For success and longevity in the esthetics industry, you’ll need three key ingredients.
At the start of a career, all estheticians envision professional success, financial security and personal fulfillment in their field of choice—but it’s not enough to simply wish for a productive professional esthetician career.
Pick a Great School
Ashley Winslow, senior esthetics instructor at Austin’s School of Spa Technology (austin.edu) in Albany, New York, cites schooling as the first and most obvious requirement for success in the industry. The educational background you receive will prepare you to work in a spa, fitness or wellness center, dermatologist’s office or some other setting.
When selecting a school, be sure to know the extent of the coursework it offers as well as the licensing requirements in the state where you plan to practice.
“In New York, we require 600 hours for certification,” Winslow said. “Some states require up to 1,500 hours and others require only 300.” Certification at Austin’s entitles the student to apply for a New York State Esthetics License, she added.
Know the Industry
In addition to learning the basics of skin care, which include anatomy and physiology, chemistry, skin structure and function, and other relevant subjects, estheticians must have in-depth knowledge of current products, Winslow noted. Working with and understanding the composition of leading brands will enable you to deliver the most appropriate skin care to your clients.
“You have to be up-to-date on trends in the industry, machines, devices,” she said. “You must have strong product knowledge and believe in the products you are using.”
Sharpen Your Sales Skills
While seemingly unrelated to a career in skin care, one of the most crucial attributes a professional esthetician should have is the ability to promote and sell products. Having the knack for retailing is a much sought-after quality in the esthetics business, according to Winslow.
“When potential employers call me for references on my students, one of the first questions they ask is ‘how are they at retail?’” she said. You should be well-versed in the product line you use, and you also need to know how to upsell—suggesting additional services that could benefit the client, such as chemical peels, back treatments or eyebrow waxing, Winslow noted.
Some schools dedicate part of their coursework to the art of retailing.
Plus, If You’re an Entrepreneur…
A solid education, industry expertise and salesmanship are important traits for all estheticians to have, but if you decide to open your own esthetician practice, you’ll need something extra.
Winslow cited the importance of having some business acumen if you choose to go out on your own throughout your professional esthetician career. “You should have a business degree or a business background,” she said. “Or you could partner with someone who has business skills.”
According to Bloomberg Business (bloomberg.com), eight out of 10 businesses fail within the first 18 months. So if you don’t have skills in this area, look for a partner with business savvy and avoid becoming a statistic.
Practice with Passion
Regardless of whether you open your own business or work for someone else, it’s very important that your passion for the industry comes through clearly, noted Winslow.
“If you are passionate for esthetics, it will show to your employers, your clients and to everyone around you,” she said.