Cosmetologist Salary

The average salary of cosmetologist in US is $23,120.

Cosmetologists provide a variety of beauty services to clients, such as cutting, coloring and styling hair. Some may apply makeup or provide other treatments, such as hair removal. If you are considering entering the cosmetology field, you may be wondering how much you will earn throughout your career.

Median cosmetology salary

  • $23,120 per year
  • $11.12 per hour

The median salary for a cosmetologist is $23,120, or $11.12 per hour. The median salary represents the middle 50th percentile, and should not be confused with the average salary.

Salary range for middle 50% of cosmetologists

  • $18,680-$32,170
  • $8.98 – $15.47 per hour

To get a better idea of how much the average cosmetologist earns, it is important to look at the middle 50% in this field. To arrive at this number, the lowest and the highest 25% are eliminated from the equation. The salary range of the middle 50% of cosmetologists is $18,680-$32,170 ($8.98-$15.47 an hour).

Lowest and highest salary

  • Lowest – $17,160 ($8.25/hour)
  • Highest – $45,840 ($22.04/hour)

Those who are just entering the cosmetology field will likely earn a salary that falls into the lowest 10th percentile. Men and women who fall into this category will earn approximately $17,160 a year, or $8.25 per hour. As a cosmetologist gains experience, his or her salary will increase. Some will also choose to work independently as a sole proprietor, which can also boost their annual earnings. Those in the top 10th percentile will earn $45,840 per year, or $22.04 an hour.

The total salary package

Base salary is not the only compensation cosmetologists receive. Many will also receive benefits, such as paid vacation time, 401k plans, healthcare and pension plans. These benefits can raise a cosmetologist’s total compensation to $39,729 per year.

Cities with the highest paid cosmetologists

  • Cosmetologists in Lynchburg, Virginia earn a salary of $42,550 a year.
  • Cosmetologists in Springfield, Illinois make $39,830 annually.
  • Cosmetologists in Honolulu, Hawaii earn an annual salary of $39,130.
  • Cosmetologists in Billings, Montana make $38,720 per year on average.

States with the highest paid cosmetologists

  • Hawaii at $39,130 a year.
  • District of Columbia at $37,130 per year.
  • Delaware at $35,810 a year.
  • Virginia at $34,770 per year.
  • Washington at $34,720 a year.

Factors affecting cosmetology salaries

There are a number of factors that will affect a cosmetologist’s salary. The industry he or she works in is one major factor. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following five industries offer the highest pay rates: performing arts companies, other professional services, outpatient care centers, accounting/tax preparation/bookkeeping/payroll services, office of other health practitioners.

Location also plays a role in how much a cosmetologist will earn. Hawaii, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Virginia and Washington offer the highest salaries. In the former three states, the cost of living is relatively high compared to the rest of the country, so a higher salary is expected. The latter two states employ more cosmetologists, which equates to higher competition and better pay.

According to BLS’s Occupational Outlook Handbook, the cosmetology field is expected to grow 13% from 2012 to 2022, which is on par with the average for all occupations. Most new job openings in the field will arise from the need to replace retiring workers, or those who leave the occupation.

Training and certification requirements for cosmetologists

Those who are considering a career in the cosmetology field must first undergo specialized training and become licensed in his or her state.

To enter the field, a cosmetology training program must first be complete. Some training programs will require students to have a high school diploma or a GED.

Most training programs will last between nine and 12 months. A specialist training program may take as little as six months to complete. Training must be complete in order to be eligible for a state license.

The majority of training programs will base their curriculum on the state’s licensing requirements. Each state has its own requirements, so it is recommended that students attend a program in the state they intend to work in.

While programs vary from one school to the next, most will include courses on hair cutting and styling as well as business management and basic safety procedures. Most schools will also include basic training in manicures, makeup application (basic), skincare treatments and massage therapy. In total, these programs can range between 1,000 and 1,500 hours.

Within the cosmetology field, there are several specializations that students can choose from if they desire. These might include skincare professionals, or estheticians. Nail technicians may also start out as cosmetologists. Please note, however, that the salaries for these specialists are not included in the salaries listed in this article. These are separate occupations with varying salaries.

Cosmetologists and specialists must follow state licensing requirements. Most will have minimum education requirements as well as age restrictions. A set number of training hours must be complete before a person can be eligible for the licensing exam.

The licensing exam includes both written and practical tests. Once a license is earned, it may have to be renewed from time to time.

International Cosmetologist Salaries

£10,353 – £17,430 in the U.K.

C$23,920– C$31,713 in Canada

AU$23,243 – AU$47,799 in Australia




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