How to Become a Licensed Esthetician in Massachusetts
Many noteworthy names in the world of fashion and beauty have come from the state of Massachusetts such as Audrey Hepburn, Donna Summer, Alfred Fiandaca, and Julie Andrews.
This state is no stranger to making people look good. In fact, you can help people here look and feel their best by becoming a licensed esthetician and working in a variety of settings like film and television sets, dermatology offices, spas, resorts, and salons.
If you are considering a career as a licensed esthetician in Massachusetts, there are many important steps and requirements to be aware of. Keep reading to find out what they are.
Esthetician License Requirements and Training Schools in Massachusetts
Before you can become an esthetician in the state of Massachusetts, you are required to obtain a license from the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Cosmetology and Barbering. The steps below will guide you through the entire licensing process.
- Step 1: Complete a State Approved Esthetics Program
- Step 2: Complete and Submit the Esthetician Application for Examination
- Step 3: Take and Pass the Written and Practical Esthetician Examinations
- Step 4: Renew Your MA Esthetician License Every Two Years
- Esthetician License Reciprocity in Massachusetts
- Massachusetts State Board Contact Information
- Massachusetts Written and Practical Exam Locations
Step 1: Complete a State Approved Esthetics Program
The Massachusetts Board of Registration of Cosmetology and Barbering requires those wanting to apply for their esthetician license to be a minimum of 17 years of age and have completed a 10th-grade education. In addition, you must have a minimum of 300 hours of esthetician education and training from a state-approved cosmetology school.
Although some states offer an apprenticeship pathway to becoming a licensed esthetician, the state of Massachusetts does not.
Your esthetics education and training will include classroom theory and hands-on training in:
- Safety and infection control guidelines
- State laws and guidelines
- Skin and hair assessment
- Hair removal methods
- Makeup color theory and application
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- State Board Recognition
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To get started, simply fill out the quick 1-minute application below.
Step 2: Complete and Submit the Esthetician Application for Examination
While the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Cosmetologists oversees the esthetics profession in the state, they have contracted with Pearson VUE to administer their esthetics exams.
Once you meet the above requirements, you will need to complete the Licensing Application Form. Important information regarding the information you need can be found on the application.
The director of your school will also need to fill out a portion of this application. After reading the application carefully, you will need to call Pearson VUE to make a reservation for your exam. You will also need to pay the $120 exam fee when making your reservation (the fee is $95 if you are retaking the exam).
Within 2-3 weeks after receiving your application, you will receive further information from the Massachusetts State Board. You should also get your application back.
Step 3: Take and Pass the Written and Practical Esthetician Examinations
Preparing for the Written and Practical Exams
The National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC) recommends the following reference materials to help you prepare for and pass the written (theory) and practical esthetics exams, which can be purchased at discounted prices on Amazon:
- Milady Standard Esthetics: Fundamentals (2013, 11th Edition)
- Salon Fundamentals: Esthetics Textbook (2007, 11th printing, 2nd Edition, August 2013)
We also recommend that you purchase and study the following books in preparation for your exams:
- Salon Fundamentals Esthetics Licensure Exam Prep Book (Spiral-bound – 2007)
- Modern Esthetics: A Scientific Source for Estheticians (Milady)
What to Bring to the Exam
It is strongly recommended that you arrive 30 minutes prior to your scheduled exam times for both exams. This allows time for registration.
You should also dress professionally. Any lab coat, smock, or apron you wear must not contain any marks identifying the school you attended. The same rule applies to any equipment you bring with you to the examination site.
You will need to bring the following items with you to your exams:
- Your completed and approved application which must include a school stamp or Board stamp, your signature, and all other required documents
- Two forms of identification, both must have your signature and at least one must have a photo
- Your $68 licensing fee (for acceptable payment forms see the application)
- The confirmation number you were given when you made your exam reservations
- Failing Score Report (only if you are retaking the exams)
For the practical exam, you will also need to bring the following additional items:
- A smock or apron
- A first aid kit
- Your exam supplies (see page 12 of the Candidate Information Bulletin for more information)
- An adult model (at least 16 years of age) to perform services on
Please note that your model MUST NOT be a cosmetologist, operator, esthetician, cosmetology or esthetician instructor, or a cosmetology or esthetician student. Models may only serve once in a 30 day period. Models for esthetics should not have a beard.
The Esthetics Written Exam
There are 75 multiple-choice questions on the esthetics written (theory) exam which has an allotted time of 90 minutes. The written exam is given in English, Spanish, or Vietnamese. You must score a 75% or greater to pass the exam.
The written exam outline is as follows:
I. Rules, Regulations, and Safety (30% to 40%)
- Sanitation and disinfection
- Predisposition/Patch Tests
- Client contact
II. Esthetic Science and Skin Analysis (15% to 20%)
- Skin structure and anatomy
- Purpose of skin analysis
- Skin conditions that benefit from services
- Skin conditions that preclude skin services
- Skin disorders and diseases
III. Facials (20% to 25%)
- Application, removal, and purpose of products
- Tools, implements, materials, and equipment
- Facial procedures
- Special considerations
IV. Hair Removal (16% to 20%)
- Tools, implements, materials, and equipment
V. Makeup (10% to 15%)
- Types of cosmetics
- Brushes and other implements, tools, and materials
- Color theory
- Application and removal procedures
- Corrective makeup
- Application and removal of artificial eyelashes
VI. Electricity and Electrotherapy (5% to 10%)
- Galvanic current
- High frequency current
- Light therapy
A more detailed outline can be found in the Candidate Information Bulletin.
The Esthetics Practical Exam
This hands-on practical exam will have 16 different tasks that you must complete within two hours. The exam is given in English only and covers the following subjects:
- Infection Control and Safety
- Facial – Skin Cleansing
- Skin Analysis
- Basic Facial
- Manipulations (Face, Neck & Shoulders)
- Exfoliation and Extraction (Scrub)
- Eyebrow Tweezing (Singular Brow)
- Hair Removal – Wax Upper Lip
- Makeup Application
Once you have passed both the written and practical exams and have paid your licensing fee, you will be issued a Massachusetts esthetician license bearing your photo. You can begin using this license immediately.
You may want to look over the Pearson Vue Aesthetician Scoring Sheet in preparation for the practical exam to get an idea of what you’ll be graded on during the examination.
Step 4: Renew Your MA Esthetician License Every Two Years
In order to keep your esthetician license current in the state of Massachusetts, you must renew your license every two years by the end of your birth month. You are also required to pay a renewal fee of $68.
The state board will send your renewal application before it is due. If you do not receive it, you will need to fill out this Renewal Request Worksheet.
At this time, continuing education is not required for esthetician license renewal.
Esthetician License Reciprocity in Massachusetts
The Massachusetts State Board does not allow license reciprocity from other states. If you need to obtain a Massachusetts esthetician license, you will need to pay a $136 out-of-state application fee, submit an Out of State Application and take the written and practical exams.
Massachusetts State Board of Cosmetology Contact Information
Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation
Division of Professional Licensure
1000 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02118-6100
Phone: (617) 727-3074
Fax: (617) 727-1944
Consumer Line: (617) 727-7406
Massachusetts Written and Practical Exam Locations
Below is a map showing the locations of the written and practical exams administered by Pearson Vue. Before you arrive at a test center, please be sure to call Pearson Vue’s Customer Service at 1-800-274-2021 to confirm the test center’s current address. You may want to inquire about the test center’s hours of operation as well. Testing locations are subject to change without notice.
Map of Written and Practical Exam Locations in Massachusetts
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