You’ve been following “skinfluencers” on TikTok and Instagram for years. You’ve watched hundreds of skincare tutorials on YouTube. You’ve experimented with endless products on your own skin. And now you’re ready to turn your dream of becoming an esthetician into reality. Except, wait—you have just one tiny little question: Is esthetician school hard?
Of course, “hard” and “easy” are purely subjective. Still, having a firm understanding of what to expect if you attend esthetician school—including the potential for any “hard” parts—can better prepare you to navigate challenging times.
Table of Contents
- What is esthetician school like?
- How are esthetician programs structured?
- Is esthetician school hard?
- Is esthetician school worth it, even if it is hard?
- What are some common challenges esthetician students face?
- How can students overcome these challenges?
Note: Kathy Davis-Rees, a long-time licensed esthetician, provided input on the content below.
What is esthetician school like?
Students in esthetician school learn the skills to become licensed estheticians and build thriving careers. Program lengths vary by state. Some states require as few as 300 hours of training, while others require 1000. This translates anywhere from six to nine months. (By comparison, cosmetology school takes one to two years.)
During school, students learn about anatomy and physiology of the skin, skincare ingredients and products, basic chemistry, and safety and health regulations.
Esthetician school is very much a hands-on program, so students can expect to spend a significant amount of time practicing their skills on clients in the student salon under the supervision of an instructor.
How are esthetician programs structured?
Most esthetician programs offer a full-time 9 to 5 schedule, but some will also offer a 9 to 3 option. Night options might be available on a full-time or part-time basis.
For example, a full-time night schedule might be Monday through Thursday from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. and one weekend day, like a Friday or Saturday from 9 to 5. On the other hand, a part-time night schedule might be two nights and then a Friday or Saturday from 9 to 5. Some schools even offer hybrid programs with a combination of days and nights.
Before you apply to any beauty school, make sure you understand your options—and how those options will (or won’t) work with your current life and daily schedule.
Is esthetician school hard?
It’s normal for students to find certain concepts more challenging to grasp than others. But what those concepts might be will vary from student to student.
Where people often falter is enrolling in a program that doesn’t fit into their life, which is why we made the point above about understanding how programs are structured.
Unlike other educational programs that you might be able to complete entirely online, esthetician school does require in-person, hands-on training. So you must consider things like commuting to and from school in addition to the hours you spend inside a classroom and the student salon—as well as your other personal and professional responsibilities outside of school.
For example, will you be working a full-time day job before heading to school at night? Or maybe you’re taking care of little kids during the day and going to school in the evenings? Perhaps you’re juggling family and work.
Only you can decide how “hard” any given scenario might be. It’s important to be honest with yourself and with the people in your life who’ll be affected by your decision (such as a spouse/partner, kids, boss, and other family members).
Full-time programs can feel like a full-time job, which is worth considering as you weigh your options. Only you can know how hard any given situation might be for you.
Is esthetician school worth it, even if it is hard?
Ah, now we’re getting to the crux of the matter.
Yes, esthetician school can be demanding—or even “hard”—as students learn critical concepts in the classroom, practice services on clients in the student salon, and figure out how to sell retail products. (The latter is often a skill that most students struggle with at first.)
But esthetician school can also be incredibly rewarding. After all, students get to pursue their passion for skincare and bring their dreams to fruition. Plus, many students develop lifelong friendships with their classmates and instructors.
Remember, the point of education is that it provides a safe space to learn, make mistakes, and pick yourself up again. It’s a place where students are encouraged to ask questions and build their confidence.
What are some common challenges esthetician students face?
Students can face various challenges—some of which will be unique to them and their circumstances.
What are some tips for overcoming these common challenges?
Here are some helpful tips for overcoming these common challenges:
- Stay organized and manage your time wisely. Esthetician school can be demanding, so it’s crucial to stay organized and manage your time wisely. Don’t fall behind. Create a study schedule and stick to it.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your teachers and classmates are there to help you succeed. If you are struggling with a particular topic or technique, ask for help.
- Keep practicing. The more you practice the skills and techniques you’re learning, the better (and more confident) you’ll become in performing specific treatments and selling retail products.
Students should also focus on being present, persistent, and patient.
- Be present: Beauty school programs, like esthetician school, are based on hours. You must be present to clock the required hours. Being present also means being present mentally. You must be mentally prepared to learn—and prepared to put in the hours after class, reviewing concepts, watching videos, and practicing techniques.
- Be persistent. Do you think the skinfluencers you watch on TikTok woke up one day and became skincare experts overnight? Of course not. Developing skills takes time and practice—don’t give up.
- Be patient. This ties in with persistence. Be patient with yourself. You might pick up certain concepts and skills quickly, while others—not so much. Be kind to yourself and keep putting in the time and effort.
Bottom line: Esthetician school can have its challenges. But it can also be incredibly rewarding.
Esthetics school is where students of all ages come together to develop essential skills, gain confidence, and take the first steps to a rewarding career in the exciting field of skincare. Sure, there will be plenty of hard work and even challenging moments, but if this is your dream and your passion—you can overcome those difficult times. And in the end, it will all be worth it.
If you decide to pursue an education in esthetics, we wish you the best of luck. Sign up for our Milady newsletter to stay current on the industry, course offerings, continuing ed., and more.
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