How Do I Become An Esthetician?

If you are looking into becoming an esthetician, you might be surprised by the amount of training, exams, and licensing required to start out. It can be daunting to start, but it doesn’t have to be. I did some research to help you figure it out.

How do I become an esthetician? Earning an esthetician license varies by state, but there are essential steps to acquire your license regardless of where you live, including:

  • Completing a training program
  • Finish training hours
  • Pass exams
  • Pay a licensing fee
Esthetician working on a client

While this might seem like a lot, you might be surprised how quickly you can get to work as an esthetician—as little as six months! We’ll cover each step in more detail below.

Keep reading to learn more, including about some specific things you’ll learn in your educational program.

How Do I Become An Esthetician?

You’re interested in becoming an esthetician—an expert in skincare. It can be a very rewarding and lucrative career, but becoming an expert in anything takes hard work, time, and practice.

Complete A Guided Training Program

You must begin by finding and completing a guided training program.

There are plenty of schools available throughout the country that focus on esthetician training. You can search for them online or visit websites like the Beauty School Directory. The page linked will have a great master list of schools in various states. Simply check out some options near to begin.

  • How Much Does an Esthetician Training Program Cost?

The cost of the program will vary depending on your state. In the United States, it usually costs anywhere from $4,000 (at a community college) to $12,000 (at a private school) of tuition to participate in an esthetician program.

The timeframe of each program might vary slightly, but many programs can be completed in as little as six months. Schedules vary, so be sure to ask about them when you look into different programs.

When you graduate from a program that teaches these principles, you are one step closer to getting out in the field.

Finish Required Training Hours In Your State

Each state regulates estheticians differently, and as such, requirements for your license might be a little different than a neighboring state.

In California, for example, you must complete 600 hours of hands-on training in performing skin treatments you learned in your program.

On the other hand, some states allow apprenticeships, such as Vermont. Here, you can finish 600 hours of hands on training or 800 hours of an apprenticeship. Remember not every state will offer apprenticeships as an option.

You will need to submit proof of the training hours after you finish them. This can be documented and signed off on by your mentor.

Pass Esthetician Exams

Regardless of the state you’re in, you will need to pass an esthetician exam before you can get your license to work. There is usually a fee to sit for the exam, so check with your state board prior to test day.

The test will also vary from state to state. The state board exam usually consists of 100 (give or take) multiple choice questions, though each location is different.

Time limits will also vary. For instance, California’s time limit is 90 minutes to complete the exam (with less than 50 questions).

If you struggle with test-taking, you can find countless online study aids to help you prepare for the test. There are many apps out there to help you study as well (such as flash card makers). However, if you complete your program and required training hours, it shouldn’t be too difficult to pass the exam.

Your results will take several weeks to arrive in the mail. However, when they do, you’re in the home stretch of completing your goal!

Pay a Licensing Fee

Before you can obtain your license, there is a fee. The fee pays for processing the necessary paperwork to obtain a copy of your esthetician license.

It usually takes a few weeks to process before it’s sent to you. Keep in mind this is different based on location. If you have questions, reach out to your state’s board.

When your license arrives in the mail, you will be able to work as a trained esthetician!

What Will I Learn In Esthetician School?

When you attend a program for esthetics, you will learn a lot that will allow you to work in a salon or spa of your choosing later on.

In esthetician school, you’ll learn the following:

  • You’ll learn about the properties of skin.
  • Safety practices are also important to learn.
  • You will also learn best practices for customer service as well as how to work in a spa.
  • Later on, you’ll learn to perform treatments including (but not limited to) facial massage, waxing unwanted body hair, and light therapy practices.

Let’s go over this list in a little more detail.

Learning About The Skin

Esthetics revolves around skincare. As such, you’ll learn more than you could ever imagine about skin.

You will learn more about what skin is, its layers, and how to effectively care for it. On top of that, you’ll learn over time what products or treatments work best for certain skin types. You will become well-versed in various products available.

This knowledge is the basis for estheticians.

Safety Practices

Before you jump into skincare treatments, you will learn about safety practices to abide by regardless of where you work. These are important practices to learn because they will keep both you and your clients safe.

Parts of these practices include:

  • Keeping a clean workplace
  • Sanitizing tools
  • Practicing proper hand washing

You might also learn safety for certain skincare treatments as you move through the program as well.

Customer Service Skills

Customer service skills are something you will continually improve upon throughout your career.

This set of skills will help you work with clients and give them the treatments they ask for. You’ll learn effective communication skills (as well as how to correct any problems you may face).

Good customer service will make clients feel well cared for, and clients that feel this way often return; this helps you out—as well as the spa or salon you work for.

Skincare Treatments

You will learn to use skincare treatments for your clients. Knowing how to perform these treatments easily and effectively is key. They will help clients feel their best and leave them in a positive state of mind.

Below are a few examples:

Facials: There are many different kinds of facials, but they all begin with a cleansing regimen followed by exfoliating (removing dead skin cells). A mask will pull out impurities, and a moisturizer will seal in moisture.
Waxing: Using warm wax to remove unwanted body hair will be something you study as well. Areas to wax include eyebrows, the upper lip, and bikini areas to name a few.

Light therapy: Also known as phototherapy, light therapy exposes the client to certain types of ultra violet (UV) light in a safe manner. This practice is thought to help with mood and sleep problems—especially during the winter months.

These are a few of the topics you will cover in esthetician school, but there are others as well. For a full list of covered material, speak with your school’s admissions board before you start; you can also learn what you will cover from instructors if you have already started.

Though earning an esthetician license might seem difficult at first, you can often train for it in a short period of time. After a program, you will also complete training hours (by state), pass an exam, and pay a fee to process your license. You’ll be working in your chosen profession no time.