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What is a typical Esthetician Salary + How to Earn More

Sometimes we grow up knowing exactly what we want to do in life; sometimes, we don’t know until much later where our passion truly lies. If you are reading this article, then you are likely strongly considering a career as an Esthetician.

These days skincare specialists and medical Estheticians are in more demand than ever. The beauty industry is growing exponentially and is expected to grow even more in the coming years.

There are a few factors make the career as an Esthetician very attractive. It has a low barrier to entry – typically a high school diploma and a beautician school certification are enough to start you on the path to success. It also allows you to forge your own path as an entrepreneur instead of working for someone. You are in control of how much you make and what direction you take your business in.

Speaking of income, this is just what we want we want to discuss in this article. How much do Estheticians make? What is the average salary and overall income potential? And of course, an essential question for anyone who wants to advance their career – how do I earn more?

We’ll answer all these questions, but first, let’s take a quick look at what is a licensed Esthetician and what fields you can specialize in.

What is a licensed Esthetician?
As mentioned above, an Esthetician is a professional licensed by either the department of health or the board of cosmetology, depending on the state.

Estheticians are experts in skin wellness and rejuvenation and are familiar with the practices and treatments to help the client achieve beautiful, youthful skin. They perform treatments such as waxing, chemical peel, facials and more. While a big focus of an Esthetician’s practice is focusing on the face of the client, other areas of our bodies are certainly not forgotten.

Body wraps, massages, and waxing are common treatments that apply to the rest of the body as well.

Not only does the Esthetician help to improve their client’s skin texture and appearance, but they also nurture their client’s spirit. If you’ve ever been to an Esthetician, you know what a relaxing and pampering experience it can be when done right.

Different types of Estheticians
A path to becoming an Esthetician seems simple – finish beauty school, get licensed and get to work! But what can you specialize in? How many different types of Estheticians are there? Below you will find the answer to that question, in hopes that it helps make your choice a little easier.

Salon Esthetician
A salon Esthetician is a general term for an Esthetician that works in a salon or a spa and is licensed by the state. They can perform different skin related treatments, anything from waxing and sugaring to body wraps and facial treatments.

Skincare specialists
Clients seek out skincare specialists to get professional, expert advice on how to properly take care and clean their skin, as well as get recommendations on skin care regiments that fit their skin profile and lifestyle.

As a skincare specialist, you will work on helping your client’s skin to look and be youthful, fresh and healthy. They also help the client understand what ingredients they need to be looking for when choosing skincare products for their skin. Many skin care specialists also sell specific products in their spas.

Wax Specialist
Just as the name implies, a certified waxing Esthetician works in a salon and provides waxing treatments. As a waxing Esthetician, you will advise your clients and will be proficient in different waxing techniques such as using hard or soft wax. You will be expected to perform underarm, bikini, leg and back waxing treatments.

Makeup Artist
Unlike an Esthetician, a makeup artist does not perform any treatments, nor do they work on making the skin healthy. Instead, they use their talent to make a client’s skin and face (and sometimes other body parts) appear as beautiful as possible. A makeup artist works to enhance their client’s good facial features and conceal the not so good ones.
Brand Representative
Brand representatives, or as they are known brand ambassadors are influencers that use their social status and channels to promote a specific brand. You may see a beauty blogger always refer to or promote a particular brand, mention them on their social media accounts. Chances are they are that brand’s beauty ambassador.

Spa Therapist
A spa therapist works in a spa and offers their clients services such as massages, body scrubs, baths, and body wraps.  An esthetician that works in a spa setting strives to provide an invigorating experience both for the body and mind. As such they often add aromatherapy, mud baths and hot stone massages to their offered services.

Medical Esthetician
A medical aesthetician is a slightly different field from the others that we described as it focuses on clinical procedures. Medical estheticians work under the supervision of a doctor in a hospital, a medical office or sometimes a medical spa. As a medical esthetician, you will typically specialize in skin care and work with patients who have skin problems related to injuries or illnesses such as post-chemo skin treatment, burn victims and more.
It is important to realize that a medical esthetician is not a medical professional. They do not perform invasive procedures and cannot diagnose, prescribe medicine, or treat skin conditions or diseases. They are trained to recognize certain skin conditions and are typically able to refer you to a medical professional for further diagnostic and treatment.



How much is an Esthetician’s pay?
The income potential of a career opportunity is an important factor when considering your profession. As an entrepreneur, esthetician’s income is not capped at a specific number.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics[1], a national average yearly salary of a skincare specialist is $30,000. The income ranges from around $18,000 per year for a starting salary to $60,000 per year for top 10%.

Few factors affect the pay rate for an Esthetician such as location, specialization, and a type of employer. For example, the top paying employers are medical locations such as medical spas and hospitals.

Below we compiled a handy table illustrating the average income for an Esthetician vs. other cosmetology fields.[2]


Esthetician Nail Technician Hairdresser Massage Therapist Optician
Average yearly salary $30,270 $24,330 $29,590 $44,480 $37,860


How to earn more?
Once you get started as an Esthetician, inevitably this question pops up – What can I do to earn more?
Below are three ways you can increase your earning power as an Esthetician.

Sell products – Selling skincare products is a great way to boost your income. If you work at a salon or a spa you are likely able to earn commission on products sold. Since skincare products are consumable goods, clients will come to you again and again if the product works for them.

Specialize – A sure way to increase your income is to become an expert in your chosen field. Once you’ve chosen your niche, completing continuing educations and earning certifications will prove to your customers that you know everything you need to know about their specific problem and can help them better than a general practitioner. Who would you rather see you for a heart problem – a family doctor or a cardiologist? Same with estheticians. Once you are viewed as an expert, you can command higher rates and generally, clients will seek you out themselves.

Attend trade shows – Attending trade shows helps you stay relevant and “in-the-know” of all the new treatments that might benefit your clients. Trade shows also offer excellent opportunities for networking.

As you can see, becoming an esthetician is an exciting opportunity. An esthetician’s salary can vary greatly, but with working hard and keeping current with all the new treatments, the sky is the limit.

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[1] Esthetician and Skincare Specialist Salary, (2018). [online] Available at: https://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/esthetician-and-skincare-specialist/salary [Accessed 30 Aug. 2018].

[2] Esthetician and Skincare Specialist Salary, (2018). [online] Available at: https://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/esthetician-and-skincare-specialist/salary [Accessed 30 Aug. 2018].


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