Difference Between Cosmetology and Esthetics Programs

What’s the Difference Between Cosmetology Programs and Esthetics Programs?

What defines a cosmetology career?
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As you start to look deeper into beauty school, one thing you’ll probably notice is that there’s a difference between a cosmetology program and an esthetics program. Ogle School, for example, offers both a cosmetology program and an esthetics program. With little knowledge of beauty school, it’s easy to be confused as to which one you should be pursuing. What’s the difference between these two program types, and which should you go into?

The Basics of Cosmetology

What is cosmetology? At its most basic, cosmetology refers to the study of beauty treatments. Once you’ve completed a cosmetology course, you may have a huge variety of skills, including hairstyling, hair coloring, nailcare, skincare, and more.

Some schools use “cosmetology” as an umbrella term for all beauty information, including esthetics. Other schools, like Ogle School, use “cosmetology” to refer primarily to beauty knowledge that centers around hairstyling, with a smaller portion dedicated to skincare and nailcare.

The Basics of Esthetics

Typically, esthetics refers to the principles that guide skin care. As a graduate of an esthetics course, you’ll likely have more scientifically-grounded skills like knowledge of skin treatments, an understanding of skincare, and makeup application.

Esthetics typically has a more scientific connotation than cosmetology. However, it’s not all scientific; especially if you’re learning makeup application, you’ll also need a healthy dose of creativity. Estheticians typically deal with more scientifically-minded principles, but don’t assume that estheticians are only science-driven, or that cosmetologists don’t need a firm understanding of science as well.

Differences in Careers

When you get out of your program, what are you planning to do? Some of this depends on whether you go through a cosmetology program or an esthetics program.

With a cosmetology program, you can expect to naturally segue into some of these careers:

An esthetics program tends to naturally lead to some of these careers:

  • Spa therapist
  • Waxing Specialist
  • Makeup Artist
  • Product Educator
  • Business Owner

You’ll notice that some of these careers do overlap. For example, makeup artists may have either esthetics or cosmetology backgrounds. The overlap here lies in what an individual program teaches and what a state requires when it comes to licensing. The only way for you to tell which program would be best for you in this situation is to talk to a college representative.

Your Future Goals

Understanding your future goals gives you an opportunity to understand not only which program you want to go through, but even how you want to go through it. For example, Ogle School’s esthetician program offers either a full-time option, completed in as little as five months, or a part-time option, completed in as little as 10 months.

There are a lot of questions you’ll need to ask yourself before you sign up for a cosmetology or esthetics program. Make sure you figure out everything you need to know before you sign up for this important step in your life.

Talk to a Representative to Get Personalized Information

Of course, general information can only help so far. Although this information can be beneficial when you’re trying to understand which concept to move toward in the early stages of making a choice, your best option will always be to talk to a college representative, who can give you information that specifically concerns the college you’re looking at and the situation you’re in.

If you’re interested in either the cosmetology or esthetics program at Ogle School, you should request more information from an Ogle School team member. Not only can you get more information about financial aid and scheduling, but you can also learn more about which program will be the right answer for you.


What defines an esthetics career?
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When it comes to making a choice that could have an impact on the rest of your life, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Gather all the information you might need to make your choice and call today to learn more about your options at Ogle School. With a high-quality program for both esthetics and cosmetology, you definitely won’t be disappointed.

About the Author

Jeff Chiarelli
Jeff Chiarelli is the Head of Marketing for Ogle School. His responsibilities include leading Ogle School's marketing and branding strategy to amplify Ogle School's passion for helping create future beauty professionals in the communities Ogle School serves.