Medical Aesthetician Career Profile

Female aesthician portrait in clinic
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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.

The Difference Between Aestheticians and Cosmetologists

Aestheticians are sometimes confused for cosmetologists. While there is some overlap, cosmetologists are usually not employed in a medical setting, and they typically 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.

Where Aestheticians Work

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 the 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.

Typical services include chemical peels, scrubs, hair removal, and more. Not all aestheticians are trained and experienced in the same procedures.

Job Outlook 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are about 71,800 skincare specialists employed in the United States. The BLS projects more than 7,800 new jobs to be added, which is a strong 11% growth rate, and one that is faster than average.

Average Income 

The median hourly wage for skincare specialists was $15.05 in May 2018. The lowest 10% earned less than $9.29, and the highest 10% earned more than $28.75. Skincare specialists who worked in medical offices earned $19.35 per hour.

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 above average, so there should be a better chance of landing a job as an aesthetician.

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 consider 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 education and training.