How To Become a Master Esthetician in 6 Steps

Updated February 3, 2023

If you enjoy practicing skincare techniques or assisting people in solving their problems, you might consider a career as a master esthetician. Master estheticians can help clients feel happier with their appearance, improve their health conditions and practice good skincare habits.

In this article, we discuss what a master esthetician is, what their responsibilities are and how to become a master esthetician.

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What is a master esthetician?

A master esthetician is an advanced skin care professional. Esthetics, sometimes called aesthetics, is a field within the wider cosmetology industry of caring for human hair, nails and skin. Estheticians help their clients improve the appearance or health of their skin.

Compared to regular estheticians, master estheticians receive more training hours, learn more skincare techniques and receive licensure that allows them to perform a greater range of esthetics services. Master estheticians have many career possibilities, including professions as dermatologists, advanced spa service professionals, laser practitioners or plastic surgeons.

Related: What Is an Esthetician?

What does a master esthetician do?

Master estheticians implement many safety and sanitation practices to keep their customers healthy. Master estheticians also use their understanding of anatomy, skin conditions, cosmetic ingredients and related subjects to provide quality skin care services personalized for each client. A master esthetician's other responsibilities vary depending on their chosen profession, location and work environment, but may include:

  • Providing basic or routine skin care services, such as facial cleansings

  • Removing tattoos

  • Providing advanced pedicure techniques, such as using electric nail files or helping clients treat nail fungus

  • Using chemical peel techniques and tools

  • Performing facial or scalp massages

  • Using advanced aromatherapy knowledge to help with desired cellular changes to a client's skin

  • Helping patients heal from plastic surgery

  • Performing microdermabrasion, or removal of the top layer of skin, to reduce scars or make the skin appear more even

  • Removing body hair through waxing or with laser technologies

  • Exfoliating, or helping to shed, a client's skin through various techniques, such as dry or ultrasonic

  • Applying mud or seaweed body wraps

  • Massaging clients with the goal of lymphatic drainage, meaning the elimination of waste from human tissues

  • Offering therapies with radio frequencies, intense pulsed light, stones or other advanced techniques

How to become a master esthetician

Here are the six steps to take if you want to become a master esthetician:

1. Check the requirements for your state

Research the licensure requirements for the state you hope to practice master esthetics in. Requirements for estheticians vary between states. All 50 states offer standard esthetician licenses, but only a few states offer master esthetician licenses.

Instead of master esthetician licenses, some states offer advanced or upgraded esthetician licenses. These states often provide specific training programs for select master esthetics techniques, such as tattoo removal or microdermabrasion. After successful completion of these training programs, candidates become eligible to upgrade their esthetician license.

Related: Guide to Estheticians

2. Decide on your career path

Choose how you want to become a master esthetician. Some aspiring master estheticians decide to first train, receive their license and gain work experience as an esthetician. Others complete the training for both standard and master estheticians simultaneously, then apply directly for their master or advanced esthetician license.

3. Complete your esthetics training

Receive training in either master esthetician or both standard and master esthetician practices. The number of required training hours for master estheticians varies by state, so research your state's required hours before applying to an esthetics training program.

Esthetics training teaches students both the theories and the practical hands-on skills that estheticians need. The classes you take during your esthetician training depend on many factors, including whether you are getting your standard and master esthetician training simultaneously. Topics that you might study in your esthetics training include:

  • Advanced massage techniques

  • Skin disorders

  • Medical charts

  • Chemical peel methods

  • Biochemistry

  • Ingredients in skin care products and their health benefits

  • Hair removal

  • Advanced facial treatments, such as hydrating, pore cleansing and ultrasound facial treatments

  • Anatomy, including muscles, nerves, cells and veins

  • Hormones

  • Plastic surgeries

  • Hygiene, sanitation and disinfection practices

  • Skin aging signs and techniques

  • Care methods for different types of skin, such as dry or oily

  • Immune systems

  • Therapy techniques that use technology, such as lasers or LED lights

  • Health care laws

  • Medical terms

  • Advanced manicures and pedicures

  • Chemistry

  • Histology, or the study of small human tissues

  • Care techniques for clients before and after surgeries

Even if your state doesn't offer master esthetician licensure, you may still want to train as a master esthetician. Having master esthetics classes or certificates on your resume may help you advance in your career, such as by obtaining more advanced or higher-paying esthetician positions.

4. Find an esthetician apprenticeship

Some states require licensed master estheticians to first complete apprenticeships. Apprenticeships may also sometimes substitute for part or all of your esthetics training. Your state's board of cosmetology must formally recognize your apprentice master.

Related: Learn How To Become an Esthetician Online

5. Take the test

Complete the tests required for master or advanced esthetician licensures. Aspiring master estheticians generally take both a written and a practical exam. The written exams ask test-takers about both scientific knowledge and procedural techniques related to master esthetics. The practical tests require candidates to demonstrate multiple techniques on either another person or a mannequin. On the practical exam, aspiring master estheticians should show not only their hands-on abilities but also their knowledge of proper safety and hygiene protocols.

6. Apply for your license

Submit your master or advanced licensure application. Application documentation, paperwork and fees for master estheticians vary by state. Some states, for example, may require that an official from your master esthetician training program verify you fulfilled all the education requirements.

Job outlook and salary for master estheticians

Although there is no national salary data available for master estheticians, there is for the esthetician field as a whole. The average salary for all estheticians in the United States is $36,953 per year. Salaries vary depending on factors such as experience, location and esthetician specialization. Salaries for master estheticians may be much higher as they might work in plastic surgery clinics, dermatology offices or other medical facilities.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment opportunities for all skincare professionals will grow 17% by 2030, which is more quickly than many other jobs. The BLS predicts that overall employment of skin care professionals might increase for several reasons:

  • Raised demand for services: According to the BLS, customers increasingly want services only offered by skin care professionals, such as facials.

  • Growing market needs for skincare: The BLS observes that demand for skin care treatments has gone up among many types of potential consumers. For example, while a skin care professional's clients used to primarily be women, but men increasingly want professional skin care treatments, too.

  • New beauty salons and spas: According to the BLS, the number of spas and beauty salons in the United States is expanding. This means that jobs for skin care professionals, especially experienced ones, may increase too.

Related: 12 Jobs in the Beauty Industry

Skills for master estheticians

Master estheticians need interpersonal skills for their regular interactions with their clients. Additionally, master estheticians need more technical knowledge and skills to help solve their clients' problems or improve their health. If you want to become a master esthetician, consider developing the following skills:

Manual dexterity

Manual dexterity refers to a person's ability to make tiny, coordinated movements with their hands. Master estheticians need excellent manual dexterity to provide quality services and protect their clients. For example, a master esthetician may need to perform massages that help clients feel better while being mindful of safety techniques and regulations.

Problem-solving abilities

Many master estheticians see clients with skin care issues or disorders. A master esthetician needs to correctly identify or diagnose a client's precise condition. Master estheticians are then responsible for devising and implementing a solution to their client's problem or concern.

Sales abilities

Some estheticians work in beauty spas, health centers or massage parlors. These work environments may require their employees to help find and sell to customers. Master estheticians in this type of workplace or a similar environment need to practice their sales skills, such as negotiating, delivering sales pitches or actively demonstrating their services.

Related: Esthetician vs. Cosmetologist: A Comprehensive Guide

Scientific and medical knowledge

A master esthetician needs to understand the science related to skin care. Master estheticians are knowledgeable about both external skin features, such as level of dryness, and internal processes that affect the skin, including hormones. A master esthetician should also understand medical properties or techniques related to skin care. For example, a master esthetician needs to know how various chemicals found in beauty products interact with different skin types or conditions.

Organizational skills

A master esthetician typically schedules appointments with multiple clients and performs many skin care services per day. Master estheticians need to manage their time efficiently so that they can give each client and treatment their devoted attention.


Master estheticians must actively listen to each client's skin care needs, conditions and concerns. Based on the client's needs, a master esthetician then needs to clearly explain their assessment of the client and the client's treatment options.

Master estheticians should also understand how to interpret a client's body language. For example, if a client's body tenses during an advanced therapy technique, a master esthetician should notice and ask if the client would like them to alter or stop the procedure.

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FAQs about master estheticians

Here are some commonly asked questions about master estheticians:

What is the work environment like for master estheticians?

A master esthetician's work environment varies based on many factors, including their chosen career path. Master estheticians can work at places such as:

  • Beauty spas

  • Dermatology offices

  • Health or fitness centers

  • Medical spas

  • Cruise ships

  • Hotels

  • Plastic surgery clinics

  • Tattoo removal facilities

  • Salons

  • Alternative health shops

  • Massage clinics or parlors

  • Hospitals

  • Rehabilitation centers

  • Specialty clinics

  • Resorts

Some master estheticians may also decide to work as freelancers or start their own businesses. Self-employed master estheticians may offer to transport some or all of their services into a client's home.

What is the difference between a master esthetician and a medical esthetician?

A medical esthetician is a type of master esthetician. Medical estheticians are professionals who work in healthcare facilities, such as clinics or rehabilitation centers. Licensure requirements for medical estheticians depend on the state where you live, but are often similar to the requirements for master or advanced esthetician licensures.

Related: How To Become a Laser Technician

How long does master or advanced esthetician training take?

The length of a master esthetician training program varies based on your state's requirements. On average, states require 600 training hours for master esthetician licenses. Candidates might take between four and 12 months to complete this training. States with advanced or upgraded esthetician licenses typically require less training time, as these states often ask you to train for specific skills rather than complete a master esthetician program.

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