Achieving proper skin care can be difficult, which is why many consumers turn to dermatologists and other professionals who specialize in this complex area. Medical doctors and trained beauty specialists coordinate a person's individual skin treatment to help address specific concerns such as disease, aging and other issues. The skin care field is expected to experience growth in the near future, allowing people interested in this area to find plenty of opportunity to gain employment.
Dermatologists are medical doctors who specialize in the health of patients' hair, skin and nails. The conditions treated by dermatologists can range from mild to severe or even life-threatening. Dermatologists can also sub-specialize in more focused areas, including pediatric dermatology and dermatopathology, the study of disease as related to dermatological conditions. Subspecialities such as dermatopathology require additional certification, in addition to the traditional medical doctor requirements. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these include obtaining a bachelor's degree, attending an accredited medical school, and completing four to eight years of a residency at a teaching hospital or medical facility.
Estheticians specialize in skin-care treatments for the face and body, including facials, body wraps and scrubs. They also help their clients develop skin care regimens to help reduce acne, fine facial lines and wrinkles. For more mature clients, an esthetician may recommend products that improve skin radiance and increase elasticity. Some estheticians further specialize in treatments such as microdermabrasion and electrolysis. Though a medical degree is not required, estheticians do need licenses. The requirements for a license vary by state and typically include hundreds of hours of certified training. Connecticut is the only state that does not require specific training or a license to become an esthetician.
Cosmetologists' area of focus is on the hair, skin and nails; they can perform procedures such as pedicures and chemical hair treatments. They can also color, cut and style various types of hair. While the work of cosmetologists may encompass more areas, their work is not as highly specialized as an esthetician. Most states also have different license requirements for cosmetologists than for estheticians.
Outlook for Skin Care Professionals
The outlook and pay for skin care professionals is on the upswing. The median annual pay for dermatologists is $411,499, Employment for physicians of all types, including dermatologists, is expected to grow as much as 18 percent through 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Cosmetologists, estheticians and other skin-care specialists will also experience job growth in the coming years. According to the BLS, non-medical skin-care specialists made an average of $28,640 in 2012. This field is projected to grow by 40 percent through 2022. The license requirements for different skin-care jobs vary from state to state. The Associated Skin Care Professionals organization offers a State Regulation Guide to help interested applicants learn the requirements in their state.