Skincare is the second-largest branch of the beauty industry, accounting for more than 23% of industry revenue in 2015 according to Franchise Help – and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. This industry growth means more job opportunities, giving any skin enthusiast the perfect opportunity for a new career as an esthetician.

Byrdie called out personalized skincare as one of the top 2021 skincare trends. While that means more personalized skincare subscription companies, like top-of-the-line brand Qyral, this also means more people will be turning to their estheticians for guidance. No online quiz can replicate the hands-on assessment of an esthetician.

So if you love skin care, customer service and changing people’s lives for the better, becoming an esthetician might be the right career choice for you.

But how do you become a licensed esthetician? While it won’t require a four year degree, becoming an esthetician is a rigorous process that includes apprenticeship hours, passing exams and applying for a state license.

Overall, this is how to become an esthetician:

  • Attend beauty school and undergo an esthetician education program or apprenticeship (this process will vary depending on your state and country)
  • Participate in 600+ training hours where you are supervised by a licensed esthetician (depending on your state)
  • Pass all state or country required exams
  • Apply for a license in your state or country and pay all necessary licensing fees

Sound simple enough? Let’s dive in!

Attend Beauty School

You are training to be a skincare expert – an esthetician needs to know everything from skin physiology to sanitation procedures. Your overall scope of practice can include skin peels, light therapy, extractions, makeup artistry, eyelash lift and tints and more. It’s a wide array of services and skills that you must master before entering the profession. The overall length of your training will vary, but you can expect to spend six months to a full year in school.

Esthetician EDU compiled a list of schools by state, where you can find the school that you want to attend. If you have a local school you’d like to attend but it’s not on that list, check that the school is accredited through one of the following agencies:

  • Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET)
  • Accrediting Commission for Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT)
  • Council on Occupational Education (COE)
  • Distance Education and Training Council (DETC)
  • National Accrediting Commission of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences (NACCAS)

Several states such as Washington and Virigian utilize a two-tier esthetician license. The two elements are an apprenticeship and a master esthetician license. Until both tiers are complete, it is illegal for apprentices to complete some services, such as lymphatic drainage or advanced chemical peels. If you’re interested in offering more advanced services, make sure you check your local regulations as more schooling may be required.

Participate in 600 Hours of Training

This hands-on training is not required for licensing in every state, but it is highly recommended! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cosmetology industry is growing at a rapid rate. The competition for top jobs may increase in populated areas, meaning an apprenticeship can be a great way to set yourself apart from the crowd.

An apprenticeship is where a trainee or student works with a licensed esthetician and receives hands-on training. Typically this process begins with a period of observation and then slowly transitions to the apprentice working directly with the patients in a supervised environment.

Take and Pass All Required Exams

The required tests vary from state to state but typically begin with passing the National Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology testing. You can locate your state education and licensing requirements here.

This test has two portions: theory and practical. The theory test is an online test that covers scientific concepts and skin care services. During the practical test you will demonstrate your ability to complete a variety of services you would offer once you’re a licensed esthetician. The NIC does offer practice exams online for a fee.

Apply for a License and Pay All Fees

You will be ready to apply for your license once you’ve completed all of the steps above! From there you will be able to begin your job hunt as a fully licensed esthetician!