Bookmark and Share


What they do:

Estheticians cleanse and exfoliate, wax and laser, moisturize and apply makeup to enhance a person’s overall appearance. Estheticians will first assess the condition of his or her clients’ skin and make recommendations on what can be done to improve their skin quality. For instance, chemical peels can reduce the appearance of fine lines or wrinkles; waxing and lasers remove unwanted hair; and exfoliating scrubs can slough off dead skin. An esthetician will also cleanse the skin, and in so doing, educate the client on which face washes, lotions and creams are best suited to him or her. Applying makeup is another piece of the job description, as is advising the client on a personalized skin care regimen.  An esthetician might also perform facials, massages and other full-body treatments. A less glamorous part of the job includes disinfecting equipment and cleaning work areas.

Since skin care specialists stand face-to-face with their clients, they should enjoy interacting with people. Respect and sensitivity are key traits, too. If clients show serious skin problems, skin care specialists may have to refer them to dermatologists.


Each state dictates different educational requirements for skin care specialists. All states, except Connecticut, require skin care specialists to complete a cosmetology or esthetician program and obtain a license. Educational requirements vary, ranging from 300 hours to 1,500 hours of courses, depending on the state. The average number of class hours is about 600. In order to get a license, skin care specialists will need to take and pass a practical and written exam. Many entry-level estheticians will receive further training on the job, especially if they work with chemicals. With new products constantly entering the market and medical advancements, the Professional Beauty Association and American Association of Cosmetology Schools offer continuing education through seminars and webinars, so specialists can stay up to date on the latest treatments and developments in the field.

What they make:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, skin care specialists made a median salary of $30,090 in 2015. The highest-paid 10% in the profession earned $61,330, while the lowest-paid earned $18,310 that year. The top-paying employers for this type of work are colleges, universities and professional schools; outpatient care centers; and general medical and surgical hospitals.

Where they work:

  • General medical and surgical hospitals

  • Outpatient care centers

  • Physician’s offices

  • Self-employed in private practice


The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment growth of 12% from 2014 to 2024, which is faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is driven primarily by women clients – although men are increasingly seeking skin care specialists to battle the appearance of aging.



Updated February 2017