Job Duties

Estheticians treat the facial skin of the clients in order to improve their appearance and make them more attractive. They are licensed beauty workers who specialize in skin care and work to accomplish the beautifying goals of their customers. They analyze the skin care needs of their customers and discuss the range of treatment options. They inspect the clients’ skin more closely using a magnifying lamp or visor. After they have decided on a course of treatment, they perform facials to cleanse skin, apply chemical peels to hide aging signs, remove blackheads, wax areas of unwanted hair, and tint eyebrows.

Estheticians have other duties beyond applying treatments. They often instruct their clients in the use of makeup and skincare techniques. They may give facial massages. They apply cosmetic products such as creams, lotions, and tonics. They clean and sterilize their work space. Some estheticians specialize by becoming paramedical estheticians. Paramedical estheticians work closely with plastic surgeons and dermatologists. They may work with clients before they undergo surgery, preparing their skin for surgery. They also work with patients after they have undergone surgery, making their skin more comfortable during the recovery period.

Job Skills

Estheticians need to have a high degree of creative drive and a passion for helping people look their best. Because their work involves so much interaction with different clients, they should have a pleasant personality, as well as good communication and conversation skills. They need to have excellent manual dexterity. They should also be able to stand for long periods of time.


In 2002, estheticians earned a median annual salary of $22,450. Their range of their income is largely determined by factors such as size and location of the salon, the number of hours worked, clients’ tipping habits, and competition from other salons.

Training and Education

In all States in the U.S., estheticians are required to be licensed. License requirements vary from State to State. Usually, an applicant must have graduated from an accredited cosmetology school and be at least 16 years old. In some State, applicants are required to pass a physical examination. Others require applicants to be high school graduates. Some States require only and eighth-grade education. Some States allow applicants to substitute an apprenticeship program for graduation from a cosmetology school, but this is very rare. Most applicants for licensure must pass a written test and demonstrate their skill in cosmetology and skin care.

Some States allow estheticians to transfer their licenses from other States, while some do not allow this practice. Training in skin care can be obtained at public or private vocational schools, with programs lasting from 9 to 24 months. Apprenticeships usually last between 1 and 3 years. After graduation from a program, graduates apply for a license. For most, this is not the end of their education. A successful career in cosmetology and skin care usually requires years of additional continuing education to keep up with the fast-changing styles, trends, and techniques. Visit this page about cosmetology schools for more information on getting the training you need to become a cosmetologist.


In 2002, estheticians held about 25,000 jobs. Most were employed in barber shops or beauty salons.

Job Outlook

Between 2002 and 2012, employment of cosmetologists is expected to increase about as fast as the average. This is due to healthy growth in the number of salons and full-service day spas. Day spas usually provide a range of services, including beauty wraps, manicures, pedicures, facials, and massages. Many openings will result from the need to replace workers who retire, change occupations, or leave their jobs for other reasons.