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Cosmetologist Salary Guide: Unlocking Lucrative Earnings

If you are concerned about beautifying your hair, nails, and skin, then a cosmetologist is a suitable profession for you. You will get to learn more about hairdressing, makeup, and many other things under cosmetology. You can enter the beauty industry without even giving thought to this career. 

In the rapidly growing field of cosmetology, professionals assist their clients in improving their hair, skin, and nails, among other things. As a result, cosmetologists must complete considerable study and training before practicing their profession by their government’s certification agency.

What are Cosmetology and Cosmetologist?

Cosmetology is a combination of both art and science of beautification of hairs, nails, and skin. A cosmetologist is a professional who specializes in the application of cosmetic operations, therapies, and treatments to enhance one’s exterior look, as well as the application of cosmetic treatments to people’s hair, skin, and nails, among other things.

Hairstyling (including hairdressing and coloring), appearance (including skincare), beauty services, as well as, nail care (including manicures and pedicures), and other beauty services are some of the particular fields in cosmetology.


What is a Cosmetologist Salary?

According to the Census, the average annual earnings for cosmetologists in 2019 was $26,090 ($12.54 per hour). By contrast, cosmetologists in the 90th percentile earned $51,870 annually, while those in the 10th percentile earned $18,430 annually.

Cosmetologist salary varies by state, city, and company. Work conditions, full-time vs. part-time positions, as well as the hours and days worked, may all have an impact on compensation.

The field is likely to decline by 2% between 2019 and 2029, so don’t get too worked up about it. However, it has been noted by the Bureau of Labor And statistics that the demand for sophisticated hair care methods such as chemical treatments has increased over the previous few generations. 

Shortly, this trend is likely to continue. But, If you want to boost your chances of finding work, ensure you obtain training in the abilities. Even though almost half of the hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists work for themselves, most of them work in private services (salons, spas, and so on). Only 8% of the workforce is employed in retail establishments such as cosmetics stores. While most cosmetologists work full-time, others work part-time or even freelance. Evening and weekend work are prevalent since they are often the busiest hours of the day.

The following information contains detailed data on cosmetologist income by state and the metro area, along with income structures and tips for maximizing your income as a cosmetologist.

Cosmetologist Salary in various states

state  2019 Hourly Pay 2019 Salary    2016 – 26 Growth
District of Columbia$20.58$42,80012%
New Hampshire$14.26$29,66013%
New Jersey$17.98$37,40024%
New Mexico$11.48$23,8707%
New York$16.39$34,08018%
North Carolina$13.81$28,73017%
North Dakota$15.03$31,2609%
Rhode Island$14.68$30,5306%
South Carolina$12.84$26,70013%
South Dakota$14.84$30,8709%
West Virginia$12.26$25,50015%

Cosmetologist Salary: Opportunities in the Best Cities

The meaning of “best” varies from person to person and is influenced by factors such as preferred location, closeness to family, wage requirements, and so on. However, you can discover a list of the top-paying metropolitan and nonmetropolitan places for cosmetologists in the United States farther down this page.

The best metropolitan areas for cosmetologist salary may be seen here:

Metropolitan Area2019 Hourly Wage2019 Salary
Boulder, CO$25.06$52,120
Longview, WA$24.68$51,330
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA$21.81$45,360
Bremerton-Silverdale, WA$21.64$45,020
Casper, WY$21.60$44,930
Wenatchee, WA$21.36$44,420
Worcester, MA-CT$21.30$44,300
New Bedford, MA$21.05$43,790

Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH$21.00$43,680
Barnstable Town, MA$20.64$42,940

Nonmetropolitan areas with the highest cosmetologist salary may be found here:

Nonmetropolitan Area2019 Hourly Wage2019 Salary
Massachusetts nonmetropolitan area$20.34$42,300
West Central Illinois nonmetropolitan area$19.76$41,100
East North Dakota nonmetropolitan area$19.51$40,580
Western Washington nonmetropolitan area$18.17$37,790
Southwest Maine nonmetropolitan area$17.73$36,890

How to Boost Your Cosmetologist Salary 

  • Invest in your education as well as also build your portfolio
  • seek out new opportunities to refine and exhibit your abilities in order to maximize your cosmetology earnings.
  • Consider adding extra endorsements, in addition to licenses to your resume.

Many states mandate continuing education, while the number of hours and types of courses required varies from state to state. However, there will undoubtedly be a class to help you master a new talent. While, In other cases, traveling to a conference or a large city may be necessary if the skill is highly specialized or if your town is tiny with few salons or visiting experts.

It’s also possible that you’ll switch jobs. However, any job you pursue requires you to maintain an up-to-date portfolio and keep your CV polished.

If you provide specialized services, renting a booth at a related event is a good idea. For example, many brides-to-be attend wedding conferences to find their ideal wedding stylist. Moving further, Events showcasing local businesses or artists and farmers’ markets may be excellent sources of inspiration for beauty product manufacturers.

It’s worth looking into extra endorsements and licenses, certainly if there’s a crossover program in the pipeline.

For example, having a cosmetology license may shorten getting a barber license. Barbers make somewhat more money than cosmetologists, but their employment is growing at a far quicker rate. Yet, Being a barber does not exclude you from pursuing a career as a cosmetologist.

An esthetician may do many more operations and, as a result, may earn far more money than a cosmetologist. During the next few years, it is expected that the industry will grow by 17 percent on average.

Also Read: How much does Sally Beauty pay


What is a Cosmetologist job and a Cosmetologist salary?

You will find several different professions under cosmetology. Moreover, we have mentioned some of them for you: 

 Cosmetologist salary as Hairstylist 

Hairstyling is one of the primary jobs that come under cosmetology, and it includes works like:

  • Hair washing, shampooing, drying, as well as trimming are all part of the process.
  • moreover, shaping, straightening, or curling hair after it has been styled, trimmed, or texturized
  • Hair coloring, tinting, in addition to lightening are all options.
  • moving further, Chemically altering the texture of one’s hair, perms and relaxing one’s hair
  • Hair braiding, hair extensions or weaves, as well as hairstyling

Cosmetologist salary as Barbering

although, Hairstyling is often associated with providing services to ladies, men, and children. However, Barbering has always catered to men who come in for a haircut. so, Some of the skills and responsibilities that a barber conducts are as follows:

  • Haircutting, trimming, washing, as well as style are all part of the job.
  • furthermore, Getting rid of facial hair
  • also, Hairpieces that are a good fit
  • Hair coloring, in addition to perming are two options.
  • moreover, Facial treatments are carried out.

Cosmetologist salary as Esthetics

Estheticians are professionals who specialize in the subject of skincare. hence, The following are some of the most typical treatments that a skin care professional will provide you with:

  • firstly, Facials sExfoliation
  • Skin conditioning, as well as wrinkle reduction are two important benefits of this treatment.
  • moreover, Waxing, tweezing, brow threading, and hair removal are some available services.
  • also, Treatments for anti-aging

Cosmetologist salary as Nail Technician

Nail technicians are mainly concerned with the care of fingernails and toenails. Here are some of their specialties in the field of beautification:

  • firstly, Manicures sPedicures
  • furthermore, Nail design, nail jewelry, and nail artistry
  • lastly, Gel nails, silk nails, as well as acrylic nails are all types of artificial nails.

Cosmetologist Salary as Makeup Artist

A makeup artist may work in various settings, including professional photography studios, film, special effects, fashion shows, weddings, and other special occasions. Besides, These highly trained cosmetologists understand how various cosmetics interact with the skin and how to accomplish certain appearances and effects via the use of makeup.

Cosmetologist Salary as Electrology

Electrologists employ specialized technology to make permanent hair removal more convenient for patients. It is administered to damaged hair follicles to prevent hair from regrowing in certain areas. Because of the nature of the technique, further qualification is frequently required in this profession.

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The Cosmetologist salary varies.

Cosmetologists are compensated differently depending on whether they are engaged by a third-party firm or work for themselves. Also, If you work for a company, there are four typical methods in which you might be compensated: 

  1. Hourly
  2. Salaried
  3. Commission 
  4. Performance

The Cosmetologist Salary: Pays an hourly rate or a salary

Because the salon is responsible for bringing in customers, you will generally be paid regardless of the number of customers you see, whether employed on an hourly or salaried basis. The advantage of both of them is that your payments should be predictable, and you shouldn’t need the effort to promote yourself. On the other hand, because you have little influence over your customers, you may find yourself working outside of your comfort zone; yet, because you are paid hourly, your hours may permanently be reduced if the employer so desires.

The Cosmetologist Salary: Commission-based work

Commission-based employment is often less stable in terms of remuneration. Moreover, it is solely dependent on your ability to bring in new customers and sell things to them. In this setup, you often pay a portion of your commissions to the salon in exchange for the use of their facility. As a result, you have a great deal of discretion over when and with whom you work, and you may even be able to establish your fees if you so want. However, you may not have found a clientele if you’re new. Additionally, no matter where you are in your profession, you must continually upgrade your portfolio and develop new relationships.

The Cosmetologist Salary: Pay based on performance

The concept of performance-based compensation isn’t widely used, although it does entail a combination of paid or hourly employment and commission. The more hands-on labor you perform, the higher your income will be due to this. The advantage is that you are promised a salary, but the disadvantage is that you must market yourself to get the best potential compensation.

The Cosmetologist Salary: Self-employed

If you are self employees, you have to do an advertisement for your work. It is best if you have both performance-based and commissioned-based work for better growth. 

If you’re self-employed, which might include those paid on commission above, as well as freelancing or specialist cosmetologists, you must consider several factors. First, you have to promote yourself, just as you would for a commission or performance-based income; if you do not work for a salon, you will have little opportunity of building a client base from the beginning. You have complete control over your hours and pricing, which you may adjust to meet the demands of your customers and the norms in your region. A challenge for many is not finding a stable job or figuring out how to file their taxes.

Also Read: Can You Bring Dry Shampoo On A Plane


What Is the cosmetologist salary for Performing Arts Cosmetologists?

It’s important to note that individuals who work in the performing arts—both live and recorded performances—are not referred to as “cosmetologists.” many times, they are referred to as hair or makeup artists or event stylists.

Performing arts stylists are often required to complete further training in areas like prosthetics and fantasy makeup, among other things. In the case of theatre and cinema, it may be worthwhile to pursue an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. At the same time, this is not necessarily compulsory, particularly if you have extensive training and a strong portfolio already.

However, with a lot of talent and a little bit of luck, this training may pay off in the long run: in 2012, a theatrical and performance makeup artist earned an average annual salary of $81,600 ($39.23 per hour). In addition, the profession is anticipated to rise by 11 percent between 2019 and 2029, albeit that estimate is based only on data from a small number of states, and, as you would think, the career is more in demand in specific locations than in others according to the statistics.

Even if they work in the film industry, established performing arts makeup artists and hairstylists are often represented by the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE). The IATSE works to guarantee that workers get fair wages (including compensation for canceled engagements) and work hours, as well as overtime pay when necessary. In addition, because the vast majority of these employees are self-employed, the IATSE also assists them in establishing a retirement plan and obtaining health insurance.

If the IATSE does not represent you, you may be paid by the gig (e.g., a set total for the run of a play). This is very important to remember if you’re starting and creating a portfolio via community theatre. However, if you’re working for a professional theatre or film business in your area, you may be able to earn an hourly wage (and sometimes a salary).

Although gratuities are not included in compensation for performing arts cosmetology, if you develop a strong working relationship with individuals involved, you may be able to make valuable contacts for future employment—both in the arts and with individual customers, depending on the sorts of work you do.


License and approval are required to be a cosmetologist. 

To become a licensed cosmetologist in California, you must pass a written and a practical (hands-on) test. This is because the State of California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology is regulating the industry. On the same page, you can search for test pass rates for all cosmetology schools in California (including MTI College).

A California cosmetology license allows you to work for customers, in hair salons, or as a makeup artist. You may also work for yourself and create your salon after you have earned your license in California. It depends on you to choose your professional path. More information on MTI’s Cosmetology program may be found here if you are interested in taking the first step toward becoming a cosmetologist.


Cosmetologist training and programs

To get a cosmetology license, students must first complete many months of cosmetology concepts and techniques. This is followed by a certain number of salon hours to get hands-on experience.

Students in the Paul Mitchell, the School at MTI College Cosmetology program master the following skills:

  • An overview of the cosmetology business, including the laws and regulations of the state of California, cleanliness, and chemistry
  • Haircutting, dyeing, and style methods are fundamental.
  • Skin and nail care are essential.
  • Makeup methods that are more advanced

These hours of theory serve as the basis for training. Future cosmetology professionals then acquire extra experience on the clinic floor, where they may practice and be evaluated by other students. After gaining hands-on experience in our college salon, students may enhance their creative training by personalizing and mixing technical parts of what they’ve previously learned. Finally, the cosmetology students who complete this program are prepared to take the written and practical tests required for their cosmetology licensure with the California State Board.


Being a successful cosmetologist 

Cosmetology is a career that is based on the interaction of individuals. Customer base development depends on the competence of the cosmetologist and the trust and rapport they develop with their clientele. Their confidence in the skill and professionalism of their cosmetologist is well-placed. A successful career in cosmetology is possible if you can make your clients feel good about themselves when they leave your salon chair. Because you will be on your feet for most of the day, physical stamina is also required for this profession.

Also Read: how long is cosmetology school for hair


Bottom line 

You can undoubtedly go for this field to become a perfect cosmetologist. However, you have to take training and education from the best cosmetologist school to become an expert. Moreover, you will require govt—approval and a license to open your own cosmetology business. 

When work is slower, you may need to be creative to generate income by doing things such as providing online courses or enhancing your marketing methods, among other things. Besides, cosmetologist salary varies according to region and work they do. 

Suppose you’re self-employed and find yourself in need of extra income. In that case, you should investigate side hustles that are both in and beyond the beauty industry, such as making your goods, blogging, or providing online lessons, among other things. In addition, tip income from customers is often available to augment all payment systems.



What factors influence a cosmetologist’s salary?

Cosmetologist salaries can be influenced by various factors, including location, level of experience, specialized skills, work environment, and clientele base. These elements collectively contribute to the overall earning potential within the field.

Are there opportunities for career growth and higher pay in the cosmetology industry?

Absolutely, the cosmetology industry offers diverse avenues for career advancement and increased earnings. From becoming a salon manager or owning a personal salon to specializing in niche areas like makeup artistry or skincare, cosmetologists can carve out lucrative career paths and boost their earning potential significantly.


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