Skin care specialists, or estheticians, beautify and treat their client’s skin. If you love working with people, and helping them to feel great, then this could be the job for you. With demand for the profession booming, now’s the perfect time to consider a career in esthetics. Ever wondered how much a skin care specialist makes? Read on, as this article describes an esthetician’s average salary, key responsibilities, typical work environment and career path.
What is the average salary for a skin care specialist? In 2012, the median annual income was $33,810 or $16.26 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The top 10% of earners made $58,880 annually, whereas the lowest 10% earned $17,680.
Several factors influence annual salaries. Firstly, location. Generally, those working in bustling metropolitan environments earn more than their rural counterparts, as demand for beauty treatment is higher in cities. Earnings also differ by state; the top 5 paying states are Wyoming, Oregon, Virginia, Vermont and Ohio. Salaries rise in proportion with job experience; 5-10 years in the profession generates earnings approximately 20% higher than incomes of newly-hired employees, who can expect starting salaries around $17,680. Lastly, income varies with employer.
Benefit packages are usually offered to those employed in medical positions, and consist of health care, social security and pension plans. All estheticians can expect to receive time-off.
Skin care specialists help to cleanse and beatify the body and face; both enhancing skin’s appearance, and treating minor health conditions.
Clients receive different care depending on their needs. Before treatment, estheticians will evaluate the skin’s condition, and based on their findings will suggest treatment options. They will recommend skin products that suit their client’s skin, as well as advising them on how care for their skin, perhaps offering a personalized skin care regimen.
Estheticians provide a variety of procedures. They apply make-up to hide blemishes and spots that the client wishes to hide, or remove hair using wax and lasers. They may also provide masks, exfoliating scrubs, head and neck massages, pedicures or manicures.
Many skin care specialists work for themselves, so also carry out financial and managerial tasks. Most sell skin care products to the public, so will spend time marketing and product selection. Other duties include performing inventory checks, managing store personnel, completing paperwork, and book keeping.
As their job is based on evaluating and enhancing their client’s skin, estheticians must work in well-lit, clean environments. The vast majority of professionals are employed in beauty salons and clinics, while the minority who specialize in medical skin care work in hospitals.
The profession has both emotional and physical demands. Most of an esthetician’s day is spent on their feet treating clients, which some may find tiring. Also, dealing with demanding, rude or upset clients can be stressful and frustrating. As they spend all day working with people, it’s important for skin care specialists to have strong intra-personal skills.
Most work full time, equating to around 40 hours per week. Because their schedules must be tailored around clients, they often work during evenings and weekends when the public have time for beauty treatments. 27% of skin care specialists are self-employed. Working independently greatly increases schedule flexibility, and often results in greater annual salaries. On the other hand, without the safety net of a guaranteed income, they often work longer hours.
For those with a passion for people, esthetics is an enjoyable and fulfilling career. In a survey conducted by PayScale, skin care specialists said they were “extremely satisfied” with their job, ranking it 5/5 for job satisfaction. The industry is almost exclusively occupied by women.
How to become an Esthetician
Prospective estheticians must graduate from a state-approved cosmetology or esthetics program, then obtain licensure. State licensure requirements vary, though almost all involve passing written and practical exams, with the exception of Connecticut, where a license isn’t required.
Esthetics programs are offered by a variety of institutions. Some colleges and universities offer two year Associate’s degrees, though most estheticians will study in a vocation school. Some high schools also offer vocational courses in cosmetology and beauty. Programs vary in time scale, though the Association of Skin Care Professionals provide a State Regulation Guide, which sets out the minimum number of hours required to complete esthetics-related programs.
Newly-hired staff often need further training, for example, to handle chemicals, which is learned on-the-job. Admission into medical skin care positions typically requires that candidates are certified. Certification is received upon completion of a one year medical skin care course, which trains students in more advanced dermatological treatments. To maintain certified status, professionals must continually learn about the latest developments in their field, often through attending education seminars.
Estheticians have never enjoyed higher demand for their services. BLS predicts employment opportunities to increase by 40% during the 2012-2022 projection period, which is far higher than the average for all occupations.
Demand is driven by multiple factors. New, convenient beauty services offered by estheticians have vastly grown in popularity. “Mini-sessions”, or quick facials, are proving to be a hit with customers, as they’re less time intensive and more affordable than conventional beauty treatments. Also, estheticians are increasingly providing services in clients’ homes, making beauty treatment much more convenient.
In today’s modern age of celebrities, mass media and reality TV, more and more people are wanting to look young forever. Desire among women, and a growing number of men, to fight the effects of aging with skin care treatment is burgeoning demand for estheticians.
Nowadays, massages and beauty treatments are viewed as a way to relax, or maybe a gift for a special someone, which has not been the case in the past, so skin care specialists can expect to be in high demand for years to come.
Make-up artists select and apply make-up to give their client a particular appearance. Their skills are utilized on movie sets, theatre productions or for television personalities. Artists must have extensive knowledge of lighting and photographic effects, which will determine which concealers, foundations and colors to use on clients. Make-up artists have diverse backgrounds. Many have Bachelor’s degrees in theatre or arts courses, whereas many have completed cosmetology programs. The profession’s average salary in 2012 was $26,270 (BLS), but those working for high-budget movie productions typically earn far more.
Photographers use cameras to create visual images for a myriad of different purposes. Professional photographers may be employed to capture wild-life stills for nature documentaries, or photograph cat-walk models for clothing companies. Most professionals complete Bachelor’s degrees in photography. The average salary in 2012 was $29,280 according to BLS.