How Many Years Does It Take To Become A Medical Esthetician

November 17, 2020

A medical esthetician these days can be in high demand. As medical beauty treatments become more popular among people looking to retain their youth or improve their appearance more estheticians are needed. In the beauty industry the esthetician works to improve the health and appearance or beautification of the skin.

The procedures that an esthetician carries out can include waxing, chemical peels, steaming and much more. 

What Are Esthetics?

Esthetics traditionally is the branch of philosophy that deals with art and taste in relation to the idea of beauty. An esthetician is involved with beauty, but unlike a cosmetician who looks after nails, skin and hair, an esthetician is only involved in skin treatments to improve the appearance, beauty and health of the skin.

How Do You Become A Medical Esthetician?

The role requires state licensing and estheticians are classed as health and wellness professionals. In some states including Washington DC, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia a master esthetician license is also available. This allows the person to perform more advanced medical treatments. To become a medical esthetician you first need to visit esthetician school.

What Happens At An Esthetician School?

An esthetician school will teach you all you need to know to start out on a career as an esthetician or medical esthetician. You will be taught about disorders that can affect the health of the skin and all about both the physiology and anatomy of the skin.

You will be taught how to perform a facial cleanse and remove toxins from the skin and how to recognize various skin disorders. Although, an esthetician is not allowed to treat serious problems with the skin they are able to refer clients to doctors and dermatologists for the correct treatment.

There is a lot of hands-on work at an esthetician school and you will get to practice the new skills that you are acquiring. There may be lab sessions or if you are studying part-time you could look at an internship to gain hands-on experience.

The school will also help prepare you for the state exam. There are two parts to the exam. One is practical and the other a written test. You will need to pass both of these to successfully continue on your career path. 

How Long Does It Take To Become An Esthetician?

Esthetician school is a trade school and like most of these you will find completing the course takes less time than an undergraduate program. The course is likely to take between 4-6 months if taken full time or 9-12 months if you take it on a part-time basis. The amount of hours in your training depends on which state you are in. In general an esthetics course lasts for about 600 hours but some states are higher such as Texas, 750 hours, and Georgia which requires 1000 hours.

During this time you will learn how to perform body wraps, facials, waxing, spa treatments, salt glows, aromatherapy and make-up application.

How Do I Become A Medical Esthetician?

If you want to work in a medical area then you will need a master licence. This means studying and training for longer. The benefits of obtaining a master license are more opportunities and higher salary. You might need to train for up to 1500 hours for this license. You would learn the same techniques as the standard training but also learn how to perform chemical peels, laser skin resurfacing, microdermabrasion, and laser hair removal. This would let you work in a medical spa or plastic surgeon’s office.

What Else Does An Esthetician School Prepare You For?

Esthetician school does not just prepare you for performing beauty and spa treatments they can help you in other ways too. They will often teach the students how to deal with clients and there may be other courses available on how to run your own business or obtain work for your new career.

Beware of courses promising job placements at the end of the training. Good schools will not offer promises of this type but will give the options of networking. Many estheticians and master estheticians received their first job placements due to their professors referring them or from meeting other people in the industry while training and gaining experience. The schools may also provide you with a new group of friends and possibly life long ones at that. 

Where Do Estheticians And Medical Estheticians Usually Work?

After you have passed your state exam and gained your licence you will want to embark on your career. Estheticians typically work in day spas, destination, or resort spas plus salons. However you are not limited to these options. Your skills allow you some freedom and opportunities to work in different environments.

Cruise ships hire estheticians to work on board, larger hotels may offer esthetician services and medical spas such as Ethos Spa need estheticians too. By working freelance you could have private clients and work in exciting areas such as fashion TV or film. You are also able to open your own business once you are licensed.

A medical esthetician will normally work in medical settings such as a hospital, dermatologists, plastic surgery practice or a hospital. 

What Sort Of Salary Can A Medical Esthetician Expect?

Salaries for medical estheticians are normally higher than an esthetician. The starting salary may be around $34,000 per annum for a medical esthetician compared to $31,000 for a regular esthetician. This is due to the increased responsibilities that a medical esthetician has. After around 10 years experience the salaries will show a far greater gap with a medical esthetician averaging around $10,000 a year more than their counterpart. Salaries for estheticians are affected by where you live too.


Becoming a medical esthetician takes some time and commitment, but is an achievable qualification for anyone who has the interest and the right attitude to put in the practice and time needed. Taking the masters licence training means more opportunities and the ability to work as an esthetician in a variety of environments but also being able to work in a medical setting too.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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