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Esthetician Schools

As skilled skincare experts, estheticians need to be knowledgeable of everything from skin histology and physiology to bacteriology and sanitation protocols.

As beauty professionals, estheticians must be trained to perform the services that promote healthy, radiant skin – including everything from hair removal methods, pore cleansing and extractions to microdermabrasion, makeup artistry, chemical peels, and light therapy.

As beauty and wellness experts, people also turn to estheticians for consultations, advice, and tips for home skincare regimens. They may recommend products, educate clients, and recommend esthetic procedures based on their clients’ needs and wants.

A successful, long-term career in the skincare industry starts with a comprehensive, quality education in the art and science of esthetics. An education in esthetics is also a requirement for licensure in all states except Connecticut, the only state that does not currently license estheticians.

Note: Some states also recognize the completion of an esthetics apprenticeship. Individuals interested in becoming an esthetician can check with their state’s board of cosmetology to learn about this alternative route to licensure.

Esthetician Schools Catering to State Licensing Requirements

An esthetics program may be found in a school of cosmetology, a dedicated esthetics school or, in some cases, a junior college.

An esthetics program’s length is generally determined by the state in which it is located, as each state board of cosmetology sets minimum requirements for the number of hours of training an esthetics program must provide to meet the state’s licensing requirements. However, it is also quite common for esthetics programs to offer more extensive study beyond what is required for licensing purposes.

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In general, an esthetics program consists of about 600 hours, a common requirement in many states. However, a number of states require less than 600 hours and perhaps just as many require more than 600. A few examples of state training-hour requirements for esthetician licensing include:

  • Alaska: 350 hours
  • Hawaii: 600 hours
  • Florida: 260 hours
  • Idaho: 600 hours
  • Georgia: 1,000 hours
  • Illinois: 750 hours
  • Massachusetts: 300 hours
  • Pennsylvania: 300 hours
  • Texas: 750 hours
  • New York: 600 hours

Most state boards of cosmetology maintain lists of approved programs of esthetics within the state, while others recognize all programs that meet the state’s minimum clock-hour requirement.

Prospective students would also be well served by checking into nationally accredited programs. The following accrediting bodies accredit esthetics programs in the U.S.:

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

What to Expect from an Esthetics Program

A comprehensive esthetics program includes instruction not only in esthetic treatment procedures and services, but in areas such as the structure of the skin and its function, disorders of the skin, and professional business skills. In fact, theoretical knowledge is the foundation of a complete esthetics program.

Theoretical topics in an esthetics program includes:

  • Anatomy and physiology (circulatory system, endocrine system, respiratory system, digestive system, muscular system, etc.)
  • Chemistry
  • Electricity (as it relates to esthetics)
  • Bacteriology and infection control
  • Safety, sanitation, and sterilization
  • Ingredient analysis
  • Nutrition

Professional skills courses in a program of esthetics focuses on the business aspect of the profession; therefore, coursework often includes:

  • Resume writing
  • Benefits and insurance
  • Building a business
  • Merchandising/retail strategies
  • Salary plans
  • Client retention
  • Personal development
  • State laws and state board procedures

Practical training, which involves practicing skills and applying the knowledge learned through classroom instruction and demonstrations, makes up the majority of an esthetics program. Many esthetics programs have state-of-the-art, on-site salons that allow students to practice their newly acquired skills in a real-world setting and become comfortable with using esthetics products, tools, and equipment.

Student estheticians start learning and practicing on a mannequin, but soon move on to perform treatments on fellow students and volunteers.

In addition to classical esthetics procedures, such as waxing and facials, many programs include some of today’s most innovative esthetics procedures and treatments to include LED light treatment, oxygen therapy, sublative rejuvenation, and ultrasonic skin therapy.

Beyond a Basic Esthetics Program: Options and Opportunities in Esthetician Schools

There are a number of hybrid esthetics programs throughout the U.S. which, in addition to providing students with the minimum number of training hours for licensure, also explore specific areas of esthetics or other areas of cosmetology.

For example, a number of institutions offer blended programs that allow students to receive training in esthetics, as well as a closely related area of cosmetology, such as manicuring or electrology. These combined programs allow for licensure in two or more areas of cosmetology, thus allowing estheticians to expand their practice, professional opportunities and earning potential.

Other esthetics programs provide advanced study in such areas as makeup artistry or innovative spa therapies, which provide the kind of specialized training required for graduates to market themselves as specialists in these niche areas. For example, students with a strong interest in makeup artistry may pursue an esthetics program that not only provides them with the required education and training to achieve licensure, but also in-depth training in specialty makeup areas like:

  • Theatrical makeup
  • Permanent makeup (tattooing)
  • High fashion and high-definition makeup
  • Airbrush makeup
  • Camouflage makeup

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