Medical Aesthetician Career Overview
A medical aesthetician specializes in skin care, particularly facial skin care. They are often closely associated with the field of dermatology. Aestheticians provide a variety of services, procedures, products, and consultations to help improve and maintain the appearance and health of the client's or patient's skin.
Aestheticians are sometimes confused for cosmetologists. While there is some overlap, cosmetologists are usually not employed in a medical setting and therefore they do not do any procedures. Cosmetologists are usually more involved with the application of make-up (cosmetics) and are not as involved in the actual ongoing healthcare and medical treatment of the skin as medical aestheticians typically are.
A medical aesthetician may be employed by a hospital, medical practice, or any healthcare facility. Additionally, aestheticians may also work in salons or medical spas. It is common for plastic surgery practices and dermatologists' offices to employ aestheticians due to the nature of their clientele. Some primary care practices may offer aesthetician services as an added convenience and as a way to attract patients and increase practice revenue.
Aestheticians may also be self-employed and contract themselves out to medical facilities. They may just build their own client base and maintain their own office space, but this is not as common.
What Do Aestheticians Do?
Depending on experience and training, aestheticians provide a wide variety of services and procedures. They will meet with clients (or patients) by appointment, and consult on skin care needs. Aestheticians will examine the patient's skin and recommend a skin care regimen and products, provide pre- and post-operative skin care, or help manage effects of diseases or skin conditions such as rashes or other outbreaks. They may help patients minimize the appearance of various skin imperfections such as acne or surgical scars. Aestheticians may also help reduce the effects of aging on the skin.
Common services include chemical peels, scrubs, hair removal, and more. Not all aestheticians are trained and experienced in the same procedures.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are about 47,000 aestheticians and medical aestheticians employed in the United States. The BLS projects more than 11,000 new jobs to be added, which is a strong 25 percent growth rate, and one that is faster than average.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the median annual salary for aestheticians as $30,00 annually, which equates to about $14.55 per hour as of 2016.
How to Become a Medical Aesthetician
Aestheticians must complete a training program that is accredited by the State Board of Cosmetology. These programs are usually provided at vocational schools. Additionally, all states except Connecticut require a certification exam for licensure. Specific requirements for aesthetician licensure and certification vary by state, so be sure to check with your state board where you wish to practice.
Additionally, before you enroll in a training program, research the program and make sure it is accredited and provides the appropriate training.
Perks and Drawbacks
If you love helping others to feel and look their best, this career could be very rewarding for you, especially if you are passionate about skin care. Job growth is projected to be very strong, so there should be a better chance of landing a job as an aesthetician.
However, as medical careers go, being an aesthetician is not one of the highest paying medical careers. If you are looking for a particularly lucrative career, you may want to look into other careers in the field of dermatology such as being a dermatology nurse or even a dermatologist. However, those careers require many more years of school and training.
Evergreen Beauty College. What's the Difference Between a Cosmetologist and an Esthetician?
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Skincare Specialists. Updated September 4, 2019.
CT.gov. Estetician Licensing.