How Can I Become a Medical Esthetician?

A licensed medical esthetician is a skin specialist who provides care and treatment for the terminally ill, burn patients or those undergoing such procedures as chemotherapy, which may result in the loss of hair. This job requires formal training and licensure. Read about how you can meet these qualifications, and learn more about the job duties and earning potential of medical estheticians. Schools offering Esthetics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Education Will I Require to Become a Medical Esthetician?

Estheticians are trained through cosmetology programs. You can seek general training through state-approved cosmetology schools, vocational schools or community colleges. In order to specialize in medical esthetics, it will be necessary to receive on-the-job training in medical offices and acquire additional education. It is recommended that you take science classes such as anatomy and biology in order to prepare yourself for a career as a medical esthetician. Training programs vary in length and can last several months or take up to two years to complete.

You can train at the diploma, certificate and associate's degree level. Diploma-granting cosmetology programs include courses in marketing and sales, salon management and law, facial clinics, spa science, esthetics clinic and human relations. A certificate program might include courses such as personal grooming and hygiene, cosmetics composition and chemistry, skin care techniques, physiology, bacteriology, sanitation, make-up and the use of electrical tools. If you opt for an associate's degree program, you take classes such as anatomy and physiology, diseases and body systems, skin massage and analysis, medical terminology and kinesiology.

Will I Need to Become Licensed?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), state boards must license all personal-care workers. Licensing allows you to work in department stores, salons and spas. You could also work in a plastic surgeon's, dermatologist's or physician's office. Licensing requirements differ by state, so it's imperative that you check your individual state's laws. In general, you need to be at least 16 and complete a state-licensed cosmetology program. As part of your licensing examination, you showcase your written, oral and practical understanding of medical esthetics.

What Job Duties Will I Have?

Specific job duties depend on where you are employed. For example, if you work for a dermatologist, you might provide pore cleansing facials and exfoliation treatments for patients. In a doctor's office, you might assist cancer patients with measuring their brow lines so that they can draw natural-looking eyebrows. Or you might provide services in burn units and help patients cover any scarring with foundation and finishing powders.

If you're employed in a plastic surgeon's office, your duties might encompass giving preoperative and postoperative treatments to patients. Other job duties may include giving instruction on skin care, including cleansing and moisturizing technique. You also determine the right make up colors to complement clients' skin tone and personal style.

How Much Money Could I Earn?

The BLS reported that skin-care specialists who worked in physician's offices earned average yearly salaries of $38,020 as of 2009 (www.bls.gov). Employees of health and personal-care stores were paid $29,590 on average. It was reported by Payscale.com as of February 2011 that medical estheticians with 1-4 years of experience were paid between $27,491 and $38,957 per year (www.payscale.com).

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