How to Become an Esthetician (In 5 Simple Steps)

Do you have a passion for skincare and helping others feel confident in their own skin? If so, becoming an esthetician might be the perfect career path for you. As an esthetician, you’ll have the opportunity to work in a variety of settings, such as spas, salons, or even dermatology clinics. But where do you start?

In this blog post, we’ll break down the five simple steps to help you learn how to become an esthetician and kickstart your dream career in the world of skincare. So, grab your favorite facial mask, and let’s dive right in!

What Is an Esthetician?

Estheticians are trained and licensed to provide skin care services. They work in spas and salons or independently to help clients achieve their best-looking skin by applying makeup and masks, performing facials and waxing, and providing additional skin care services.

Estheticians receive training at a school that offers an esthetician program, in which they learn all about how the body works at a fundamental level. This includes having an in-depth understanding of circulatory and skeletal systems, muscles, nerves, and other internal systems. The esthetician curriculum includes courses on anatomy and physiology; chemistry; business practices; hygiene standards; safety procedures; massage techniques; skincare products such as lotions, cleansers and exfoliants; proper application techniques for hair removal methods like tweezing or threading; how to apply makeup effectively on different types of faces (round versus angular); and how much pressure should be applied when giving facials so as not to cause damage during extraction processes such as microdermabrasion treatments. 

What Do Estheticians Do?

As a licensed esthetician, you can provide a variety of skin care services, including:

  • Remove unwanted hair. This can include waxing, threading, and electrolysis.
  • Treat acne and other skin conditions. For example, you might use chemical peels or exfoliants to help clear up blemishes on your client’s face or facial massage techniques to reduce puffiness around their eyes.
  • Perform facials. This may include steaming the face, exfoliating, applying creams, massaging muscles, removing dead skin cells with an exfoliation treatment like microdermabrasion, moisturizing with lotions and serums, and applying masks over areas of concern such as large pores.
  • Providing custom skin care recommendations. Each client’s face will be different from the next, and estheticians are trained to recommend the best services and products to meet that client’s needs.

Why Become an Esthetician?

As an esthetician, you can make a good living and work in a variety of settings. You’ll be able to work with people of all ages and help them feel better about the condition and appearance of their skin. You will meet people from all walks of life who may be experiencing any number of issues with their skin. Some may need help dealing with acne or other skin problems while others may want a therapeutic experience that alleviates stress and anxiety. Your role as an esthetician is to provide services that help clients relax and unwind and meet their skin care goals, all of which can have positive effects beyond just improving the health of their skin.

Requirements to Become an Esthetician

The requirements to become an Esthetician vary by state and country, but most share some commonalities in order to enroll in an accredited esthetician program and become licensed in your state.

Education and training

You’ll need to complete esthetician school or an apprenticeship to become a licensed esthetician. This includes supervised training in a classroom or hands-on setting that provides you with the training and preparations you will need to pass state licensure tests.

Most estheticians go the esthetician school route at an independent, accredited facility or as part of a college or high school education program. Some community colleges and continuing education programs offer esthetician schooling. You can expect most programs to average 600 hours of coursework, give or take; some states require less (i.e., 220 hours in Florida) or more (i.e., 1,000 hours in Alabama, Georgia, and Kansas). Those courses will likely include classes in:

  • Sanitation and safety
  • Skin conditions
  • Facial techniques
  • Makeup application
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • State laws
  • Business acumen to help you get started

Another option is an esthetician apprenticeship in some states. As an apprentice, you will get real-world training under the watchful eye of a licensed esthetician. Note that you may still be required to take courses at an accredited institution to satisfy your state’s requirements. The benefit of this route is, of course, on-the-job training and potentially the ability to earn minimum wage or greater for your time.

Licenses and certification

Your work is not done once you complete esthetician school. You will still need to pass your state’s esthetician exam, unless you are seeking licensure in Connecticut or Florida, where an exam is not required. In most states, getting your license requires two exams: a written theory test and a practical, hands-on exam.

The written test will cover things like sanitation, laws, skin science, and other topics. In your practical exam, you will perform specific treatments on real humans or mannequins as you are evaluated for your skills and knowledge. Many states employ the National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC) exams as part of their licensing and certification tests. Check with your state on the specific requirements for your exam.

5 Steps to Becoming an Esthetician

As an esthetician, you have the chance to make a real difference in people’s lives by helping them feel confident and beautiful in their own skin. Additionally, the skincare industry is booming and shows no signs of slowing down. You'll have the opportunity to work in a variety of settings, from spas and salons to hotels and even cruise ships. You can also choose to specialize in a particular area of skincare, such as anti-aging treatments or acne management. Plus, estheticians enjoy a flexible schedule, allowing them to work part-time or full-time while still having time for other pursuits.

Overall, becoming an esthetician can be a fulfilling and profitable career choice for those with a passion for skincare and helping others. The following five steps will help you learn how to become an esthetician and start pursuing your passion.

1. Choose a reputable esthetician program

There are many reputable schools that offer esthetician training, but you’ll want to do your research before applying for any program. You can find out if a school is legitimate by checking its accreditation status with the National Accrediting Commission of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences (NACCAS), the leading accrediting body for esthetician schools. If your school is not recognized by the NACCAS, you risk spending money on a program that will not allow you to get the licensing and certification you need. Note, too, that most states keep a list of approved schools on their board websites.

2. Complete your education and training

Once you've chosen your school, it's time to get started on earning your degree. The length of time it takes varies depending on where you go and the number of hours required, though you may be able to complete your education in roughly six to nine months. 

Note that the cost of esthetician school varies; you can expect to invest between $3,000 and $10,000, on average, for an accredited program. Factors such as the length of the program, the location, and required training hours in your state will all impact the final ticket price. You will also want to budget for other expenses like textbooks, registration fees, and equipment.

As you go throughout the training, take advantage of all of the resources at your educational institution so you are fully prepared for the exam. Ideally, you don’t want to have to incur the extra costs of repeating your exam (more on that below).

3. Take the esthetician exam

Once you’ve finished your training and have decided that becoming an esthetician is for you, it's time to take the exam. As we discussed above, the exam will include both written and practical portions that cover topics like skin care techniques, sanitation practices, customer service skills, and more. You must pass both parts of the exam in order to become certified as an esthetician in your state or province – but, you can do this at any point after graduating from school or completing your training program.

4. Get your license

The next step is to apply for a license. To do this, you'll need to fill out a formal application and pay a fee. Be prepared to submit required paperwork, including a copy of your driver’s license or other identification, proof of a high school diploma or equivalent, esthetics program transcripts, your test scores, proof of address, any forms related to a criminal background, medical forms, and any citizenship or immigration papers. 

Note that the cost of your esthetician license covers the state application fee, typically around $100 or less, and the exam fee. Some states combine licensure and exam fees, while others separate the two expenses. If you need to repeat the exam, expect to pay additional fees. Inquire with potential schools to see if they cover any of the costs of exams and licensing as part of the tuition.

5. Begin your career

Once you have the skills, it’s time to put them to work! The next step is finding a job. Once you are working as an esthetician, take advantage of the opportunity to learn all that you can from people who have more experience than you. Chances are, they know plenty of tricks of the trade that aren’t covered in any textbook or class at school, including business skills that will help you take your career to the next level.

Tips for Estheticians

GlossGenius for Estheticians

Getting started as an esthetician is an exciting time when you have a chance to show off the knowledge you’ve gained in esthetician school. Here are some tips to help you get started on the right foot and make a great impression with potential employers and clients.

  • Be professional, friendly, and approachable. This will take you far whether you are applying for jobs or completing skin care services for a client.
  • Be prepared to do your job. This includes knowing the products you’re using and why, how they work, and how long each treatment should take. You also want to be able to answer questions from clients without hesitation and with confidence.
  • Employ good listening and communication skills. They are essential in this line of work because it involves talking with people on a regular basis, both in person and through digital communications.
  • Get organized. As a new esthetician, you want to be able to create a comfortable working environment and provide excellent customer service. In order to do this, you need to be organized. Being organized is not just about having a tidy work area and being able to find things quickly; it also means making sure that everything runs smoothly and efficiently. Your customers will have an enjoyable experience if they don’t have to wait for you or your supplies. Being organized also helps you manage your time better so that you can spend more time with each client without rushing through their appointment. With GlossGenius, it’s easy to get and stay organized and make sure your business continues to thrive.

Build your portfolio

The Portland Esthetician

When you're looking for a job as an esthetician, it’s important to have a great portfolio, which will help you get clients and jobs. You don’t need fancy names, designs, or images; the goal is to put together some photos from past jobs that show off your skills as an esthetician. Here at GlossGenius, many estheticians use our software to create beautifully designed websites that showcase their skills and talents, such as The Portland Esthetician, The Midwestthetician, and ATX Esthetician. As a GlossGenius user, you get a website included free with your subscription, and you can use this site not only to market your services but also to book more clients.

Focus on the client experience

Client Experence

When you’re an esthetician, your client experience is everything. That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re friendly and personable with each one of them. You want them to feel comfortable around you so they will be open about their skin concerns and needs – and that means listening carefully and making sure their experience is smooth and seamless from the moment they book their appointment to the moment they walk out your doors. Here are some tips to create a great client experience:

  • Use GlossGenius for client management. Establish your value and elevate the client experience with clear communications, easy booking, and easy payment processing. Everything you need is built into the desktop and mobile app to ensure you present a polished, professional face.
  • Know your clients. Get to know their needs and concerns as they seek out your services. Keep a detailed client history using GlossGenius so you can easily keep track of each client’s preferred services.
  • Follow up. The only way to get rebookings is to deliver great service and then continue to follow up afterward. Use GlossGenius to reach out to customers via built-in marketing tools, and track your progress over time from your dashboard with robust analytics tools. 

Work for estheticians to gain experience

As you begin your career as an esthetician, consider taking on a few jobs with other estheticians. This will help you learn more about the field and gain valuable on-the-job experience that you can apply toward your future career. If possible, try to find someone who will take you under their wing and train and educate you in the field.

Also, look for someone who is willing to give honest feedback on any areas where you can work to improve, whether in your client relation skills or your techniques. The goal should be to build up a portfolio of photos showing off what kind of work you have done. Not only does this help you make a flawless first impression with potential employers, but it also helps you gain more clients.

Use social media and other modern marketing techniques

Today’s estheticians need to tap into modern marketing if they want to succeed and gain new clientele. Whether you work for yourself or someone else, it’s important to tap into SMS marketing, email marketing, and social media to build your client base. 

Social media, in particular, has become an essential tool for estheticians to market themselves and their services, connect with clients, and grow their careers. One way estheticians can use social media is by showcasing their work through before-and-after photos and videos of their clients. This can help potential clients see the quality of their work and the results they can achieve. Another way is by sharing tips and advice on skin care routines, product recommendations, client reviews, and beauty trends to position themselves as experts in the industry. 

Engaging with followers and responding to comments and messages can also help build a loyal following and establish trust with potential clients. You can also use social media to promote specials and discounts, announce new services or treatments, and share updates on local events you plan to be a part of. With SMS and email marketing, you can follow up with clients who have booked with you in the past to let them know about last-minute openings, current specials, beauty tips, and other information.

Overall, social media, email marketing, and SMS marketing are powerful tools for estheticians to build their brand, attract new clients, and grow their careers in the competitive world of skincare. GlossGenius’ marketing tools make it easier than ever to incorporate marketing into your esthetician business so you can attract more clients and turn them into loyal fans.


Becoming an esthetician is a rewarding career, but it takes time and dedication. The good news is that there are plenty of opportunities to get started in this field, and estheticians are in high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects esthetician jobs to grow 17% in the 10-year span leading up to 2029. Get educated and certified now, and you can begin building your career in a growing industry where clients will value your talents and education and reward you for great work – not only by giving tips but also by staying on as clients and referring you to others.

If you’re looking for an all-in-one platform to launch your esthetician career, we invite you to start a free trial with GlossGenius and start utilizing our software. We offer one of the most cost-effective platforms and all of the tools you need to get more clients, run your business, protect yourself against liability with built-in waivers, grow your revenue, and make a splash as a new esthetician. We give you one platform to run it all, without any extra work, software, or fees required to run your business. Everything works together in one seamless dashboard to create a great experience for both you and your clients. With GlossGenius, you’ll go further, fast, and have the ability to take control of your business as soon as you get certified.

For more helpful tips and advice on getting started as an esthetician, be sure to keep up with our blog. It’s packed with all the information you need to start, grow, and scale your esthetician business now and in the future, such as our guide to navigating 1099 taxes and our many success stories from GlossGenius users.

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