If you like helping people feel beautiful, becoming an aesthetician might be the career for you. Aestheticians are specialists in enhancing the appearance of their clients' skin through techniques such as microdermabrasion, exfoliation, spa treatments and makeup application. Aestheticians are included with the broad employment category of cosmetologists, and all states require cosmetologists to be licensed. Licensure requirements for aestheticians vary by state, but most require you to complete an approved certificate program.
Most states have a minimum age limit for aestheticians, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, but the minimum age varies by state. For example, in Tennessee and Louisiana, you only have to be 16 years old to work as an aesthetician, while Michigan requires you to be 17. The minimum age is determined by each state's board of cosmetology or an equivalent licensing organization.
Some states require cosmetologists to hold a high school diploma or educational equivalent, such as a GED, but the educational requirements for aestheticians is typically lower. For instance, you can work as an aesthetician in Michigan after completing the equivalent of the ninth grade. Louisiana requires you to complete at least the 10th grade from an approved high school, and Tennessee does not have a general educational requirement for aestheticians.
Most states require you to complete a certificate program from an approved cosmetology school or barber college before you can be licensed to work as an aesthetician. Training courses can take from four months to one year to complete, depending on whether you attend class as a full-time or part-time student. The average number of training hours required nationally is around 600, but ranges from 250 to 1,000, depending on the state, according to the Beauty Schools Directory website. For example, Tennessee's Board of Cosmetology requires 750 hours of aesthetics aesthetics theory and practice instruction, while Michigan requires only 400 hours of training.
Once you've completed the appropriate number of hours of aesthetician training, you must pass your state's licensure examinations before you are certified. All states require a written exam, and some states also require a hands-on practical exam. Once you have completed your certificate program and passed your exams, you can apply to become a licensed aesthetician in your state.
- Tennessee Board of Cosmetology: Individual Licensure Requirements
- Michigan: Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs: Limited Cosmetology License Requirements
- Louisiana Board of Cosmetology: Individual Licensing Information
- Beauty Schools Directory: Esthetician Job Description & Information
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: How to Become a Barber, Hairdresser, or Cosmetologist
Mike Parker is a full-time writer, publisher and independent businessman. His background includes a career as an investments broker with such NYSE member firms as Edward Jones & Company, AG Edwards & Sons and Dean Witter. He helped launch DiscoverCard as one of the company's first merchant sales reps.