Medical skin care specialists require specialized training in addition to what a general esthetician does. They work in an exciting and rewarding atmosphere in which they are able to help their clients with their skin care concerns. Sometimes these concerns are more along the aesthetic side, such as wrinkle reduction and anti-aging techniques, but in other cases, there’s more to it. They also help patients who have serious skin ailments and problems. If you are looking for a way to make clients look and feel better on multiple levels, medical esthetician schools may be just the ticket.

Duties

Estheticians who work in a medical setting are cosmetologists, but they focus on more than just beautification for their clients.

They use primarily non-invasive techniques to solve problems with the skin, whether those are related to aging or to other medical concerns.

These types of skin care specialists might work within a doctor’s office, or even a hospital. They may also be independent contractors who come in to handle a case when called by a medical professional. Skin care duties in a hospital or clinic setting cover a lot of ground, such as:

  • Concerns about aging and wrinkle control
  • Acne concerns, even severe acne
  • Hyperhydrosis, which is excessive sweating
  • Varicose veins
  • Collagen injections and other fillers
  • Hair removal
  • Treatments for burned skin
  • Other skin injuries and trauma

medical skin care studentsThose practicing medical esthetics might perform these services in a spa environment, or they might work in a dermatologist’s office. Some might even make house calls along with a doctor, depending on the services that are needed and other variables.

The sky is the limit in terms of the opportunities available for students who want to pursue this line of study.

Nurse Estheticians

When looking for information about skin care therapies prospective students might find information about nurse estheticians.

While their duties are similar, nurses skin therapists are also trained and licensed nurses. Anyone wanting to go into this field may take esthetician training first, or nursing training first. Nurses who also practice esthetics are either LPNs (Licensed Practical Nurses) or RNs (Registered Nurses).

Prospective trainees might know right away that they want to pursue this additional training, or they might decide that they want to become a nurse plus esthetician at a later date.


nurse esthetician preparing to treat swollen lymph nodes
Swollen lymph nodes

Training in the medical esthetics field covers a lot of ground. Graduates must be able to recognize and treat various skin conditions, which involves learning about a wide range of treatment options. While most of these techniques are taught in cosmetology training, students of esthiology learn about these methods in greater detail. Cosmetologists learn about nail care as part of their training, but usually estheticians don’t perform manicures or hair cutting as part of their day-to-day activities.

Some of the courses might include:

  1. Acne cures and treatments
  2. Skin treatments and procedures
  3. Skin ailments and diseases
  4. Lymph node care
  5. Aromatherapy treatments
  6. Light therapy
  7. Reflexology and massage
  8. Makeup, both traditional and permanent
  9. Injections

Medical esthetics schools each have different criteria for their classes. Each curriculum is governed overall by the state board of cosmetology, however, so the overall course of studies should be quite similar from school to school. Some esthetician schools offer the opportunity to study both esthetician courses and nursing courses, so that can allow students who want to become nurse estheticians the opportunity to study both at the same school.

Types of Medical Esthetician Schools


Students who hope to train in this discipline have a variety of options available to them in order to learn the skills they need. Some options depend on the age of the student, while others depend on the time available to study and to attend classes. Tuition can vary widely.

  • Beauty Schools – Some standalone beauty schools offer courses specifically designed for those intending to become skilled in skin care. The courses are typically offered during the day or at night, and students must usually attend the classes in person. Some schools offer medical programs in esthetics in conjunction with other programs, so it is wise for students to look into the program before applying.
  • Online ClassesOnline classes are perfect for students who are not able to attend classes in person (you may or may not be able to take classes towards any kind of esthetics training online – it will depend on your locale). It will partly depend on where you are studying. Often they have to work full time jobs or they have other commitments that keep them from attending classes in person. The coursework is done through webinars, videos, or a combination of these and correspondence programs. Often, these programs are self-paced.
  • Vocational SchoolsHigh school students most often attend vocational outreach programs while still in high school. Even if a student is already a high school graduate, there is often a similar program of study available from the local technical college. Students may have the option of attending day or evening classes, depending on their schedule.


Visit our school listings resource to find a school in your area.

Medical Esthetician Certification


To become certified in the field students must first complete the prescribed course of study. They cannot take the certification test until they have completed the number of hours of study required by the state board of cosmetology. Some state boards also require a specific amount of practical hours, in addition to the classroom hours required.

epidermis the estethicians specialty
Skin: you’ll be learning a lot about this! by Helena Paffen [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Students should read through the curriculum carefully for the school that they hope to attend. By comparing that information with the state board of cosmetology’s requirements, they can decide whether or not the school meets the requirements. Some state boards make the task even easier, too, by listing accredited schools that meet the necessary guidelines. Ultimately the responsibility for making sure prospective schools meet the state board’s necessary criteria is up to the student.


Once students have completed their training, it’s time for the certification exam. For most areas, this involves taking a multiple choice exam and achieving above a specific score. There is a fee to sit for the exam, and then students wait to hear how they did. In some areas, students may be able to find out how they did on the exam immediately, while other locations must mail students the results.

After passing the exam graduates pay a set fee to receive their license. Once the license is officially in hand the former student is ready to go to work legally. Some clinics may let trainees work as interns before they are licensed, provided they work closely with a licensed professional. Some states require renewal fees from their licensed professionals from time to time.

Job Prospects for Medical Estheticians

According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the job prospects for those in medical skin care careers are growing rapidly. New spas are opening constantly, and doctors and dermatologists are always looking for qualified personnel to help them with their patients. Once properly licensed, medical esthiology graduates are in high demand.

Type of IndustryHourly average wageAnnual average wage
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals$22.80$47,430
Outpatient Care Centers$21.93$45,620
Offices of Physicians$19.71$40,990
Employment Services$17.94$37,320
Other Ambulatory Health Care Services$16.83$35,010

From the BLS

Estheticians in the US – Schools by State

Schools for Estheticians in Canada

Enter your ZIP below to find training in your area including for paramedical and nurse specialists.