How to Become an Esthetician in Texas

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Estheticians specialize in the beautification of skin through the provision of skin treatments and procedures. These include spa treatments, waxing, permanent makeup, and facials. While estheticians are not medical professionals and cannot diagnose and treat skin problems, their services complement plastic surgeons and dermatologists. Thus, they can work in spas and salons or medical setups.

As the beauty industry grows and rakes in millions of dollars in revenue, estheticians have increased. The Texas Workforce Commission estimates the number of estheticians to grow by almost 50% in the time gap between 2012 and 2022.

Before working as an esthetician, you must get a license from the Texas Department of Licensing & Registration. This guide covers the journey to that coveted license.

Step 1. Complete a Commission-Approved Training Program in Esthetics

The approved esthetician courses in Texas follow a 750-hour training schedule that includes in-class and practical training. All approved courses require students to learn:

  • The Human Anatomy and Physiology,
  • Aromatherapy Techniques,
  • Chemistry,
  • Appropriate Client Care,
  • Color Psychology,
  • Electricity and Equipment Basics and Use,
  • Facial Treatment, Cleansing, Masking, Therapy Techniques,
  • Makeup,
  • Management,
  • Nutrition
  • Rules and Law,
  • Safety, Sanitation, and First Aid (Minimum of 40 Hours), and
  • Superfluous Hair Removal (Minimum of 25 Hours).

Texas offers students two options to take up blended esthetician/manicurist courses. The first one requires that you complete the 750-hour esthetician program before enrolling in a 600-hour manicurist course. The other option is to enroll in a 1200-hour blended program. Please note that you can only get the esthetician license if you attend approved courses.

Step 2. Apply for an Esthetician Specialty License and Schedule Exams

Once you are done with your course, you can apply for an esthetician license from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR). However, before you do so, you must ensure that you are at least 17 years old and hold a high school diploma or an equivalent.

To apply for the license, you must register to complete the Cosmetology License by Examination. Tick the esthetician specialty and submit your application to the TDLR together with your $50 application fee. If your application is successful, the TDLR will confirm your eligibility via email and send you instructions on where you will take your exam.

The TDLR works with PSI testing services to deliver the written and practical exams. The written exams cost $55 while the practical ones cost $78. You must pass the written exam before you can take the practical exam.

Read more: How to Obtain a Cosmetology License in TX.

Step 3. Take and Pass the Written and Practical Examinations for Licensure

To get an idea of what you can expect from your exams, please go through the Candidate Information Bulletin. Your exam will comprise two sections- the written exam and the practical exam.

The written exam assesses you based on the following sections, which carry different scored weights:

  • Facial makeup (5%),
  • Esthetician licensing and regulation (7%),
  • Hair removal techniques (9%),
  • Advanced facial treatments (12%),
  • Client analysis and consultation procedures (12%),
  • Basic facial treatments (20%), and
  • Sanitation, disinfection, and safety guidelines (35%).

The TDLR contracts with PSI testing centers in the following Texas locations. You can take your exam in any of them:

  • Abilene
  • Amarillo
  • Arlington
  • Austin
  • Corpus Christi
  • Dallas
  • El Paso
  • Fort Worth
  • Harlingen
  • Houston
  • Lubbock
  • Midland
  • San Antonio
  • Tyler
  • Waco

If you pass the written exam, you will move on to the practical assessment. You will have 1 ½ hour to complete the exam, which will test you on the following areas per the given timelines:

Activity Timeline
Setting up and disinfecting the work area before the exam 10 minutes
Performing skin cleansing services 15 minutes
Steaming the face and neck 5 minutes
Massaging the face and neck 15 minutes
Masking and moisturizing the face and neck 15 minutes
Arching the eyebrows with tweezers 10 minutes
Arching the eyebrows with mock cold wax 10 minutes
Disinfecting the work area at the end of the exam 10 minutes

The TDLR contracts the following PSI locations in Texas. You can take your exam in any of them:

  • Amarillo
  • Austin
  • DFW Metroplex
  • El Paso
  • Greater Houston area
  • McAllen
  • Midland
  • San Antonio

Step 4. Pursue Professional Opportunities and Additional Specialty Certificates in Texas

Estheticians in Texas get to work in medical setups (e.g., with dermatologists and plastic surgeons) or in spas and salons. You can choose to work with a broader esthetician license or specialize in a given niche. There are numerous specialized certificates you can pursue in Texas. Please note that for you to achieve licensing, you must pursue a commission-approved program. Examples include:

  • Eyelash extension specialty certificate: Requires 320 clock hours of training,
  • Hair braiding specialty certificate: Requires 35 clock hours of training,
  • Hair weaving specialty certificate: Requires 300 clock hours of training, and
  • Wig specialty certificate: Requires 300 clock hours of training.

While you can choose to work as an independent contractor, you can always find a job at any of the following spas which offer esthetics services:

  • Central Texas Esthetics
  • Fabulous Esthetics, Frisco and Addison
  • Pure Skin Spa, Austin
  • Renee Rouleau, Dallas, and Plano
  • Rumors Spa, Salon, and Wellness Center, Longview
  • Spa Habitat, Dallas, and Plano
  • The New You Aesthetic Medicine, Dallas
  • Ultra Fitness and Spa, San Antonio
  • Viva Day Spa, Austin

With the numerous work opportunities available to you, the ultimate choice will be yours.

Step 5. Maintain your Esthetician License in Texas

Like with any other professional job, you must undergo continuous training and renew your esthetician license. In Texas, you must renew your license every two years by following the online renewal process and paying a $50 renewal fee. Moreover, you must undertake an hour in sanitation classes and at least three more hours pursuing esthetician-related topics.

Esthetician Salaries and Job Prospects in Texas

The global beauty industry is growing at a fast rate, and Texas is not any different. If anything, Texas made its mark on the industry when Mary Kay moved its headquarters to Dallas half a century ago. Since then, the beauty market has only grown, and it’s expected that at least 1,300 more people will join the esthetician industry by 2026. If you’re looking to join an industry that’s about to take off, this is it.

How Esthetician Salaries Stack Up in Texas

Once you have your hands on an esthetician license, you will have numerous opportunities lined up in front of you. On average, a beginner earns an hourly wage of $7.91 or an annual salary of $16,440, which is on the lower end. Estheticians who have gained a footing in the industry take home $10.53 an hour or an annual salary of $21,900. Yet, those who have garnered a good number of clients earn $25.66 per hour or a whopping $53,380 per year. Of course, these figures will be different for estheticians working in medical setups.

Keep in mind that you’ll work in the service industry. Thus, you can make more money from tips, commissions, and bonuses. Moreover, the figures above are averages and are not set in stone. Some people earn much more than this even in their first year out of school. It all comes down to the work you put in and the rapport you build with clients. You can open a salon or spa and hire trained professionals while taking on a managerial position in the establishment.

Whether you want an hourly wage, a monthly salary, or the freedom to dictate what you take home, the choice is yours.

Examining Salary Differences in Texas by Location

Salaries will always depend on where you work, and the case is not different in Texas. If you want to have an idea of how much estheticians in different locations make per year, the table below will have you sorted:

Location Lower End Median Higher End
Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos $17,470 $31,280 $53,980
Amarillo $18,510 $29,000 $48,460
College Station-Bryan $16,750 $23,160 $31,210
Dallas-Plano-Irving $16,270 $21,410 $42,970
El Paso $16,080 $18,210 $45,720
Fort Worth-Arlington $16,490 $19,760 $52,280
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown $16,080 $19,020 $56,830
Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood $16,490 $28,870 $59,360
McAllen Edinburg-Mission $15,830 $18,680 $51,990
San Antonio-New Braunfels $17,250 $28,490 $52,710

Based on the above stats, you can see that you would get the best rates in Amarillo, San Antonio, Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, and other metro areas. Please note that these stats were accessed in 2019 based on 2017 salary data provided by the U.S. Department of Labor which did not separate esthetician experience levels. However, you can note key trends from this data.

10 Notable Esthetician Programs in Texas

Are you looking to pursue an esthetician career in Texas? Your best bet lies in finding and enrolling in a commission-approved program. Only then can you launch a bustling career in the south. The good news is that most schools are affordable and charge an average tuition of $8,766. Below are our top ten picks:

Avenue Five Institute – Austin

School Website

  • Tuition Fees: $9,970
  • Kit Cost: $1,299
  • Program Duration: 5 months

This institute sets you up to play in the big leagues by incorporating workshops with guest artists in its curriculum. Moreover, it delves into how you can run your own business, enabling you to leave school and jump right into entrepreneurship. It also helps that the school uses high-quality products like Sebastian and Wella while taking you through advanced skincare techniques.

Baldwin Beauty Schools – Austin

School Website

  • Tuition Fees: $7,800
  • Kit Cost: $600
  • Program Duration: 5 months
  • Locations: North Austin and South Austin

This school bases its foundation on the Pivot Point curriculum, which revolves around demos and practical client experiences. You get to have hands-on experience on various beauty techniques, including body wraps and facials using renowned brands like PCA Skin. As a result, the school has churned out hundreds of graduates whose successful careers prove the efficacy of the school curriculum.

DuVall’s School of Cosmetology – Bedford

School Website

  • Tuition Fees (including kit cost): $11,500
  • Program Duration: 6 months

With an affordable fee structure (including acceptance of VA benefits), this school sets its students up for success. It prides itself on instilling creativity in students who spend most of their time in the student salon. Its partnership with Dermalogica ensures that you get to use the best products in the market under supervision from qualified estheticians. Furthermore, the school offers placement opportunities for its graduates.

The Premier Institute of Cosmetology, Esthetics & Massage – Houston

School Website

  • Tuition Fees: $9,400 (accepts VA benefits, scholarships available)
  • Kit Cost: $1,400
  • Program Length: Variable

This school offers introductory skincare treatment courses and also gets into advanced esthetician courses. By the time you finish, you’ll know all there is to skin analysis and extractions down to microdermabrasion and LED light therapy. The school takes on a hands-on approach and helps students find job placements.

Ogle School of Hair, Skin & Nails

School Website

  • Tuition Fees: $9,000
  • Kit Cost: $2,580
  • Program Duration: 6 months
  • Locations: Arlington, Fort Worth, Dallas, Houston, North Dallas, Hurst, Denton, and San Antonio.

These Dermalogica partner schools will have you covered from day one. They incorporate Pivot Point curriculums and ProsperU beauty business training in their classes. Thus, you get to learn all there is to skincare regimens while also understanding how to manage a business. Moreover, you build your portfolio from the day you start, which helps you as the school tries to secure you a job placement once you graduate.

Salon Boutique Academy – Addison

School Website

  • Tuition Fees: $7,450 (accepts VA benefits)
  • Kit Cost: $1,550
  • Program Duration: 7 months

This school seeks to help its students excel in esthetician courses regardless of their schedules. You can choose between day and night classes as you embark on basic and advanced skin care techniques. If you would like to specialize in a niche, the school offers advanced programs too. The school also teaches you how to run a business and places you in one of Addison’s local salons and spas to help you spread your wings.

Steiner Institute of Esthetics – Dallas

School Website

  • Tuition Fees: $8,677
  • Kit Cost: $1,637
  • Program Duration: 7 months

Students in this school learn the anatomy, physiology, and chemistry behind basic and advanced skincare techniques. They also learn how to manage businesses and develop their careers over the years to succeed in the esthetician market. Thanks to its vast network of schools, it can secure you a job placement once you graduate to help you get started on your career.

Texas College of Cosmetology

School Website

  • Tuition Fees: $6,115
  • Kit Cost: $660
  • Program Duration: Varies
  • Locations: Abilene, San Angelo, Lubbock

With three campuses spread across the state, you will have an easy time finding the right one for your esthetician journey. The classes delve into skin anatomy, coupled with basic and advanced skin treatments. Students can also enroll in more specialized courses in the school. After graduation, the college will help you secure a good job that matches your skillset.

Total Transformation Institute of Cosmetology

School Website

  • Tuition Fees: $8,500
  • Kit Cost: $2,580
  • Program Duration: 5 months
  • Location: San Marcos

Like the school’s name suggests, it aims to impart esthetician and business management skills to its students. Through the Nuts-and-Bolts system, you’ll leave the program fully equipped with skills to take your business off the ground. Moreover, you get to participate in beauty shows and competitions that benefit people in need.

Vogue College of Cosmetology

School Website

  • Tuition Fees: $9,250 (accepts VA benefits, scholarship opportunity)
  • Kit Cost: $975
  • Program Duration: 5 months
  • Locations: San Antonio, McAllen, & Lubbock

This school has trained more than 50,000 beauty professionals, who are a testament to its exemplary courses. Potential estheticians go through training on basic and advanced skin treatment techniques using top brands in the market.