What do you do for a living?
I’m a medical aesthetician.
How would you describe what you do?
We focus on skincare, and skincare could be anything from improving the way you look to anything in general to do with the skin. Where I work we have a Medical Director who is a plastic surgeon, plus a couple of physician assistants that do all the injectables. My job is basically to do the consult, peels, facials and treatments, and any laser treatment related to the skin.
We have lasers for pigmentation, laser hair removal, fractural scars, IPL, and lasers for skin rejuvenation.
What is a typical workweek like for you?
On a daily basis I will see clients for a variety of treatments. Depending on the treatments I could be with a client from fifteen minutes to sometimes three hours in one day. It all depends what they are getting done that day.
How did you get started?
My first love is skincare and skin health. So I went to aesthetic school and got my license from New York City, and then you apply for different positions in the city. I just happened to apply for a job that related to medical skincare. I fell in love with it. I really never considered medical aesthetics until I started working for a medical spa. But I love the results and improvements you see in your patients. They are really amazing.
What do you like about what you do?
In my field I get to meet a lot of people from all different walks of life; captains of industries, bartenders, celebrities, etc. I meet a wide range of interesting people. I really love what I do. And I feel like sometimes I am a counselor, because they feel very comfortable in the environment and we are covered under HIPPA so we are not allowed to reveal any personal information so people tend to talk and share.
Is there anything you dislike?
Well, the one thing about this job that I am in right now is that you have to work weekends. So you have to be willing to give up some weekends and one night. But I can’t complain because there are some places where you basically only take vacations when the Dr’s on vacation. Here I have a little bit of wriggle room.
How do you make money or how are you compensated?
A lot of people in my position make an hourly wage, as well as a commission from sales, like product sales.
How much do you make as an aesthetician?
Depends on also how many hours you work, because I am on an hourly wage. If I work twenty hours I am compensated for that twenty hours, plus commission, so you could be anywhere from $40,000 to $100,000 if you have a really really good year. But the salary varies, it all depends on how much you work
How much did you make starting out as an aesthetician?
When I first started I made $25 dollars per hour.
What education or skills are needed to do this kind of career?
Well in different states there are different requirements. In New York City you don’t need to have a license background in lasers, but you do need some education and background in skincare and have a beauty license.
In Texas and in Florida I think you do need a medical degree to operate lasers, so different states require you to get a different education.
And if you have a background in sales that would be really great too.
What is the most challenging about what you do?
I think being able to get along with everybody you work with, because with small office politics you have to get along with different types of personalities.
What is the most rewarding for you?
Being able to help people, and I know that sounds kind of cheesy but I’ll give you an example. One day I had a woman who came in with horrible acne, and I don’t know if you have ever had acne before but it is a very irritating condition, and it is a chronic condition, and basically she had seen many dermatologists and they had put her on several types of oral medication but nothing had really worked. So we went over her options and came up with a program that really improved and reduced the acne on her skin, and it really changed her life. If you have acne it makes you not want to go out, you don’t want to see people, you just want to hide. And by just changing the way she looked and felt about herself it just made a world of difference. And it makes me feel good and so thankful that I got to be a little bit of help in that department.
And I grew up with acne so I know how that feels, I had it until my mid-twenties so I feel for them, I really do, and being able to help just a little bit feels great.
What advice would you offer someone considering this kind of career?
If you want a career just to make money this is not for you. You really have to like what you do, you really do. The compensation comes later, but in the beginning you really have to love what you do. And you have to be mature enough to work with different people of different backgrounds.
How much time off do you get or take?
Luckily when we first started at the place I work it closed on Sundays and Mondays, so those were my normal days off. It is different for everyone. There are places that are open very very late and open every weekend, so it depends where you work. Some people might only on weekdays, if you work in a Doctors office or a plastic surgery office, because they only do surgeries Monday to Friday and they are closed on the weekends. And some people who work in more of a spa environment have to work just about every weekend. And sometimes in the evening until nine o’clock, so it all depends where you work as well.
What is a common misconception that people have about what you do?
That all we do is facials. And that we get treatments all the time. Which is so untrue. I don’t even remember the last time I had a treatment, maybe the beginning of the year, January or sometime. We never have time to treat ourselves, it is very rare. If I wanted a facial I would have to be free and my co-worker would have to be free, and most of us don’t want to stay after work to get treatments because we are so tired at the end of the day.
What are your goals and dreams for the future?
There is so much technology that is out there right now and it is always improving, and I look forward to working with some of the newer technologies. There is new technologies out there for cellulite, to reduce cellulite and stretch marks, and that is really interesting to me.
What else would you like people to know about what you do?
Just that the biggest misconception is that people think all we do is have treatments all the time, but that is so not true.
I also want people to know who want to pursue this career is that number one, they have to do a lot of the research themselves, and second they have to be willing to work weeknights and weekends.