One of my good friends is also one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen, even in her late 40s. She exercises, eats well, and maintains a great shape. Her hair is luxurious and shiny, and it’s obvious that she takes care of herself. Her nails are always salon-finished, she gets her lashes done, and she sees an esthetician regularly.
I admit, when I first met this friend, I wasn’t even sure what an esthetician does. Now I understand. Basically, an esthetician helps people retain their beauty even as they age.
As a specialized branch of cosmetology, estheticians deal primarily with keeping skin beautiful and young-looking. They perform tasks like facials, skin mapping, chemical peels, pore cleanings, seaweed wraps, suggesting skincare routines, and more.
Estheticians work directly with the public, so their personalities tend to be warm and caring. They can enjoy both art and science, and they have a passion for making a difference in the lives of the people they work with. Because they like people, they could be great listeners who are also thick-skinned and can set healthy boundaries for themselves.
They could also love working with their hands, which might mean they have other creative hands-on hobbies such as knitting or painting. Overall, estheticians can be very artistic people, and being involved in creating beauty could come naturally to them.
Do Estheticians Make Good Money?
What's The Median Salary For Estheticians?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), skincare specialists such as cosmeticians and estheticians make a median hourly wage of $16.39 per hour or $34,090 per year. However, wages vary greatly. On the low end of the pay scale, estheticians only get $9.85 per hour, while estheticians being paid at the high end of the scale can make $30.07 per hour.
Salaries for estheticians vary quite a bit based on where they’re located. Colorado ranks first as the highest-paying state for estheticians, where the hourly average is $26.35. Estheticians in Washington, Hawaii, Wyoming, and Massachusetts also have an average hourly wage of more than $24.
Compare that to Utah, where the hourly wage averages $16.43, or some areas of Texas, which average $16.49 per hour.
The salary varies between metropolitan areas and rural areas, too. For example, in the Santa Cruz area of California, estheticians only average $14.65 per hour, while estheticians in the Portland, Oregon area average $35.32 per hour. That’s still a sharp contrast to what estheticians can make in the Olympia area of Washington, where the average hourly wage for an esthetician is $54.86.
Pay as an esthetician is higher than for barbers, hairstylists, and general cosmetologists, who average $26,270 per year, and more than manicurists and pedicurists, who average $25,770 per year. However, the BLS also lists massage therapists as similar occupations. A massage therapist averages $42,820 per year, which is more than $8,000 a year above the median salary for an esthetician.
Estheticians who want to make more money could look at specializing in certain treatments or fields, such as microdermabrasion. Some states also have master estheticians, which require more training that could result in higher pay.
This field of work is expected to grow 11% between 2018 and 2028, which is much faster growth than many other industries are experiencing.
How Do Estheticians Make Money?
According to the BLS, many estheticians work full time, but some are self-employed, and some work in the evenings and on weekends. The areas they work in range from spas and salons to cruise ships and movie sets.
Estheticians who own salons are in charge of basic day-to-day business, such as keeping inventory and supervising employees. However, a basic esthetician focuses all work time on seeing clients, which means providing them with a wide variety of skincare-related services.
These services include evaluating and setting up treatment plans for skincare issues such as eczema. They can also provide beauty treatments such as microdermabrasion, chemical peels, laser resurfacing, laser skin rejuvenation, light therapy, hair removal, acne treatments, body wraps, moisturizing treatments, aromatherapy, and more.
Estheticians are also responsible for disinfecting tools and cleaning the areas they use.
There are some estheticians who are called medical estheticians, but they don’t actually have the authority to diagnose skin conditions or other medical conditions. Medical estheticians are simply estheticians who work alongside doctors in a medical setting rather than in a spa. They generally make more than other estheticians because their jobs require more training.
Overtime opportunities can vary between workplaces. For example, medical estheticians or estheticians who work in salons or spas will work during the times that those businesses are open. Freelance estheticians could have more flexibility for working evenings and weekends, but not necessarily.
There are some resources that estheticians can draw on. For example, the Esthetics Council exists to educate the public about esthetics, as well as advocate for and support estheticians. Associated Skincare Professionals is similar, but it also provides insurance options
Do Estheticians Have Good Job Satisfaction?
USA News ranked estheticians as #20 in the best jobs without a college degree category, #25 in best healthcare jobs, and #99 in the top 100 best jobs. From the outside looking in, it seems as if a job as an esthetician is pleasantly near the top, while still staying somewhat quiet about it. This could account for why there is so much industry growth in the esthetics field.
One of the top perks for estheticians is that work stress is relatively low. The work is relatively routine, with social interaction from the customers as well as with other workers. The same survey indicated that estheticians feel like their work flexibility and ability to get promoted were average compared to other jobs.
Another plus is that estheticians work to make other people happy. Besides the pleasant social interactions, estheticians know their work is valued and appreciated, so they can feel good about the jobs they do.
Esthetics can also be exciting. Conversation with clients can be interesting and fun, so the work itself isn’t boring, and there are so many advancements in skin care treatments that estheticians always have something new to learn.
This career may be a good path for mothers who are looking to get back into the workforce but don’t want to have to attend a university to do it. The educational requirements are relatively short, and the low stress could mean a great work-life balance.
- Esthetics is a socially rewarding job with some great opportunities for helping other people feel good about themselves.
- The work-related stress is low.
- The job is decently flexible.
- Estheticians may not get paid as much as people in other jobs.
- There’s a wide mix of clients, so sometimes there are customers who are hard to please.
- There are some extra concerns during the coronavirus pandemic because of the need to be physically close to clients, and estheticians are also responsible for cleaning up and disinfecting tools and equipment.
What Are The First Steps To Becoming An Esthetician?
The licensing requirements and education needed vary between each state, so someone who wants to become an esthetician should begin by looking up those state requirements. Connecticut is the only state that doesn’t require a license.
An Esthetician doesn’t need a university diploma, but there are some specialized training requirements. Most states require around 600 hours of esthetics training with both coursework and practice. Those hours vary, though. In Wisconsin, the requirement is just 450 hours, and in Indiana, esthetics courses must be at least 700 hours.
There are several factors that determine where and how estheticians attend school. The cost of the courses, location of the schools, class schedules, class sizes, teaching philosophies, and evening education opportunities all play a part in choosing an esthetics school.
Because esthetics is a hands-on business, it’s harder to find online courses that meet state requirements. However, there are some courses that can be completed online, as well as some options for continuing education. Penn Foster High School, Westside Tech, and West Georgia Technical are some of the highest-ranking esthetics schools. However, many college towns also have technical schools that offer cosmetology and esthetics training programs.
Once the courses are complete, candidates must pass an examination. Some states provide their own exams, but the National-Interstate Council On State Boards Of Cosmetology (NIC) provides a national esthetics examination that is used by many states.
Once licensure is achieved, an esthetician is ready to begin work. Sometimes estheticians choose to open their own companies. Others can apply for jobs with salons, spas, and medical facilities.
Do Estheticians Make Good Money?
Estheticians earn a median salary of $34,090 per year. There are many other jobs that don’t require a college degree but still pay $50,000 or more per year—so the quick answer to this question is no, estheticians don’t make good money.
However, money isn’t always the issue, and it can come down to a matter of perspective. Estheticians rank surprisingly high on the job satisfaction scale with low work-related stress, a nice work-home-life balance, decent upward mobility, and the chance to help other people in a hands-on way. The social rewards of working one-on-one with clients in a way that makes them feel beautiful can provide a payout that reaches far beyond the money issue.