What Are the Different Types of Skin Care Careers?

Jessica Ellis

Skin care careers allow caring individuals to help other improve their skin health, tone, and texture. Some skin care jobs require years of education and training, while others may be picked up through trade school or on-the-job training programs. Some of the most popular careers in skin care include dermatologist or dermatologist assistant positions, esthetician careers, and jobs at a makeup or skincare retail store.

A person interested in a skin care career may enjoy working in a skin care retail store.
A person interested in a skin care career may enjoy working in a skin care retail store.

The most training-intensive skin care jobs are in the medical field of dermatology. Becoming a licensed dermatologist can take more than ten years of education, including undergraduate work, medical school, and dermatology fellowships. In addition, dermatologists must pass several sets of licensing exams to qualify for a license to practice legally. Dermatologists work with patients with a variety of skin conditions, including severe acne and skin cancer.

Some skin doctors focus on treating conditions such as acne.
Some skin doctors focus on treating conditions such as acne.

For those who wish to avoid the high cost and time commitment of medical school, it is still possible to find skin care careers in dermatology. A dermatologist's assistant may still need to attend undergraduate and graduate school as a physician's assistant, and may be required to pass examinations in order to work legally. Depending on regional regulations, some medical skin care-related careers may even be available to those with a two-year degree in physician assistance. These skilled professionals are able to help dermatologists with everything from office work to assisting in medical procedures.

Dermatologists work with patients who have skin cancer.
Dermatologists work with patients who have skin cancer.

Cosmetology is another great source of skin care careers. A cosmetologist or esthetician may work at a medical or luxury spa, specializing in treatments for facial and body skin. To qualify as an esthetician, a person will need to attend trade school for one to two years, and may complete internships or apprenticeships to improve skills. Many regions require that estheticians become licensed, which may include proof of completion of a cosmetology program as well as rigorous examinations. For those that like to work in a tranquil environment to help clients feel refreshed and relaxed, skin care careers in the spa and salon world can be a great option.

Some makeup artists are able to make a full-time living.
Some makeup artists are able to make a full-time living.

For those who simply like being around makeup and skincare products, a job with a beauty supply store can be a great entry-level position. While training is often provided on the job, it helps to have strong knowledge of product lines, innovations in the skin care industry, and the common skin concerns of clients. A friendly personality and sales skills can also help land a job in this fun and innovative area of the skin care market.

An esthetician performs a variety of skincare procedures.
An esthetician performs a variety of skincare procedures.
A dermatologist is one of the highest career paths in skin care.
A dermatologist is one of the highest career paths in skin care.

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Discussion Comments


Be very aware of the locations you go to receive any skin care treatments. More companies than you know hire individuals that are not licensed, nor have an extensive background in skin care and just learn on the job (these even include the most professional and expensive looking establishments and renowned doctors).

Always, always ask to see a license, especially if the doctors themselves are not treating you and you are passed off to an assistant. I know of a place in particular that allowed an individual who has dropped out of esthetic school, maybe had 200 hours of experience, preform Sclerotherapy on a patient because the dermatologist was already overbooked, and fit in some last minute patients that were also acquaintances. They do this to cut employee costs and to save money. Remember, that form you sign before you receive any treatment absolves them of anything that could happen during or after your treatment. You basically sign your life away and are left to deal with the repercussions.

Take note of those dermatologists who also sell an huge amount of skin care lines. Sad that dermatologists these days seem to lean toward making a quick buck then actually caring about their patients and recommend their own product line (that they helped develop) to every one of their patients regardless of condition or skin type.

Do your research, know what you want/need for your treatment or condition and cross reference it with the dermatologist. Make sure who treats you is certified, and your follow up home care is what necessary and is not excessive.


I think there's been a bit of a rise in people specializing in organic and herbal skin care. I know a couple of people who grow their own herbs and blend them into soaps and other products that are specifically meant to be used for troubled skin.

Neither of them actually apply the products, they only sell them, but I've heard there are some people who combine the two into a single business. It makes sense in a way, since herbs generally start to lose their effectiveness the longer they sit, so using them right after you grow and pick them is the best way to go.


@Mor - Even at luxury spas you have to be careful. My aunt has very sensitive skin, and she told the people at a new spa that she really couldn't tolerate any kind of chemicals, so the treatments had to be all natural.

She ended up having an allergic reaction, because they put the wrong kind of treatment on her. Luckily it was just uncomfortable and unseemly and not dangerous, but it could have been.


If you're looking for people who specialize in hair removal, I would make sure that they have qualifications in skin care as well. I've heard horror stories of people who have had laser treatments to reduce hair growth who ended up with burns and even permanent marks because the people operating the laser didn't have a clue what they were doing, and didn't understand the first thing about skin.

The same goes for waxing, actually, although that's not as much of an issue. If the waxing specialist understands how skin works it makes the whole process a much more pleasant experience though.

You shouldn't feel bad about asking to see certificates and diplomas if you are worried about the qualifications people hold.

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