May 4, 2021

What Is the Difference Between a Cosmetology and Esthetics License?

woman sitting in a salon chair

What Is the Difference Between a Cosmetology and Esthetics License?

Just like there are many differences between a cosmetologist and an esthetician, there are similarities as well! As you investigate the different opportunities in the beauty industry, comparing cosmetology and esthetics is a necessary step to help you make the best decision for your future.

In the beauty industry there are many licensure options available for individuals to seek! Because of this, there is often confusion in those licenses that have an overlap in services. One area that we have noticed in our industry that is continually brought up is the licensure of cosmetology and esthetics.

In the state of Kansas a cosmetologist is someone who is licensed to perform services on hair, skin, and nails. An esthetician is an individual licensed to perform eyebrow and eyelash services, cleansing and noninvasive stimulating beauty services, temporary hair removal, and makeup applications.

Hays Academy of Hair Design, with campuses in Hays and Salina Kansas does our best to help you understand what the difference is in an effort to help you make a better career decision.

Here are some of the biggest differences and similarities between the two disciplines:


  Cosmetology Esthetics
Can I learn about hair design and other hair practices? Yes! We teach our students skills in: 

  • Shampooing
  • Hair coloring
  • Chemical waving and hair relaxing
  • Hair shaping and styling
  • And more!
You can learn techniques in hair removal like waxing and laser hair removal in some programs, but they don’t focus on hair care and styling.
Can I learn about skincare? Yes! We teach our students skills in: 

  • Facials
  • Makeup application
  • And other skin care practices
Yes! Esthetics is mainly focused on taking care of the skin. In an esthetics program, you’ll typically learn a lot about facials and makeup, along with other skills like hair removal, advanced skincare techniques like microdermabrasion. You may even learn about lash extensions and more.
Can I learn about nailcare? Yes! We teach our students manicures as well as artificial nails. A typical esthetics course won’t focus on nails.
How many hours does it take to complete in Kansas? 1500 Clock Hours 1000 Clock Hours
Is this program offered at Hays Academy of Hair Design? Yes, we offer this program and have a start date that is happening soon! We don’t offer Esthetics at this time.

Learn More About Cosmetology in Kansas

Cosmetology is a great profession for those who are excited to learn more about beauty and be involved with a creative and rewarding profession! There’s a lot to learn when you’re focusing on hair, skin, and nails, but our students love learning about it and can’t wait to enter the workforce as licensed professionals ready to help bring out the beauty in everyone they meet!

What Do Cosmetologists Do?

Like we mentioned before, a cosmetologist has the opportunity to learn about the world of hair, skin, and nails. Learning so many different realms in the world of beauty can help make you a well-rounded individual who can offer a variety of services to clients. More and more people are looking for a beauty professional who can both cut and style their hair and perform services like acrylic nails and do makeup.

Becoming a cosmetologist gives you these opportunities and more!

How To Become a Cosmetologist

If you’re thinking about becoming a cosmetologist, you’ll first need to be properly licensed in the state that you live in. Licensing requirements vary by state, but in Kansas, you have to have at least 1500 hours of cosmetology learning complete from a beauty school that is authorized to teach from the state.

It helps if that school is an accredited institution, because they are able to offer things like financial aid to students who want some assistance paying for their education. At Hays Academy of Hair Design, financial aid is available to those who qualify.

Here are some steps you’ll want to follow when working toward a cosmetology license:

  1. Research schools in your area who have a program you’re interested in.
  2. Call or fill out a form on their site and schedule a tour to visit the school.
  3. Fill out an application to the school of your choice and apply for financial aid.
  4. Complete the full amount of licensing hours required by your state.
  5. Sit for the state board exams.
  6. If you pass your state boards, you’ll be able to work with your state licensing department to get your official license and begin working as a beauty professional.

What Career Options Are Available for a Cosmetologist?

In the world of cosmetology, there are many different options and career paths that you can pursue! Many people think if you become licensed as a cosmetologist, that you can only work in a salon behind the chair, and even though that’s a career that many people love, there’s other options available too! Here are just a few of the different areas you can look into!

  • Hairdresser
  • Photoshoot Stylist
  • Spa Technician
  • Product Line Developer
  • Makeup Artist
  • Hair Removal Specialist
  • Movie/TV Hair and Makeup Artist
  • Wedding Stylist
  • Nail Technician
  • Salon/Spa Manager or Owner
  • Beauty Instructor
  • Color Specialist
  • Influencer or Brand Ambassador
  • Freelancer Stylist

Common Myths About Cosmetology and Esthetics

As you learned, most Cosmetology programs offer a well-rounded education in hair, skin, and nails, while Esthetics focuses primarily on the skin. We want to take this information a step further though, and dive into some of the myths and misconceptions some people have regarding these beauty programs!

Myth #1

Myth #1: If someone holds a cosmetology license but wants to only perform esthetician services they have to go back to school to get an esthetician license.

Fact: Once you have a cosmetology license you are licensed in the state of Kansas to perform ALL services an esthetician can provide. It is important to understand that esthetician training could be more specialized and in depth in those services. If that is the case, a cosmetologist may want to attend additional classes for more specialized training, but a dual license is not necessary.

Myth #2

Myth #2: In the state of Kansas an Esthetician license allows a person to perform more in-depth services than a Cosmetology license.

Fact: In the state of Kansas a Cosmetologist is legally able to perform the exact same services as an esthetician.

Myth #3

Myth #3: In the state of Kansas you do not have to have a license to perform makeup application services.

Fact: In the state of Kansas you are required to have a Cosmetology or Esthetician license in order to apply makeup on another person for pay.

Pursue a Career You’re Passionate About!

Hays Academy of Hair Design offers courses in Cosmetology and Nail Technology. If you’re interested in anything involving hair, skin, or nails, we can help you decide which program is great for you! If you have any questions or would like more information on our programs, please get in contact with Randi at the Hays Campus or Krista at the Salina Campus. You are also welcome to call us at 785-628-3981 as well!