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How to Become a Skin Specialist: Education and Career Roadmap

Research the requirements to become a skincare specialist. Learn about the job duties and read the step-by-step process to start a career as a skincare specialist.

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Do I Want to Be a Skincare Specialist?

Skincare specialists are also known as aestheticians. These specialists work with customers to help achieve optimal skincare and offer services that include removing unwanted hair and blemishes, advising customers on proper skincare and evaluating customers' skin health. In addition, skincare specialists may help customers reduce signs of aging and sell products to help them develop a home skincare regimen.

Skincare specialists can find work at many places of employment, including salons, spas, health centers and even medical offices. About a quarter of workers were self-employed in 2012; self-employment can give skincare specialists schedule flexibility, but the job often comes with long hours. These professionals spend most days on their feet and must take care when working with chemicals.

Job Requirements

Skincare specialists must complete a state-approved training program and receive a license from the state in which they practice. These programs can often be completed in about one year. Licensure also comes with continuing education requirements. The following table contains the core requirements for becoming a skin specialist, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

Common Requirements
Degree Level High school diploma and postsecondary vocational training
Degree Field Cosmetology training specializing in skincare
Licensure All states except Connecticut require an exam to be licensed
Experience No experience necessary for entry-level positions
Key Skills Strong customer service skills and the ability to sell products
Additional Requirements Comfortable in intimate settings with clients

Step 1: Complete Cosmetology Training in Skincare

Many cosmetology schools offer programs for aspiring aestheticians. Programs of study generally include instruction in anatomy and physiology, laws and regulations, safety procedures, hair removal, makeup application and how to administer facials. The program can take less than one year to compete.

Success Tip:

  • Take career and business courses. Salons may prefer that clients have sales experience and customer service skills. While some cosmetology students take courses in techniques that assist with the business end of esthiology such as selling strategies and client retention, others will receive on-the-job training in those areas. According to the BLS, 37% of skincare specialists were self-employed in 2010. Individuals who serve as independent contractors or are self-employed can use tools found in these courses to enhance their business.

Step 2: Work as an Apprentice

Some states will require aestheticians to have work experience as an apprentice prior to receiving a license. It is important to note that states may also have specific requirements for apprenticeships, so aestheticians should review the guidelines set in place by their state board. Some training programs will provide ways for students to earn an apprenticeship, while others require that students pursue this training on their own.

Step 3: Obtain a License

Upon completion of a state-approved training program and/or state-approved apprenticeship, aestheticians become eligible for licensure. Although the requirements for each state vary, applicants will likely have to submit proof of their training and take an exam. Prospective skin specialists may also need to complete a physical to sit for their state's licensing exam.

Success Tip:

  • Pursue continuing education. Some employers may require or prefer that aestheticians be aware of the latest skincare techniques. It is important to stay abreast of new and advanced techniques in skincare by taking additional training on those techniques.
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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Admissions Requirements Vary By Campus
    School locations:
    • Arizona (2 campuses)
    • Florida (4 campuses)
    • Maryland (1)
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        • Esthetics (Skin Care)

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  • School locations:
    • Puerto Rico (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at D'Mart Institute include:
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Cosmetology and Related Services
        • Aesthetician and Skin Care
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        • Hair Design
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  • School locations:
    • New Hampshire (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Empire Beauty School include:
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Cosmetology and Related Services
        • Aesthetician and Skin Care
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    • Missouri (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Vatterott College include:
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate
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      • Cosmetology and Related Services
        • Aesthetician and Skin Care
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    • New Jersey (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Concorde School of Hair Design include:
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    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Cosmetology and Related Services
        • Aesthetician and Skin Care
        • Nail Technician - Manicurist
  • School locations:
    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Legal Research and Professional Studies
  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Harvard University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Legal Research and Professional Studies
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    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Legal Research and Professional Studies
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  • School locations:
    • Rhode Island (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Brown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Comparative Language Studies and Services
      • English Composition
      • English Language and Literature
      • Foreign Language and Literature
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    • North Carolina (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Duke University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Comparative Language Studies and Services
      • English Language and Literature
      • Foreign Language and Literature

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