August 24, 2020

Cosmetology or Esthetics? What’s the Difference?

When considering attending beauty school, the first programs that often come to mind are cosmetology and esthetics, and for good reason! These two programs could easily be the most popular. At Hair Professionals Career College, we offer programs in both fields to accommodate both interests!

Many prospective students wonder about the differences between cosmetology and esthetics. While there are some overlapping skills, these fields are distinct. We provide information to help students make informed decisions about which program may suit their goals

If you’re undecided, keep reading to learn more about the differences!


Estheticians are skincare specialists trained to assess and enhance the skin through various treatments and services. They provide services like facials, makeup application, hair removal, and more advanced skincare treatments such as microdermabrasion and chemical peels. Unlike cosmetologists, estheticians do not cut, style, color hair, or perform nail services.

Our Esthetics Program

At Hair Professionals Career College, our esthetics program includes training in various skills, such as

  • Facials
  • Waxing
  • Body Wraps
  • Aromatherapy
  • Microdermabrasion
  • Makeup Application
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Careers for Estheticians

Licensed estheticians may pursue a variety of careers, such as:

  • Facial Technician
  • Microdermabrasion Technician
  • Waxing Technician
  • Spa Owner
  • Spa Manager
  • Freelance Makeup Artist
  • Aromatherapy Specialist


Cosmetologists provide a broad range of services to treat and beautify hair, nails, and skin. Many go on to become hairstylists, hair colorists, barbers, or makeup artists. While they can provide basic skin services, they do not offer advanced treatments like microdermabrasion or chemical peels.

Our Cosmetology Program

Our cosmetology program includes training in the following areas

  • Hair Cutting
  • Hair Coloring
  • Hair Design
  • Skincare
  • Manicuring and Pedicuring
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Careers for Cosmetologists

Licensed cosmetologists may have diverse career opportunities, including:

  • Personal Hairstylist
  • Salon Hairstylist
  • High-end Salon Hairstylist
  • Hair Colorist
  • Spa Technician
  • Nail Technician
  • Facial Technician
  • Spa Owner
  • Salon Owner
  • Salon Manager
  • Spa Manager
  • Freelance Makeup Artist

Key Differences

Skill Set

Both estheticians and cosmetologists at Hair Professionals Career College learn skin services, but their training diverges significantly. Esthetics students focus exclusively on skincare without hair or nail training, whereas cosmetology students gain a broader skill set that includes hair and nail care.

Job Opportunities

Both fields offer similar job opportunities, particularly in skincare and makeup. However, due to licensing differences, cosmetologists have a broader range of job possibilities, including those that estheticians cannot pursue.


In Illinois, estheticians must complete at least 750 training hours to be eligible for licensure. Cosmetologists must complete at least 1500 training hours for licensure. At any of our 3 campuses, you can complete an esthetician program in as little as 6 months or our cosmetology program in as little as 9 months!

Choosing the Right Program

Selecting the right program involves considering several factors:

  • Time Commitment: How much time can you dedicate to training?
  • Interests: What are you passionate about learning?
  • Career Focus: What do you want to specialize in your career?
  • Passion Areas: Which aspects of beauty are you most interested in?
  • Financial Situation: How flexible is your financial situation?
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At Hair Professionals Career College, we aim to help our students find a program that fits their goals. Contact us for more information about our programs, and come visit us to get a glimpse of our day-to-day schedule. You can also schedule a tour at our Palos Hills, Oswego, or Sycamore campuses. We look forward to seeing you soon!

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