How to Become a Facialist [4 Simple Steps]

Nov 17, 2021

If you have a passion for skincare, you might be wondering how to become a facialist. Or maybe you already know this is the career path for you, and want to learn how to become one. Let’s answer these questions and take a look at how to become a facialist!

Should I Become a Facialist?

If you’re still not sure whether or not you should pursue a facialist, you should think about several factors. What are a facialist’s typical job duties? What kind of people make the best facialists? What do facialists’ job prospects look like?


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

  • Evaluating the skin
  • Recommending treatments 
  • Recommending skincare products
  • Waxing unwanted hair
  • Plucking unwanted hair
  • Washing the face
  • Performing specialized facials

Additionally, Facialists are usually responsible for keeping their tools and station sanitized and managing their schedule of clients.


As a facialist, you’ll want to have good people and customer service skills—since you’ll be working closely with clients. You’ll also want some flexibility and time management skills since you’ll need to schedule appointments and work when your clients are available.

1. Choose & Apply to an Aesthetics Program

The first step of how to become a facialist is finding and attending an aesthetics program to teach you the ropes. When looking for an aesthetics program, you’ll need to consider the following factors:


  • Accreditation. Your program should be established, reputable, and accredited. Accreditation means that a school’s curriculum meets local and/or agencies’ requirements for an effective education. 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 the curriculum for an institution’s aesthetics program online. You’ll want to make sure they cover all the skills you’ll need, 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 more specialized classes, so any program with courses specifically for aspiring facialists gets bonus points.
  • State Board Preparation. In most states, you’ll need a license to work as a facialist. As such, you’ll need to know if your prospective school 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.

2. Complete an Aesthetics Program

After applying to your school of choice, you’ll need to complete their aesthetics program. You don’t want to cut class too often, since everything you learn will correspond with a facialist’s job duties. Moreover, some of your courses will involve hands-on practice, providing you with experience that’ll bolster your resume. Your program should include education on all of an aesthetician’s typical job duties, including some more specialized coursework for aspiring facialists.

3. Earn Your License

After completing your aesthetics program, you’ll need to earn your license. Different state boards have different requirements for licensure, but Tennessee requires you to take a written exam first. 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 facialist, 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.

4. Find the Right Facialist Job!

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job prospects for licensed skincare specialists—including facialists—are looking very bright. Experts expect the career to grow at a faster-than average rate, and the median pay is $17.55 per hour.


Most facialists work in salons and spas, focusing on health and/or beautification—including spas on cruise ships. Many facialists 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.

Doing facials starts with becoming an esthetician, wondering how to get there? Learn more in our Ultimate Guide: How to Become an Esthetician.


If you’re ready to take your first step in how to become a facialist, you should start looking for your ideal facialist program. We encourage you to take a look at Chattanooga College—whose program only takes nine months and includes getting a facialist certification. I hope you learned how to become a facialist. To learn more about the aesthetics program at Chattanooga College and talk to an advisor, visit our program’s page!