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A clinical esthetician can work in a variety of medical settings including a hospital, dermatologist’s office or plastic surgeons office. Like a traditional esthetician’s job, a clinical esthetician may give the client facials or apply makeup. However, a clinical esthetician may also focus on pre- or post-surgery skin care, skin care for burn victims or may give makeup tips to cancer patients.
A clinical esthetician isn't required to have any additional training other than a state esthetician license, however, many clinical estheticians choose to complete specialized clinical esthetician training courses at cosmetology schools to better understand the unique needs of a patient in a medical setting. In a medical setting such as a dermatologist's office or plastic surgeon's office it is the clinical esthetician who can sometimes spend an hour at each treatment session working with skin that has unique needs such as a burn victim, or the esthetician can teach a patient how to best cover post-surgery scars with makeup.
During clinical esthetician training students learn how to analyze the skin type of the client. Discovering if a client’s skin is oily, dry or a combination will determine what products are used on the skin and what techniques should be used to help normalize it. During this skin analysis portion of the training, clinical esthetician students will also learn about various skin conditions and skin cancer signs that will need further diagnosis from a dermatologist. The program will also train students about various conditions patients in a medical setting may have include rosacea, acne and hyperpigmentation.
State requirements vary from a few hundred to over a thousand training hours that are needed before being licensed; however, according to the United States Bureau of Labor, full time training programs for personal care workers usually last about nine months. Many esthetician schools now offer full-time and part-time programs along with night and day classes to fit most schedules. Select schools that offer specific clinical esthetician programs, rather than a general esthetician program, have much longer training programs. For example, at Utah's Skin Science Institute, the Master's Course, which was designed for students wanting to become clinical estheticians, includes an additional 600 hours of training after the initial 600 hours of basic esthetician training.
There is not a license that specifically states that a person is designated as a clinical esthetician. Because of this, many people choose to take a general esthetician program in lieu of a specialized clinical esthetician program that is much longer to complete. However, the benefits of choosing a specialized clinical esthetician program is that it includes instruction in advanced skin care treatments like microdermabrasion, chemical peels and advanced waxing techniques that an esthetician may use in a dermatologists or plastic surgeon’s office. If possible, enroll in the clinical esthetician program as it may be easier to get a job as a clinical esthetician with this specialized training.
Although a clinical esthetician can perform treatments such as microdermabrasion and chemical peels, in most states, including California, licensed estheticians can perform these treatments only if the procedures are done on the outermost layer of the client’s skin. Anything that penetrates deep into the skin has to be done by a doctor or registered nurse. A clinical esthetician can't perform Botox treatments or any other type of injectables or facial fillers.
Journalist Somer Flaherty has been published in magazines such as "Teen Vogue" and "Sunset" as well as online at eHarmony.com, ProjectWedding.com, StoreAdore.com, HealthTree.com and others. She is currently an editor at a luxury lifestyle publication, the author of the teen beauty book "Girl in a Fix" and a fashion journalism instructor at one of the top art universities in the United States.