Frustrated with Fake Esthetician Titles

It is Sunday afternoon and overcast outside..basically a really good day to work on my NCEA Certification renewal. I have been an NCEA Certified Esthetician since 2008 and it is my responsibility to meet the renewal criteria every 3 years. This means I must accumulate 12 Continuing Education units, renew my CPR/AED/First Aid certification, get new passport photos (which actually was a good thing because as it turns out my actual passport will be expiring in a couple of months), fill out some paperwork and write a check. So there’s a lot to do, and I’ve got 3 years to do it — so then, why do I always wait until the last couple of weeks before my expiration date to tackle this project? I dunno. Perhaps I will ponder that for a future blog. ­čśë

I have been a licensed Esthetician in the state of California for 18 years and I have thousands of hours of post-grad esthetics-related training. I have owned a day spa, I have worked as a solo esthetician, and spa consultant (speaker, author, trainer, etc.). Yet because my license says “Esthetician” (spelled with an “E” — not an “AE”), that is what I call myself. Even with all of that training, I do not elevate myself by using fake titles such as Clinical Esthetician, Medical Esthetician, or Queen of the Land. I am an Esthetician, and that is what is on my business card, my website, etc. And I’m very proud of that.


No such thing as a Medical Esthetician or Clinical Esthetician

As a California Esthetician, I am licensed by the California Board of Consumer Affairs (note the word “Consumer”) whose job it is to protect consumers, which is another word for the public. This is why we are licensed in the first place. Yet, even though at this writing there is NO such thing as a Medical Esthetician or a Clinical Esthetician anywhere in the United States of America (even if working in a medical setting), I see estheticians using those fake titles all the time. And because that license doesn’t actually exist, there is no way for a consumer to assess what criteria (if any!) elevates that esthetician to a higher level. So this is false advertising, it is illegal and it can be dangerous.


Master Esthetician: Only in FOUR states

Another title that is too often used inappropriately is “Master Esthetician.”┬áSome estheticians apparently believe that it is the number of years they have been licensed that somehow qualifies them to wear the (fake) crown of a Master Esthetician. But it doesn’t work that way. Years in the treatment is no measure of an esthetician’s education and skill level, due to how rapidly and significantly the field of esthetics has evolved and how techonologically advanced it has become over the years.

At this writing, there are currently four U.S. states that do actually offer a Master Esthetician license, so of course those Estheticians can and should use that title. But sadly, more often than not, I see the Master Esthetician title used most often in states where there is no Master Esthetician license available. This is extremely unfair to those estheticians who legitimately earned that Master Estheticians in one of those four states.


Why NCEA Certified?

And this brings me to why I am NCEA Certified and why I go through the renewal process every 3 years. NCEA Certified is the highest level of skin care credential currently available in the U.S. To maintain this credential, I am required to obtain Continuing Education units regularly — which unfortunately is not a requirement of my CA Esthetician license (even though I believe it should be). It never ceases to amaze me that as Estheticians in the rapidly-evolving field of esthetics, we are legally allowed to use potent ingredients and electrical equipment on people’s faces that can potentially injure someone. Yet no continuing education is required to maintain our license? That’s crazy!

I got into the esthetics business for a specific reason. It wasn’t to give facials and it definitely wasn’t to sell products. It was to provide comprehensive care for clients’ skin care needs, while educating them and helping them to feel healthy and beautiful. And most importantly, keeping them safe along the way. And that means always keeping up with new ingredients, new products, trends, equipment, skin conditions, home care protocols, safety measures and so much more. And because that is so vital to my career success, I definitely do not get my esthetic training from Facebook groups, YouTube or other public social media sites. The esthetics business is personal, hands-on, and even intimate in some ways…and only by respecting that approach will we be successful. Social media is for fun, marketing, inspiration, but it is not for esthetic training.


What is NCEA Certified?

Estheticians often ask me to explain the NCEA Certified credential. They incorrectly view it as something that should only pursued if it will bring them more business. (You know, like a Groupon promotion! Lol) ┬áThe NCEA Certification offers many things, such as reciprocity, a Code of Ethics, equipment evaluation, the knowledge to limit and control risks for clients, professionalism, and much more. But I did it simply because I want to be the best damn Esthetician I can be…to be trained properly, to meet National Standards of my profession, to keep up with legislation, protocols, skin conditions, tools, ingredients and above all, to keep my clients safe.

So a client or potential client will never look at me and see fake titles like “Clinical Esthetician” or “Medical Esthetician.” Rather, they will see that I am an NCEA-Certified Esthetician and they will know exactly what that means. #NCEAcertified┬á#veryproud

NCEA Certified

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