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How Much Does Esthetician School Cost?

Last Updated on February 16, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Considering a career as an esthetician but wondering what the cost will be? This guide covers everything you need to know about esthetician school tuition, fees, and other expenses to help you plan and budget for this education investment. With the right training, estheticians can enjoy lucrative and rewarding careers in the growing beauty industry.

How Much Does Esthetician School Cost?

The average cost of esthetician school in the U.S. ranges from $4,000 to $20,000 depending on the program. Shorter certificate courses at community colleges or cosmetology schools may cost between $4,000-$7,000. Comprehensive programs at esthetician schools average $10,000 to $15,000. Medical esthetics or master esthetician programs cost $15,000 to $20,000+.

Here are some examples of popular esthetician schools and programs with pricing:

As you can see, there is significant variation in esthetician school tuition based on factors like location, curriculum, school prestige and more. It’s important to look at total costs, not just tuition.

What is an Esthetician?

An esthetician is a licensed skincare specialist who provides services like facials, waxing, eyelash extensions, microdermabrasion, chemical peels and more. Estheticians improve the health and appearance of skin for their clients. They work in settings like spas, salons, medical offices and even own private practices.

Proper education and certification is crucial for succeeding as an esthetician. All states require estheticians to complete an approved training program and pass exams to earn their license. So what does this training cost? Let’s break it down.

Breakdown of Esthetician School Costs

Tuition is a major component of esthetician school costs, but there are other fees to consider:

  • Application & enrollment fees: $100-$300
  • Books and uniforms: $500-$1,200
  • Kit/supplies: $500-$2,000
  • State board exam fees: $125-$300

Additionally, more extensive programs tend to have higher tuition rates. Important factors include:

  • Basic certificate vs. master esthetician: Master programs have more advanced curriculum
  • Length of program: 600 hours is common but some are 300 hours while others are 1200+
  • School location: Cost of living impacts tuition so prices vary by state/city
  • Public vs. private: Public community colleges tend to have lower tuition than private cosmetology schools

When estimating the total cost of esthetician school, make sure to account for all these factors and fees on top of basic tuition.

Also read our articles about the cost of chiropractor school, dental assistant school, and radiologist school.

Additional Expenses

Skin Care and Esthetician SchoolBeyond tuition and fees paid to the esthetician school, students also need to budget for:

  • Books & supplies: Esthetician kits provide skin care tools like facial brushes, makeup, towels, robes, etc. Kits cost $500+ in most schools. You’ll also need books.
  • Travel expenses: Budget for gas/transportation to commute to school if needed.
  • Lodging: If the school is far from home, some students get apartments nearby during the program.
  • Exam fees: Plan for state board exam and licensing fees after graduation.
  • Lost income: Many students work fewer hours or take leave during their intensive training.

These additional costs can add $2,000-$5,000 or more to the total. Plan ahead to cover these expenses on top of tuition.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Like any education, paying for esthetician school requires budgeting. But you don’t have to foot the entire bill yourself. Here are some options to help offset costs:

  • Financial aid: Federal student aid like grants/loans may be available, especially for public schools.
  • Scholarships: Some cosmetology schools offer scholarships or discounts if you qualify.
  • Payment plans: Most schools offer payment installment plans to split tuition into manageable chunks.
  • Student discounts: Suppliers like Bioelements offer student discounts on expensive skin care supplies.
  • Tuition reimbursement: Some employers offer tuition reimbursement if you work for them while attending school.

Applying for scholarships and financial aid can help significantly reduce out-of-pocket costs for esthetician education. Do your research to maximize these opportunities.

Value of Investing in Esthetician Training

While $4,000 to $20,000 is no small investment, an esthetician education pays for itself quickly in terms of career advancement and earning potential.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average esthetician earns $36,000 annually as of 2021. Those working in the medical field or at high-end spas can earn $50,000-$70,000+ per year. This field is predicted to grow 17% over the next decade.

With great job outlook and high earning potential, esthetician school is a worthwhile investment for those passionate about skin care. The right education and training creates opportunities in this rapidly growing beauty industry.

Choosing the Right Esthetician School

With so many options for esthetician programs, here are key factors to consider when choosing a school:

  • State licensing requirements: Verify the program meets your state’s hourly requirements – usually 300-600 hours.
  • Accreditation: Schools accredited by organizations like NACCAS tend to offer quality training.
  • Curriculum: Look for a curriculum covering skin analysis, body treatments, facial treatments, makeup, and business/health topics.
  • Clinic experiences: Hands-on practice is critical, so check that programs guarantee clinical training.
  • Flexible schedules: Many programs offer part-time schedules, nights, weekends, or online portions.
  • Cost: Compare total costs and financing options across a few schools. A more expensive school may be worth it for superior training and services.

Take time to research schools and visit top choices. Investing in the best esthetician program for your needs will pay dividends throughout your career.

Should You Pursue Esthetician Training?

While earning your esthetician license requires dedication and financial investment, the payoff can be incredibly rewarding. This career lets you help people feel confident and beautiful every day.

As you budget for esthetician school and explore financial aid options, focus on the excitement of starting your career in this growing, lucrative industry. With proper training and a passion for skincare, you can build a successful and meaningful career as an esthetician.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much do estheticians make a month?

Estheticians typically make between $2,000-$4,000 per month, depending on factors like geographic location, place of work, experience level, tips/commissions, and more.

Those working at high-end spas and medical offices tend to earn higher wages. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for estheticians and related skincare specialists was about $36,000 in 2021 which equates to around $3,000 per month.

However, monthly income can reach $5,000 or more for estheticians in the top 10% of earners.

What type of esthetician makes the most money?

Medical estheticians tend to have the highest earning potential compared to other types of estheticians. Medical estheticians work in clinical environments under doctor supervision providing treatments like chemical peels, microdermabrasion, botox and laser therapy.

These advanced services allow medical estheticians to charge higher prices, earning up to $70,000 or more per year. Those with master esthetician certifications or who own private high-end skincare businesses can also earn above-average incomes.

What are the pros and cons of becoming an esthetician?


  • Rewarding career helping people look and feel their best
  • Variety of potential work settings like spas, salons, clinics
  • Options for flexible schedules – many work part time
  • Creativity and artistry designing customized skincare regimens
  • Opportunities to specialize, advance or start your own business
  • Industry is growing quickly with strong job stability


  • Requires investment of time and money for training
  • May involve long hours on your feet
  • Skin health knowledge requires ongoing learning
  • Freelancing or commission-based pay may be inconsistent
  • Work hazards like infections or skin irritation risks
  • Dealing with unpleasant clients or services occasionally

Overall, being an esthetician can be a great choice for those looking for a hands-on career in the beauty industry.

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