming an esthetician can change people's lives. You'll help them feel confident in their skin, and the skincare industry is growing fast, offering many job opportunities. You can work in spas, salons, hotels, or cruise ships. You can also specialize in things like anti-aging or acne treatments. Estheticians have flexible schedules so that you can work full-time or part-time.

Here's how to become a licensed esthetician in five steps:

  1.  Pick a Good Esthetician School

Look for a reputable school that offers esthetician training. Make sure it's accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences (NACCAS). It is the leading accrediting body for esthetician schools so that you can get the right license and certification. Here are some top schools:

  • Santa Monica College (Santa Monica, CA)
  • West Georgia Technical College (Waco, GA)
  • Miami Lakes Educational Center and Technical College (Miami Lakes, FL)
  • Evergreen Beauty College (Everett, WA)
  • Empire Beauty Schools (multiple locations)

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  1.  Esthetician Education Requirements

To become a cosmetologist or esthetician, you must complete a training program approved by the state where you want to work. Some states require a high school diploma or GED before you can start, while others accept students who are at least 16 years old.

These programs teach you about customer service, cosmetology techniques, and keeping everything clean and safe. These programs usually take about six to nine months. The cost can vary, but usually between $3,000 and $10,000. Don't forget to budget for books and other fees.

During the program, you'll learn in the classroom and get hands-on experience to prepare you for your career.

  1.  Get Your State License

Now, let’s move on to how to get an esthetician license from your state. Here's what you have to do:

Apply for licensure: Fill out an application and submit all necessary documents. You'll need to complete some paperwork and pay a fee, usually around $100.

Take the exams: You must pass a written and practical exam. Your state or the National Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC) usually gives the written one. For the practical exam, you'll have to show you can do things like facials on models.

Some states let you start the process right after school, while others want you to complete all your training first. You'll also need to renew your license every couple of years. And in many states, you must take extra classes to keep your skills sharp.

The pass rate for the exams is usually around 70-80%. Therefore, studying your state's exam guide is a good idea.

  1.  Get Certified

Even though not all companies ask for it, getting certified can show dedication. Moreover, having a certification can make your application stand out when applying for jobs as an esthetician. You can start the certification process after finishing cosmetology or esthetician school and working for at least two years. Once you meet all the requirements, you can take an exam to get certified.

The most popular certification for estheticians is the National Esthetician Certification, offered by the National Coalition of Estheticians Association (NCEA). It involves studying from a manual and filling out an application, usually taking about four to six weeks. After that, you can take the exam online from home. NCEA certification lasts for three years before you need to renew it by retaking the exam.

  1.  Start Your Career

Look for entry-level jobs as an esthetician. You can work in spas, salons, hospitals, hotels, or resorts. Working in the field helps you improve at giving facials, chemical peels, and other treatments. You also get to build a group of clients who know your work and trust you.

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Esthetician Salary and Job Outlook

Now that you've acquired some knowledge on “how to become an esthetician”, let’s check out how much they can earn and their job outlook. Estheticians earn around $42,554 per year, but this can vary based on where they work and how much experience and skills they have. Some estheticians also get benefits like 401(k) matching and help with tuition and training.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the number of skincare specialists, including estheticians, is expected to grow 9% from 2022 to 2032. On average, there will be about 12,400 job openings for skin care specialists every year for the next ten years.

This is faster than most other jobs because more people want skincare services to look younger and stay healthy. So, if you're thinking about becoming an esthetician, many job opportunities exist.

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The role of an esthetician is different, offering you the opportunity to pursue a rewarding career in skincare. With a focus on improving skin health and appearance, estheticians provide various services tailored to meet diverse client needs. After reading our guide on how to become an esthetician, we believe you now have enough knowledge and  insight on how to get the  training, licensing, optional certification, necessary skills and credentials. Moreover, with a promising job outlook, becoming an esthetician presents a pathway to professional fulfillment and success.


How Long Does It Take To Be An Esthetician?

It usually takes 6-12 months to become an esthetician if you’re doing a program requiring 600 to 780 clock hours. However, this time period can be exceeded if you participate in other part-time programs.

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Aneeb Ahmad

Update at 03/26/2024

Aneeb is a full-stack SEO & Content Marketer. He drives our inbound marketing efforts on all touchpoints & writes just about everything related to career guidance, interviews, and professional growth. He loves talking about football when he’s not wordsmithing.

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