How to Become An Esthetician

by Susan

How to Become An Esthetician

Has the idea of becoming an esthetician ever crossed your mind?

If you love skincare and would love to learn how to become an esthetician, then I’ve got some tips for you below. And here’s a little known fact about me. While I am a blogger and virtual How to Become An Estheticianbookkeeper by trade, I’m also a licensed esthetician!

In 2018, I was working in a corporate accounting job and feeling a little restless to try something new on the side. Something that would give me a break from the computer.

After a bit of research, I enrolled in esthetician school and about six months later I was licensed. I dabbled a bit in lash extensions, facials and spray tanning, but ultimately found my way back to bookkeeping.

Don’t let my short stint discourage you. I actually love all the options that being an esthetician provided me, and I really enjoyed learning the different services, I just found my interests lied more on the business side of things. Plus, I love to learn new things so it was a new adventure in my eyes.

Esthetician Services

If you love the idea of helping people with skincare issues, then becoming an esthetician could be a great career for you. As a licensed esthetician, there are a number of services you could provide including:

  • facials
  • waxing
  • speciallty skincare services like chemical peels, microdermabrasion, etc.
  • light therapy
  • lash extensions
  • spray tanning
  • injectables (Botox injections)
  • medical esthetician services (working under the supervision of a doctor)
  • acne specialist services
  • microblading & other permanent make-up

Some of these services may require extra licensing and training. Be sure and check your local state laws. You don’t want to be providing services you aren’t trained to do!

What’s exciting about this industry is it’s always evolving and growing. People of all ages go to estheticians to look and feel better in their skin. Anti-aging services are a huge market! Women (and men), will always spend money to make their skin look younger.

Job Opportunities for Estheticians

There are a lot of opportunities for estheticians. Yes, 2020 has been a rough year for this industry since the pandemic closed spas and salons for a couple months, but the industry is still going strong and it will continue to grow.

The key is to figure out what type of services you would like to offer. If you’re not sure, working under an experienced esthetician can give you exposure and training to lots of different services.

While spas are always hiring estheticians, be aware that you won’t make much money working in a chain spa. I would recommend finding a more boutique type spa where you can apprentice under an owner and learn how to do the services while getting paid.Work from home ideas

I worked in a popular lash extension franchise for a short time, but found the rigid schedule and processes were just not for me. I also realized that I didn’t have the patience to do lash extensions. But I know other lash artists who absolutely love it and do only that service and make a full-time living. If you are an entrepreneur-minded person, then I suggest going out on your own and either renting a small space (if your budget allows) or working out of your home as soon as you feel ready.

If you crave freedom and flexibility, then you most likely won’t be happy working in someone else’s spa, especially a franchise spa where the pay tends to be low.

After I got my esthetician license, I rented a small studio in a building that only rented to beauty professionals. I offered lash extensions and spray tanning. I had NO customer base, so it took a while before I broke even on the rent. Like any new service business, it takes time to build up the clientele.

How to Become an Esthetician

Me in my cute little spray tanning studio!

There’s a really good podcast called The Beauty Biz Show by Lori Crete. I consumed every episode of that podcast when I was getting my license. I loved hearing about other women’s journeys. Most of the women Lori interviews are estheticians working for themselves. They all talk about their journey and I found it so inspiring.

One of my favorite episodes is with Teri Eastin. Teri had similar trial and error as me in the beginning, and almost gave up on the industry, but then fell in love with treating acne. Now she runs a very successful acne clinic making multiple six-figures a year in revenue.

It’s normal to have some trial and error while you are figuring out what you like to do, but I would try to hone in on a specialty if you can!

How to Become an Esthetician

Okay, so now that we’ve talked about what you can do as an esthetician, you may be wondering how the heck you actually become one!

You’ll first need to go through an education program that is accredited in your state. Do a Google search and see what is available in your area. I found 2-3 schools in my area that offer the 600-hour Asthetician Program (you’ll see it as Asthetician and Esthetician). In my state, Colorado, you need 600 hours of education. Your state may be different, so be sure and do some research.

Many schools offer full-time courses and part-time courses for those working while going to school. I took a part-time course, but was still able to get through it in about 6 months.

Here’s my one piece of advice when choosing an esthetician school. Find one that allows you to work on real people while you are training! Most massage and esthetician schools allow the general public to make appointments for services at a reduced rate knowing that the practitioner is still in-training.

I went to a school that was actually a spa, but offered the schooling on the side. We didn’t have the opportunity to work on strangers that walked in off the street and I think that really hurt my confidence. I learned just enough to pass the state license exam and that was it. Get as much hands-on training in school (working on real people) as you can! 

Once you complete your state’s schooling requirements, you’ll be required to take state exams. In my state, that included a written test and a practical, where I had to simulate certain services on a mannequin head to demonstrate I knew what I was doing. Don’t be scared by this. It’s not that big a deal, and you can do it! Somehow I passed both tests on the first try!

Cost to Become an Esthetician

License Prep Education

I paid $6,000 for my esthetician schooling. That was for the 600-hour course that preps you for the state exam. Some of the more established schools in my state charge anywhere from$10,000-$15,000. If you can afford it, don’t go only off of price. Look for a good school and read the reviews online.

Additional Training/Licenses

Depending on your area of interest, you may want to invest in future training once you are licensed. Specialty training includes things like chemical peels (my state requires a special license for doing chemical peels), permanent make-up, injectables, medical aesthetician training, etc. These additional licenses can range from $400 – $2500 and up. It really depends on the school and the specialty you are interested in.

The additional licenses could prove to be a good investment, so be sure and look at the big picture and your goals, not just the dollars. Trust me, invest in good training. You don’t want to be cheap when it comes to learning how to inject Botox into someone’s face!

Other Costs

Once you are licensed, I would recommend getting Professional Liability Insurance through Associated Skin Care Professions (ASCP).  It runs around $250 per year, but it’s worth it to have insurance, especially when performing services on other human beings! The ASCP is a great resource.

Create An Esty Career That You’ll Love

If you decide to become an esthetician, learn all that can and find a specialty that you’ll love. Then, carve out your own path. You don’t have to do what ever other esthetician does out in the world and you don’t have to take the same path. Follow your heart and you’ll attract great customers and great success!


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