The Small Business Times

How Much Does Esthetician School Cost?

If the world of skincare interests you, chances are you’ve asked yourself, “how much does esthetician school cost?”. The world of skincare and beauty is a rewarding and lucrative one. And, if this is something you’re really interested in, you should consider training to be an esthetician.

But attending esthetician school isn’t cheap. In fact, you can expect your esthetician course fee to be anywhere between $4,000 and $12,000. The exact cost of which will depend on where you choose to study. Doing the course through your local community college is the most cost-effective. And attending a private esthetician school can prove extremely costly.

If the life of an esthetician sounds enjoyable to you, you must obtain your license. And finding an esthetician school may prove tricky if budget constraints are an issue. 

So, what does an esthetician do? And how much does esthetician school cost?

What Does an Esthetician Do?

The role of an esthetician is to maintain the health and vigor of the skin through various treatments and procedures. They’ll generally help clients overcome a variety of skin conditions. These include wrinkles, acne, eczema, and the like. 

Estheticians are trained to perform several therapies, including body scrubs and wraps. And it’s pretty standard for them to use different techniques to remove unwanted hair. They’ll also perform massage therapy, laser treatments, cleansing, aromatherapy, and even apply make-up.

In a nutshell, an esthetician’s job is to improve the skin’s pigmentation, texture, elasticity, and overall condition and appearance. 


Being a qualified esthetician means that you’ve acquired a license to practice as a skincare specialist. Obtaining a certificate and license requires a great deal of training. And students need to complete a series of exams prepared by the department of health and state board of cosmetology.

That said, requirements differ from state to state. For instance, one does not require a license to work as an esthetician in Connecticut. However, states like Utah, Washington, Virginia, and more require an additional master’s license should estheticians wish to carry out special treatments. These might include various body therapies and lymphatic massages, etc.

The Cost of Esthetician School

First, it’s crucial to note that the cost to become an esthetician will not only comprise the course fee. You’ll also need to pay for textbooks, cosmetic kits, and supplies required to do your practical exams. 

Basic Esthetician Course Fees

Let’s begin by discussing the esthetician course fee. You have the option of choosing to study through a community college or at a private beauty school. Of course, the high-end private schools will charge far more than your local community college. 

Esthetician School Average Costs

The average cost of esthetician school would be between $7,000 and $9,000. This should cover the standard 6-month course offered by most schools.

More specifically, if you attend community college, your esthetician course fee could be anything from $4,000 to $6,000. Whereas a private institution will charge anywhere from $6,000 to $12,000 as its esthetician course cost.

It’s clear to see that, irrespective of where you choose to study, the cost to become an esthetician is quite significant. And, if you opt for a master’s license, you’re likely looking at double the cost of the standard esthetician course fee. 

Additional Costs to Become an Esthetician

We’ve already established that your esthetician course fees will likely be substantial. But, when calculating the cost of esthetician school, there are additional costs to consider.

Textbooks and Supplies

To complete the course, you’ll be required to supply your own textbooks and equipment. And any past student will tell you that these can cost a pretty penny too. These can set you back anywhere from $750 to $2,000. But the total cost depends on the quality of the supplies you choose and if second-hand textbooks are available to buy.

Registration Fees

Some schools might require a non-refundable registration fee, as is common at many learning institutions. You can expect to pay in the region of $200 when you register, in addition to your esthetician course fee.

Licensure Exams

Unfortunately, the associated payments don’t come to an end once you’ve completed your course. After putting in the required training hours and receiving your certificate, you’ll need to complete some additional exams, 

These are the licensure exams given by the National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC). And they comprise both a practical and theory exam. You can expect to pay up to $200 to sit for these exams. But it is a requirement, as you cannot practice as an esthetician without this license.

Over and above this, you’ll need to pay a bi-annual licensing fee to the NIC. This is a requirement should you wish to continue to practice as an esthetician in the long term. 

Possible Esthetician School Cost Discounts

Study Online

Perhaps you’re keen to complete the course and exams but would like to reduce the overall esthetician school cost. The good news is that there are some options available to you.

One of your options is to source an esthetician school that offers part of the course online. While it’s not possible to complete an esthetician course entirely online, some hybrid courses may be available

In this case, you might be able to do the theoretical portion of your studies online. But you will still be required to complete a certain number of practical training hours.

Study at a Local College

Community colleges often provide local students with benefits. And one advantage of being a local is that you may be eligible for a discount on your esthetician school cost. Generally speaking, in-state students usually pay a slightly lower fee than out-of-state students.

Get Financial Assistance

Obtaining financial assistance doesn’t necessarily qualify as a discount. However, at worst, you should reduce the impact and manage payments more easily this way.

There’s the obvious option of applying for a Direct PLUS Loan to cover your studies. However, you or your parent will be liable to pay the loan back as per the terms agreed upon. Other options include applying for a scholarship or government grant.

To find out more about any of these options, it’s best to speak to the school or college bursar. They’ll often be able to provide you with the application forms you need. And they’ll know exactly what you need to do to submit your application.

In addition, you could consider requesting financial aid from a private or independent funder. Many companies offer bursaries to students who then work for that company after completing their studies. 


Studying to be an esthetician can be costly. But completing your course at a local community college will be the least expensive option. And for further savings, you could consider applying for a Direct PLUS Loan or financial aid. 

Irrespective, it’s essential that you speak to various schools about your options before committing to a program. Ask about all the costs you can expect to incur and whether they offer scholarships or government grants. This way, you’ll know precisely what your esthetician school cost will be before you sign up.