Guide to Choosing an Esthetics Program


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    An esthetics training program can lead to a wide range of exciting careers. In as little as six months, you could be ready to start working in the beauty industry.

    With a career in skin care and makeup, you could spend your days doing something you love. You could be on the cutting edge of the latest trends, helping people to look and feel their best, and providing relaxing spa services.

    In this guide to choosing an esthetics school, we’ll explain how to get started in esthetics. Find out what to look for in a training program and how to start a successful beauty career.

    Esthetics Classes and Education

    The most important step to launching your career is high-quality training in beauty and esthetics.

    The training you receive can determine the types of jobs you’re qualified for and whether or not you’re able to achieve your goals. Your esthetics classes should include training in both the technical precision of skin care treatments as well as aesthetics, creativity and style.

    Students also need to learn adaptability. It’s important to learn how to adjust skin care treatments based on the client’s needs or how to modify makeup application based on a color palette.

    As you look at the classes included in an Esthetics program, the following criteria can help you evaluate a program.

    1. Look for an Esthetics Program that Teaches a Variety of Skills.

    When you’re just starting your career, you want to maximize your job options by having a broad skill set. For example, estheticians who are trained in both skin care and makeup can qualify for both types of job opportunities.

    Rather than narrowing your focus, look for an Esthetics program that provides skills training in the following areas:

    With a diverse educational program, you could be qualified for the following careers:

    • Facialist: Facialists perform beauty treatments which can include face massage, chemical peels, facials and microdermabrasion. As a skin care specialist, you’d work directly with clients, helping to improve skin tone, vibrancy and address skin problems such as blemishes or aging.
    • Waxing Specialist: A waxing specialist provides hair removal services. Even though style preferences may change, the job demand is high. Approximately 21 million people in the U.S. use professional waxing services, and the industry grows about seven percent each year as more people invest in grooming services.
    • Body Treatment Specialist: Estheticians who are Body Treatment Specialists provide full-body skin services such as body wraps, polishes or back treatments. The skin is the body’s largest organ, and the public is increasingly seeking skin treatments that are relaxing, rejuvenating and improve skin health.
    • Medi-Spa Esthetician: A medi-spa esthetician provides skin care services at a medical spa. This can mean working with other areas of skin care such as dermatology or plastic surgery. Medi-Spa Esthetician services can include chemical peels, cosmetic skin scrubs or facial massage.
    • Makeup Artist: Professional makeup artists will use makeup application techniques to improve style and may work with skin care specialists to help clients improve overall skin tone. Makeup artists can work in a variety of different industries including salons, film and TV, theatre, special effects, celebrities, editorial, weddings, product counters and online influencers.

    2. How Long Will It Take to Graduate?

    You may find that the beauty school programs that you’re considering have different program lengths. Each state has different rules and requirements, and the esthetics program you attend should qualify you to become state-certified.

    Illinois & Indiana
    • Esthetics : 750 hours
    • 6 months – Full-time
    • 9 months – Part-time

    To become a licensed esthetician in Illinois, you’ll need to complete a qualified training program and pass an esthetics examination. It’s an online test that takes less than 90 minutes.

    In Indiana, an esthetics license also requires that applicants have completed training requirements and completed an esthetician exam. The exam can be taken online, and students need to get 75% correct to pass.

    The training program you attend will help you to prepare for your state’s esthetics exam.

    When considering the timing of how long it will take to graduate, the program start date is an important consideration. If you have to wait six months before you even start taking classes, the start of your career will be delayed. Look for a program that offers flexible start dates so you can start your training within weeks of making a decision.

    You may also be able to apply your high school cosmetology classes towards an accredited esthetics program, helping you graduate even faster.

    3. Make Sure You’ll Have Hands-On Training.

    Your esthetics training program should prepare you for success. That means classwork should include both information and skills training. The most effective learning can happen when you take the lessons from the classroom and apply them to salon-like environments with real clients.

    Look for esthetics programs that include the following:

    Theory Classes: Students learn essential skin care knowledge and the concepts underlying different treatment types. These classes could be taught by staff instructors, guest teachers from the community, and videos from a digital library.

    Hands-On Learning: After watching teacher demonstrations, students can develop their skills using mannequins. This is a chance to practice makeup application and esthetics techniques so you gain the confidence to work with clients.

    Business Skills: Whether your future beauty career is to work for yourself or work at a salon, business skills can help you build your esthetics career. Learn the marketing and salesmanship to help you attract and retain clients.

    Student-run Clinic Salon: The best esthetics training includes an opportunity to work with real clients. Student-run salons are a valuable training environment that can prepare you for jobs in high-end salons. Not only does this experience improve your skills and comfort, but it can build your resume to help you land your first job after school.

    4. Understand Cost and Value

    Your esthetics training is an investment in your future. To achieve the best outcome from your education, it’s important to understand how the value of the training compares to the cost. Ask yourself these questions:

    • How much does it cost?
    • When do you pay tuition?

    These initial figures set the baseline for your preliminary costs. Each school has a different price structure, and this starting point and may not reflect your adjusted tuition bill.

    • Do they offer Financial Aid?
    • What loans, grants or scholarships are available?

    If you attend an esthetics school that is recognized by the Department of Education, you may qualify for federal financial aid opportunities such as grants and low-interest student loans. There may also be private scholarships available for students just like you.

    Financial aid will vary for each situation, and these programs can help you to make the cost of attendance affordable.

    • Is the program an investment in your future?
    • Does the school’s staff have world-class experience?
    • Does the degree length compare to similar trades?

    It’s also important to consider what you’re getting for your tuition. The quality of the training can set you on a path to your future career, so the lowest-price program may not necessarily be the best value. Make sure you’ll learn the skills it takes to succeed.

    • Does this school have a good reputation?
    • Is the school NACCAS accredited?
    • Does this school have a high rate of placing students in the field of study?
    • What is the state licensing pass rate for this school?

    The reputation of a school can open doors. You’ll see evidence of this in how students do after graduation, their job placement stats, and how the school is perceived by accrediting organizations.

    5. Visit the School in Person

    The next step to understanding if an esthetics program is right for you is to visit in person. This can show you important things about the campus that you might not find on Instagram. Not only can you see the training facilities, but you can also meet the people who can help you understand if the esthetics program is right for you.

    Tour the school

    Make an appointment to tour the esthetics school. This is a chance to discover if the school had a modern instruction environment, the type of classrooms that are offered, and get a first-hand look at facilities like the on-campus salon. You can also ask questions about the type of training you can expect to receive at the school.

    Talk to students

    When you’re on campus, talk to the students. Hearing them talk about what they’re learning can help you to resolve any questions you have. The experiences of these current esthetics students may be able to help you understand if it’s the right program for you.

    Attend events

    You can also attend events that are hosted by the esthetics school. Whether you attend a makeup show, fundraising event, livestream event, or a campus activity, these events will give you more information about the students who are taking esthetics classes and how the skills they are developing. If you leave the event feeling inspired, it may be the right school for you.

    Can you see yourself taking classes there?

    Also, consider if you can see yourself taking classes there. The community that you build among your teachers and classmates is your first step in the beauty industry. When a school feels right, you’ll be excited to start your esthetics training.

    6. Understand the School’s Credentials

    Esthetician and makeup schools have different levels of accreditation based on the quality of training they offer.

    You can use a school’s accreditation information to understand if the program is following a professional curriculum, meets agency guidelines, and aligns with industry standards.

    There are two major credentials to consider.

    Is the school recognized by the U.S. Department of Education?

    This governmental accreditation also means the school is adhering to national educational guidelines. It also can give you access to federal education resources. You could be eligible for grants and federal student aid, and you may also be able to use your tuition as a tax deduction.

    Is the school accredited by NACAS or a beauty school agency?

    Accreditation from a beauty school agency or NACCAS tells you the school is following a professional curriculum that meets agency guidelines. This can help you know that the training you’ll receive is in line with the industry standards in the workforce.

    7. Look for Prior Student Success

    By looking at the career trajectories of past students, you could understand what opportunities you could have after you graduate.

    Does the school have an alumni page?

    Information about prior students may be available on the school’s website. Reading about the careers of alumni can help you understand career potential and if the school has any specializations.

    What have prior students achieved?

    This can help you understand the type of success that could be waiting for you after you complete your esthetics training program.

    Can you contact alumni to ask questions?

    Alumni can be a helpful resource to understand how attending beauty school can prepare you for your career. Alumni are often happy to talk to prospective students, and their feedback is usually straightforward, giving you valuable insight into choosing the best esthetics school for you.

    8. What Are Your Next Steps?

    Talk to your high school guidance counselor or cosmetology teacher

    Your guidance counselor and cosmetology teacher are important resources when you’re beginning the esthetics school admissions process.

    These advisors have strong knowledge about how to help you achieve your goals. They may know the esthetics schools in the area and can help you understand your options. They may also be able to suggest training programs that could be a good fit for you.

    Research esthetics programs near you

    This guide can help you to evaluate each school you’re considering. Use it to narrow down the list of programs that meet your career goals.

    Connect with Tricoci University of Beauty Culture for helpful information about launching your esthetics career

    The campus staff at Tricoci University are available to help you with your decision-making process. They can help you understand the admissions process, state licensing requirements, financial aid, and more.

    Learn more about how the Esthetics Program at Tricoci University of Beauty Culture can help you launch your career.