Should I Become a Master Esthetician in the State of Washington?

Should I Become a Master EstheticianI’ve been asking myself this question for the last six months. Currently I’m a licensed esthetician in the state of California. My California esthetician license states that I have 600 hours of instruction and have passed both the written and practical exam. The issue is that in the state of Washington, there’s now a master esthetician license, but it’s 1,200 hours. This license covers everything from facials, face/body waxing and spray tanning to medium depth chemical peels, laser hair removal, microdermabrasion, micro-needling and IPL treatments. Super fun stuff and certainly well beyond the scope of training I received in California. Since I wasn’t grandfathered into the Washington system before December 2014, I’d have to complete the full 1,200 hours in order to get the master esthetician license. My 600 hours that I’ve already earned and paid for in California won’t count towards this license at all. I’d basically have to start over from scratch in hours and tuition. Ugh.

I’m in the process of getting a Washington esthetician license, with the help of my current California esthetician license. To do this, I first needed to have my California license verified and certified by the Washington State Department of Licensing. To complete this step, I had to make sure my current California license was currently in good standing (which it is), visit the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology’s website and submit a Certification Request. This meant completing the Request for Certification of a California License form, printing it out, signing and sending it in with a $10 check.

Then I had to contact the Washington State Department of Licensing to complete an application form – the Barber, Cosmetologist, Esthetician or Manicurist License Renewal, Reinstatement, Out-of-State, or Reciprocity Application and check the “reciprocity” box on the form. I then printed out the form, signed it and sent it in with a $50 check. Now I have to play the waiting game while California and Washington talk to each other and verify my esthetician license. The cool thing is once this process is done, I’ll have both a California and Washington esthetician license. Applying for a Washington license won’t affect your license in another state.

Once I have a valid esthetician license in the state of Washington, I’ll then need to decide if getting the master esthetician license will be worth the time and money for me and my career goals. Currently in my professional position, I don’t need an esthetician license because I don’t touch skin for a living. I work in marketing, managing social media, email campaigns, the website and blog for a medical spa. Even though having an esthetician license isn’t necessary in my current position, it has proved to be invaluable with all of the research and writing I do about the services and treatments we offer in all of our clinics.

The only reason why I’d like to get a master esthetician license is to further advance myself as a professional within the skincare industry. I don’t currently have any interest in working in a treatment room performing facials, facial/body waxing, laser hair removal, microdermabrasion, micro-needling or spray tanning. I do have an interest in learning everything I can about this industry because I enjoy it and would love to eventually expand my blog to market myself as a marketing and social media expert for other, fellow estheticians out there. Who knows, maybe after I start school, my interests might change and I’ll want to work in a medical setting as a licensed esthetician. That’s originally what I wanted to do when I first went to beauty school in California.

What would you do if you were me? Do you think it’s worth investing the time and money to further advance myself as an expert within this industry? I’m stumped and would love to hear what you think.




10 thoughts on “Should I Become a Master Esthetician in the State of Washington?

  1. If Washington state grants your reciprocity from California, then you would be granted an esthetic license. if you want to become a master esthetician in Washington, then you could find a school that offers a 450 master course, there are quite a few, you wouldn’t have to do the full 1200 hours, unless you felt like it would benefit you to have some different perspective from what estheticians in Washington are allowed to do under their licenses. Good luck!

    • Thanks Melissa for the info! I am in the process of trying to get reciprocity from California. In the meantime, I did contact a local beauty school asking if there was a 450 master course that I could take so I wouldn’t have to start over. They told me there wasn’t. My only two options were to stick with the 750-hour license or start over and go for the master esthetician 1200-hour license. Sounds like I need to keep researching and asking questions.

  2. Hi Kathleen

    Currently we have two out of state estheticians that received their WA Reciprosity for 750 hours enrolled in our school. We are a comprehensive 450 hour DOL certified advanced esthetic training program . We provide a comprehensive 450 hour only training and prepare you for the written and practical master esthetic examination. Feel free to call the school at 8557551064 and we would love to arrange a tour. Good Luck
    Dr. Emily Sabbagh
    CEO Washington Laser Institute

    • Thanks Emily! I’m still waiting to see if Washington state grants me reciprocity from California before I decide on my next step. I did have a chance to check out Washington Laser Institute online. Sounds like a great opportunity. I love the idea of taking a 450-hour comprehensive training class as opposed to a 1200-hour course. The only problem is distance. Your school is in Federal Way and I live all the way in Everett. I don’t think I have it in me to commute an hour, one-way to school while working a full-time job in Everett/Seattle.

      Regardless, I’d still love to come by and check out the Washington Laser Institute in-person and possibly cover it on my blog for my readers. Let’s talk more via email –


  3. Hi Kathleen,
    My background was in health insurance sales and I was burnt out. When I was thinking about becoming an esthetician back in 2011, I came across your blog and it was a huge inspiration to me. My husband and I were living in San Francisco at the time and I took the plunge and graduated from the Cinta Aveda Institute in 2012. I had the wonderful opportunity to work at Belle Pelle Skin Studio on Maiden Lane after graduation….learning about the opportunity in a blog post of yours!
    Fast forward to today, my husband got a great job offer in Seattle and we moved here in October of 2014. I worked for a while at Skoah, a newer entrant to the skin care market on the West Coast. About a year ago I was approached by a health insurance carrier here to take a position and although I was loving being an esthetician the opportunity was too good to pass up. So long story…but here I am back in corporate land and thinking the same thing as you, “Maybe I should get my masters esthetician license and get back into skin care”.
    As I began my research into continuing my education, of course I came back to your blog for support. I just wanted to share with you how much I appreciate your insights and how grateful I am to you for continuing this blog. You took a bit of a break and I am glad to see you are back at it. It is funny how similar our paths have been and I will be curious to hear what direction you go in next. Best of luck and thank you again for the advice, inspiration and knowledge!

    • Thanks for the great story Katie! I LOVE how our paths have been very similar. I love even more that you’ve found my blog supportive and inspirational. That right there makes writing my blog all worthwhile!

      Just like you, I moved up to Seattle in 2014. I’m still working in esthetics, but only behind-the-scenes doing marketing and social media. I’m not with clients in the treatment room during the day, but I still work for an awesome medical spa (SkinSpirit) with clinics in both California and Washington. I’m not even sure which direction I’ll go in next. I do know that I will continue writing my blog because I love it so much. Maybe my blog will help me determine which direction I go into next. Stay tuned!

    • No, unfortunately the certificates and education you receive in another state rarely transfers. California is quite a bit stricter on their regulations than Washington is. If you’re granted the Master Aestheticians license in Washington, you’d still only be known to the board in California as a licensed esthetician. California doesn’t offer a Master Aesthetician program yet. They still only offer the 600-hour license.

  4. please help. Hello Kathleen
    My name is Wendy I have been a lic’d Esthetician in Wa. Since 1993. Leading me to the question which now concerns me in more ways than I ever thought. I was told by Olympia where headquarters for this is,that I could go to School in Arizona at The National Laser Institute. Their promise to me is they are “The Harvard of Master Esthetician Schools ” which by checking with Olympia is a promising statement. This brings to this fact. , which I’m hoping holds to be true. At the cost of $12,000 and Twelve days studying each day with a different area with a plastic Surgeon. Each day I’m there I will be learning all specifications I need to obtain my Washington State Medical Masters Esthetician . At 8 hrs a day if my memory serves me correct. This would give me only 96 hrs. But yet I would be able and guaranteed to pass this final and be Grandfatherd in. Can you give me a reason not to follow this dream. Please help. I thought I’ve done all the appropriate research and I would truly be greatful for your profession insight
    Thank you Kathleen
    Sincerely Wendy Swint

    • Hi Wendy! It sounds like you’re already a licensed esthetician in the state of Washington who’s looking to get the Master Aesthetician license. Is that correct? If this is the case, I recommend looking up licensing requirements for Washington state, since this is the state you want to be licensed in. Visit the WA State Licensing (DOL) Official Site:

      The specific licensing requirements for Washington state are that you MUST:
      Be at least 17 years of age.
      Graduate from a school approved and licensed by the Department of Licensing with the minimum required state hours.
      Successfully complete a state approved apprenticeship training program.
      Pass the state-approved written and performance examinations.
      After you get your license, you must post it at your work station.

      According the the WA State Licensing (DOL) Official Site, you could qualify to apply for the master esthetics endorsements if you met the requirements by January 1, 2015, but this deadline has now come and gone and is no longer valid.

      I don’t know why anyone would encourage you to do your education/license esthetics training for Washington in any other state other than here in Washington. According to the DOL, since you’re already licensed in Washington state, you’d have to continue your education within the state in order to have a valid license.I’d definitely get a second or third opinion about this before signing up for any out of state classes.

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