The Difference Between a Cosmetology Program and an Esthetics Program

September 12th, 2020


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As you start to look further into beauty schools, one thing you may notice is that many beauty schools offer both a cosmetology course and an esthetics course. This can be confusing for some people, who may wonder: What’s the difference between cosmetology and esthetics? Is there an actual difference? Here’s everything you need to know about cosmetology programs versus esthetics programs.

Key Elements of a Cosmetology Program

What are the elements that distinguish a cosmetology program? You’re likely to see some of these elements.

  • Hairstyling

It’s common for a cosmetology program to include a significant amount of focus on hairstyling. Although there are beauty schools that have hairstyling programs, there are also plenty of beauty schools that roll the hairstyling element into the cosmetology program. If you want to be a hairstylist, a cosmetology program may be your best option, although you should talk to the school to make sure it will cover the most important elements.

  • A Showcase of Beauty

Often, cosmetology focuses very heavily on the end result of a look. Whether it’s hairstyling, hair coloring, salon work or something else, it’s common for cosmetology programs to focus on a client’s “finished look.” If you love seeing someone walk out of your salon completely ready for an event, cosmetology might be your best option.

  • Generalized Knowledge of the Beauty World

For the most part, Cosmetology programs tend to be a primer on the general beauty world, teaching students a well-rounded curriculum, including not only a heavy focus on hair, but also nail and skin care. That means you will be able to get information about a number of different potential specialties you can join when you complete your training. A Cosmetology program can give you a great starting point in many directions after you have completed beauty school.

Key Elements of an Esthetics Program

How does an esthetics program establish itself? You may see some of these elements in most esthetics programs.

  • Skin Care

The most obvious element of an esthetics program is skin care. For the most part, “esthetics” is synonymous with “skin care” in many people’s vocabularies. Although there are some differences between esthetics and the skin care world, it’s true that esthetics is a great starting point for skin care. If that’s what you want to do as a career, an esthetics program is certainly a good opportunity.

  • The Path to Beauty

Although makeup is part of esthetics, this field tends to focus much more strongly on creating the building blocks for a gorgeous end result. After all, flawless skin is the starting point for a variety of looks, right? If your top goal is to help people on their path toward looking more beautiful every day, you may want to consider an esthetics program.

  • Elements of Specializations

Whereas a Cosmetology program tends to be much more generalized, an Esthetics program is often more specialized. Some people even consider Esthetics itself a specialization, from waxing, electrical modalities,advanced treatments in the medical field to body waxing. This can be beneficial to those looking for a specified focus. If you’ve been looking for a place to really find a niche market, an Esthetics program could be for you.

Which Program Is Right for Me?

At the end of the day, there’s no perfect program for everyone. That’s why different locations will offer different programs. Which one should you attend?

If you’re more interested in a career that includes hairstyling, whole-subject beauty and salon work, a Cosmetology program is probably right for you. On the other hand, if your dream career includes makeup application, skin processes, and Esthetics treatment in a medical setting, you may want to consider an Esthetics program.


Remember that finding the right program is only the first step toward making sure you have the right education for your career. You also need a great school. Tricoci University of Beauty Culture offers both an esthetics program and a cosmetology program, making it easy for anyone to pursue their ideal beauty goals. You can use Tricoci University to maximize your beauty options, no matter what you’re interested in.

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