What is the difference between a beautician, beauty therapist, esthetician, aesthetician and dermal therapist?

beautician, beauty therapist, esthetician, aesthetician dermal therapist

Beautician, beauty therapist, esthetician, aesthetician, dermal therapist - what do all these mean? These terms are different in various counties whether you are in Australia, Europe, Asia or the US. I will try and explain the terms as they are used in Australia.



Beauticians can be trained on the job with no formal qualification or training, most do however go to TAFE and have a Certificate III in beauty treatments. Beauticians mostly perform beauty services such as spray tanning, waxing, tinting, nails, makeup and lash extensions. They may be allowed in some salons to do basic express facials, body treatments and massage under the supervision of a suitably qualified beauty therapist.

Beauty Therapist


Beauty Therapists in Australia are roughly equivalent to Estheticians or Aestheticians in the United States and the United Kingdom. In Australia we mostly use the general term of Beauty Therapist for anyone who is certificate IV or diploma qualified, however, there are differences in what treatments they are able to perform.

In addition to beauty services performed by beauticians, Certificate IV qualified beauty therapists are trained in performing various facials and massage and study anatomy & physiology and basic cosmetic chemistry. Beauty therapists usually work in beauty salons and spas.

Beauty Therapists who have studied and achieved a Diploma in Beauty Therapy and are trained to perform advanced skin treatments that also includes cosmetic equipment such as high frequency, galvanic, microcurrent, sonophoresis, LED, oxygen infusion, radio frequency and ultrasound cavitation. They have had further training in skin anatomy and physiology, skin diseases and disorders and cosmetic chemistry. Some colleges also offer microdermabrasion as part of the diploma training, but mostly it is a postgraduate course. Beauty therapists have committed themselves to extensive post-graduate training and may carry out the same treatments as Dermal Therapists here in Australia. 

Dermal Therapist
Dermal Therapist


Dermal Therapists have engaged in further studies at a university level and achieved an Advanced Diploma, a Graduate Diploma or a Degree qualification such as the Bachelor of Health Science (Dermal Therapies). Dermal Therapists have extensive training in skin anatomy & physiology, skin conditions, cosmetic chemistry and are trained to analyze and treat skin through a variety of advanced techniques.  They typically work in medical settings such as Medi Spas, Skin Rejuvenation Clinics and Cosmetic Clinics. Working alongside doctors specializing in Cosmetic Surgical and non-surgical treatments, they have advanced training in laser, IPL, skin peels, photo rejuvenation, cosmetic tattooing and micro needling. Dermal Therapists can continue on to further studies and training in nursing and with Registered Nursing qualifications, they are able to perform injectables under the supervision of a doctor.

IPL / Laser Technician
IPL / Laser Technician
It is important to understand the different qualifications and scope of treatments beauty practitioners can perform, however, there are no formal guidelines or licenses in Australia. It is mostly self-regulated, and as a consumer, you need to check the qualifications of your beauty practitioner to assess if they are suitably qualified to perform certain treatments. This is especially important with advanced treatments such as laser and IPL. 

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