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Esthetician License Requirements and Training Schools in Georgia

In a world where everyone craves youth and beauty, you can be the one who helps clients achieve glowing skin. As an esthetician licensed in Georgia, clients will turn to you to cleanse and beautify their skin so it glows as warmly as the southern sun.

The Georgia State Board of Cosmetology is responsible for licensing all beauty workers, including cosmetologists, nail technicians, hair designers, and estheticians. Each category has unique standards for examination and education.

As an esthetician in Georgia, you get to specialize in the study and care of the largest organ on the body—skin. For guidance on how to become an esthetician in Georgia follow these easy steps:

Graduate from Esthetician School in Georgia
Pass the Esthetician Practical and Theory Exam
Submit an Esthetician License Application
Start your Career as an Esthetician in Georgia
Complete Continuing Education to Renew your License



Step 1. Graduate from Esthetician School in Georgia

Your first step toward qualifying for an esthetician license in Georgia is to graduate from an esthetician training program. Enrolling in esthetician school will provide a fun and fast way to learn the ins and outs of the skin care industry.

Enter Zip:

The Georgia State Board of Cosmetology requires that you complete one thousand (1000) hours of coursework and training that covers:

  • Physiology of the Skin
  • Cells and Tissues
  • Chemical Peeling
  • Advanced Male Waxing
  • Speed Waxing
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Ultrasonic Techniques
  • Microdermabrasion
  • Light Emitting Diodes
  • Advanced Skincare
  • Warm Stone Massages
  • Hair Removal
  • Body Treatments
  • Skincare Fundamentals
  • Principles of Disease Control
  • Anti-Aging techniques
  • Aromatherapy

Many schools offer advanced education courses that will keep you on the cutting edge of the beauty industry. Taking these courses will advance your product knowledge and technical knowledge, giving you a leg up in the field.



Step 2. Pass the Esthetician Practical and Theory Exams

After you complete your beauty school requirements, you will be able to apply for the Georgia Esthetician Examination! This exam is administered by the National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC) and is proctored by PSI Exams. You will need to pass two exams: the Practical exam and the Written exam. First, consult the PSI Candidate Information Bulletin.

Practical Exam

The practical exam is ninety (90) minutes long, and it covers your ability to physically perform skin care services, including the following:

  • Setup and Client Protection
  • Cleansing and Steaming the Face
  • Massaging the Face
  • Manual Extraction on the Forehead
  • Hair Removal of the Eyebrows
  • Facial Mask
  • Facial Makeup

Written Exam

The written exam is ninety (90) minutes long, and you will complete the multiple-choice test on a computer. This exam will cover the scientific concepts and esthetics practice concepts that you have studied throughout your education.

The PSI Testing centers offered for these exams may be found in the following cities:

  • Atlanta
  • Macon
  • Tifton



Step 3. Submit an Esthetician License Application

Once you complete your exam and receive passing scores, you are now eligible submit an application for your license based on your education and examination! A less traditional, but still acceptable route of application is submitting based on reciprocity.

Education and Examination

To submit your application based on your exam and education, all you need to do is submit the following application and documentation:

  • Application for License
  • $30.00 Application Fee
  • Notarized Application
  • Citizenship/Qualified Alien Status
  • Proof of completed education
  • Passing Scores on exams


Although Georgia does accept applications based on reciprocity, they do not reciprocate with the following states:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island
  • The Virgin Islands
  • Alaska
  • Pennsylvania
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Maine
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia

However, if you are coming from any other state than one listed above, you may apply for a license by showing a certification of verification of the original license, proving that the state had similar or equal license requirements, and by filling out the Cosmetology Reciprocity Application.



Step 4. Start your Career as an Esthetician in Georgia

A wide variety of businesses hire estheticians – from the healthcare industry to the beauty and wellness industry:

  • Resorts
  • Salons
  • Spas
  • Health spas
  • Beauty spas
  • Medical spas
  • Plastic surgery offices
  • Chiropractic offices
  • Dermatology offices

You may also consider becoming an esthetician instructor, where your job description would shift from performing skin care services to teaching others to perform skin care services. Or, with enough business training, you may even consider opening up your own beauty spa someday!



Step 5. Complete Continuing Education to Renew your License

You will need to renew your license every two years, and you will receive a courtesy reminder from the Board about six (6) weeks prior to expiration of your license on August 31st of odd numbered years.

The Board requires that you complete at least five (5) hours of continuing education in order to renew your license. Your continuing education credits must meet the following Board requirements:

  • Three (3) of the five (5) hours must be concerning health and safety courses, which are developed by the Georgia Department of Technical and Adult Education
  • The remaining two (2) hours may be completed through attending a trade or product show, or by completing any course in the following subject areas:
    • Industry Trends
    • Health and Safety
    • Computer Skills
    • Business Management
    • Other practice-related areas

Your continuing education course must be given by a Board-approved continuing education provider in order to count toward your renewal. Once you’ve completed all the required continuing education, you can renew your license and submit your $45 renewal fee online, which is the fastest way to renew.

Esthetician Salaries in Georgia

The spa industry in Georgia is as diverse as the state itself. That means that estheticians in different parts of the state who might work in similar settings are still going to be serving what could potentially be a very different type of clientele – from neighborhood locals in charming small town salons, to big-money clients in Atlanta’s high-end medi-spas. And from the looks of it, customers from all walks of life and in all part of the state will keep pouring into these salons and spas, giving you the opportunity to turn a tidy profit.

There’s currently a 16% job growth trend in Georgia’s esthetics industry expected through 2026. This demand is exactly the kind of encouragement that everyone from aspiring small town estheticians to the most ambitious future med-spa owners need to get their plans in place to set up shop in Georgia. For enterprising estheticians, the health, wellness and beauty boom taking pace right now is sure to be a goldmine.

Tips and Commissions on Product and Service Sales Can Amplify Base Pay

Esthetician salary statistics largely underestimate how much you can really pull in. For starters, they don’t account for the additional 10-25% in extra income you make from customer tips. Clients go into salons and spas knowing they’re expected to add gratuity, and often do so generously. The moment you start building a list of loyal clients, you begin creating a reliable stream of money that’s further boosted by the cash you take home every day in the form of tips.

When you’re the new kid on the block, you’ll usually be paid like one. More than almost anything else, experience and reputation drives esthetician salaries, especially in Georgia where word of mouth recommendations can make or break a business. It’s an investment of time and energy, but one that pays dividends, so get motivated and watch your list of steady clients grow:

Hourly Wage

  • Bottom 10%: $8.02
  • Mid-Level: $13.17
  • Top 10%: $19.22

Annual Salaries

  • Bottom 10%: $16,690
  • Mid-Level: $27,390
  • Top 10%: $39,970

Also consider how your employment agreement may affect your earning potential. Some estheticians rent out a booth or room in a popular spa, determine their own rates and set their own appointments, and at the end of it all keep everything they earn, minus the cost of space rental and other expenses. Others accept hourly rates with the promise of commission for the services and products they sell.

Where to Score Top Salaries – What Estheticians Earn in Georgia’s Biggest Cities

Skincare specialists often flock to Atlanta, where more jobs are available than anywhere else in the state. It’s also home to big name hotels where high-end spas and salons are located. But salaries here are pretty much on-par with state averages. If you really want to rock that bank account of yours, head to Savannah where top salaries can reach $70,000 and beyond:


  • Bottom 10%: $16,830
  • Mid-Level: $21,180
  • Top 10%: $72,200

Atlanta-Sandy Spring-Marietta

  • Bottom 10%: $16,640
  • Mid-Level: $28,360
  • Top 10%: $39,870


  • Bottom 10%: $17,810
  • Mid-Level: $23,320
  • Top 10%: $39,870

2017 salary data provided by the U.S. Department of Labor-Sponsored resource CareerOneStop – https://www.careeronestop.org/ExploreCareers/Plan/salaries.aspx. State and MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) data includes estheticians at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries. Employment conditions in your area may vary.  

2016 job growth data provided by the U.S. Department of Labor-Sponsored resource Projections Central – https://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm.

All data accessed June 2019.



10 Notable Esthetician Programs in Georgia

From the luxurious spas surrounded by Savannah’s coastal beauty to the day spas, medi-spas and skincare clinics in the Atlanta metro area, Georgia provides some amazing opportunities when it comes to pursuing a career in esthetics. Whether settled in a quiet coastal location or taking advantage of a huge potential client base in Atlanta—building a loyal clientele will be simple once you’ve completed your esthetics education through one of the ten excellent schools on our list. We chose these schools for their excellent programs and commitment to producing successful students. With an average tuition cost of $10,748, the schools that made our list offer the highest quality esthetics education available in the area.

Here’s our pick for the ten best beauty schools in Georgia offering esthetics programs that meet state licensing requirements:

American National College - Atlanta


  • Tuition Cost: $10,403
  • Kit Cost: $2,446
  • Program Length: 10 months

The American National College offers a top-notch esthetician program at an excellent value. Through the program, you’ll learn about everything from skin disorders and how to treat them, to facial and waxing techniques, to makeup application and more. As a Dermalogica and Chi partner school, you’ll be able to gain experience working with high-end beauty products. You’ll also gain business training through courses meant to prepare you to manage your independent practice. The American National College offers job placement services to all its students after graduation.

Atlanta Institute of Aesthetics - Atlanta


  • Tuition: $13,080
  • Kit Cost: $969
  • Program Length: May vary

At the Atlanta Institute of Aesthetics, you’ll learn about the anatomy, physiology, and pathology of the skin; how to use the most technologically advanced equipment available to treat skin disorders, and how to work with clients and build your personal esthetician business. The Institute even offers advanced certifications in some of the most popular beauty and wellness practices, including spa therapies, reflexology, microdermabrasion, LED light therapy, and microcurrent. After graduation, you’ll be provided with career assistance services to help match you with the perfect esthetician position. The school also accepts VA benefits for veterans.

Dalton Institute of Esthetics and Cosmetology - Dalton


  • Tuition: $11,500
  • Kit Cost: $3,500
  • Program Length: 9 months

At the Dalton Institute of Esthetics and Cosmetology, you’ll be able to choose from day or evening classes to fit your scheduling needs. Every month, the esthetician classes will go on field trips to the International Dermal Institute in Atlanta to study the latest techniques and to network with professional estheticians. The Institute even offers advanced certifications: Advanced Exfoliation/Chemical Peels, Assistant Laser Practitioner, Microdermabrasion, Makeup Techniques, and European Facials and Back Treatments. Throughout the program, you’ll be able to network with professional estheticians, and after graduation the Dalton Institute will help you find placement in a spa or clinic that’s perfect for you.

Elaine Sterling Institute - Atlanta


  • Tuition Cost: $11,976
  • Kit Cost: $1,924
  • Program Length: 9 months

The Elaine Sterling Institute offers its students the opportunity to study in a beautiful facility. You’ll master the practical skills and theoretical knowledge that you’ll need to perform facials, body wraps, and many other skincare and spa services. Through the Institute’s esthetics program, you’ll have an opportunity to build professional business relationships with salon and spa owners in the community and enhance your professional network. After graduation, the Institute offers job placement services. Post-graduate programs for licensed estheticians are available, and include the ITEC international certification recognized the world over.

Georgia Beauty School - Norcross


  • Tuition: $4,500
  • Kit Cost: Unavailable
  • Program Length: 9 months

With the lowest tuition of any school on our list, Georgia Beauty School’s esthetician program is an excellent value. You’ll make your own schedule to fit your family and work life, which is a great perk for working students. You’ll learn about the physiology and histology of the skin, skin disorders and diseases and how to treat them, as well as the latest techniques in facial massage, hair removal, makeup, body wrap and back treatments.

Hogan Institute of Cosmetology & Esthetics - Lilburn


  • Tuition: $12,000
  • Kit Cost: $1,540
  • Program Length: May vary

The Hogan Institute has the unique distinction of being able to boast that 100% of graduates pass the state board exam! With supportive instructors and a program designed to help you succeed, as a graduate of Hogan Institute, you’ll be able to achieve your goals as a professional esthetician. You’ll be able to choose from morning classes, evening classes, or weekend classes. Of course, you’ll learn the foundational techniques of skincare and makeup application, but the school impressed us with the fact that it allows students to study microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and acne treatments within the standard program. During your program, you’ll be using high-end professional brands like Lamiks Cosmetics as you practice with clients in the student spa.

International School of Skin, Nailcare, and Massage Therapy - Atlanta


  • Tuition Cost: $12,960
  • Kit Cost: $1,100
  • Program Length: 12 months

At the International School of Skin, Nailcare, and Massage Therapy, you’ll be able to learn the science and theory behind skin care, body care, hair removal, and makeup while practicing the techniques on clients in a real student spa setting. This program uses both American and European techniques in the interest of teaching the best methods for facials, body wraps, waxing, and other services. You’ll also study courses in business training to gain a solid foundation in how to run your own business or manage a salon. The school also accepts GI Bill benefits for veterans.

Paul Mitchell The School Esani - Alpharetta


  • Tuition Cost: $13,000
  • Kit Cost: $960
  • Program Length: 11 months

Paul Mitchell ‘The School’ Esani made our list thanks to its cutting-edge esthetics program. ESANI stands for Empowerment through Science, Art, Nurturing, and Innovation, and that’s exactly what you’ll find here. This progressive program will teach you to master the fundamentals of esthiology and allows you to add specialty certification in everything from hair and makeup to microdermabrasion, microcurrent, and even reflexology. As a student of The School, you’ll have an opportunity to be actively involved with the local community through charity events including beauty and fashion shows where you can showcase your developing skills in makeup and esthetics. The School also offers scholarship opportunities and accepts VA benefits. You’ll even be able to take advantage of career counseling services from experienced industry experts well-connected to a network of salons and spas throughout Georgia.

PS Beauty School - Lithia Springs


  • Tuition Cost: $7,367
  • Kit Cost: $1,000
  • Program Length: 9 months

At PS Beauty School, you’ll be able to take part in small classes and receive personalized instruction as you learn about skin care, body wraps, and makeup techniques– and even business strategies to ensure your success once you get your career started. This flexible program allows you to choose from full-time or part-time schedules. The program is offered at an incredibly low cost, making it an exceptional value. After graduation, you’ll also be offered job placement services to help connect you to the world of beauty and wellness. After you’ve become licensed, you can come back to study everything from advanced facial techniques to hair removal through the school’s continuing education courses offered several times a year.

Rivertown School of Beauty - Columbus


  • Tuition Cost: $10,695
  • Kit Cost: Unavailable
  • Program Length: 13 months

Through the Rivertown School of Beauty, you’ll receive a comprehensive esthetician education, learning basic skin care techniques as well as how to perform body wraps and facials. Rivertown School of Beauty even offers 600-hour refresher courses intended for estheticians who have already completed their initial training and simply need to brush up on the latest techniques and developments in esthiology. The school impresses with its innovative refresher course, which is a great option for alumni. If you’re a veteran, you can even use VA benefits to cover the cost of your education.

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