Beauty is big business, and estheticians make their money keeping clients gorgeous. Estheticians provide skin treatments, hair removal and other processes that help men and women maintain their personal appearance and boost self-esteem. Work environment can vary from sterile to spa like, and plush resorts to home-based businesses. This flexibility gives estheticians the freedom to work almost anywhere they can find enough clients.
Career advancement is limited, but additional certifications in new technologies like laser hair removal and microdermabrasion can increase demand for your skills (and your salary!). With management training, you could also consider going into business for yourself. You will need training and a license, but jobs are growing much faster than average.
How much do estheticians make?
- Average of $13.81 per hour
- Around $37,000 average salary for full-time positions
Job Skills & Requirements
Education: Esthetician licensure and certification requirements vary from state to state, but if you live near a metropolitan area it's likely you can pursue certification a trade school near you.
Technical Skill: It's not just knowing how, it's knowing how and being really good at it. Estheticians perform complex beauty procedures on clients who are probably sensitive about their appearance (or they probably wouldn't be paying an esthetician in the first place!). You'll need extensive knowledge of skin types, potential allergies and other complications that may arise from treatments so that you can make expert recommendations for each client.
Empathy: Beauty professionals deal with all sorts of people: clients may be sensitive about their appearance, unable to express exactly the results they're looking for, demanding, nervous or all of these and more. You need to keep your cool and still perform like the knowledgeable professional you are!
Estheticians vary between part-time and full-time hours. Many work only nights and weekends when their clients are available; others at salons, spas or resorts with a steady clientele will work throughout the day. Flexible hours are common, so if you don't like the schedule at your entry-level esthetician gig, don't despair – there are plenty of chances to change hours when you change employers (especially if that new employer is you)!
Dress the Part
For your interview, wear a pant or skirt suit. Tastefully understated accessories, makeup and grooming are a good idea since knowledge of fashion and beauty is an asset for estheticians. For workdays, spas and clinics will probably have a dress code; often that just means black dress slacks and a nice shirt, but each employer will vary.
“What's the difference between an esthetician and a cosmetologist?”
That's a tricky one, because they do both deal with skin care. Cosmetologists are usually trained in nail, skin and hair care while estheticians focus completely on skin care technique. This often means that estheticians have a deeper knowledge of skin care treatments than cosmetologists, but curricula will vary from school to school and standards change from state to state, so do your homework before choosing the program for you - unless you really like skin care and have an extreme aversion to hair and nails. Then it's pretty safe to stick with esthetics.
- Salon Manager (Averages $36,000 annually)
- Always knowing the best way to shape your eyebrows
- Self-employment potential
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