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Medical Esthetician vs. Skin Care Specialist

Updated: Mar 2


Learn the Training Needed to Become a Medical Esthetician

When considering a career in skin care, the number of options can be overwhelming. Before undergoing any formal training program, it's important to understand the differences between various specialties. For instance, prospective estheticians may think they only want to learn makeup application techniques and skin care services in a salon, but they may actually prefer to work in medical esthetics instead.


How do skin care specialists (i.e., estheticians) differ from medical estheticians? The biggest differences lie in training and work environment. Skin care specialists provide skin care services in non-medical settings. If you are a skin care specialist, you will likely work in a salon or spa and focus on extractions, facials, waxing and other similar techniques. Your clients will visit with the hope of enhancing their skin. Medical estheticians, on the other hand, have a clinical focus and work alongside dermatologists to address more serious skin health issues, such as acne, cancer, or burns.


Becoming a Medical Esthetician


Does the idea of helping patients treat their conditions appeal to you? If so, you might be ready to work toward a medical esthetician certification. Medical estheticians work with a variety of patients and train in a number of medical techniques, from microdermabrasion to Ayurvedic medicine. If you are interested in medical esthetics, here are the certificate and training requirements:


Hands-On Training Requirements


Becoming a medical esthetician is a fairly significant time commitment. Most estheticians finish school after six to nine months with up to 600 hours of hands-on training time. Getting your medical esthetician certificate, however, takes longer because there are other areas of specialization to learn. Cortiva's medical esthetics program, for example, requires 975 hours of training.


Extended training time is necessary for medical estheticians to learn how to deal with a doctor's patients, work in trauma centers, and perform hair and tattoo removal. Medical estheticians also learn advanced medical spa techniques, such as laser light and galvanic treatments. You should also note that medical estheticians have higher salary expectations for this training, as the treatments are more advanced.


Obtaining Your Medical Esthetics License


Importantly, admission requirements for esthetician programs vary, based on the length of the program, the location, and the quality of the course. Medical esthetics training has slightly more rigorous licensure requirements because many medical estheticians work in clinical settings. Both skin care specialists and medical estheticians must have a high school diploma or GED and complete a state-approved cosmetology program. When it comes to medical esthetics training, however, candidates must go a step further.


Specifically, medical estheticians must obtain specialized training in certain skin treatments to work in clinics and hospitals. As previously mentioned, these professionals treat patients with more severe skin conditions that likely require a full treatment plan. That's why medical estheticians also have higher salary expectations than skin care specialists.


Services Offered by Medical Estheticians


Medical estheticians are licensed to perform more invasive procedures designed to address all types of skin issues. As a medical esthetician, you can expand your knowledge in ways you probably never thought possible. That is, if you are interested in learning a new therapy, there is likely a course dedicated to that specific treatment. Here are some of the more common services offered by medical estheticians:


· Facials

· High-Frequency

· Galvanic

· Exfoliation

· Chemical Peels

· Extractions

· Male Skin Care

· Acne Treatments

· Microdermabrasion

· Lash Application

· Makeup Application

· Tattoo Removal

· Skin Cancer Treatment


Medical estheticians have access to a wide variety of techniques at their fingertips thanks to extensive training. If you want to help patients beyond services typically received at a salon, look for medical esthetician training programs near you. While it certainly is not for everyone, a career as a medical esthetician can be incredibly rewarding and educational.


Looking for resources as you weigh your options as a skin care specialist or as a medical esthetician? Cortiva Institute has the answer to many of your career-related questions to help you decide which program is right for you. A new career in skin care is only a few clicks away!