Updated 6/26/21. Being an esthetician is such a rewarding career. After all, I’ve been one for over 30 years and love it more than ever. I attended the Catherine Hinds Institute of Esthetics outside of Boston and recently went back for the first time since I was a student in 1990. (See the above picture of my visit!)
I now live in Austin, Texas, and will occasionally speak at the local esthetic schools to future esthetic graduates, as you can see me doing on my Instagram. I always enjoy seeing what the schools are teaching these future estheticians. Surprisingly, other than some new advancements in skincare, the general curriculum is very similar to when I attended.
Many esthetics schools have a basic program that requires a minimum number of hours as required by the State in order to operate as an entry-level esthetician. The schools usually also offer advanced courses at a higher fee for more advanced training.
I’m often asked for my opinion on the best esthetics school. That’s a hard question for me simply because I only have experience with the one that I attended. However, I do have some thoughts on how to go about finding one.
How to Find the Best Esthetics School in Your Area
Here are my five tips to help you find the best esthetics school in your area:
1. Be sure that being an esthetician is truly your passion and you’re ready to commit to the profession
I love the profession and it works for my lifestyle, but you need to be sure it works for you. To help you decide, read more about the pros and cons of being an esthetician.
2. Ask other skincare professionals for esthetic school recommendations
Use social media to ask around for recommendations. Or, if there is a school that you are interested in, look at the followers of that school and message them to see what their experience is like.
3. Interview the schools and ask a lot of questions
When you are looking for a school, it is similar to interviewing with a potential future employer. You are interviewing the school to see if it’s a good fit for you. You’ll be spending a lot of money to go to school and probably taking out loans so you really need to get a good feel for their program and culture.
4. Decide which program is best for you
I have always felt that the best education doesn’t come from school, but with hands-on experience working in a skincare spa, clinic or salon. When you work for someone else, it’s like getting paid to learn. If you are on a budget, then just do the basic courses at school and take advanced courses from skincare vendors. There are always continuing education opportunities at trade shows and from skincare companies that will also give you a certificate of completion that you can attach with a resume.
5. Meet the teachers
I think it’s best to ask to meet your teachers before you enroll. Do they have a professional disposition and look like a good leader? How long have they been practicing esthetics? Many students are hired as a teacher right after they graduate and they will not be able to share “real world” experience. Anyone can teach you how to pass an exam, but it’s the stories of those who have actually worked in the spas and clinics that I personally felt were the most interesting. This is a value add to your hour requirements.
When I attended school, I did the basic class, which was 300 hours. Since I already had a job waiting for me, I opted to not take the additional programs the school offered. I was fortunate because, at this job, my co-worker (who was also my mentor and later business partner) was a former instructor at my esthetics school when it first opened, and she helped them develop their curriculum.
In my case, I was ready to get working and knew that I would receive continuing education at my new job. Thirty years have passed and I love being an esthetician more than ever. If you love skincare and are passionate about lifelong learning, this profession is for you!
I have been interviewed on many podcasts that are geared toward estheticians. If you want to learn more about a career in esthetics, listen to them here for more of my advice. You can also read about the five esthetician rules I live by.
Celebrity Esthetician & Skincare Expert
As an esthetician trained in cosmetic chemistry, Renée Rouleau has spent 30 years researching skin, educating her audience, and building an award-winning line of products. Trusted by celebrities, editors, bloggers, and skincare obsessives around the globe, her vast real-world knowledge and constant research are why Marie Claire calls her “the most passionate skin practitioner we know.”