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Aesthetician Vs. Esthetician Salary – What New Graduates Can Expect

Well done on completing your esthetician program! This achievement is a significant milestone in your professional journey. The next step is to pass your national licensing exam, which will open the doors to a career as a professional esthetician or aesthetician, depending on your chosen path. To help you make an informed decision, we’ll discuss the differences between these two roles, focusing on the starting salaries new graduates can expect. 

The Differences Between Aestheticians and Estheticians

While both aestheticians and estheticians are skincare experts, one key difference exists between them. Estheticians focus on surface-level skin treatments; aestheticians go beyond the skin–usually below it.


Aestheticians are involved in the medical side of cosmetics. They must undergo additional medical training to prepare them for their careers. Most aestheticians perform skincare-related duties like:

  • Laser and light procedures
  • Post-operative patient care
  • Deep chemical peels 
  • Treatment of chronic skin conditions
  • Scar diminishing treatments

If you have a background in nursing or are considering nursing school, you have a unique opportunity to pursue a career as an aesthetic nurse. Aesthetic nurses may also assist in plastic surgeries and other cosmetic procedures. The starting salary for an aesthetic nurse is typically higher than that of a licensed aesthetician, offering a potentially lucrative career path with room for growth.


Estheticians usually supply cosmetic treatments focusing on the skin’s appearance and surface-level esthetics. Treatments estheticians perform include:

  • Chemical peels
  • Facials
  • Spa treatments
  • Waxing/hair removal
  • Facial makeup

Average Salaries For Estheticians And Aestheticians

You may be wondering which cosmetic career will provide the highest income. The average salary for skin care professionals in the United States is:

  • Esthetician: $44,000 per year ($24 per hour)


  • Aesthetician: $35,000 per year ($20 per hour)

What Factors Can Make Salaries Higher Or Lower?

Why is the average pay for an esthetician lower than that of an aesthetician? Typically, you can expect to make more as an aesthetician since this field requires additional medical training. However, there’s a higher demand for estheticians in some regions, which means a higher pay rate.

To understand the varied salaries of these positions, we’ll need to look at the different factors that can affect the pay rates of these career opportunities.

  • Geographic Location—Coastal states and large cities usually have higher salary ranges due to the increased cost of living
  • Experience—As a new aesthetic graduate, you won’t have completed as many hands-on treatments in your field. It’s only natural that you will make less than those with more years of experience.
  • General Demand—If the cosmetic industry is booming in your city, you’ll see increased salaries for open positions in your area.
  • Services—Due to the complexity of the treatments, you can expect to make a higher wage when you provide extensive or delicate services. 
  • Workplace—Working in a classy med spa or a popular cosmetic office with a reputation for excellent (and expensive) treatments will likely mean you can expect a higher salary.

Know What To Expect From Your Salary As A Cosmetic Professional

Understanding the factors influencing salary differences–location, demand, experience, etc.–is crucial for you as a recent aesthetic program graduate. This knowledge will help guide you toward the career you are passionate about and the job that will support you financially.

At the American Academy of Cosmetic Medicine, we offer extensive courses to help you prepare for a career in the cosmetic industry. You can reach us at (425) 864-3777 to learn more about our courses today.