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How to Become an Esthetician in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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Estheticians are cosmetologists who specialize in skin care. To practice in the state of Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh, estheticians must be licensed. Getting a license can be accomplished through classroom training, hands-on experience and passing a licensing board exam.

Estheticians may work in beauty salons, spas, resorts or medical offices. They may specialize in facial treatments, makeup application, body wraps, waxing and other skin care regimens. With over one hundred salons in the metro Pittsburgh area, an esthetician after receiving licensure can build a client base and successful career.

Review Pennsylvania’s requirements for esthetician licensure on the commonwealth’s licensing website. In Pennsylvania, you must complete 300 training hours in a licensed cosmetology school, have at least a tenth-grade education or equivalent and pass a state board examination.

Select an accredited and licensed beauty school to attend and sign up for classes. Many schools offer financial aid and flexible full-time and part-time programs. You can meet with a representative of the beauty school to discuss your best options. To find a licensed school, review the commonwealth’s licensing website.

Attend classroom and in-house salon training. Completion of 300 hours may take up to a year depending on your schedule. Beauty schools will have in-house salons that are open to the public where students can perform procedures and obtain credit hours at the same time.

Complete an internship in a salon. This experience will not count toward the credit hours but shadowing with a pro should be part of your training. You may start off doing chores around the salon like answering telephones but this will help you in understanding the inner workings of the business. Mentor with a seasoned esthetician and closely observe her techniques, patient manner and settings.

Register and take the state boards. The test cost $149 in 2010 and is facilitated by PSI. Upon passing of the exam, you will receive your license, good for two years before expiration.