Essential Steps to Becoming an Esthetician

Estheticians are licensed professionals who help their clients improve their appearances through beauty treatments. They may work independently or in partnership with other wellness practitioners.

Most states require certain training hours and an apprenticeship, while others offer alternative options such as supplemental certification. 


Choosing a School

Your selection of a school can have a big impact on your future success as an esthetician. Look for a state-approved school that offers both hands-on and classroom instruction. It should also have high pass rates and low tuition costs.

The excellent esthetician schools have well-maintained equipment and knowledgeable staff to help you feel confident as you prepare for how to become an esthetician and for your licensing exam. Aside from being a perfect place to learn, a quality esthetician school should offer career guidance and job placement services.

Licensing requirements vary by state, but estheticians must be licensed cosmetologists to work with hair, nails, and skin. An esthetician license is not a business license, though, as that is more of a government document akin to a driver’s license. Many estheticians rent a salon where they share the space with other estheticians, or they may own their spa. In either case, estheticians typically earn a salary supplemented by tips and commissions.

Getting a License

Having a license to be an esthetician makes you look more professional and signals to potential clients that you are a true beauty expert. It’s common to see estheticians displaying their licenses on social media, as it is an integral part of their brand.

Most states require an esthetician to be licensed to practice. You must finish to be eligible for a license in a state-approved training program. States have different minimum requirements for hours. Some waive the training-hours requirement for students who participate in apprenticeship programs. These mutually beneficial arrangements allow apprentices to learn from an experienced esthetician while working in a real salon.

You must take a licensure exam once your education and training are complete. The exam will typically consist of a hands-on or practical examination and a written or theory test. Many states also require estheticians to complete to remain current with new techniques and take continuing education classes and products.

Taking the Test

Once you’ve completed your education, you must take the state exam and get licensed. The exam method varies from state to state, but most estheticians use the National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC) exam.

Thanks to your license, you’ll be able to operate various spa and beauty services. These include facials, chemical peels, waxing, body treatments, and hair removal. Licensed estheticians also perform cosmetic procedures, such as removing tattoos, cauterizing varicose veins, and correcting discolorations.

Some estheticians specialize in medical esthetics, treating clients recovering from illness or injuries. They may help burn victims with delicate skin, assist cancer patients with locating good wigs, or help people with facial abnormalities select appropriate prosthetics. Hospitals or rehabilitation centers often employ these estheticians. Others operate their businesses in private salons or spas. The cost of starting an esthetics business varies significantly by location, but it typically includes business insurance, training/appointment fees, and supplies/equipment.

Getting a Job

Once you’ve aced the test, it is essential to find a job. Licensed estheticians can work in spas, salons, and other locations that provide skin care services. They can also open their salons if they wish to do so. They have more control over their schedules as a result and clientele, and it can be lucrative.

Working as an esthetician is rewarding because it helps you to build connections with your clients. Helping them feel better about their appearance and boosting their self-confidence is satisfying. Moreover, you can use your communication skills to advertise and market your business.

To get the most out of your career, you should learn from those with more experience than you do. They will be able to teach you tips and tricks of the trade that you won’t be able to pick up in school or from books. You can even ask them if you can take pictures of their work for your portfolio. This way, you have the necessary materials when you’re ready to launch your solo practice.