Employment Prospects


Approximately 71,800 skin care specialists are employed in the United States, and they work in a variety of business settings that provide beauty, fitness and health, or personal care services. They may work for salons, fitness centers, spas, as well as at resorts, large hotels, and even cruise ships. Some are employed by cosmetology schools as instructors of esthetics. Those with experience and interest in having their own business may decide to run their own salon where they offer a variety of services.

Starting Out

After completing a cosmetician or cosmetology program and passing state board exams, you can seek a position as an entry-level cosmetician. Cosmeticians find their jobs through cosmetology schools—salons and spas often recruit directly from schools. Networking in the field is also a viable option for aspiring cosmeticians looking for good work. Reading trade publication classified ads is also a way to locate job openings. Salons and spas most often advertise open positions in newspaper classifieds. There are also some placement agencies that match cosmeticians with salons and spas looking for workers.

Advancement Prospects

Upon first entering the field, a cosmetician will advance somewhat as he or she gains clientele. A large and steady clientele will translate into higher earnings and greater professional status.

Beyond the entry-level cosmetician, one can move up to director of cosmeticians (often called director of estheticians). Eventually a cosmetician or esthetician can become a spa or salon manager, and then move up to spa or salon director. For many cosmeticians, an ultimate goal is to own a spa or salon. Some cosmeticians open their own salons after being certified and without having to work up the ranks of another spa or salon.

As an alternative to working in a salon or spa, some cosmeticians decide to teach in cosmetology schools or use their knowledge to demonstrate cosmetics and skincare products in department stores. Others become cosmetics sales representatives or start businesses as beauty consultants. Some cosmeticians work as examiners for state cosmetology boards.

Tips for Entry

Experience this career firsthand by scheduling an appointment and having a facial or other service provided by a cosmetician.

Gain experience by volunteering to do make-up for school or community theater productions. Take art courses to help you develop your sense of color.

Read trade publications that are popular with cosmeticians to stay current with trends in the field. Trade publications will give you an idea of what current technical, legal, and fashion issues cosmeticians face. Local salons may make copies available for you to read if you ask.

Arrange an information interview with a cosmetician who works at a spa or salon near you.

Get a part-time position at a salon or spa on weekends or after school, answering phones or scheduling appointments. This is an excellent way of getting acquainted with people working in the field and what they do.