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Difference Between an Aesthetician and an Esthetician

Aesthetician vs Esthetician

I stumbled upon these two words, “aesthetician” and “esthetician.” Without even the aid of a dictionary, you can guess the meaning of “aesthetician.” And my guess is it is a person who deals with aesthetics. And aesthetics is a field which mainly revolves around the appearance of a person. But when I think of the definition of “esthetician,” I came up with nothing. Is there a root word “esthetics”? I don’t know. It is an unfamiliar term, but it definitely sounds like “aesthetics.” So when I try to look up the meaning of the words in the Internet, here’s what I have found. Read on to find out more about the differences between “aesthetician” and “esthetician.”

According to what I have read, aestheticians and estheticians are both licensed skin specialists. They are experts on analyzing and cleansing a person’s skin through different techniques. Their main difference is their work settings. Aestheticians work in a medical setup like health centers, clinics, and hospitals, while estheticians work in spas and even salons or any other places where people go relaxing with concerns on beautifying missions.

Basically, the work of an aesthetician and an esthetician have a lot in common. Aestheticians are also known as clinical aestheticians and paramedical aestheticians. Their patients are mostly cancer-afflicted people, burn victims, and other medically related issues which need the help of skin care specialists. The job of the aesthetician is to treat the damaged skin of his patient from burns, chemotherapy, and surgery. After treating the direct problem, they help their patient to maintain the integrity of their skin. Proper maintenance of the skin includes cleansing and moisturizing the skin. At times, they apply the appropriate makeup for their patients. Aside from hospitals, aestheticians work in burn units, reconstructive surgery clinics, and trauma centers.

Estheticians are also skin care specialists who work in resorts, spas, salons, and fitness clubs. Their main job is to cleanse the skin of their clients through skin exfoliation, aromatherapy, facials, and even massage. Analyzing the skin is also their line of work. They also remove unwanted hair, apply makeup, and advise their clients on what are the best products to use for their skin.

To be a licensed skin care specialist like the aesthetician or esthetician, you need to have a formal education in cosmetology training. There are several programs available for you to enroll in such as an associate’s degree, certificate program, and diploma degree. To be eligible for licensure, you also need to complete practical training regardless of any program you have chosen. The requirements for licensure vary in every country or state, but usually it only entails formal training and even a high school diploma.


  1. Aestheticians and estheticians are both licensed skin care specialists.

  2. Aestheticians are called clinical or paramedical aestheticians while estheticians are called the traditional skin care specialists.

  3. Their main difference is their work setting. Aestheticians work in health care settings such as hospitals, clinics, trauma centers, reconstructive surgery units, and burn units while estheticians work in spas, salons, fitness clubs, and resorts.

  4. Both professions include analyzing, treating, and maintaining the integrity of the skin. Other tasks include: removal of facial or body hair, skin exfoliation, makeup application, aromatherapy sessions, massage, and advising the patients or clients on what are the best products to use for the skin.

  5. To be a licensed, skin care specialist, you need to complete a degree or program, then you need to undergo formal training. Different countries or states impose different requirements, but usually a high school diploma and a certificate of formal training are the only training required.

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  1. In New York, USA, students attend state licensed schools of esthetics, completing coursework, and practicing on each other and on the public through clinics. No college credit is required to be accepted into a program and none is earned. There is no program for a “medical esthetician” in NY; to be considered one, I believe a practitioner must work under the supervision of a dermatologist or plastic surgeon. Upon completion of the course, the esthetics student takes a state-created and proctored test. Once they obtain their licenses, it’s the choice of the practitioners whether they prefer the spelling of “aesthetician” or “esthetician” on their business cards as they are interchangeable words. (See Wikipedia for confirmation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esthetician#Esthetician)

    For details of NYS licensure, see: http://www.dos.ny.gov/licensing/esthetics/esthetics.html

  2. Aesthetician or Esthetician has nothing to do with Cosmetology and has to have a formal education in SKINCARE & Anatomy of the skin, diseases etc. and obtain State License. An esthetician does more than analyze and cleanse skin. These professional skin care specialist provide advance skincare treatments including laser treatments for problematic skin.

    There are some programs that offers dual training Skincare & Haircare briefly covering some fundamentals; but cosmetologists are required training in cosmetology NOT Estheticians.

  3. It has always been my understanding (as a licensed Medical Esthetician in Canada) the difference is strictly French-Aesthetician or English-Esthetician. 🙂 There are one and the same. In Canada there is a course to upgrade from an (A)Esthetician(Spa/Salon setting) to a Medical (A)Esthetician(Medical clinical setting).

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