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What Can I Do With an Esthetician License?

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An esthetician is a personal beauty care specialist who has been trained in cosmetology to perform skin care treatments and makeup application. Some find work in beauty business management, as spa staff supervisors or salon managers. Licensing requirements for estheticians vary and are determined by state boards of cosmetology. While entry-level salaries for newly licensed estheticians are low, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a median hourly wage of $13.81 in 2008, with the highest 10 percent of estheticians earning $25.16 an hour. Pay increases with additional training, certification, experience and client base.

Spa and Salon Services

Spas and salons offer a wide range of services and need licensed estheticians to perform many of them. These services include facials, chemical peels, skin exfoliation, facial and body waxing, massage, manicures, pedicures and makeup application. New estheticians generally perform a wide variety of personal beauty services while continually upgrading their skills and knowledge in the beauty industry. More experienced estheticians can decide to specialize in a preferred area, such as makeup, skin analysis or facial treatments, while building a clientele.

Medical Esthetician Services

Medical estheticians work in a medical or clinical setting, helping patients with skin issues related to illness or disease. They work with dermatologists, in cancer centers, and with burn and surgery patients. Their training may include medical specialization for advanced knowledge of diseases and injuries that affect skin. Medical estheticians can get further training as licensed practical nurses or certified nursing assistants, and some nurses specialize in medical esthetics.


Experienced estheticians interested in advancement have opportunities to manage esthetician staff and services. Spas, salons, wellness centers and beauty chains with large staffs and large client bases need experienced managers. Employers commonly seek esthetician managers who have advanced training or education in business, management, hospitality or customer service. Some prefer managers to have bachelor's degrees in business, accounting or hospitality.

Private Practice

Licensed estheticians can go into private practice or open an esthetician business of their own. Opportunities include providing individualized services, operating day spas and salons and developing skin care products. Business and entrepreneurship training and education are helpful for estheticians going into business for themselves.


Experienced licensed estheticians can choose to continue their training and education and become qualified to train estheticians. Esthetician trainers work at beauty schools, for spa and salon chains and at community colleges and vocational training facilities offering cosmetology programs.


Heidi Cardenas specializes in human resources, business and personal finance, small-business advice, home and garden and home improvement. Her professional background includes human resources and business administration, technical writing and corporate communications. She has studied horticulture and business administration, and enjoys guest blogging for publications including Herb Companion Magazine, Natural Home Living Magazine, and Mother Earth Living.

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