The Highest Standard in Educational Excellence: The CIDESCO Certification Programs in the US

This is a very exciting time both for esthetics education and estheticians, with new higher standards available to US students to provide them with the credentials for a world-class career.

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There has never been a better time to be an esthetician in the US. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the jobs for estheticians have an expected growth of 11% between 2018 and 2028, a rate considered by the BLS as “much faster than average.” This, according to the BLS, is attributed to new service offerings and the rising demand for skin treatments for medical and cosmetic purposes. The BLS adds that skin care specialists should have good job opportunities because salons and spas are growing in number and that estheticians who have experience should have the best job opportunities.

Standards in esthetics education have varied in the United States until the advent of the CIDESCO certification program. CIDESCO (Comité International d’Esthétique et de Cosmétologie) is the world’s major international beauty therapy association. For 63 years, CIDESCO has been regulating and certifying outside of the US in Europe and other countries. The organization was founded in 1946 with its Head Office located in Zurich, Switzerland to promote esthetics on an international basis. Since 1957, the CIDESCO qualification and examination have set standards that have been initiated over the five continents, represented in over 44 countries to promote the exchange of professional knowledge, new developments and information by organizing yearly international congresses held all over the world.

In January 2019, CIDESCO certification first became available in the US at the Bellus Academy in San Diego, California. CIDESCO certification programs are now becoming more and more available at qualifying schools across the country to provide aspiring and established estheticians the highest level of education and certification to advance their careers by providing them with great credentials for employment, not only in the US but abroad.

A CIDESCO diploma or certification is considered the highest qualification in the esthetics industry, known by employers throughout the world. A CIDESCO certification provides credentials of the highest level of advanced education, which automatically informs prospective employers that the candidate is multi-licensed with an extensive education that makes them well prepared for any type of spa or beauty opportunity. CIDESCO programs prepare students to work hands on in facial and body treatments, providing any number of services, from skin care and assessments to eyebrow tinting, massage and even waxing, enabling them to perform to global standards.

CIDESCO was created to unite Beauty Therapists, to exchange ideas and a framework for education, exams and teaching in a progressive, unified way. With the acceleration in technology and science, CIDESCO responded by adapting curriculum to continually maintain the highest standards. Today, as aesthetic surgery and skin care grows with popularity year-on-year and the variety in tools, products and services increases, this rapid development demands that standards are continually developing and preparing to accommodate this ever-expanding field of study and work. Now in its 7th decade of existence, CIDESCO has 29 National Sections globally who represent CIDESCO in their country, with millions of graduate and post graduate students worldwide.

National CIDESCO Sections are non-profit organizations that represent the interests of their members. National CIDESCO Sections consist of members from the beauty and spa therapy industry in their specific country or locale. These sections assist CIDESCO International on the status of the beauty and spa industry in each country to promote ongoing liaison and development within the beauty and education industries. CIDESCO also sponsors educational classes at international trade shows throughout the world.

Each year, a CIDESCO section is invited to host a CIDESCO World Congress and Exhibition. In 2005, I was appointed as chairman of CIDESCO Section USA, and brought the 54th CIDESCO World Congress to New York City during the International Beauty Show. In 2019, the World Congress was held in Chicago, IL.

The new Board of Directors for CIDESCO Section USA includes myself, Lydia Sarfati, now named President, Lynelle Lynch, owner of Bellus Academy, San Diego, CA, Vice President and School Director, Sheri Flasch, CEO/Founder Esthetician Connection, CIDESCO Diplomate and Master Esthetician, as Membership Director and Frank P. Fulco, CEO of Cosmetologists Chicago and America’s Beauty Show, as CEO.

Spas and salons can become accredited through CIDESCO once they undergo intense analysis for highest standards of excellence in the profession, demonstrating the highest quality of service and hygiene. In return for this accreditation, the spas receive support and education from CIDESCO on development of their businesses.

Internationally, CIDESCO has offered several diplomas in esthetics, including Beauty Therapy, Post Graduate Beauty Therapy, Spa Therapy and Post Graduate Spa Therapy, Beauty and Spa Management, Post Graduate Aromatherapy, Post Graduate Electrical Depilation (Electrolysis), Media Makeup and Makeup Artistry. It now also provides certificates in Skin Care, Esthetics and Body Therapy.

CIDESCO is represented by the leading schools and colleges of the world in over 44 countries across 5 continents which offer the internationally acclaimed CIDESCO standards and qualifications. Membership is open to the world’s finest esthetics schools and Colleges which need to follow the CIDESCO training program and provide a training period of at least 1200 hours for a full Body Therapy Diploma. Schools and colleges are provided with the materials to create a syllabus and curriculum for their CIDESCO training programs, which includes assessment tools.

There are stringent requirements for schools applying to provide CIDESCO certification. Schools are personally inspected by senior CIDESCO members, as well as must provide proof of the highest quality in education curriculum, instructors, training, equipment and hygiene.

The CIDESCO Certificate in Skin Care curriculum at the Bellus Academy in San Diego, CA includes education on facials, facial electrical treatments, plus full make up, with a minimum of 730 hours recommended for completion. The CIDESCO Certificate in Body Therapy protocol includes body analysis, pre-treatments, body electric treatments and full body massage, with 565 minimum hours of education recommended.

The Esthetic Institute in Vienna, VA, as another example, offers a CIDESCO Beauty Therapy Diploma which requires successful completion of Esthetics, Master Esthetics, Nail Technician, CIDESCO Intro Level 1 and Body Treatments and Massage Techniques in order to sit for the CIDESCO exam. The examinations consist of multiple topics. For the facial examination for example, the student must demonstrate knowledge of cleansing and skin analysis, eyelash and eyebrow tinting, electrical equipment, facial massage, mask treatment, make-up, and manicures. The body examination includes demonstration of knowledge of body analysis, electrical equipment, manual massage to show the five classical movements, and depilation – waxing with hot/hard and strip wax. During the training period, students will choose a project with four case histories treatments on three clients. The project would consist of a minimum 2500 words to maximum 4000 words on the subject related to the treatment. Suggested topics include relevant treatments related to the skin, nutrition, make-up and body treatments.

Written examinations on natural science, anatomy and physiology, skin histology, cosmetic science, esthetics treatments and business studies are also undertaken. The Institute also offers a Post-Graduate CIDESCO Diploma in Beauty Therapy requiring formal training and a minimum of 3 years practical experience in skin and body care at an accredited salon or spa.

The current list of CIDESCO Certificate Schools includes:

– Pivot Point International, Bloomingdale IL

– Bellus Academy, Poway CA

CIDESCO Diploma and Certificate Schools includes:

– Christine Valmy International School for Esthetics, Skincare and Makeup, NY, NY

– Cinta Aveda Institute, San Francisco, CA

– Esthetic Institute, Vienna VA

– Summit Salon Academy, Independence MO

– Merrell University of Beauty Arts and Sciences, Jefferson City MO

– St Paul College: A Community & Technical College, St. Paul MN

– The Aesthetic Science Institute, Latham, NY

– The Elaine Sterling Institute, Atlanta, GA

– The Institute of Beauty and Wellness, Milwaukee, WI

– The New Age Spa Institute, Inc., Des Plaines, IL

– Institute of Cosmetology, Esthetics & Massage, Houston, TX

These forerunners in curriculum in the United States demonstrate the level of expertise and excellence that needs to be mastered by the esthetician to qualify them for the highest level of positions not only nationally but in the global market. For more information on all the current programs available in the US, go to This is an exciting time to be an esthetician, and the newly inaugurated CIDESCO certification programs will provide a path towards unparalleled success.

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