How To Become an Esthetician – 4 Simple Steps

Aug 27, 2021

Whether you’ve looked into cosmetology programs or have a passion for skincare, you might be wondering if you should become an esthetician. Or maybe you’ve already decided and would like to know how to become an esthetician. To answer those questions, we’re discussing how to become an esthetician.

Should I Become an Esthetician?

If you’re one of the people wondering whether or not to pursue a career in aesthetics, it’s important to consider several factors before you make a decision. What is an esthetician’s day-to-day duties? What kind of people do well as an esthetician? What do estheticians’ job prospects look like?


To answer this first question, here’s a list of an esthetician’s typical job duties:

  • Facials
  • Hair removal
  • Exfoliation
  • Skin mapping
  • Skin peels
  • Lip renewing treatments
  • Recommending skincare routines 

Estheticians are also oftentimes in charge of selling and/or recommending makeup and skincare products, keeping their tools and station clean, and managing their client schedule. There are also some more specialized branches of aesthetics, such as estheticians who work with dermatologists and estheticians who work as makeup artists.


Since estheticians work closely with their clients, it’s important to have good people skills and some customer service skills. You’ll also want a degree of flexibility and time management skills, since you’ll likely have somewhat irregular hours and need to accomplish tasks within specific time frames.


Estheticians should be confused with cosmetologists, however, since they’re far more specialized in skincare. While cosmetologists learn basic skincare, estheticians go into far more depth, even learning the science and anatomy of the skin.

Choose & Apply to an Esthetician Program

The first step to become an esthetician is finding a program to teach you the job’s ins and outs.


  • Accreditation. To ensure your program will help you get a job, you should choose a program at an established, reputable, and accredited institution. Accreditation means that a school’s curriculum met local and/or agencies’ requirements for an effective program. If your school’s not properly accredited, then most employers will assume you don’t have proper training and refuse to hire you. 
  • Course Offerings. You should be able to find an exact curriculum for an institution’s esthetician program online. Once you do, you’ll want to make sure they cover all the skills you’ll need in your day-to-day work, including anatomy and science of the skin, analyzing the skin, facial treatments, exfoliation, acne treatments, body wraps, body scrubs, chemical peels, and hair removal. Some programs may include some advanced skills for more specialized practice, and information about managing a business. 
  • State Board Preparation. In most states, you’ll need a license to work as an esthetician. We’ll discuss the exact requirements for licensure a bit later, but right now you’ll need to know if the program you’re considering has a good track record of preparing students for the state licensing exam. You should check program reviews from previous students to find information about this information about the program’s reputation.

Complete an Esthetician Program

After applying to your school of choice, you’ll need to complete their esthetician program. Be sure to attend and pay attention to all your classes, since everything you learn will correspond with an esthetician’s job duties. Moreover, some of your courses will involve hands-on practice, providing you with invaluable experience. Your program should include education on all of an esthetician’s typical tasks, perhaps with some additional classes about more specialized work and/or basic business principles.

Earn Your License

Once you complete your esthetician program, it’s time to earn your license. Different state boards have different requirements for licensure, but in Tennessee, you first take a written exam. The exam consists of 75 questions about various aspects of aesthetics (including eight questions about Tennessee licensing). It will last for about an hour and a half, and you must pass the written exam before you can take the practical examination. 


For the practical exam, you must bring a live model who is at least sixteen years old and who is not involved in the field of aesthetics (e.g. a student, practicing esthetician, or instructor). You also need to bring your own tool kit. You will have two hours and five minutes to complete the following tasks:

  • Pre-Exam Set up and Disinfection
  • Skin Cleansing Procedure
  • Skin Cleansing Safety
  • Face Steaming Procedure
  • Face Steaming Safety
  • Facial Treatment Procedure
  • Facial Treatment Safety
  • Face Massaging Procedure
  • Mask and Moisturizing Procedure
  • Mask and Moisturizing Safety
  • Eyebrow Arch Procedure
  • Eyebrow Arching Using Mock Cold Wax Procedure
  • Eyebrow Arching Using Mock Cold Wax Safety
  • End of Exam Disinfection


You must obtain a minimum score of 70% on each license in order to earn your license. Once you’ve passed both exams, the Tennessee board will issue your license.

Find the Right Esthetician Job!

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job prospects for licensed estheticians are very good; the career is growing at a faster-than-average rate, and the median pay is $17.55 per hour. The highest-paid estheticians have an average wage of more than $31 an hour, but those are usually more experienced estheticians working in medical offices.


Most estheticians work in salons and spas, focusing on health and/or beautification—including spas on cruise ships. Many estheticians are self-employed, working with a specific client list, and others still work under the supervision of a general physician or dermatologist. This latter group usually assists in treating and recommending skincare routines for those with specific skin conditions.


With diverse career options and a good job outlook, an aesthetics job is a great option for anyone interested in skincare and helping others. To learn more about the aesthetics program at Chattanooga College and talk to an advisor, visit our program’s page!