COMTA - Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation


Is Esthetics the same as Cosmetology?

Is Esthetics the same as Cosmetology?

Historically, esthetics has been taught within Cosmetology schools, but they are not the same.

Esthetics (sometimes spelled with an "a" at the beginning) is the profession of skin care practitioners. Estheticians receive training in performing facials, waxing, applying makeup and using certain tools and products to enhance the appearance of the skin.

Cosmetology is more focused on hair care, although in some states a Cosmetologist may also be allowed to perform esthetics services and even nail care. In many cases, the training a Cosmetologist receives in skin care is very minimal.

COMTA expanded to include esthetics to support the esthetics profession in raising the educational standards for entry-level practice. Our minimum requirement of 600 hours for accredited programs is aligned with the minimum number of hours for esthetics licensure in many states. In the marketplace, massage and esthetics services are often found together and some employers specifically look for graduates who are trained and licensed in both. We do not require that schools teach both massage and esthetics, although it is allowed. Programs in cosmetology are not included in our scope of accreditation. Schools which teach cosmetology and nail care must be institutionally accredited by another recognized agency before being eligible for programmatic accreditation from COMTA for any esthetics program offered.

More information about becoming an Esthetician can be found by contacting the Associated Skin Care Professionals (ASCP).

The National Coalition of Estheticians, Manufacturers/Distributors & Associations (NCEA) provides a certifying credential for estheticians as well as resources for continuing education. Please note that they way they use the term "accreditation" differs from our use and does not mean the same thing. COMTA is the only specialized accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to evaluate entry-level programs in esthetics. The Commission on Accreditation for NCEA refers to continuing education for credentialed practitioners.



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