From hair removal and makeup to facial treatments and chemical peels, estheticians offer a wide variety of beauty services, and they’re some of the most sought-after professionals these days, when clients are more interested in self-care than ever before. The job also offers many career prospects and can become very lucrative (the annual median salary is around $31,300 and expected to grow). However, becoming part of the 10% who make $60,000 isn’t easy. There’s a lot of competition in this field, and although an esthetician’s job might sound simple and fun, you need a lot of training to count yourself among the best. A genuine interest in skincare is the first step, but you need to invest in education and training to become a certified esthetician.
Here’s what you need to know on how to become an esthetician:
1. Education requirements for becoming an esthetician
Before enrolling in an esthetician course, first, you must review your state’s requirements, because they aren’t the same nationwide:
- In some states, it’s mandatory to have a high school diploma to apply for esthetician training.
- The number of hours of training required varies. For example, you only need 25 hours of training to become an esthetician in Oregon, while in Alabama, you need 1,000 hours.
- Check the requirements for the various sub-areas in this field because some require an extra license (i.e. getting a waxing license requires an extra 75 hours of training in New York).
2. The esthetician training program: theory and practice
After applying for an esthetician training program and paying the registration fee, you’ll have to sit through a written exam or face-to-face interview, but these are generally easy to pass.
Once you’re in, the esthetician program will focus mostly on theory and, depending on what sub-area you want to study, that may include everything from chemistry and anatomy to nutrition, color theory, and, of course, safety. While these programs also include practical lessons, keep in mind that it’s only after completing the course that you’ll start to gain more hands-on experience.
Full-time programs typically last for six months max, but part-time ones can span over twelve months or more. At the end of the course, you’ll be eligible to apply for an apprenticeship, where you’ll put into practice what you learned under a professional’s supervision. Requirements vary from state to state, but usually, you need to complete at least 300 hours. Also, in some states, the apprenticeship is enough to apply for a license.
3. Getting your license
After completing theoretical and practical training, you’re now ready to apply for an esthetician license! This is the final and most important step because you’re not legally allowed to work as an esthetician without a license. The professionals where you completed your apprenticeship will tell you where the nearest testing center is, what’s the application fee, and what you have to prepare for the exam. If you paid attention during classes and applied everything you learned as an apprentice, you’ll find this final exam to be quite easy.
4. Finding an esthetician job
After you pass the licensing exam, you’re officially an esthetician, and you’re ready for the most exciting part: applying for a job! Make sure you craft a compelling resume, gather references and use word of mouth and social media to promote yourself. Even after you find a job, continuous education can expand your horizons, so consider taking advanced esthetician courses.