How Long Does It Take to Become a Certified Esthetician?

certified esthetician working with a client

Do you enjoy telling your friends and family about tips you learned about skin health and makeup application? If so, you might already be an amateur esthetician. Now all you need to do is graduate from a diploma program and pass the certification exam and you will have a brand-new career as a certified esthetician. As an esthetician, you will help your clients look and feel great. Are you wondering how long it takes to be a certified esthetician? You’re not alone.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Certified Esthetician?

Did you know it takes as little as 5 months to graduate from an Esthiology program at a vocational school? They teach you everything you need to know to become an esthetician and start a rewarding career. Once you graduate from a diploma program, you must be certified before starting your first day of work.

What is Taught in an Esthetician Program?

Most esthetician programs teach to the test. Meaning they teach you what you need to know to take the certification exam. The esthetician certification exam will prove to employers that you are ready to handle clients as an esthetician. From setup and client protection to facials and hair removal, the certification will prove your proficiency in Esthiology.

Client Assessment

As an esthetician, you will learn anatomy and physiology in order to understand how the body works, especially the integumentary system, the many layers of skin, and anatomy of a hair follicle. You will also need to know the disorders and skin conditions that are common. This will help you better assess a client’s skin and create a treatment plan for them.

During the assessment phase of the appointment, you will use a standard intake form to identify the client’s skin type, whether normal, oily, dry or combination skin. You will also figure out whether the client has skin conditions like acne, wrinkles or sun damage? An assessment is important for every appointment but especially for the initial consultation. As you work with the same clients, you will learn more about the seasonality of their skin and better help them care for it.

Client Protection

Protecting the client is the esthetician’s number one responsibility. From sanitation and infection control to water temperature and draping. You will also need to understand the signs and symptoms of allergic reactions as some of your clients will be allergic to latex and certain chemicals. Knowing where the first aid kit is, and learning exposure procedures are important to keep everyone safe.

Proper client protection as an esthetician includes sanitation and infection control. When it comes to sanitation, there are levels of protection for different surfaces or instrument. You will cleanse many surfaces like the chair and countertops. You will disinfect anything that touches the client’s skin and sanitize instruments that are reused in between clients. As an esthetician, you will also be responsible for infection control procedures. This will help minimize the risk of infection to your clients and yourself.

When working with clients, it is also important to protect yourself from chemicals and other irritants. Proper safety procedure dictates wearing protective gear like gloves, facemask and/or eyewear. OSHA is a great resource for employee safety and will educate you on the proper safety precautions your employer will need to implement to keep you safe. One of the important OSHA guidelines involves the use of chemicals. There is proper procedure for labeling and storage of chemicals. There is also a safety sheet that employees must fill out anytime an accident or injury occurs.

Cleansing the Face

As an esthetician, you will learn how to clean away dirt, makeup and dead skin cells to make your client’s skin look vibrant. You will learn how to use different types of face cleaners, in liquid and foam formulas. It is also important to teach your clients proper skin cleansing techniques. Cleansing the face is important to maintain healthy looking skin. Cleansing also helps remove build up of dirt, oil and makeup. It helps hydrate your skin, maintaining proper pore size. During an esthetician program, you will learn about skin type and what cleansers are a good match for each of your clients.

Massaging the Face

Part of the cleansing process involves massaging the face. This helps relax your client after a hard day. Massage helps stimulate pressure points on the face and increase blood flow to remove puffiness around the eyes, liven up the cheeks and smooth wrinkles on the forehead. Facial massage also helps promote healthy skin and offers a rejuvenation effect.

Hair Removal

Unfortunately, we grow hair in many different places on our body. Whether it is on the upper lip, arms, legs or underarm, there are many different hair removal techniques that you will learn in esthetician class. During an esthetician program, you will learn how to shave, pluck, wax, tweeze, and laser unwanted hair. Each hair removal procedure has a unique technique that must be mastered to properly remove the hair without damaging the skin. Whether your client shaves every day, waxes once a month or uses laser hair removal for a long-term reduction in hair, as an esthetician you learn the many different ways to help your clients safely remove unwanted hair.


When performing facials, it is important to consider the skin type and any issues the client may have that need attention. During the facial, you will use what you learned about cleansing and massaging the face to help your client exfoliate, relax and cleanse their skin. Proper technique will be learned during an esthetician program.

Makeup Application

There is a specific sequence to applying makeup. Wither it is moisturizer, foundation, blush, or eyeshadow, there are specific tools that help apply the makeup to your client’s face. There is also a routine for makeup removal.

Final Thoughts

As an esthetician, you will help your client look and feel better about themselves. You will learn about skin and hair anatomy so you can cleanse skin and remove unwanted hair. By helping your clients with skin care, hair removal and makeup application, you give them the confidence to start a new career, meet new people or just relax after a hard day. However, what you offer your clients is more than just skin care, you offer a friendship. Take the time to become an esthetician and start making life-long friends.

Are you ready to help others stay healthy and improve their confidence? If so, you could begin your career as an esthetician at the Minnesota School of Cosmetology (MSC).  Our Esthiology Diploma Program is designed to be completed in under 5 months (600 clock hours) with full-time enrollment.  Our esthiology diploma program has been developed by talented, caring, real-world professionals, many of whom still work in the field.  We give our esthiology students experience in skincare, waxing, make-up, application of facials, and more.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming an esthetician and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

*Completion time for this program is defined by 35 hours per week.

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