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How to Become a Licensed Esthetician - Advice on Esthetician School, The PSI Exam, and Clients

An esthetician is a trained professional that specializes in the beautification of the skin. Estheticians are commonly licensed, they are specifically trained to help their clients maintain healthier skin. They perform cosmetic skin treatments such as facials, lash lifts, chemical peels, laser treatments, body treatments, waxing, and much more.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment is expected to grow by 14 percent by 2026, which is faster than the growth expected for all professions. The income range for a licensed esthetician starts at $18,000 per year, with the top 10 percent making $60,000 per year.


Tori Ditta

Meet Tori Ditta


Tori Ditta is a 25-year-old licensed esthetician in the state of New York. She currently has an Instagram page where clients are able to book her services, which include facials, yumi lash lifts, and detox facial treatments. Tori is also dedicated to giving back to her clients and that is why is she has a webpage dedicated to pharmaceutical-grade skincare products.


One-on-one with an Industry Expert:

I wanted to learn the necessary steps it took in order to become a licensed esthetician. Therefore, I interviewed Tori. Below are some questions I asked her regarding esthetician school, the PSI exam, being a business owner, and gaining clients.


1. Why become an Esthetician?

Tori's personal experience and some tips and tricks to get you started:

- I have always loved everything to do with beauty, fashion, and skincare! If you ask anyone who knows me I am always talking, researching, and reading about skincare. During my undergrad, I was working at a barbershop giving male facials. I then decided I really enjoyed it and wanted to learn everything there was to know about skin. I love enhancing someone’s natural beauty and helping people who suffer from acne or other skin conditions.


2. What was taking your PSI exam like and what advice do you have for individuals considering esthetician school?

- There are two parts of the esthetics state board exam which you take on separate days: the written and the practical. If you study and pay attention in class the test will be easy. I suggest studying for the written in advance so you don’t feel overwhelmed. I used Quizlet to study for the written portion of the exam. I passed with a 91, if you study in advance you will pass with flying colors! For the practical, I recommend making a checklist and making sure you have all the things you need the week of the test. Practice, practice, practice as much as you can till you feel completely comfortable. There are 3 different parts to the practical exam: the removal of Superfluous hair, facials, and makeup application. The examination is approximately 2 hours long. Each procedure is given a specific time allotment. This being said you need to be able to complete each section in a certain amount of time and that is why practice is key. The night before the exam make sure you have your ID and everything you need to be packed up and ready to go. I remember being so nervous when taking the practical just to breathe and relax. I promise if you go in prepared you will pass on the first try.


3. How long does it take to become an esthetician?

- You can go to school part-time or full time. I chose to go to school full time which took six months to complete.


4. Was it worth going to an Esthetician school?

- Yes, it was 100 percent worth it. I attended Long Island Nail Skin & Hair Institute. I had an amazing teacher named Mrs. Maryanne, who was so knowledgeable and went above and beyond to make learning as fun and easy as possible.


5. What are your top tips on becoming a successful Esthetician and business owner?

- My number one tip would be to never stop learning, take advanced classes, and read books. I would say I gained most of my knowledge through research, reading, and advanced classes as well as webinars. I love researching. If you are truly passionate about this industry you will invest money to learn and advance your skills. This will make you feel more confident and comfortable when speaking to your clients. When I was in school I tried to take as many advanced classes as possible before I even graduated. This allows me to educate my clients and offer the most effective treatments. I recommend re-reading your milady esthetics books as well. I also recommend getting facials from different estheticians. You will learn new techniques and maybe even make a connection/friend. You also need to know what it is like on the other end to be receiving a facial. Stay up to date with new trends and technology even if you don’t plan on bringing it into your practice. This is so important because your clients will ask you about them. Lastly, always promote yourself as much as possible! Show off your work, educate clients, and post about the services you offer.


6. What was the process of starting a business as an Esthetician?

- Starting your own business is exciting and scary all at the same time. It takes a lot of planning and research. Aside from all the legal aspects of opening your own business, you need to figure out what you are going to need and what services you would like to offer. Start off with what you can afford and then you can always add more services and machines as your clientele grows. As you grow your clientele you will also be able to build services off of their needs and what skin conditions you work with most. One of the most important things is picking a skincare line that works in favor of the esthetician. One that is exclusive and can only be purchased through licensed professionals.


7. How do you manage to keep up with industry standards? Is there something that sets you apart from other brands in the industry?

- I truly care about my clients and the results they want to achieve. I will only recommend treatments and products that I know will truly benefit them. I care about my clients' skin just as much as they do. When I start a skincare journey with a client I am with them every step of the way. I am always checking in with my clients after treatments to see how they are doing and if they have any questions. I am constantly researching the best products and treatments I can bring in for my clients. I only use products with top quality ingredients.

It makes me so happy to make people feel beautiful and confident in their own skin.


8. How did you develop your clientele and how do you maintain those relationships?

- My clientele is purely through Instagram and referrals. If you are good and knowledgeable about what you do, clients will keep coming back. When you are doing your initial consultation it is important to focus on what the client wants to treat rather than what you see or feel needs to be treated. Listen to their concerns and base treatments and products recommendations off of that.


9. Do you have any tips for anyone trying to grow their clientele in your industry?

- Social media plays a big role in today’s society. It is vital to post your work and stay connected with your clients. Staying active on Instagram is so important. I try to post every day on my business page and story. I have had clients come from over an hour away to see me. I feel so blessed and grateful that people are willing to travel. Having clear and quality photos of your work is key. This industry can be very competitive at times but never compete with others, focus on being the best version of yourself. Focus on expanding your knowledge and giving an outstanding service. If you provide your clients with good service they will come back as well as tell their family and friends. Make sure you are genuine and kind. Only offer services and products that you know are going to be beneficial for the client. Provide a comfortable and non-judgemental environment. Educate clients, don’t criticize them.

Tips on Becoming a Successful Certified Esthetician:


I am thankful Tori Ditta took the time out to educate the beauty community on becoming a certified and licensed esthetician. Judging from this interview, I can honestly recommend Tori's services to anyone who is interested in a yumi lash lift or facial. Tori is a smart, dedicating, and self-driven business owner. I believe Tori's business will go far, there is a reason why people travel over an hour to visit her. My thoughts on becoming a licensed esthetician are:

  1. If you are passionate about skincare, do it! As Tori mentioned, it took her six months to complete her esthetician school as a full-time student. She provided helpful insight on how you can pass the PSI exam by using free study tools, such as Quizlet.

  2. Be prepared to invest in yourself. Tori's advice on investing money to learn and advance your skills was no surprise. I truly believe if you want to get ahead and stand out among the crowd, learning a new skill or advancing your current skills as an esthetician is the only way to do so.

  3. Network. As an esthetician, Tori recommends getting facials from different estheticians because you will learn new techniques while making connections at the same time. She says " it is important to know what it’s like to be receiving a facial.” I personally understand where Tori is coming from. I would not be in the position that I am in today if it wasn't for networking and connecting with our brand owners and industry experts in my field.

  4. Always promote yourself. Tori does not own her own website. She is about to gain new clients through word of mouth and Instagram. Those are her two methods of advertising herself as an esthetician.

  5. Choose your skincare products wisely and keep up with industry standards. Tori stresses that one of the most important things is picking a skincare line that works in favor of the esthetician. One that is exclusive and can only be purchased through licensed professionals. Tori only works with pharmaceutical-grade skin care products. I agree with Tori, even if you will not provide new products or techniques, it is important to know ahead of time before clients ask for your opinion on them.




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