How to Choose the Best Esthetician School
Did you know that the Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected a 12% employment growth for estheticians and skin care specialists from 2014 all the way through 2024? That’s faster than the average growth for all occupations in the United States! There’s never been a better time to become an esthetician than right now. But, how exactly do you become an esthetician? And, how do you choose the best esthetician school? I’m glad you asked.
In this article, I am going to show you what you need to look for when choosing an esthetician school. There are more than a dozen factors you will want to take into consideration to ensure that the school you choose will give you the best quality esthetics education at the fairest price. Here at Esthetician Schooling, we’ve researched over 1,000 esthetic schools across the United States and have created a table that shows you:
- Exactly how many esthetician schools are in your state
- How many of those schools are accredited by the NACCAS
- The average tuition cost of the schools in your state
- The lowest tuition cost of the schools in your state
- The highest tuition cost of the schools in your state
- The average graduation rate of esthetician students in your state
- The average job placement rate of esthetician students in your state
- The average loan debt incurred by esthetician students in your state
- The average length of esthetician programs in your state
I’ll also show you what you can expect to learn at an esthetic school. While almost all schools teach you what you need to know to obtain licensure in your state, some schools go above and beyond the call of duty and train you in other aspects of the esthetics field, such as business building, self-marketing, client building, medical esthetics, and more.
In addition to this article, you’ll find our Esthetician School Ratings to be very useful in helping you decide which school is right for you. We are the only website to give over 500 esthetician schools a rating based on:
- The school’s tuition cost
- How much financial aid is made available at the school
- The school’s graduation rate
- The school’s job placement rate
- Whether or not the school is accredited by the NACCAS
- Whether or not the school has a training spa
Without further ado, let’s get started!
What Do Estheticians Do?
First, what exactly does an esthetician do? An esthetician, also spelled aesthetician, is someone who helps people look and feel their best, either by caring for a person’s skin or by cosmetically enhancing their skin. Estheticians do this by:
- Waxing, threading, or chemically removing unwanted hair
- Applying facials, exfoliations, and masks to improve skin tone and cleanse pores
- Addressing oily, dry, or acne-prone skin using an assortment of products
- Extracting blackheads
- Chemical peels
- Body wraps, body scrubs, and moisturizing treatments
- Applying makeup
- Massaging the face, neck, and scalp
- Educating clients on what types of products to use to care for their skin
Medical estheticians, also known as paramedical estheticians, usually work for dermatologists, cosmetic surgeons, medical spas, and specialized clinics. They use more advanced techniques along with the techniques mentioned above. Medical estheticians may:
- Help patients with skin cancer moisturize their dry skin
- Help burn victims improve their skin or hide any scarring using cosmetics
- Provide pre-operative or post-operative skin care treatments
- Perform laser therapy or use potent acids to treat certain skin ailments
Before choosing a school, it is a good idea to decide whether you want to become a spa esthetician, or pursue the advanced training needed to become a medical esthetician. Only certain schools can provide you with this type of esthetics training.
What Will I Learn in Esthetician School?
The primary objective of an esthetician school is to educate and train you in the field of esthetics/skin care so you will be equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to pass the esthetics written (theory) exam and practical exam created by the National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC). You must pass these two exams in order to obtain your esthetician license in the state where you will be practicing. Of course, the second objective of an esthetic school is to prepare you for a successful career as a professional esthetician.
Now, here is where the esthetics curriculum may vary from school to school. How many hours of esthetics training you will need to acquire varies from school to school based on the number of hours of certification training required by the state that school resides in. For instance, the state of Florida only requires estheticians and skin care specialists to acquire 260 hours of esthetics training, while the state of Alabama requires students to acquire 1500 hours of esthetics training. The only state that does not require estheticians to acquire any formal training is the state of Connecticut.
Some schools, like Aveda Institute and Empire Beauty Schools, go above and beyond the basics, incorporating career development, self-marketing, business building, and clientele building into their curriculum. This usually includes training in time management, cover letter and resume writing, interview techniques, debt management, and more.
With that being said, you can expect to learn about the following topics to some degree or another, no matter which school you attend:
- Facial massage
- Hair removal
- Waxing techniques
- Chemical peels
- Color theory
- Skin analysis
- Skin disorders
- Skin diseases
- Lymphatic drainage
- Safe work practices
- Products for the skin
- Esthetics equipment/tools
- Clinic setup
- Client consultation
- State sanitation laws
- State laws and rules
No matter which school you attend, you can expect to learn esthetics theory in the classroom and acquire hands-on training in the lab or in-school spa.
What Factors Should I Consider When Choosing an Esthetics School?
Let’s face it, trying to decide which esthetician school to attend can be just as stressful as school itself. You may already be looking at several different schools, gathering as much information as you can online so you can finally make an informed decision… only to wonder if you’re really making the right choice. Or, maybe you’re just now thinking about going to school and you haven’t really given it any more thought than that. Either way, we’ve got you covered. We’re going to list the most important factors to take into consideration when choosing a school.
If I were to ask you which factor was the most important to consider when deciding on which school to attend, many of you would probably say “cost” or “program length”. Some of you might say “the amount of loan debt I’ll graduate with”. And, a few of you might even say “the job placement rate” or “the student graduation rate”.
Lucky for you, we, here at Esthetician Schooling, have done the research and have collected this information from over 600 esthetician schools nationwide. You’ll find this information in our state-mapped Esthetician School Directory.
We show you:
- How much the esthetics program will cost
- How much financial aid is available at that school
- How long the school’s esthetics program will take you to complete
- The percentage of students that graduated on-time the previous year
- The percentage of those graduates that secured employment in the field of esthetics
We’ve even given each school a rating based on the information above so you can easily see how one school compares to another. While this information is extremely helpful, there are other factors you will want to consider when choosing an esthetics school. They include:
- Tour – Can you tour the school during class hours?
- Debt – Do most of the students graduate with school debt or do they graduate debt-free?
- Location – Can you commute or will you have to move? Is the school located in a safe area?
- Experience – Is there an in-school salon/spa where you can gain experience with real clients?
- Class Schedules – Can you attend the school part-time, nights/weekends if necessary?
- Instructors – How much industry experience do the instructors have? Do they stay up-to-date?
- Teaching Styles – Will the teachers work with slow learners and handicapped students?
- Class Size – Are the classes small? Do the teachers allow some time for one-on-one instruction?
- Facilities – Are the classes, restrooms, and break room clean and well-equipped?
- Equipment – Does the school have newer, up-to-date equipment to train on?
- Materials – Are the learning materials and multimedia presentations digital or state-of-the-art?
- Exam Prep – To what extent will the school go to help you prepare for and pass the NIC exams?
- Reputation – Is the school known for training well-qualified graduates who easily find jobs?
- Job Placement Assistance – Will the school help you find a job in your chosen career field?
Always remember to ask any questions you may have about the school, the program, or the instructors. In fact, it’s a good idea to make a list of questions before you even visit the school so you won’t forget what to ask.
If you schedule a tour during school hours, this will give you a good idea of what it will be like to attend the school as a student. Remember, it’s better to find out about the school’s strengths and weaknesses before you are forced to make a commitment, both academically and financially.
One more thing. You may want to ask professionals working in the esthetics industry what they think are the best esthetician schools to attend. Most estheticians working in the industry today were once students themselves and they know the business better than anyone. Just be aware that you may get a biased opinion. Many estheticians will probably tell you that the best school to attend is the one they graduated from and that might not be true in your particular case. Just because that particular school was right for them doesn’t mean it will be right for you. It all depends on what you, yourself, are looking for in a beauty school.
Is This School Accredited?
Probably one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a school is accreditation.
The National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences (NACCAS) is an independent accrediting commission that has been officially recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a national agency for the institutional accreditation of post-secondary schools and departments of cosmetology arts and sciences.
Schools whose esthetician programs are NACCAS accredited must adhere to a strict set of standards put forth by the agency. The NACCAS determines if the school meets NACCAS standards and is even inspected by a team of officials who visit the school and evaluate the school’s facilities, equipment, and curriculum.
NACCAS accredited schools are re-evaluated every six months and, if the schools don’t meet the minimum NACCAS standards, they lose their accreditation until the necessary changes have been made.
If a school’s esthetics curriculum isn’t accredited by the NACCAS, you’re taking a slight risk by going to that school, since they are not required to meet national standards of educational performance.
Guess what? We’ve got you covered… again! Our Esthetician School Directory shows you which schools’ esthetician programs are accredited by the NACCAS, so you won’t have to spend countless hours searching the Web to find out.
Esthetician School Statistics
We’ve created the table below to help you see how the school you are considering attending compares with other schools in your state and other states across the country. We’ve done this by gathering information from almost all the esthetic schools in each state and calculating the following averages:
- Tuition Cost – Does not include other school related expenses such as books and materials
- Graduation Rate – The percentage of students who graduated on time
- Job placement Rate – The percentage of graduates who found work in their career field
- Loan Debt – The amount of school loan debt students graduated with
- Program Length – The length of the school’s esthetics program
This information can act as a starting point in helping you see how the school you are considering attending stacks up against the averages of other schools in your state.
|State||Esthetician Schools||NACCAS Accredited Schools||Lowest Tuition Cost||Highest Tuition Cost||Avg Tuition Cost||Avg Graduation Rate||Avg Job Placement Rate||Avg Loan Debt||Avg Program Length|
|State||Esthetician Schools||Lowest Tuition Cost||Highest Tuition Cost||Average Tuition Cost||Avg Graduation Rate||Avg Job Placement Rate||Avg Loan Debt||Avg Program Length|
|District of Columbia||2||1||$9,255||$9,255||$9,255||66%||55%||$0||26 wks|
|New Hampshire||7||6||$10,950||$15,230||$12,189||90%||59%||$6,470||28 wks|
|New Jersey||24||18||$7,300||$9,847||$8,189||53%||83%||$4,013||22 wks|
|New Mexico||8||4||$7,200||$10,125||$8,436||72%||64%||$9,317||23 wks|
|New York||30||23||$2,850||$15,100||$7,782||49%||74%||$4,213||23 wks|
|North Carolina||12||7||$3,800||$12,075||$9,164||67%||74%||$7,726||30 wks|
|North Dakota||3||3||$8,000||$8,000||$8,000||N/A||N/A||N/A||20 wks|
|Rhode Island||2||2||$9,195||$9,598||$9,397||67%||74%||$6,259||20 wks|
|South Carolina||12||7||$4,600||$11,380||$8,426||86%||85%||$7,270||27 wks|
|South Dakota||2||1||$5,975||$6,900||$6,438||94%||74%||$5,000||23 wks|
|West Virginia||3||2||$5,500||$7,425||$6,463||N/A||N/A||N/A||22 wks|
Deciding on which esthetician school you should attend doesn’t have to be a stress-inducing experience, especially when you equip yourself with the information we’ve provided here at Esthetician Schooling.
Do your research, ask lots of questions, compare the school ratings and reviews on this website, and stay focused and you’ll discover which school is the right school for you.
Remember, knowledge is just knowledge, but applied knowledge is power. And, that power will help you get the best esthetician education and training you can afford.