Skincare specialists, also known as estheticians, provide cleansing and other face and body treatments to enhance a person’s appearance.


Skincare specialists typically do the following:

  • Disinfect equipment and clean work areas before and after procedures
  • Evaluate clients’ skin condition and appearance
  • Discuss available treatments and determine which products will improve clients’ skin quality
  • Remove unwanted hair, using wax, lasers, or other approved treatments
  • Clean the skin before applying makeup
  • Recommend skincare products, such as cleansers, creams, or lotions
  • Teach and advise clients on how to apply makeup and how to care for their skin
  • Refer clients to another skincare specialist, such as a dermatologist, for serious skin problems

Skincare specialists give facials, full-body treatments, and head and neck massages to improve the health and appearance of the skin. Some provide other skincare treatments to remove dead or dry skin, such as masks, peels, and scrubs. They also may provide eyelash services, makeup application, and hair removal.

In addition, these specialists create daily skincare routines for clients based on skin analysis and help them understand which products will work best for them.

Those who operate their own salons have managerial duties that include hiring, firing, and supervising workers, as well as keeping business and inventory records, ordering supplies, and arranging for advertising.

Work Environment

Skincare specialists held about 80,500 jobs in 2021. The largest employers of skincare specialists were as follows:

Personal care services 43%
Self-employed workers 35
Offices of physicians 7
Health and personal care stores                  7
Traveler accommodation 2

Skincare specialists usually work in salons and beauty and health spas. Some work in medical offices. Skincare specialists may have to stand for extended periods of time.

Because skincare specialists must evaluate the condition of the skin, good lighting and clean surroundings are important. Protective clothing and good ventilation also may be necessary, because skincare specialists often use chemicals on the face and body.

Work Schedules

Part-time work is common for skincare specialists. Work schedules may vary and include evenings and weekends.

Education and Training

Skincare specialists must complete a state-approved cosmetology or esthetician program and then pass a state exam for licensure.


To enter the occupation, skincare specialists typically must complete a state-approved cosmetology or esthetician program. Although some high schools may offer vocational training, most people receive their training from a postsecondary vocational school. The Associated Skin Care Professionals organization offers a State Regulation Guide, downloadable as a PDF, on its Requirements by State page.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

After completing an approved cosmetology or esthetician program, skincare specialists take a written and practical exam to get a state license. Licensing requirements vary by state, so those interested should contact their state board.

The National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology and American Association of Cosmetology Schools provide contact information for state licensing boards. Resources about exam and licensing requirements include sample exam questions.

Many states offer continuing education seminars and programs designed to keep skincare specialists current on new techniques and products. Post-licensing training is also available through manufacturers, associations, and at trade shows.

State reciprocity agreements may allow licensed skincare specialists to get a license in another state without needing additional formal training or state board testing. Contact your state licensing agency for details.

Personality and Interests

Skincare specialists typically have an interest in the Building, Helping and Persuading interest areas, according to the Holland Code framework. The Building interest area indicates a focus on working with tools and machines, and making or fixing practical things. The Helping interest area indicates a focus on assisting, serving, counseling, or teaching other people. The Persuading interest area indicates a focus on influencing, motivating, and selling to other people.

If you are not sure whether you have a Building or Helping or Persuading interest which might fit with a career as a skincare specialist, you can take a career test to measure your interests.

Skincare specialists should also possess the following specific qualities:

Business skills. Skincare specialists who run their own salon must understand general business principles. For example, they should be skilled at administrative tasks, such as accounting and personnel management, and be able to manage a salon efficiently and profitably.

Customer-service skills. Skincare specialists should be friendly and courteous when dealing with clients. Repeat business is important, particularly for self-employed workers.

Initiative. Self-employed skincare specialists generate their own business opportunities and must be proactive in finding new clients.

Physical stamina. Skincare specialists must be able to spend most of their day standing and massaging clients’ faces and bodies.

Tidiness. Workers must keep a neat personal appearance and keep their work area clean and sanitary. This requirement is necessary for the health and safety of their clients, as well as to make the clients comfortable enough to want to return. 

Time-management skills. Time-management skills are important in scheduling appointments and providing services.


The median hourly wage for skincare specialists was $17.93 in May 2021. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $11.10, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $31.58.

In May 2021, the median hourly wages for skincare specialists in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Offices of physicians $18.17
Personal care services 17.93
Health and personal care stores                  15.21
Traveler accommodation 14.34

Part-time work is common for skincare specialists. Work schedules may vary and include evenings and weekends.

Job Outlook

Employment of skincare specialists is projected to grow 17 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 13,500 openings for skincare specialists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire. 


The projected increase in employment reflects demand for services being offered, such as mini-sessions (quick facials at a lower cost) and mobile facials (making house calls) directly from skincare specialists rather than hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists. Employment growth also should result from the desire among many women and a growing number of men who seek out skincare services to reduce the effects of aging, to look good on social media platforms, and to lead a healthier lifestyle through better grooming.

For More Information

For information about skincare specialists and a state regulation guide, visit

Associated Skin Care Professionals (ASCP)

For information about education and cosmetology schools, visit

Beauty Schools Directory

For information about the spa industry, visit

International Spa Association (ISPA)

For information about state licensing, practice exams, and other resources, visit

American Association of Cosmetology Schools (AACS)

National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC)

Professional Beauty Association (PBA)




Where does this information come from?

The career information above is taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. This excellent resource for occupational data is published by the U.S. Department of Labor every two years. Truity periodically updates our site with information from the BLS database.

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