The aim of this guide is to inform you about everything you need to know regarding the average cosmetologist salary in the United States. Depending on the source, the average salary of a cosmetologist can be anywhere between $9.52 per hour (source: Payscale) and $11.13 per hour (source: JobMonkey). The average cosmetologist annual salary is, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, $23,710. Unfortunately, this makes the cosmetologist average salary lower than the median for all occupations in the U.S. economy ($32,600). However, not everyone has this cosmetologists salary. In some states, the average salary for a cosmetologist can be well over $30k and even $40k. Learn about the states you should target for a high cosmetologist salary and other decisive factors in our guide below.
Cosmetologist Salary Influencers
When it comes to the average salary for cosmetologist professionals in the U.S., there really is only one industry that we can speak of. Nevertheless, the difference lies in employment conditions. To help you understand, almost 50% of all cosmetologists are self-employed. Those who work for a specific beauty salon or spa will have a lower licensed cosmetologist salary, while those who work independently will naturally have a higher income.
In addition to this, those who do work for a certain employer depend on the size of the company for a satisfying cosmetologist yearly salary. A few examples of employers and their specific cosmetologist salary range are:
- Supercuts Hair Salon – $15,000 – $25,000
- Regis Salons – $18,000 – $23,000
- Regis Corporation – $18,000 – $29,000
- Great Clips, Inc. – $20,000 – $27,000
- ULTA Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance, Inc. – $24,000 – $29,000
2. Geographic Area
One of the greatest factors that can influence the average salary of cosmetologist professionals in the U.S. is location. You will be surprised to find out how huge the difference is between ‘What is the salary of a cosmetologist in Washington?’ and ‘What is a cosmetologist salary in Oklahoma?’. While you can’t expect the beginning salary for a cosmetologist to be big anywhere, you certainly want to avoid an annual salary for cosmetologist that barely surpasses $20,000.
If you want personal and professional satisfaction, you should consider the District of Columbia, as thee cosmetologist salary in this state is $40,560, the greatest in the country. Even though there isn’t any other state that has an average salary cosmetologist estimate over $40k a year, there are some states that come pretty close:
- Hawaii annual salary of a cosmetologist – $38,020
- Washington cosmetology earnings a year – $37,280
- New Jersey average cosmetologist salary – $35,390
- Massachusetts cosmetologist salary annual average – $35,370
- Virginia cosmetologist salary and benefits a year- $35,340
If you truly want to increase your chances of getting hired, you should consider states with flourishing job opportunities. The top 5 states for employment rates in the U.S. are:
- New York
On the other hand, you should be well-aware of the states with the lowest cosmetologist salary averages in the U.S. These are – excluding Guam and Puerto Rico – the following:
- South Carolina – $24,610
- Louisiana – $23,970
- Nevada – $23,960
- Mississippi – $23,670
- Oklahoma – $23,460
Your level of experience as a professional in this area can also influence your cosmetologist salary. Payscale reports that beginners (0-5 years of experience) earn about $22,000 a year, while those in their late career (>20 years) can receive $30,000 annually. If you have between 5 and 10 years experience (mid-level), you will likely have a cosmetologist salary of about $26,000, whereas experienced cosmetologists will get about $27,000 a year.
Working Hours and Environment
Most cosmetologists work in beauty salons, spas and other similar environments with beauty and skincare facilities. Their typical working hours are full time, but they can always work over time if they want to squeeze in more appointments. While the working environment for cosmetologists is clean, sleek and pleasant, they are required to stand up for long periods of time while working with clients.
Cosmetologist Salary by State
|State||Annual mean wage ($)|
|District of Columbia||40560|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Bonuses and Benefit Packages
If you have your eyes on health benefits, a cosmetologist might not be the best career path for you. Reportedly only about 22% of cosmetologists get medical insurance, and a mere 13% and 10% benefit from dental and, respectively, vision coverage. About 77% of cosmetologists have no medical benefits at all.
Possibly the most exciting aspect regarding the cosmetologist salary in the United States is the bright job outlook. Generally speaking, the outlook for all occupations in our country is 7%, but cosmetologists are expected to experience 10% more job opportunities in the next few years. This is a profession that doesn’t require excessive education, such as pricey college tuitions and fees. However, you do need to have a passion for skincare and be willing to train to sharpen your skills.
To conclude, the cosmetologist salary isn’t the greatest in the United States, but it is an accessible occupation that is perfect for those who love helping people maintain clean and healthy skin. There will be more and more jobs available for cosmetologists in the following years, and the education requirements are minimum (Postsecondary nondegree award). If you’re passionate about this activity, consider moving to one of the top 5 states that either have large cosmetologist salary averages or employment opportunities.
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