Should I go to school for Esthetics or Cosmetology Chicago, IL


Many students consider that question when they are thinking about a new career or even a career change. Since Cosmetology is a more popular term, it is a choice that is made by default without considering other choices and options.

Esthetics, which is a specialty in Skin Care only, is not as well known as Cosmetology but it is the recommended license for someone who wants to work only with skin performing waxing, facials, body treatments, and clinical skin care applications. Many times Cosmetology and Esthetics are used interchangeably and there is confusion, especially outside the US because Cosmetology comes from the Greek word kosmeticos, which means “skilled in the use of cosmetics.” They are not interchangeable when it comes to the focus of the schooling however because only 85 hours of cosmetology school are devoted to Skin Care as opposed to 750 hours of Skin Care for esthetics school. As a result, cosmetologists may have a very difficult time finding employment especially when it comes to working with a doctor.

If one is not interested in hair such as cutting, coloring, and foiling the hair for highlights than cosmetology is NOT recommended. Although a cosmetologist will cover skincare in their schooling-it will not be anywhere near as in depth as going to school specifically for skincare would be.

Here are some of the key differences in Esthetics vs Cosmetology:

Esthetics Cosmetology
  • 750 hours totally devoted to Skincare
  • 1500 hours covering mostly hair with 55 hours of nail instruction and ONLY 85 hours of skincare
  • Learn facials treatments with and without electrotherapy
  • Learn basic facials with no electrotherapy
  • Learn multiple facial massages
  • Learn how to color hair and how to do color corrections
  • Learn body scrubs and wraps
  • Learn bleaching, highlighting, and foiling techniques
  • Learn full body waxing
  • Learn cutting and styling and how to do perms
  • Learn microdermabrasion, chemical peeling, microcurrent, ultrasounds, Lasers, IPL, & LED
  • Learn basic manicures and pedicures
  • Minimum time of program: 5 months
  • Minimum time of program: 8 months
  • Average cost: $15,700
  • Average Cost: $20,000

At The New Age Spa Institute, we do not offer cosmetology. All of our instructors for esthetics are licensed estheticians and esthetics teachers and have hands on experience performing the treatments that they teach.


Those interested in learning more about the curriculum differences between Esthetics and Cosmetology can visit the IDFPR website.

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