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Esthetics and Spa Therapies

Focus on all aspects of the esthetics profession in a therapeutic environment.

A woman receives a hot stone massage in a spa setting.
Start Date:
Typical Length:
2 Years

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Use your creative and caring nature to enhance the wellness and beauty of others. Using the latest ingredients, equipment and technologies, you'll gain an understanding of all aspects of the esthetics profession in a practical and therapeutic environment.

You learn:

  • Aromatherapy
  • Artificial nails
  • Body care and treatments
  • Diabetic and advanced foot care
  • Hair removal
  • Lash lifts
  • Nail care
  • Skin care

Work experience

  • Work placement is a mandatory credit course, providing the opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills outside of the classroom.
    • You participate in work placements in a salon/spa setting.
    • Students are not guaranteed placements of their choice.
    • Some evening/weekend shifts may be required.
    • Opportunities are typically unpaid and last approximately 5 weeks.
    • Transportation, accommodations and other costs related to work placements are your responsibility.
  • For more information visit Work Experience Opportunities.

Choose NSCC

  • This program is recognized by the Cosmetology Association of Nova Scotia (CANS).
  • You learn from experienced instructors who are dedicated to ongoing professional development and maintain their involvement in provincial and national competitions. Industry experts are brought in regularly to enhance your learning.
  • Our esthetics lab is set up to simulate a real esthetics spa; your practical training begins on classmates and progresses to spa clientele.

Other info

  • This program is not offered each year. Check program locations for upcoming start dates.
  • To work as an esthetician in Nova Scotia, students are required to pass an examination administered by CANS. To be eligible for the exam, you must have accumulated 1,500 hours of theory and practical instruction, and have successfully completed all components of the program.
  • To achieve your 1,500 hours, you must maintain regular attendance.

2023-24 programs

Program delivery may be subject to change based on Public Health guidelines.

September 2024

Campus Location Full time/part time Delivery Availability
Burridge Campus Yarmouth Full time In person Delivered in-person. Some courses may have online elements. Seats available

Admission requirements

  • High School Graduation Diploma or equivalent.
    • International students – High school diploma equivalency and English language requirements vary by country. View details.

Program requirements

  • A current, official criminal record check and vulnerable sector check are required to complete work placements in many programs. A conviction may impact your ability to complete program requirements.
  • All programs in Health and Human Services require First Aid/CPR as a graduation requirement. For specific program requirements, view additional Health and Human Services program requirements
  • Many Health and Human Services programs have additional requirements, including immunizations. You must submit proof that you've completed these requirements by the date provided to you at the beginning of your program. View additional Health and Human Services program requirements
    • Receiving immunizations may take up to 10 months to complete.
    • Failure to complete immunizations can result in a delayed work placement, which will impact your ability to complete program and graduation requirements.
  • Portfolio development – As part of your studies at NSCC, you develop a portfolio of your work; the portfolio captures your achievements and profiles your skills to employers.


Tuition amounts are for the 2022-23 academic year. Program costs and fees (textbooks, supplies, etc.) are additional. 2023-24 tuition will be announced in the late Spring.

Tuition (Domestic):
Tuition (International):

Tuition, fees and program costs

In addition to annual tuition, there are program costs (books, tools, etc.) and student fees for college services, health and dental plans, your student association and parking.

View detailed program fees page(s). Please note that amounts on these pages are meant for planning purposes only. They don't represent final amounts owing.

Career options

  • Graduates are eligible to complete the Cosmetology Association of Nova Scotia's Cosmetologist (Esthetics) licensing exam.
  • Graduates may be employed as estheticians in spas, resorts, wellness centres and health and fitness centres and may also find employment as technicians or consultants in retail sales, supply companies and the fashion industry.

Future study options

  • Continue your studies at university. This program includes courses that count towards a university degree. Find out more.

Courses may include

These are some of the courses offered in this program. It is not a complete list and courses are subject to change in advance of the academic year.

Recognizing prior learning / transfer credits
If you have previous learning (course, employment, etc...) that's relevant to your program, you may be able to apply to earn credit. Not all programs are eligible. Learn about our recognizing prior learning (RPL) process.

COMM 1227 - Communications I
This course provides the student with an overview of the communication skills required by business and industry. Students will learn to apply these communication skills to be successful in their selected workplace setting.

COMM 1228 - Communications II
This course further develops essential communications skills with a focus on basic writing. This course provides the student with the opportunity to develop written work typical of the industry related to their program of study.

COSM 1002 - Bacteriology/Infection Control
This course provides practice and theory in the study of microbes and methods of their control in the salon environment.

COSM 1210 - Salon Accounts Management
This course is designed to introduce the student to salon management software used in maintaining client records. Students will also be introduced to salon management software used to manage inventories and maintain the system.

ESTH 1001 - Professional Development
This course deals with personal and professional health, physical presentation, human relations, and professional attitude. The history of esthetics and the role of the Cosmetology Association of Nova Scotia will also be covered. The student will develop and demonstrate positive professional attitude and will be evaluated on interactions with others, appropriate dress code and code of ethics.

ESTH 1003 - Nail Anatomy
This course deals with the basic anatomy and physiology, as well as the structure, growth and composition of the nails. Associated diseases and disorders and cumulative trauma disorders are also included.

ESTH 1008 - Natural Nail Care
The importance of maintaining well-groomed nails has become a significant part of our culture for both men and women. This course provides the theoretical knowledge of performing natural nail care, as well as an introduction to artificial nail products.

ESTH 1009 - Epilation
In this course, the learners will learn the morphology of hair and its growth stages. The learners will also learn the techniques available for hair removal and demonstrate procedures with both hard and soft wax. The learner will also be introduced to ancient methods of hair removal still used today and become proficient in strip-less wax.

ESTH 1021 - Product Chemistry
In this course the learners will learn basic chemistry and how it relates to skin care products, the drugs used to treat the skin and the advanced ingredient technology used in today’s skin care.

ESTH 1022 - Natural Sciences and Nutrition
In skin care, the practical hands-on work is the final result of months of preparation. One must possess a basic understanding of what is underneath the hands before the hands can be effective. In this course, the learner will learn about the largest organ of the body, the skin, and how it functions and is supported by the body systems and structure. The learner will also study the basic building blocks of nutrition and how deficiencies will affect the skin and nails. The diseases and disorders that are frequently seen in an esthetic salon will be explored.

ESTH 1023 - Facial Treatments I
In this course the learners will learn the methods for gathering client information, how to analyze the skin, the procedures and machines for facial treatments and how to recommend home care.

ESTH 1027 - Makeup Artistry I
This course deals with colour theory and makeup applications. The learner will learn the theory of colour, the principles of contouring, face shapes and profiles, as well as the makeup products and tools available to the esthetician. Basic makeup application and client consultation are also covered.

ESTH 1060 - Esthetic Skills Lab I
This course allows the student to develop and practice skills of the Esthetic program at an introductory level. Students will demonstrate professional conduct competencies at all times in the lab setting.

ESTH 1260 - Esthetic Skills Lab II
This course allows the student to develop and practice skills of the esthetic course at an introductory level. Students will demonstrate professional conduct competencies at all times in the lab setting.

ESTH 1266 - Work Experience
This 100 hour work experience provides the learner with the opportunity to assist and practice their skills under the direct supervision of a Licensed Esthetician. They will gain an understanding of the comprehensive skills required to become a successful Esthetician in today's competitive work force.

ESTH 2008 - Artificial Nails
This course provides the theoretical knowledge required for artificial nail care. Products and types of nail enhancements are explored.

ESTH 2013 - Facial Treatments II
This course provides theory in pharmacology as it relates to esthetic services as well as the chemistry of performance skin care cosmetics and the current skincare technology.

ESTH 2017 - Makeup Artistry II
With this course the student will learn the application of prosthetic makeup, body painting and eye enhancements. The student will learn theory and be given the opportunity to practice techniques.

ESTH 2018 - Body Care
In this course the student will explore the types of full body exfoliations, relaxation massage and body wraps. The student will become knowledgeable about the types of seaweeds, clays and muds used for the treatment of cellulite, used to detoxifying the body and to hydrate the skin.

ESTH 2019 - Foot Care
The course provides external training by the North American School of Podology (NASP) in both theoretical and practical knowledge of foot problems, the solutions and treatments.

ESTH 2023 - Facial Treatments III
In this course the learner will become familiar with the technologies in facial machine modalities and instruments available today to the esthetician.

ESTH 2030 - Sustainable Strategies for Entrepreneurs
This course introduces the learner to the basics of salon business. The learners will look at the different types of salons, keeping records, marketing and retailing. The learner will explore such topics as inventory control, profit, product proportioning and waste, and math for service providers.

ESTH 2160 - Esthetics Skills Lab III
This course allows the student to develop and practice skills of the Esthetics program at an introductory level. Students will demonstrate professional conduct competencies at all times in the lab setting.

ESTH 2260 - Esthetics Skills Lab IV
This course allows the student to develop and practice skills of the Esthetics program at an introductory level. Students will demonstrate professional conduct competencies at all times in the lab setting.

ESTH 3050 - License Preparation
As an Esthetician in Nova Scotia you are required to be licensed by the Cosmetology Association of Nova Scotia. This course prepares the learner for the theory exam.

ESTH 3360 - Esthetics Skills Lab V
This course allows the learner to develop and practice skills of the Esthetics program at an introductory level. Learners will demonstrate professional conduct competencies at all times in the lab setting.

SAFE 1000 - Introduction to WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Systems)
This course offers learners basic overview of WHMIS principles and establishes a solid foundation to support workplace-specific training on the safe storage and handling of controlled/hazardous products. Upon successful completion of the course, students receive basic WHMIS certification.

SAFE 1001 - Introduction to NS OH&S Act
This course offers students an introduction to the Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) Act of Nova Scotia, which is required by any person employed in a Nova Scotia workplace. This is a generic, introductory course that provides basic knowledge of the Act for students and is considered to be the basis from which more specific training can be given.

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