Medical estheticians(sometimes also spelled aestheticians) are trained, licensed professionals that specialize in skincare and helping people’s skin feel as young and vibrant as possible – in technical terms, they work to improve and increase the appearance and health of human skin.
Estheticians – medical and otherwise alike – have a very rewarding career, since their work is so focused on making people feel better about themselves. The satisfaction you get from seeing a happy client is just something else and will fuel your drive to work harder and do better!
Many common procedures such as facials, chemical peels, masks, light treatments, and microdermabrasion are performed by estheticians. The folks at department stores who give you advice on which skincare products to buy are also often trained estheticians – and for good reason, too – I would not want recommendations on what products to use on my precious skin from someone who was not trained!
What is the difference between an esthetician and a medical esthetician?
If you like, you can read in more detail about the general role of an esthetician here. In this article the focus will be on medical estheticians.
While the training and procedures performed by medical estheticians and estheticians are quite similar in many respects, there are two key differences between them:
- Medical estheticians are called so because they work in a clinical or hospital environment, whereas estheticians will work in spas, salons, or department stores
- Medical estheticians deal with patients who are undergoing medical care and their procedures are supplements to medical procedures, whereas estheticians primarily perform purely elective and non-medical(in that sense) procedures
So as you can see, the primary difference between the two jobs is where they work and who they deal with.
What does a medical esthetician do?
Medical estheticians primarily undertake similar procedures as estheticians, but as we mentioned above, the setting in which they are done changes. The procedures carried out include:
- Chemical Peels
- Laser hair removal
- Makeup application
- Exfoliation and body wraps
- Microdermabrasion(gently rubbing old, dead skin off)
- Educating patients on skincare techniques
- Providing advice to patients for surgeries and procedures
- Providing advice to patients on caring for skin before a surgery
- Getting skincare history from a patient before they see a doctor
- Following up with patients about their prescribed skincare medication
- Reassuring patients about any concerns related to skincare
- Instructing patients on how to care for skin at home
- Coordinating with the doctor on skincare at home
- Consulting with the patient on additional services in skincare
- Keeping track of retail and professional products used/sold through the medical practice
- Consulting with patients on how to best mask injuries/swellings/scars: Cancer patients, accident victims, and patients that have undergone major appearance-altering procedures often receive help and advice from medical estheticians on how to best deal with the changes in their appearance
How much do medical estheticians make?
According to a 2015 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for an esthetician was $35,000 per year. Of course, this will change state to state and location to location, but you can expect around $30,000 per year.
Estheticians working in a medical setting may enjoy a higher salary thanks to the existing large clientele and patient database already with the medical clinic they work at. Medical estheticians can even make up to $40,000 to $45,000 per year, depending whether they work at a clinic, a hospital, or patient care centers.
Where do medical estheticians work?
Medical estheticians work in a variety of settings in the medical field:
- Dermatology clinics: Medical estheticians can work at dermatology clinics to provide complementary treatments for patients undergoing care for skin conditions
- Cosmetic surgery clinics: They can also work at cosmetic surgery clinics where they provide pre operative and post operative care for patients undergoing elective cosmetic surgery
- Medical spas: Estheticians in medical spas can administer treatments to reduce scarring and hyperpigmentation
- Specialist clinics: Medical estheticians can work in specialist clinics to provide care for trauma patients, cancer patients, or burn survivors to help them cope with their injuries
Where can you get training?
Contrary to popular belief, there is no exact separating line between medical estheticians and estheticians – so the training required by either field is the exact same.
You need to go to an esthetician school, undergo the required hours of training, and give a written and practical exam.
Just because the “medical” word is attached to esthetician does not mean a medical esthetician is any more qualified than an esthetician. There is a common misconception that medical estheticians are more qualified to give medical advice or treatments to patients – this is untrue, as they both get the same training and licensing and are qualified to do the same procedures.
Of course, a medical esthetician will need to be trained in the protocols and procedures performed by the clinic or medical institution itself.
Check out our post on the best esthetician schools to have a look at where you can go to school to pursue esthetician training.
Additionally, you can also fill out the form the below to find a good school near you:
How do you get licensed?
Each state has a board of Cosmetology and Esthetics which determines how many minimum hours of training an esthetician must undergo before being licensed to practice.
Generally, the requirements are between 300 to 750 hours. Some states are on the lower end, some are on the higher end, while others are in between.
Once the basic training is completed and an esthetician has received their license, they can pursue more advanced training for greater specialization.
They can then learn about:
- What equipment estheticians use in medical settings
- Deeper understanding of ingredients and components
- What medical conditions affect the skin
- Some training programs also give students an opportunity to get hands on experience in a medical setting
Usually the licensing process can be done through the school itself – it is not two separate entities.
Some states also allow apprenticeship in place of formal training, but the apprenticeship hours requirement becomes significantly higher than the formal training requirement.