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What Are the Different Types of Skin Care Careers?

When you imagine pursuing a career in skin care, what do you envision first: Helping people look their best and glow from within? Or helping people who are dealing with skin disorders and giving them the care they need? Pinpointing your main motivation can help guide your decision about pursuing a career in skin care, as can learning about the various skin care careers available.

The two main fields for skin care careers are dermatology and cosmetology. The most training-intensive career choices are in the medical field of dermatology. Estheticians, on the other hand, can create great skin care careers for themselves — working on clients’ skin to improve its appearance and reduce aesthetic concerns — without the barrier of a decade-plus of school.

What are some careers in dermatology and skin care that you might pursue? Are you wondering how to become a skin care specialist and help people look their best or glow from within? Here are some different types of skin care careers that might interest you:

1. Dermatologist — A dermatologist is a medical practitioner who identifies and treats skin disorders. That means a dermatologist is the longest-educated skin care professional in the United States, typically going to school for at least 12 years, earning a bachelor’s in a pre-medicine program, undergoing general medical training, completing an internship, and receiving specialized training in dermatology. Within dermatology, there are multiple dermatological subspecialties and potential areas of focus, including dermatopathology, or the study of disease as related to skin conditions; pediatric dermatology focusing on helping children; cosmetic dermatology; and surgical dermatology. In addition to treating patients who have malignant skin disorders related to skin, hair, and nails, dermatologists also help their patients to care for normal skin in terms of skin cancer prevention, sun protection, and more.

2. Esthetician or skin care specialist — You might think of an esthetician or skin care specialist as (a person who does facials), and that is indeed part of the role, but there’s much more variety beyond facial esthetician jobs. What does an esthetician do, then? Estheticians, who are also known as skin care specialists, enhance the client’s overall appearance by cleansing and exfoliating their skin, waxing and lasering it to remove hair (more on that below), moisturizing the skin and applying makeup to enhance a person's overall appearance. That’s right: Estheticians’ work is even related to the work of makeup artists.

A difference between dermatologists and estheticians, often, is in where estheticians do work. Estheticians often work at salons, medi-spas, and day spas in a variety of specialties and roles. What can a licensed esthetician do in terms of work? Esthetician positions include eyelash and brow specialists, hair removal specialists, facialists, and more.

3. Medical or paramedical esthetician — Medical or paramedical estheticians do their work in medical settings to help patients during pre- or postoperative exams or while undergoing advanced treatments. In addition to supporting dermatologists and plastic surgeons in surgery preparation, medical estheticians may perform skin evaluations, facial massages, hair removal, microdermabrasion, advanced chemical peels, and corrective makeup, among other duties. (Read more about the key differences between estheticians and medical estheticians here.)

As with estheticians, you might wonder, “Where do medical estheticians work?” Most work in clinics, hospitals, dermatology offices, medical spas, and long-term care centers. Unlike estheticians who work in salons and similar locations, medical estheticians operate under healthcare professionals’ supervision to provide their skin care services.

4. Medical spa manager — Another skin care career path is managing a medical spa, which involves overseeing all the spa’s operations including finances, marketing, employee scheduling, and determining which services should be offered. Medical spa managers are charged with ensuring that all daily operations run smoothly and that the medical spa keeps up with patients’ needs in terms of cutting-edge service offerings. In addition to continually identifying areas of improvement and leading those changes, these managers also maintain patient records, handle promotional marketing campaigns for the facility, manage payroll, and oversee inventories of stock. They also likely hire and train new staff members.

5. Hair removal specialist — Hair removal is often considered an essential way of making skin look its smoothest and most aesthetically pleasing, so hair removal specialists are in high demand. Methods of hair removal include waxing, threading, electrolysis, and laser hair removal. These skills are covered at esthetician school.

If you’re still debating between becoming an esthetician or dermatologist and wonder which might be right for you, check out our blog post on the topic to learn more about the key differences.

And if you’re ready to hear more about a career in skin care and all the job options it contains, contact us for more information today. We’re ready to get you started in helping others and changing lives.

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