How do I Become a Spa Esthetician?

Donn Saylor

To become a spa esthetician, you should attend and graduate from a licensed cosmetology school, constantly expand your client base and skill set, acquire licensure, and attain work either with a reputable spa or salon. In most areas, spa estheticians are skin care professionals who are licensed by local health authorities. To attain licensing in most locales, an esthetician will have to meet certain guidelines, such as a diploma from an accredited school and a certain number of hours worked as an apprentice.

Some spa estheticians offer Botox® injections.
Some spa estheticians offer Botox® injections.

The first step to become a spa esthetician is to choose the right cosmetology school to suit your needs. Cosmetology schools are abundant all around the world, but not all provide the same high level of education. It is imperative that you thoroughly research every school of interest, talk with an admissions counselor, and, if possible, meet with current students. This will give you an idea of the level of training provided. You can additionally ask to speak with recent graduates, who can inform you as to how well their education prepared them for their new careers.

A sauna at a spa.
A sauna at a spa.

When you are training to become a spa esthetician, the typical program lasts less than a year. Four to six months is average for a full-time student, and part-time students can get their diploma in nine to 12 months. After graduation, however, you cannot go directly into business and ply your new trade. Most regions require graduates to take a licensing exam and meet a certain number of apprenticeship hours.

Spa estheticians may work in day spas performing beauty services, such as nail care.
Spa estheticians may work in day spas performing beauty services, such as nail care.

A regional licensing exam ensures you know the ins and outs of your new career. You will be quizzed on proper procedures, products, health and safety concerns, and the details of various spa treatments. Most areas require you to have worked a specified number of hours in your field before taking the test. If you meet the hourly guidelines and you pass the test, your area will issue you a license that certifies you are a knowledgeable and legally licensed esthetician.

While building up your hours before taking the regional testing, you have a prime opportunity to meet new clients and assemble your list of customers. After you have achieved licensure, you can use your contacts and recruit your own clients. When working as an apprentice, you have a chance to learn from more experienced licensed estheticians, who can help you expand your skills and better utilize your talent.

Once you have been licensed, you have now become a spa esthetician. Most spa estheticians work in salons, day spas, hotels, and resorts, performing an array of skincare procedures that pamper and beautify clientele. Some spa estheticians may eventually choose to work in the medical field assisting dermatologists, though this career path will typically require additional licensure.

A spa esthetician performs a variety of skincare procedures.
A spa esthetician performs a variety of skincare procedures.

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