So you’re considering a career in esthetics/skin care? Well we have great news! It’s a career with many different options available, and a number of great teachers to learn from. In this article we will also discuss how much money can be made as an esthetician for each of the categories of career. Here are 16 of the most common careers (including some of the more entrepreneurial ones) within the esthetics & skin care industry:
Alright so this one is kind of the most obvious choice. An esthetician working here can expect to be providing the full range of his or her services from facials to bikini waxing and mani/pedi services. Having your massage license or being trained in some form of massage can also be a huge hiring bonus in your potential employer’s eyes. Depending on the spa you will either be employed full-time, part-time or even on call and it will almost always be a split between a small salary and commission on any products you sell (very important and we discuss why here). Typically for someone working part-time (less than 40hrs per week) you should be able to bring in 20-28k per year. Full-time work will usually result in 32-45k per year.
A large portion of your income is very dependent on the spa’s location, advertising and client base.
Nowadays many people prefer to have the spa come to them. Mobile spa services are definitely becoming a noticeable part of the industry thanks to both consumer demand for more flexible spa days and also because real-estate is really expensive, so instead of passing that on to your customers through your pricing strategy, just get rid of it! Wages are very similar to a day spa and are equally dependent on the same factors as above.
For those who are a little more entrepreneurially minded opening your own spa at home or offering mobile spa services can be a great career. It offers you all the flexibility that you need, once it’s built. As you’re building it though expect long days and hours to craft your business and build up your client base. For this type of route it’s definitely important to have some form of coach to keep you motivated and to give you support when and where you need it! Check out our new spa business program.
Once established, if you continue on as an individual, you can expect to make in the range of 40-60k per annum. Of course this is just the average once built, in the first few years expect closer to 16-30k. All comes down to how hard you’re willing to work, and who you’re working with!
Another very common form of being self-employed in this industry is room rental. Many hair salons or professional offices will expand to build a room purely for esthetics treatments. The esthetician who works there is self-employed as a contractor who runs their own business from within the hair salon. This can be very helpful if the salon has a lot of walk-in clients as it will help you build your book faster. However it must be discussed with the salon owner what they expect of you in terms of availability.
Overall the income is often about the same as the at-home/mobile self-employed category, but with a faster, easier, more expensive build time.
Here is a career option that goes hand-in hand with being an esthetician. Getting companies to send you their products to try them out and build a following of subscribers through your blog, video and social media channels. Although not a traditional career path, it can definitely be done full-time. As an esthetician you have specialized skin care knowledge that adds to your credibility. Personally I do recommend that you actually work in the field as an esthetician before jumping in here, so as to add to your credibility. I don’t know much about income in this case (and I can imagine it varies!) but you might eventually start getting a lot of freebies! (If you work part-time in day spa this could be an excellent way to transition to being self-employed!)
Oooh the dream! I think we all imagine that one day we might all be running beautiful and successful day spas or medical spas! This is definitely a part of the career where you’ll definitely want to have studied the business a little bit before just jumping in or you might want to have a strong business background as now you’re managing a lot more than just yourself (but also yourself!).
A lot of variables here but a successful spa owner in Vancouver should be making around sixty to eighty thousand per year, if not more depending on how you grow the business (franchising anyone?).
Large Corporate/Resort Spas
Ah the living large corporate life! These places are great to work for as they always have a defined system and all their products, client services and ordering are done and taken care of for you! However each place again can be different and because of all the additional staff you may not get as many clients referred to you. Always important to ask what you can expect, how many clients they get for the services you’re providing, and what kind of training they offer to give a better chance of success.
Like in a regular day spa you can expect a salary/commission split and around the same level of income. The great part of working in a spa like is that in theory you should be receiving a lot more clients, albeit temporary clients as many will be tourists.
Cruise Ship Spas
Want to work exclusively with tourists and people from around the world while getting to travel and see many places? As long as you don’t get motion sickness this could be the experience of a lifetime! Definitely an exciting place to work once you’re finished your education to gain experience and learn the ways of the sailing esthetics expert! Very similar to the Large Spa category but highly unlikely to develop a consistent client base, fortunately though, people on cruise ships love to spend their money! Definitely be prepared to sell!
Although skin care is often associated with being a luxury service, there are also many people who need serious medical help in targeting their skin care problems. Medical spas are sort of a hybrid of a salon/day spa and medical clinic. Often the person working in a medical setting will have some other form of training and education that defines them as a medical professional, like a dermatologist, and this is important because many of the treatments offered by a medical professional can be more invasive than traditional esthetics/skin care.
Setting up a medical spa can be a lot more expensive than a traditional day spa due to the specialised equipment required to deliver the treatments (such as lasers or vein therapy), but you have a higher margin on your treatments. Make sure you figure out your cash-flow! Medical estheticians are also often certified for anti-aging treatments such as Botox or Juvederm.
Some people in this industry live for hair removal! There are plenty of excellent waxing boutiques here in Vancouver who are very busy! As the most recognized form of hair removal and the most economical, this can be a great career choice that allows you to really specialize in your trade (helping to manage your costs). The key difference here is that you’re probably going to want more clients than a full-service esthetician so as to keep the books full. You could also upsell any of your other esthetic services to your waxing clients. However you want to structure it.
Another one for those of us who love to remove unwanted body hair, but this time using electricity and needles (professionally referred to as electrolysis filaments)! If you’re interested in electrolysis it will require a little extra training as it certainly an art. Check out their association page here: http://www.fcea.org/
Who better to promote skin care than a skin care expert? Working for a large brand of skin care (or even a local distributor ;)) can be a very rewarding career for anyone in the field of esthetics & skin care. If you love to work with people and introduce them to new products this could be a very rewarding career. Income will vary from company to company though so kind of hard to judge.
A very specialised field of express service in the industry. Brow services usually are limited to waxing, tinting (including the lashes) and threading. Really focuses on quantity of treatments (low margins needs higher volume) and is a huge matter of location and friendly service.
Nail Tech/Nail Artist
With the massive growth of demand for express services nail bars have become a very fast growing part of the esthetics and beauty industry in Vancouver. To the point that there are probably more mani/pedi places than any other form of business (next to hair salons of course), and schools, such as London School of Beauty are now offering Nail Tech specific courses. Income for a nail tech is probably similar to a full-time esthetician at a day spa.
As part of your education you most likely had some make-up training, this can be a fantastic add-on service after your client’s facial service (assuming its ok to apply) but you can also build a career on just make-up alone. Freelance make-up can lead to a lot of really cool opportunities including bridal and TV. We don’t do much in the way of make-up at the moment, however if you’re going to be jumping into the freelance world, definitely check out our article on 17 Tips to Market your Beauty Business!
And remember you’re never limited or stuck to one category in this industry you can introduce a variety of services or you can completely change direction any time. Remember it’s your career, so you get to decide. Let us know what you think! Any other ideas or suggestions are always welcome!
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