If you are a cosmetologist with an unfulfilled passion for helping clients with their skin-care needs, you may want to consider transitioning to a paramedical aesthetician career. Rewarding jobs can be found in medical spas, dermatology offices, plastic surgery centers and burn units. Paramedical aestheticians, also called “medical aestheticians,” are licensed skin-care specialists who perform advanced skin-care treatments in healthcare facilities. You can become a paramedical aesthetician by completing a short clinical training program and fulfilling any other paramedical aesthetician requirements set by your State Board of Cosmetology.
Like cosmetologists, paramedical aestheticians take pleasure in pampering their clients and helping them restore, maintain or enhance their natural beauty. Licensed paramedical aestheticians – also called medical estheticians – are qualified to perform advanced skin-care treatments that cosmetologists and estheticians cannot do within the scope of their license. Paramedical aestheticians may specialize in one type of clinical skin treatment or perform a variety of services to improve the health and appearance of skin.
A day in the life of a busy paramedical aesthetician may start with several appointments during which he or she injects Botox or dermafillers for clients seeking to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Next, the paramedical aesthetician might meet with a patient undergoing cancer treatment to demonstrate how to manage skin irritation and use makeup to draw eyebrows following hair loss from radiation. Later appointments might include offering makeup tips to interested patients on a burn unit, discussing pre- and postoperative skin care with surgery patients, or explaining acne treatments.
State requirements for medical aesthetician certification or an aesthetician degree vary considerably from state to state. Start by contacting your State Board of Cosmetology or checking their website to obtain information on training, certification and licensing requirements for your area. At a minimum, you will need advanced training in safe paramedical aesthetics practice. An _esthetician licens_e is also required to work in this field.
Although your cosmetology training likely covered esthetic fundamentals, you will need more intensive schooling to become a paramedical aesthetician. Aesthetician degree programs can be found that are designed for cosmetologists who want to pursue a career in medical aesthetics. For instance, St. Paul College offers a 60-credit Esthetician Advanced Practice – Associate of Applied Science degree and a one-semester, 19-credit, Esthetician Advanced Practice certificate designed for currently licensed cosmetologists and estheticians. The advanced curriculum focuses on clinical procedures, such as microdermabrasion, dermaplaning, lymphatic drainage and skin needling.
Paramedical aestheticians typically work in medi-spas, hospitals and other healthcare settings. Under supervision of a plastic surgeon or a dermatologist in a medical office, medical aestheticians work with laser treatments, medical chemical peels and skin exfoliation machines. Medical aestheticians in hospitals assist patients in burn units, surgical centers and cancer treatment programs. In 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 28 percent of the 61,300 skin-care specialists, including paramedical aestheticians, were self-employed and independently provided skin-care services.
Years of Experience and Salary
Years of experience as a cosmetologist can be advantageous when landing good paramedical aesthetician jobs, which can be competitive. The average annual salary for skin-care specialists in May 2018 was $36,350, or $17.48 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The highest paid skin-care specialists worked in medical settings and earned more on average than skin-care generalists.
Annual Average Wages in Medical Settings:
- Hospitals: $46,020 per year or $22.12 per hour
- Doctors’ offices: $43,880 per year or $21.10 per hour
- Other healthcare providers: $38,040 or $18.29 per hour
- Outpatient centers: $37,880 per year or $18.21 per hour
Job Growth Trend
Employment prospects look promising for paramedical aestheticians. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for skin-care specialists, including medical aestheticians, will increase 14 percent between 2016–2026, which is faster than other occupations. Increased demand will be driven by growing interest in treatments that mitigate the signs of aging.