Online degree programs can be tricky. While they offer some benefits, especially to people who are already working full-time, they don’t always give you the hands-on knowledge you need.
Esthetics is a cosmetology field that, once you are licensed, means you will have physical contact with clients on a daily basis. There are some esthetician online schools out there, but it’s important to learn more about the pros and cons of them before you choose online over instructor-lead.
Pro: Offers Flexibility
Like all online programs, an esthetician online school allows you to do your work on your own time rather than having to schedule around specific classes.
Con: You Can’t Get a State License Without Hands-On Experience
Estheticians have to get a state license to practice in a day spa or salon. States have different hour requirements for licenses, but all of them require you to have instructor-lead, hands-on experience as part of your requirements.
Con: Esthetics is A Physical Profession; You Need to Practice
You can’t learn how to give a facial without practicing on a real person. You also can’t wax hair without a real person. If you’re going to have physical contact with clients, you have to have physical practice or no one will hire you.
Pro: Cheaper than Instructor-Lead Programs
Because online programs mean no instructor at the front of the classroom, they tend to be cheaper because your out-of-pocket money no longer goes toward instructor salaries.
Con: Online Esthetics Programs are Less Reputable
While online programs allow you to expand your search past your hometown, most nationally-based online esthetics programs aren’t ranked very highly simply because an online education cannot give you the real-world experience you need to practice.
Con: Unless it’s a State-Based Online Program, It Won’t Be Tailored to Your State’s License Requirements
The advantage of your in-state, instructor-based esthetics program is that its requirements will likely match up with or exceed your state licensing requirements specifications. Many states require at least 600 hours of in-person practice to even take your qualifying exam. If that’s the case, your esthetics program will also require 600 hours to graduate. Different states have different requirements, and so do different esthetics programs.
Pro: Options Outside Your State
A huge benefit of esthetician online schools is that it allows you to look at schools that are not local. Some people may not live near an area where there’s a great esthetics school, so going online can be beneficial.
Con: You Won’t Make As Many Professional Connections
You’re in the business world, which means it’s all about who you know. By going to school in-person, you have the opportunity to make connections with your classmates and your teachers, and they can help you connect with future employers after graduation.
Con: Requires More Self-Motivation
It’s hard to keep up with your workload when you’re doing it all on your own. If you go to an instructor-based school, you have to get yourself up to go class in the morning or at night, so it forces you to stick to your requirements on a schedule.
Con: Many Online Programs Are Non-Accredited
Many online programs are not accredited, even if they teach you some of the skills you need for your certifications. Most states will not accept non-accredited degrees, and other colleges will not accept your non-accredited credits if you want to transfer. When in doubt, do not enroll in a non-accredited program.
If you are considering going to an online esthetician school (or other cosmetology school), there are programs available. The Stratford Career Institute, Aesthetics Spa Facial Academy, and Aglaia Esthetics Distance Learning Online are examples of online programs. Keep in mind that none of these institutions are accredited, so they may not be worth your money or your time.