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Medical Aesthetician Vs. Spa Esthetician

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Estheticians are skin care specialists. They help clients' skin to look and feel its best by providing facials, waxing, treatments and product consultation. Some estheticians also perform head and neck massage. Esthetics has become such a big industry that there now are several specialties within the field. These include spa esthetics and medical esthetics.

Medical Estheticians

Medical estheticians typically work in a doctor’s office, hospital or in a medical spa. These specialists are licensed professionals who train in the operation of potent acids, lasers and other equipment to perform advanced techniques that are available only under a doctor’s care. These treatments are more invasive and require more knowledge than a facial or basic peel. Medical estheticians often work alongside doctors or under their supervision and receive additional on-the-job training.


Medical estheticians work on a variety of patients with very different needs. Besides helping patients with skin rejuvenation, they help with post-procedure or surgery care. They also help patients who have experienced trauma to the face or have facial issues due to illness, such as cancer. Medical estheticians advise patients about how to care for their skin after treatment to promote proper healing.

Spa Estheticians

Spa estheticians deal more with cosmetic treatments that improve skin’s appearance and overall health. They advise clients about skin care and help them to use the proper products and techniques to maintain their skin at home. Spa estheticians are part of creating a relaxing and pampering experience for a spa’s clients. It is their task to provide superior customer service that keeps clients coming back.


Spa estheticians work on regular clients, spa clients and special occasion clients. They are usually part of a “spa day” team and may be one of a group of estheticians assisting a group of clients at once, such as a bridal party. Some spa estheticians also do makeup applications.


All estheticians, spa or medical, must be licensed in their state. This involves taking a set number of hours of coursework as designated by the state and showing proficiency. Often an exam must be passed before the state will issue a license. Prominent spas and medical practitioners want their estheticians to be experienced and some spas look for estheticians who have a developed clientele. Medical estheticians may be required to have additional training or may receive specialized training on particular techniques or equipment before performing services such as laser resurfacing, microdermabrasion or medical-grade chemical peels.

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