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How Esthetics School Works

Esthetics School Overview
Learning how to apply a mud mask is esthetics 101.
Learning how to apply a mud mask is esthetics 101.
Richard Ross/Getty Images

Like most trade schools, esthetician school won't take you nearly as long to complete as an undergraduate program. Qualifications for getting an esthetician license varies from state to state, but you can generally count on spending about four to six months earning 600 credit hours in a standard esthetics program. Thirty-one states require the 600 hours for a basic license, nine come in under 600 hours and the rest range from 650 hours in Kansas and Montana to 1,500 in Alabama. Florida is the only state that doesn't require a license to work as an esthetician.

Most programs follow similar curriculum. You can count on learning about the following during your 600 hours of training:

  • Skin analysis
  • Body wraps
  • Waxing
  • Facials
  • Salt glows
  • Spa treatments
  • Aromatherapy
  • Makeup application

Advanced courses can earn you a master license. This means better pay and more opportunity. It also means more time, typically about 1,200 to 1,500 hours of training. In these programs, you'll study the basics in addition to learning how to perform chemical peels, laser hair removal, laser skin resurfacing and microdermabrasion, a process of using light abrasion to remove the outer layer of the skin. This technique is used to reduce the impact of scars, acne and skin discoloration.

In addition to practical training, many esthetics schools train students to deal with customers and offer courses on how to get work in the field and even open your own business. Some schools also offer help with job placement, just beware of institutions that promise placement. If you're not exactly the academic type, the good news is that like most trade schools, you only need a high school diploma or a GED to gain acceptance into esthetics school. Most applications require a nonrefundable deposit and an on-campus interview.

Another similarity to other trade schools is that there are a range of course schedules to accommodate students that have full- or part-time jobs or families. Evening and weekend courses are popular with students looking to explore esthetics opportunities on the side. And like other trade schools, they are commuter based, meaning you won't be likely find any on-campus living quarters available to you.