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Esthetician License Requirements and Training Schools in Minnesota

Throughout the cold, blistery Minnesota winters, it takes a miracle to keep your skin healthy, youthful, and glowing. As an esthetician in Minnesota, you will get to learn the secrets to mitigating the damage of the harsh weather to keep your client’s skin radiant and beautiful.

In the Saint Paul–Minneapolis area, the skincare industry is booming! The US Department of Labor reported that 400 of the 420 estheticians licensed in Minnesota as of 2013 called the Twin Cities area home. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development expects the number of skin care specialist jobs to grow by 23.9% between the years 2012 and 2022, creating 360 new esthetician jobs in the state!

Before beginning your career as an esthetician in Minnesota, you will first need to be licensed by the Minnesota Board of Cosmetologist Examiners. The Board regulates licensing standards for beauty operators in Minnesota, which includes cosmetologists and nail technicians in addition to estheticians.

For guidance on how to becomes an esthetician in Minnesota, follow the steps in this simple guide:

Complete a 600-Hour Esthetician Training Program
Pass Theory and Minnesota Law Exams
Submit Initial Operator License Application
Start your Career as an Esthetician in Minnesota
Participate in Continuing Education and Renew your License



Step 1. Complete a 600-Hour Esthetician Training Program

Your first step toward attaining a Minnesota esthetician’s license is attending esthetician school. In schools like these, you will learn the science, art and business behind the skin care industry.

Enter Zip:

In Minnesota, your are required to engage in 600 hours of practical training and coursework that covers:

  • Human Anatomy
  • Skin Analysis
  • Customer Service
  • Cosmetic Ingredients
  • Temporary Hair Removal
  • Makeup Application
  • Brow and Lash Tinting

The Minnesota Board of Cosmetologist Examiners requires that you pass a practical skills/readiness exam as part of your training program. Your beauty school will be responsible for administering this exam. After you pass this exam, you will need to keep the original certification showing that you passed the skills/readiness exam, and that is was administered through a Minnesota Board-approved beauty school. You will need to submit this along with your license application as described in Step 3.



Step 2. Pass Theory and Minnesota Law Exams

Prior to December 1, 2014, the Board allowed Pearson VUE to regulate and proctor the licensing exams. However, as of December 1, 2014, the Minnesota Board has contracted with PSI Services to provide the licensing exams. You will register directly with PSI for the two licensing exams: the General (Theory) Exam and the Minnesota Law exam.

You will register for these exams separately. To register, you will need to complete the following steps:

Esthetician Theory Exam

This exam will take about one and a half (1 ½) hours, and it contains eighty-five (85) questions including, but not limited to, the following subjects:

  • Safe Working Conditions and Practices
  • Safety Agencies
  • Infection Control
  • Client Consultation
  • Skin Structure and Physiology
  • Basic Facials
  • Hair Removal
  • Makeup
  • Electricity and Electrotherapy
  • Basic Knowledge of Advanced Treatments

Minnesota Law State Exam

This exam will take only one (1) hour, and it contains thirty-five (35) questions on the following subjects:

  • General Practitioner Information
  • Licensing
  • Sanitation Requirements
  • Enforcement
  • Minnesota Statute or Rules

PSI offers these two exams in the following Minnesota cities:

  • Edina
  • Duluth
  • Lake Elmo
  • Mankato
  • Moorhead
  • Rochester
  • Cloud
  • Thief River Falls
  • Woodbury

The Minnesota Board requires that you pass both of these exams with a score of at least 75% or higher. Your exam scores must be no more than one (1) year old in order to apply for a license.



Step 3. Submit Initial Operator License Application

The last step you need to take is submitting your initial operator license application. Once you have completed your education and passed your exams, you are eligible to submit the license application by completing the following steps:

  • Complete Application
  • Pay $139.00 licensing fee
  • Provide copy of high school transcripts
  • Provide original certificate of successful completion of a 600-hour esthetician training program
  • Submit original certification of Skills/Readiness from your esthetician school
  • Submit original passing scores from the General (Theory) and Minnesota laws exams

You can submit any and all application documentation to the Minnesota Board at the following address:

Board of Cosmetologist Examiners
2829 University Avenue SE, Suite 710
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Once you submit your application, the Board will review it, approve it, and issue you your Minnesota esthetician license!



Step 4. Start your Career as an Esthetician in Minnesota

Now that you are a licensed esthetician, you can look for part-time or full-time work in a full-service salon or day spa. If you are considering looking for a job in a well-established beauty shop, consider some of these top salons and spas in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area:

  • Jon Richards Salon – South Minneapolis
  • Aveda Institute Minneapolis – Minneapolis
  • Accolades Salon | Spa – Saint Paul
  • Dermatology Specialists P.A. – Minneapolis
  • Roseann Electrolysis – Minneapolis
  • Sabai Body Temple – The Calhoun Isles, Minneapolis
  • Sunwerks – West Calhoun, Minneapolis
  • Juut Salonspa – Uptown, Minneapolis

Your esthetician license also qualifies you for a career in non-traditional roles, which may include:

  • Esthetician in a Medical Office
  • Skin Care Product Representative
  • Professional Makeup Artist
  • Makeup Artist in Department Stores
  • Beauty Counselor

There may be even more opportunities for advancement as an esthetician in Minnesota. If you complete a thirty-eight (38) hour instructor-training course and gain at least fourteen hundred (1400) hours of work experience, you can apply to work as an esthetician instructor in Minnesota.

After you have worked for at least twenty seven hundred (2700) hours, you could even apply for a Minnesota salon manager license.



Step 5. Participate in Continuing Education and Renew your License

Your license will expire on the last day of your birth month after each three-year licensing period. You will need to renew it in order to keep working legally as a licensed esthetician in Minnesota. When you receive the renewal notification, you will be able to renew online.

The Minnesota Board requires that all beauty operators, salon managers, and instructors complete continuing education to renew their licenses. As an esthetician licensed as a beauty operator, you will need to complete four (4) hours of continuing education every three-year renewal period in order to renew your license. The credits must meet the following Minnesota Board requirements:

  • Three (3) of the four (4) credits may concern health, safety, and sanitation
  • One (1) of the four (4) credits may focus on Minnesota laws and rules

You can take continuing education courses through any of the following continuing education providers:

  • Licensed Minnesota cosmetology school
  • Postsecondary school
  • Board-recognized professional associations

The Board will complete random audits of these courses, so make sure that you can prove the successful completion of these courses by retaining your certificates of completion.

Esthetician Salaries and Job Prospects in Minnesota

Working in Minnesota is the right move for any esthetician looking for an ideal place to make it big in a growing profession. In 2018, Minnesota’s fine collection of lavish resorts, decadent wellness centers, and superior spas helped to secure its place among the top five highest paying states for estheticians in the country. Not to mention that the demand for estheticians here is currently growing by 9%, which only further escalates your chances of nabbing a cushy job.

Your job search should start by deciding what kind of employment setup will fit your lifestyle and make you the most money. For some, accepting an hourly wage job plus tips works just fine. Others would rather rent space and set their own schedule.

Right now, pay averages for estheticians in Minnesota at the highest, median and lowest end of the scale look like this:

Hourly Wage

  • Low-End: $10.08
  • Mid-Range: $17.70
  • High-End: $36.70

Annual Salary

  • Low-End: $20,970
  • Mid-Range: $36,820
  • High-End: $76,330

These figures are a great indicator of what to expect, but they don’t tell the whole story. You can actually make way more simply by adding on the extra income you can earn through commissions, customer gratuity, and possible bonuses for performance and product sales. Play to your strengths and don’t be afraid to get creative. Many estheticians exploit social media platforms or frequent industry events to attract clients and make contacts with potential employers. Remember that many employers set starting pay offers based on experience, but you can help compensate for inexperience by standing out in other attention-grabbing ways.

Getting Down to Geography

While you’re out cruising the job boards, keep in mind that where a potential job is located could reflect how much cash you can bank. In Minnesota, high-end salaries can differ by literally tens of thousands depending on where you work. At the moment, the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area awards top tier estheticians around $85k a year, making it by far the most profitable place for skincare specialists in the state:

Minneapolis-St. Paul

  • Low-End: $20,640
  • Mid-Range: $37,230
  • High-End: $84,560

St. Cloud

  • Low-End: $20,990
  • Mid-Range: $35,710
  • High-End: $40,850


  • Low-End: $18,670
  • Mid-Range: $41,100
  • High-End: $51,450

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.


8 Notable Esthetician Programs in Minnesota

Ask any esthetician anywhere in the world about the products in their toolkit and one name will keep coming up: Aveda. And that powerhouse of ecologically-sound clinical products was founded in Minneapolis in 1978, making Minnesota a familiar name for estheticians everywhere. Aveda still maintains a school in Minneapolis but graduates have gone on to found their own training programs and have made the state an epicenter for esthetics training in the American Midwest.

At an average cost of $6,963 for the esthetician programs that made our list, the programs are not the cheapest in the country, but the quality of the education and training facilities found here is certainly among the best!

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

Aveda Institute - Minneapolis


  • Tuition: $9,650
  • Kit Cost: $1,800
  • Program Length: 4 months

The Aveda Institute is a national chain that is known world-wide for its top shelf skin care products and refined techniques, so it’s never a surprise to see one of their branches on a list of top esthetics programs. The Minneapolis location is the company flagship site and headquarters for one of the most respected names in esthiology. The school offers scholarships to prospective students, and most students graduate holding very little loan debt.

Eighty-two percent find a position in an esthetics practice they love immediately after graduation. A business skills training component to the curriculum covers the business side of working as an independent esthetician. Aveda is widely known for their commitment to community and responsible environmental practices, a commitment their students also learn through participation in Earth Month and clean water fundraising drives.

CCU College of Hair, Skin, and Nails - Duluth


  • Tuition: $6,850
  • Kit Cost: $350
  • Program Length: 5 months

CCU is a locally owned college with a strong track record of turning out well-prepared estheticians. The on-time completion rate for the program is 75 percent, and graduates leave with a strong business education as well as comprehensive training in assessment and skin-care techniques. CCU also believes in community participation and giving back. The school charges a below-average tuition rate, making it an excellent value among Minnesota’s esthetics schools.

LA Beauty School - Richfield


  • Tuition: $5,000
  • Kit Cost: Included in tuition
  • Program Length: 6 months

The esthetics program through LA Beauty School is one of the least expensive in the state, but the level of instruction offered there takes a backseat to no one. A diverse, hands-on team of educators provide students with training to meet the current needs of medi-spas and other esthetics practices with professional aplomb. Once they have finished learning everything they need to know, the school gives students an additional boost through a career assistance program that help place them in lucrative positions.

Minnesota State College - Southeast Technical - Red Wing


  • Tuition: $3,744
  • Kit Cost: $667
  • Program Length: 12 months

As a state college, MSC has low tuition rates and offers a great value. But low cost doesn’t mean low standards. The mission of the school is to serve individual and regional needs for life-long learning, and their esthetics program achieves that goal for graduates. The proof is in the post-graduation employment rate, which is 100 percent—better than many more expensive private schools!

Model College of Hair Design - St. Cloud


  • Tuition: $7,900
  • Kit Cost: $750
  • Program Length: 4 months

A clean, spacious, first-rate facility well-equipped with new, state-of-the-art gear is the first thing that catches the eye of new students at MCHD. Students receive in-depth instruction on facials, massage, and makeup, as well as a complete course of instruction in the essential business skills required to work as an independent contractor… and even eventually manage or own a spa of their own someday.

Nova Academy of Cosmetology - Rochester


  • Tuition: $8,200
  • Kit Cost: $3,300
  • Program Length: 5 months

Nova Academy is the only school on our list to hit the top marks in our scoring trifecta: a high on-time completion rate, low student loan debt, and career assistance for the estheticians that graduate from the program… In fact, 100 percent of graduates immediately transition from school to working in the field at a spa or other esthetics practice they love. Nova’s top-notch facility provides the most modern equipment and well-lit class and spa areas in which to learn, practice and refine skin care skills.

PCI Academy - Plymouth


  • Tuition: $11,699
  • Kit Cost: Included in tuition
  • Program Length: 9 months

PCI Academy is the place to be for students serious about getting through their esthetics program and obtaining their state licenses: 100 percent of graduates from PCI complete the program on time. They leave with a strong business education and very little outstanding loan debt. The school offers nationwide placement assistance for all graduating students, with a commitment to finding them a position anywhere they want to go. The school even offers free continuing education for life to all graduates!

Saint Paul College - St. Paul


  • Tuition: $4,931
  • Kit Cost: $1,080
  • Program Length: 12 months

St. Paul College was established in 1910 and offers a broad spectrum of programs to the community. The esthetics program goes into techniques such as aromatherapy, facials, makeup application, and temporary hair removal. Students absorb a lot through the program and stick with it: 96 percent graduate on time, a terrific educational value for such a low-cost school.

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