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Esthetician License Requirements and Training Schools in Kentucky

Beautiful, radiant skin is the secret to a more youthful appearance. As an esthetician, you learn the science and art behind those secrets, knowing how to bring even the most tired skin to full health and beauty.

Kentucky is an exciting place to start your esthetician career. The beauty industry is one of Kentucky’s top twenty fastest growing industries, with skin care specialist jobs expected to grow by 33.33% between 2010 and 2020, according to Kentucky’s occupational outlook report.

Before you begin working as an esthetician in Kentucky, you will first need to be licensed through the Kentucky Board of Hairdressers and Cosmetologists. For instructions on how to become an esthetician in Kentucky, follow the steps in this guide:

Complete an Esthetician Training Program
Submit your Application for Examination and Licensure
Schedule and Pass Written and Practical Exams
Begin your Career as an Esthetician in Kentucky
Renew your License Annually



Step 1. Complete an Esthetician Training Program

The Kentucky Board requires that you complete at least 12th grade before qualifying for a license. With a high school diploma or GED, your first step toward a license will be to graduate from an esthetician program that includes at least (1000) hours of coursework and training.

Enter Zip:

In this fun, flexible, and exiting program, you will get to learn theory, practices, and methods for making skin supple, radiant, and beautiful. You will take courses such as:

  • Theoretical Principles for Skin Analysis
  • Skin Conditions
  • Specialized Techniques for Analysis
  • Facial Treatments
  • Skin and Body Wrap Treatments
  • Eyebrow Arching
  • Hair Removal
  • Artistry of Make-Up Application
  • Runway and Fashion Make-Up
  • Critical Business Planning
  • Communication Skills

Many schools offer advanced education that you can take even after you are a licensed esthetician. This way, even when you’re working as an esthetician, you will be constantly staying on the cutting edge of the best beauty and wellness products, trends, and techniques.



Step 2. Submit your Application for Examination and Licensure

Your esthetician school in Kentucky will help you complete the application for examination and license. In order to complete the Kentucky license exam application, complete the following steps:

Out of State

If you are applying for an out-of-state license, you will need to have already obtained a license in a different state. If you have, and if your training matches the requirements of Kentucky training (meaning that you have completed at least 1000 hours of esthetician school), then you may submit the following materials:

You will still need to wait until your application is approved, then you will need to complete both the written and the practical exams.



Step 3. Schedule and Pass Written and Practical Exams

The Kentucky Board proctors their own written and practical exams for licensure. These exams are given bi-monthly, except for July and August. The exams are fist-come, first-serve, and you will need to apply right away in order to get a seat. In order to qualify for these exams, you must be at least eighteen (18) years old and have completed the following:

  • Submitted License Exam Application
  • Paid required fees
  • Proved high school education or equivalent
  • Completed a 1000-hour approved course of study

When you have completed these steps, you will receive an Admission Notice to Test by the Kentucky State Board. You must bring this both to the theory and the practical examination in order to be admitted to the exam room.

You must bring your own mannequin heads for the practical exam—no models will be permitted. The practical exam will cover seven (7) core domain content areas, including the following:

  • Set up and Client Protection
  • Cleansing the Face
  • Steaming the Face
  • Massaging the Face
  • Application of Mask
  • Hair Removal of the Eyebrows
  • Facial Makeup

The verbal script and instructions for this exam may be found on the practical examination instructions sheet. Once you pass both the practical and the written exam, the Board will issue you your license, and you will begin to work as a licensed esthetician in Kentucky!



Step 4. Begin your Career as an Esthetician in Kentucky

Now that you are a licensed esthetician, you can look for jobs in many different areas! Many estheticians will look for part-time or full-time positions at either spas or salons. However, if you’re looking for something a little bit different, you can look into some of the other careers that an education and license in esthetics can prepare you for:

  • Make Up Artist
  • Waxing Specialist
  • Beauty Consultant
  • Esthetician in a Medical Office
  • Skin-Care Product Representative
  • Massage Clinics
  • Customer Consultant
  • Massage Therapist and Esthetician at Hotels and Resorts

You can also consider expanding your career by obtaining a threading permit, or by becoming an instructor or teacher, or even someday owning or managing your own salon or spa! Some of Kentucky’s top salons and spas include:

  • Merle Norman Cosmetics Oxmoor – Shelbyville
  • Physicians Center for Beauty – Louisville
  • Fox, Martin MD & Associates – Louisville
  • Omagi Salon and Spa – Louisville
  • Dedi’s Beauty Secrets – Louisville



Step 5. Renew your License Annually

You will renew your license between July 1st and July 31st of each year. You will receive information in the mail on the renewal process when the date approaches. When this happens, you must renew your license and pay the $50 renewal fee.

If you allow your license to lapse, you will need to restore it and pay the $125 restoration fee.

Although the Board does not require you to complete continuing education to renew, advanced courses will keep you on the cutting edge of beauty trends, enabling you to learn about the latest products on the market, and the newest techniques for keeping skin young and glowing.

Esthetician Salaries and Job Prospects in Kentucky

All the upscale hotels in Louisville, day spas in Somerset, and medispas in Lexington have the same thing in common—they all need more skilled estheticians like you to join their teams of beauty professionals. Right now, there’s a 10% increase in demand for estheticians statewide that will remain steady until 2026. That means there are more and more positions opening up for estheticians every day just to keep up with the demand for high-quality esthetics services in the state.  And even though high-end salaries certainly exist here, you won’t get ahead by sitting on your laurels. You have to get out and grab them.

Employers are picky about who they’ll be handing over premium salaries to, so be prepared to hustle to prove that you’re well worth it. Bring in new clients, master the latest trends, sell the most products, become familiar with popular skincare lines, and try anything else that will make you simply indispensable to the local beauty industry.

Jumping in the Salary Pool – Tips, and Commissions Can Add Up Quick

One of the most fascinating features of the esthetics profession is the different ways you can earn a living. At first glance, pay statistics might look a little lean, but that’s just because it’s almost impossible to measure how drastically tips, commissions for add-on services and product sales affect take home pay. Instead, view salary statistics more like ballpark figures that leave tons of room to grow.

Hourly Wage

  • Low-End: $11.50
  • Mid-Range: $17.40
  • High-End: $24.54

Annual Salary

  • Low-End: $23,910
  • Mid-Range: $36,190
  • High-End: $51,040

At some point you’ll have to decide which employment arrangement best suits you and gives you the best shot at making the most money. Many chose to take on hourly wage jobs where you can earn extra cash through sales and services. Some are lucky enough to land salaried positions as full time employees.

Others opt to rent a booth or space in a salon or spa so they have the freedom that comes with being their own boss. This rather common arrangement lets you build your own client base, and in some cases, determine your own rates for the services you provide. You keep it all other than what’s required to cover your expenses and what you owe for rent.

Paychecks in Lexington-Fayette

The greater Lexington-Fayette metropolitan area is the employment hub for estheticians in Kentucky. This should come as no surprising considering the large number of massage studios, wellness centers, and posh salon chains operating here.

The current pay rates for skincare specialists working here look like this:

Hourly Wage

  • Low-End: $12.47
  • Mid-Range: $17.99
  • High-End: $22.73

Annual Salary

  • Low-End: $25,940
  • Mid-Range: $37,420
  • High-End: $47,28

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.



3 Notable Esthetician Programs in Kentucky

Kentucky comes with a sort of genteel charm that makes it a perfect fit for esthetics programs. Although Kentuckians are known for being laid-back folks, the most health and beauty conscious residents take their skin health and beauty very seriously. So even if Kentucky’s esthetics schools aren’t big and flashy and overstated, they are thorough, results-driven and dedicated to providing comprehensive programs that meet the requirements for state licensure. And with an extremely low average tuition rate of $9,617 for the schools that made our list, they’re a terrific value for students who want to gain that expertise without breaking the bank.

Here you’ll find our pick for the top esthetics schools in Kentucky that offer programs that meet the requirements for esthetician licensure.

The Lindsey Institute of Cosmetology - Bowling Green


  • Tuition: $7,500
  • Kit Cost: $500
  • Program Length: 11 months

Lindsey Institute has the lowest tuition cost of any school on our list, but also the highest on-time completion rate for graduates: 80 percent finish the program successfully in 11 months. The high standards at the institute make it not only the premiere school for esthetics in Bowling Green, but for the entire state of Kentucky. Graduates receive extensive business skills training in addition to their skin care studies. Once they have completed the program, a career services department helps place them in desirable positions in salons and medi-spas throughout the area.

PJ’s College of Cosmetology - Bowling Green


  • Tuition: $12,352
  • Kit Cost: $1,807
  • Program Length: 8 months

The instructors at PJ’s are renowned for helping students cultivate imaginative designs and develop their own creativity– skills that help them stand out in the crowd. The difference is obvious when they graduate: with an 87 percent job placement rate, PJ’s blows the other schools on our list out of the water when it comes to getting graduates into real-word esthetics positions as independent contractors or employees. When they leave, students have another edge: very low student loan debt rates are common at PJs. The school also offers scholarships to help deserving students cover their tuition.

Summit Salon Academy - Lexington


  • Tuition: $9,000
  • Kit Cost: $1,600
  • Program Length: 10 months

Summit not only has below-average tuition rates, they have something else that most other schools in the state don’t: an all digital, interactive curriculum that is delivered via tablet in every single student kit. The high-tech edge at Summit made us say, “Wow!” Every aspect of skin care, including make-up, waxing, facials, and more are covered in-depth by Summit’s dedicated instructors.

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