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Beauty Health

Cosmetology Versus Beauty Therapy: Know The Differences Before You Choose One

You might wonder what the differences between a cosmetologist and a beautician are, especially if you want to pursue beauty or skincare as a career. It is normal to think that they are the same since both fields have a similar outlook. In reality though, they are different.

Choosing a career route in skin care services can be confusing considering how slight differences change the entire field. So, you need to understand the differences between cosmetology and beauty therapy. 

We can say that cosmetologists and beauty therapists have several clear differences. Let’s start with the essentials to let you learn how to contrast.


What is Cosmetology?

Cosmetology is a field of beauty treatments such as styling hair, nails, and face. Professionals who study cosmetology help with surface beautification. Hairdressers, salons staff, and estheticians are known as cosmetologists.

Cosmetology has 3 branches of professions: 

  1. Stylists (skincare and haircare)
  2. Nail artists (manicures and pedicures)
  3. Estheticians (serious skin problems and diagnosis with treatment)

Cosmetology involves tasks like:

  • Haircutting
  • Make-up
  • Waxing
  • Lash extensions
  • Manicure
  • Pedicure
  • Nail extensions
  • Style
  • Quick cosmetic treatments with no or minor surgery 

If all this fancy you, you might want to try and take an effective nail practice test to prepare for the admissions in your preferred cosmetology school. Cosmetology classes go beyond learning methods. It includes lectures on the science underlying the health of one’s hair, skin, and nails. This is what makes cosmetology different from other programs. 

Cosmetology Courses:

Cosmetology programs offer training for students who wish to work as beauty specialists. You will have to apply for admission and get help through practice tests so you get a grasp of the actual test process. The program also offers courses in sales and business skills for salon owners.


Cosmetologists have a median salary range of $16/hour. They earn around $2,000 monthly with an annual salary reaching $33,000 to $56,000.

If you are someone who wants to study cosmetology, you can become an esthetician or a stylist. You may already know what a stylist is, but you may wonder what an esthetician is.

What is an Esthetician?

Medical estheticians specialize in treating skin conditions like acne, discoloration, and aging symptoms, but they can also undertake specialized skin treatments. An esthetician or a beauty therapy specialist’s duties are much like cosmetology courses, but they have distinction points.

Extra esthetician services include:

  1. Cosmetic electrotherapy
  2. Low-level ultrasound treatments
  3. Microcurrents

You will need certain credentials to continue with the clinical esthetician’s work. For instance, if you live in the state of Florida, you will need a specific esthetician license there. 

Esthetician’s Professional Speciality

The special treatments offered by estheticians are also known as non-surgical cosmetic surgeries. Some go on to pursue postgraduate courses for further studies. Others prefer working as dermatologists’ assistants who usually treat complex skin problems. 

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You can speak with a professional to discover which career path is right for you. Many schools have websites that supply information about their tuition and the courses.

What is Beauty Therapy?

Beauty therapists cannot diagnose skin issues, and they only help with minor cosmetic flaws. They also help patients with hair care such as taking care of wavy hair chemical-free or with treatments.

Beauty therapy includes:

  • Facials
  • Eye treatments
  • Skin texture 
  • Laser therapy
  • Surgical removal
  • Peels
  • Botox
  • Fillers

You must not confuse beauty therapy with dermatology though. Beauty treatment is about determining a person’s skin type. They recommend treatments according to the problem at hand. Beauty therapists cannot treat skin issues through surgeries.

Beauty Therapy Courses:

The majority of beauty treatments are permanent and also have long-term consequences. It requires students to attend classes to study how to do cosmetic procedures. The coursework for beauty therapy is very particular.

Beauty therapy has courses like hair removal through laser and other therapy treatments. Most studies that are available at schools focus on beauty therapeutic approaches. 


According to a 2022 survey by, the average US beauty therapist earns around $64,141. Their annual average salary is between $57,913 and $73,638.

How to Choose Between Cosmetology Versus Beauty Therapy?

Choosing between cosmetology and beauty therapy is difficult. It will help if you go for what appeals to you the most. Many people enjoy both beauty therapy and cosmetology courses. Your choice of learning must be according to what you like doing as a professional.

It would also help to clear a cosmetology practice test so there are no loopholes in your preparations. You must also know the statistics and the career opportunities in the field you are about to choose.

Cosmetology as a Career

Cosmetology is an evergreen industry with an expected 14% rise by 2026. So, the demand for estheticians isn’t going away anytime soon. As an esthetician, you can pursue a variety of careers. 

You can follow a career as a medical esthetician or you can work in a salon. Working in a spa or a dermatologist’s clinic, or even specializing in skincare are also part of your options. On the topic of salary and earning potential, you may start at a low rate as a beginner, but you can earn much more in the future.

Beauty Therapy as a Career

Beauty therapy is a profession ideal for anyone who enjoys seeing the impact of their work right away. You will be assisting clients in improving their well-being. You can even have your own business once you receive your certificates, so you can start a private clinic. Through this you will be able to assist beauticians get substantial on-field experience.


If you are interested in beauty therapy or cosmetology, you must not worry about which school you get into. What matters most is that the program offers the career you want to pursue. Just make sure the cosmetology or beauty school that you choose has a good name and reputation.

You can also try to sign up for different training courses if you want to deliver as many services as possible. Broadening your skill set will widen the range of services you can give allowed by law. This makes it easier to build a strong customer foundation and connection when you are getting started.

As we conclude, we recommend you do your thorough research. Choosing your career path is only the first step, and giving it your 100% is the next.

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