How Long is Esthetician School?

Student studying at an esthetician school

One of the most exciting and dynamic careers available is being a professionally licensed esthetician. Curious how long is esthetician school? Not only do professional estheticians enjoy helping their clients enhance their features by performing a variety of skincare services, but they also enjoy job flexibility, the potential for career growth, and personal fulfillment by helping clients feel better about their physical appearance.

What Does an Esthetician Do?

Estheticians (sometimes referred to as skincare specialists) preform a wide range of duties. Before beginning a treatment, estheticians meet with their clients to discuss what their concerns are, and what they hope to gain from their treatment. After the initial evaluation, the esthetician will help pair their client with the appropriate treatment or services to enhance their client’s appearance. Licensed estheticians perform a variety of hair removal treatments, professional makeup application, and apply facials and masks. Many estheticians also provide full body wraps, and even massage treatments to enhance the skin’s appearance.

Because licensed estheticians receive professional training in this field, they can recommend a variety of skincare products to address each client’s individual concerns. They also create personalized skincare routines for their clients, reevaluate and make modifications as necessary during future treatment sessions. Because there is opportunity for career growth in this industry, many estheticians go on to open their own skincare practices after gaining some experience. They will then be able to hire additional estheticians to work at their practice, as well as perform a variety of duties required by private business owners. Many estheticians take the knowledge they have gained from their training program and personal experience and create their own skincare lines as well.

How Do You Become an Esthetician?

To become a professional esthetician, you must first gain a deep understanding of the skin’s layers, as well as the various factors which contribute to its health and appearance. Therefore, it is required that you must first receive formal education and training by attending a vocational school before taking a licensing exam and servicing clients.

How Long is Esthetician School?

If you enroll in esthetician school full-time, it will take as little as five months to complete formal training in Esthiology. Many don’t have the time to spend four years in college, so a vocational school program is a great alternative. You can become an esthetician in five months at a vocational school because they only teach you what you need to know about Esthiology in order to become licensed.

What Do You Learn During an Esthiology Program?

Esthiology programs cover a variety of topics which you must master to become a professional esthetician. These topics include skincare, facial application, treatment options, professional makeup application, nutrition, hair removal techniques, dermatology, anatomy & physiology, skin assessment, and skin disorders.

Basics of Skincare

While skincare may seem like a fairly straightforward topic, there are a variety of factors which can either enhance or detract from the skin. Being dehydrated, smoking, sun exposure, and lifestyle can all negatively affect the appearance of the skin, causing it to look shallow and dull. Proper skincare habits are necessary to diminish the appearance of wrinkles, puffiness, redness, and enlarged pores. You will learn about how these factors relate to skincare, as well as how to advise your clients on how to best take care of their individual skin types.

Facial Application and Technique

Facials are a great way to hydrate and soften the skin, as well as address concerns which clients may have during their initial consultation. Fortunately, there are effective facial treatments which have been created to treat a variety of common skin issues. This course will teach you how to identify the appropriate treatment options for each client, as well as how to apply and remove each type of facial.

Skincare Treatment Options

The skincare industry has grown exponentially over the last several years, which means there are many treatment options available to treat issues, including aging, fine lines, wrinkles, redness, and acne. Not every treatment option is appropriate for each client, and each option comes with its own unique set of advantages and disadvantages. This course will help you identify which treatment options would be most beneficial for your clients, as well as how to effectively apply treatments to guarantee the best results.

Professional Makeup Application

The skin is a natural canvas, and everyone wants to look their best, especially during a special event or occasion. As an esthetician, you will provide a wide variety of services for your clients, including professional makeup application. During this course, you will learn how to perform professional makeup techniques, including contouring, highlighting, dramatic eye makeup, and more to enhance your client’s features and deliver flawless professional results.


Nutrition plays a direct role in the health and quality of a person’s skin. Vitamins and nutrients are beneficial in enhancing the skin’s healthy glow, improving skin tone, and combating the effects of stress and aging. During this course, you will learn how nutrition impacts a client’s overall health, as well as the condition of their skin. By gaining this knowledge, you can provide your clients with sound advice on how to take care of their own skin, specific to their individual concerns.

Hair Removal Techniques

Hair removal is one of the most requested services that estheticians will perform. From eyebrows to full body treatments, each area of the body requires a specific technique to effectively administer hair removal treatments. There are many hair removal options available, including waxing, threading, laser hair removal, and electrolysis.

While there many treatments available, not every treatment will be suitable for each client. Every treatment option has its own benefits, as well as limitations. For example, with laser hair removal, it is important to pick the right laser, as some may not be as effective on individuals with darker skin complexions or lighter hair. You will learn how to identify which hair removal technique is best suited for each client, as well as how to deliver these treatments with minimal discomfort and maximum results.

Anatomy and Physiology

There are a variety of factors which have a direct influence on the health and appearance of the skin. Because this line of work requires you to work closely with your client’s skin, it is important that you understand how each body system has a direct effect on a person’s health and wellbeing. By studying anatomy and physiology, you will gain knowledge of how the body works and how it affects the health of a client’s skin.

Skin Assessment and Analysis

Before being able to directly treat clients, it is important for you to understand the basic science behind the skin and how it works to protect the rest of the body’s vital organs. You will learn about the different layers of the skin, the function of each component, and how they affect a person’s outward appearance. Furthermore, you will be able to identify potential causes for concern, such as moles and lesions, which you can advise your clients to follow up on with their dermatologist.

The first step of any service an esthetician provides is a skin assessment. During an assessment, you will meet with the client to discuss the treatment they’d like performed, as well as assess whether this treatment is the right option. Sometimes you may suggest a different treatment option which may be better suited for that client’s skin type. This course will teach you how to conduct a skin assessment, as well as how to identify which treatments are best suited for a variety of issues.

Skin Disorders

Skin disorders range in severity, and include conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea. Skin disorders not only affect one’s outward appearance, but they can be significantly detrimental to a client’s overall self-esteem and affect their quality of life. This course will teach you how to identify different types of skin disorders, as well as how to choose the best course of treatment for your clients.

What Are the Benefits of Attending an Esthiology Program?

Attending an Esthiology program is a fantastic way to prepare for a career in this dynamic industry. There is a growing demand for high quality, professional estheticians, and attending an Esthiology program will ensure that you are ready to work with clients on your first day. Not only will you develop the skills required to successfully obtain your professional license to treat clients, but you will gain valuable insight and confidence in your ability to provide effective skincare treatments. Following are a few of the many benefits of attending an Esthiology program.

Benefit #1: Build Confidence and Gain Knowledge

There is so much more to being an esthetician than providing facials and hair removal treatments. By enrolling in an Esthiology program, you will build confidence and sharpen your skills, so you are comfortable with providing a variety of treatments for your clients when you graduate. By successfully completing each course, you will be able to thoroughly answer any questions and address your client’s concerns, as well as offer effective treatment and product recommendations.

Benefit #2: Learn from Experienced Professionals

You will receive valuable guidance and learn from professional estheticians with years of experience on the job. In an Esthiology program, staff and faculty members have worked with clients and in unique situations. Furthermore, you can network with your classmates and faculty, which can often lead to job interviews and employment in different settings once the program is successfully completed. By enrolling in this program, you will gain professional contacts and make friends with similar career goals and aspirations.

Benefit #3: Enjoy the Benefits of Career Services

Though graduation is essential to become a licensed esthetician, it is beneficial to have job offerings upon successfully graduating from the program. With access to career services, you will learn how to write a great resume, look for job openings, attend upcoming job fairs, and discover how to make a great impression on job interviews. With career services, you are set up for success as you embark on a great career as a skilled esthetician.

Final Thoughts

Estheticians enjoy a career in an industry that is geared towards helping clients feel better about their appearance and elevating their self-esteem. There continues to be great demand for skilled estheticians who can connect with their clients and provide treatments with confidence and compassion. By embarking on this exciting career path, you will enjoy a variety of benefits, including job flexibility, financial stability, and the satisfaction of helping improve your client’s self-esteem and quality of life. Help others while you help yourself with a great career. It’s a win-win.

Now that you know how long an esthetician school takes, ready to learn more about becoming an esthetician? If so, you could begin your career as an esthetician at the Minnesota School of Cosmetology (MSC). 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.

Do I Need to Go to School to Become an Esthetician?

Esthetician waxing a woman's eyebrows

Feel like you were born to work in the beauty industry? Are you wondering how to take the first step to become a professional esthetician? As an esthetician, you can help others manage their skin health and inner beauty. Why skin? The body’s skin is our defense from the world, and it can take some punishment from the elements. By helping clients manage their skin, you can help them stay healthy on the outside as well as the inside. So, do you need to go to school to become an esthetician?

Do You Need to Go to School to Become an Esthetician?

As an esthetician, you must become licensed to help clients. And the prerequisite to an esthetician license is attending an esthetician program at a vocational school. However, that’s no reason to feel discouraged. In fact, fulfilling the educational requirements to become a professional esthetician is simply part of the journey of learning how to excel in this industry. The right program can help you with a wide variety of standards and techniques for offering in-demand services that will help you to keep a robust client list.

Becoming an Esthetician

First, it’s important to know why training and certification are so important in this career field. Estheticians perform a wide variety of treatments related to hair and skin. While an esthetician isn’t a doctor, you do perform some intensive skin treatments that require specialized knowledge. In fact, estheticians are sometimes referred to as “skin care therapists.” Here’s a look at some of the services estheticians can offer:

  • Facials
  • Superficial/gentle chemical peels
  • Body wraps
  • Skin mapping
  • Exfoliation
  • Facial scrubs
  • Waxing
  • Scar care
  • Skin consulting
  • Lash extensions

As the demand for esthetician services grows, estheticians are branching out into specialty areas that are quite lucrative. Many estheticians are pivoting to services like airbrush tanning to help clients enjoy healthy “sunless” tans. An esthetician working full-time can even offer tanning visits to clients at their homes. Once you’ve completed your initial certification, you have the freedom to obtain additional training and education. This puts you in the position to carve out a niche by offering whatever type of beauty service you find appealing. The fact that new beauty treatments and “technologies” are constantly introduced means there are always opportunities to become “the only person in town” to offer popular, in-demand treatments that people are hearing about from magazines, television, or the internet.

While some people assume that cosmetologists and estheticians are synonymous, the two specialties aren’t the same. While cosmetologists are more focused on “surface” treatments like haircuts and coloring, estheticians go deeper by treating the skin. However, many estheticians do provide makeup services as part of their aesthetic consulting services.

What Do You Learn in Esthetician School?

Future estheticians are trained in all the techniques used for skin treatments and hair removal that are offered in salon and spa settings. In addition, you will undergo training to become product specialists who can recommend products to help clients solve skin issues. Here’s a look at the wide range of topics covered in an Esthiology curriculum:

  • Dermatology fundamentals
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • The basics of skin diseases
  • Sanitation, cleanliness, and safety
  • State laws and regulations
  • Managing/disposing of hazardous waste
  • Infection control
  • Chemical management/disposal
  • Skin analysis
  • Product recommendations
  • Customer service
  • Sales

As an esthetician, you are not licensed to act as a dermatologist. However, you do spend time learning about skin diseases and disorders. In fact, many clients seek out the assistance of trained estheticians before consulting with dermatologists simply because they are looking for some inexpensive topical solutions. As an esthetician, you can often help by making product recommendations based on your one-on-one familiarity with various products combined with a background in understanding how product ingredients work together to create changes and reactions in the skin.

Again, as an esthetician, you are not representing yourself as a medical professional capable of curing or treating skin conditions. You are instead making product recommendations from a position of expertise. Some common skin issues that clients may have questions about include acne, rosacea, sunburn, hives, eczema, and psoriasis. Clients may also seek product recommendations for common skin problems like oiliness, dryness, and signs of aging. While you will be licensed to provide a wide range of services, it’s important for you to know that this career field can be limiting. More invasive procedures that can range from deep chemical peels to filler injections aren’t in an esthetician’s wheelhouse because they veer into the “medical territory.”

Where Do Estheticians Work?

In a world where everyone wants their skin to look ready for the lens, estheticians have never been in higher demand. One of the perks of this career choice is that there’s never any fear of being stuck in a “stuffy” environment where you’re managing the same tasks day after day. In fact, as an esthetician, you enjoy the unique freedom to choose the settings you want to work in. Here’s a look at some common places of employment for estheticians:

Dermatology Offices: Yes, dermatologists often employ medical estheticians at their offices to provide support for people looking for basic skin help or hair removal.

Spas: Estheticians employed by spas offer a wide range of beauty treatments for clients looking to be pampered.

Salons: Salons that offer hair-removal services employ estheticians to assist with brows and waxing.

Hotels, Resorts and Cruise Ships: Many brands that offer “resort experiences” keep their private in-house spas staffed with estheticians who can offer a wide range of skin and beauty treatments. Even business hotels often provide full-service spas to help busy travelers stay groomed and pampered on the go.

Private Appointments: Some estheticians make home and “on set” visits for their high-end clients.

While there was a time when being employed as an esthetician meant working for a salon or spa, things have changed. The popularity of skin and beauty tutorials means that you are empowered to build your own followings. In addition to helping you build up your client base, having a strong online presence can also help you to gain brand sponsorships.

What Does It Take to Become a Successful Esthetician?

Estheticians enjoy a unique profession that combines technical skill with creativity. Among beauty and wellness professionals, estheticians are required to know the most about science and chemicals. Treatments like waxing and facials take tremendous amounts of precision and detail.

In addition to mastering the technical aspects of this field, estheticians need strong “people” skills. As an esthetician, you are tasked with understanding the needs of clients. You must also know how to effectively communicate recommendations, explain procedures, and engage with clients during treatments.

Final Thoughts

If you’re ready to make the leap to having the career that you’ve always wanted, there’s never been a better time to enroll in a program to become an esthetician. The first step is taking some time to find a program that will put you in the position to qualify for state licensing. Look for schools that offer robust curriculums covering all the topics you need to know for licensing. Programs that are designed to equip you for successful careers combine “book learning” with hands-on lessons. If you are ready to help others and enjoy a rewarding career, becoming an esthetician may be the right career path for you.

Are you ready to go to school to become an esthetician? If so, you could begin your career as an esthetician at the Minnesota School of Cosmetology (MSC).  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.