The Small Business Times

How Long Does It Take To Become An Esthetician?

If you’re thinking of applying to esthetician school, you may be interested to know how long it takes to become an esthetician. Granted, there are a few steps to obtaining your license. However, the process is shorter than many other professional training programs.

Several factors determine how long it takes to become an esthetician. One is whether you choose to study full-time, part-time, or opt for an apprenticeship. Then, each state has its own requirements in terms of training and work experience hours. And you may have to wait to take the final licensure exam. But the process shouldn’t be longer than 12 months.

That said, some have completed the course and obtained their license in as little as 6 months. Then again, it’s taken some others more than 2 years to become a licensed esthetician. In fact, the circumstances may be different for everyone.

However, there are some standard lead-times we can work with for various situations to give you a better idea. But first, let’s briefly discuss what an esthetician is. Then we’ll take a closer look at the variables influencing how long it takes to become an esthetician.

What is an Esthetician?

An esthetician is concerned with skincare, skin improvement, and overall beautification. They’re responsible for carrying out various procedures and treatments to enhance the look and general health of the skin.

Estheticians typically work at spas and salons or a similar environment. There are also medical spas that employ estheticians to execute specialist treatments. And master estheticians often work as assistants to medical practitioners such as plastic surgeons and dermatologists. 

Generally, esthetician treatments and procedures include facials, massages, hair removal, makeup application, exfoliation, and more. Master estheticians may be responsible for chemical peels, Botox injections, and skin tightening, among other treatments.

Factors That Determine How Long It Takes to Become an Esthetician

Your Approach to Your Studies

You attend an esthetician school or a college offering an esthetician course. And you can choose to study as a full-time or part-time student. Most people who choose to study part-time do so because they work during the day.

If you select to study full-time, you’ll attend the school or college course during the day. And in this case, your program will generally run for 5 to 6 months. 

However, should you opt to study part-time, you’ll generally attend classes in the evenings and on weekends. As a part-time student, the typical course duration is approximately 9 months.

Note that the above timings pertain only to the basic esthetician course. You may wish to work as an esthetician in a medical setting where you’d get to perform specialty treatments. 

If this is the case, you’ll need to do an additional master esthetician course. The full-time master esthetician course usually runs for 5 months. And the part-time course has a duration of 7 months.

You may, however, choose to forego the formal esthetician school approach and do an apprenticeship instead. 19 states, including California, Washington, and Michigan, permit esthetician students to train through apprenticeships. But you’ll need to make sure your state is on the list.

Should you opt for an apprenticeship, you’ll need to complete the relevant training and work experience hours as per state requirements. You should then be eligible to sit for your esthetician license exams.

The Requirements of Your State

You’ll need to take the requirements of your state into consideration, though. Each state stipulates a minimum number of training hours required to sit for the licensure examinations. Typically, the number of hours required ranges from 600 to 900 hours.

Some states also require additional work experience hours to be done after the completion of the esthetician certificate program. Once the esthetician in training has clocked the required work experience hours, they’re permitted to sit for the final licensure exams.

The Esthetician Licensure Exam Lead Time

Once you’ve completed your certificate program or apprenticeship with the required hours, you can book your esthetician license exams. 

It’s vital to note that you’ll have to complete 2 separate exams here. One will be a written exam and the other a practical exam. And you’ll need to book them one after the other, which will take a little longer.

First, you’ll make a booking for the written esthetician exam. And the time between booking and writing your exam is integral in determining how long it takes to become an esthetician. Your booking date will depend on how busy the PSI testing centers are and when there’ll be an opening for you.

There is always the option of taking your exam remotely. However, when the PSI or state board has a moderator available for you, your exam date will be determined. Either way, expect to wait a few weeks before you’re able to take the written exam.

Once you’ve passed your written esthetician exam with a minimum of 70%, you can make a booking to sit for the practical exam. Bear in mind that not all PSI testing centers are equipped to facilitate the practical exam. So, you may have to book at a different venue for this. 

Again, you might have to wait a couple of weeks before you can take the practical exam. But once you do and pass it with 70% or more, you’ll receive your official esthetician license.


Indeed, there are a few hoops to jump through as you follow the path to becoming an esthetician. And, as you can tell, figuring out how long it takes to become an esthetician is dependent on numerous factors. But you’ll typically be able to complete the course and obtain your license within a year.

That said, you must have a passion for skincare and beauty and enjoy doing the treatments. If so, doing your training and work experience hours will be a breeze. And before you know it, you’ll be a fully licensed esthetician.