Cosmetology Career Options, Salary & Job Demand

Cosmetology Careers & Average Cosmetologist Salaries

Jump to Your Question:

How much is the average cosmetology salary?

No matter what kind of cosmetology career you want, you need to develop realistic salary expectations. You might already have an idea of how much a beautician makes, based on talking to people you know and other research you’ve done. But it’s a topic you’ll want to address fully when you compare beauty school options.

Here are some quick facts about cosmetology salary expectations:

  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics (2017) says that the meanannual wage for cosmetologists is $27,940 per year.
  • The BLS numbers often do not account for full-time and part-time cosmetologists, experience in the field, and tips that cosmetologists receive – meaning salaries could be higher.
  • City, state, and regional data could impact your salary as well.

Factors That Can Impact Cosmetology Salaries

The National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences (NACCAS) reveals that some of the main factors that determine cosmetology career earnings and salary ranges include:

  • Size and location of the salon
  • Hours worked
  • Tipping habits of clients
  • Competition from other nearby salons and shops
  • The cosmetologist's customer service skills

All of these variables can impact your salary, the success of your salon, and your ability to retain clients.

According to The United States Department of Labor, many cosmetologists, and other personal appearance workers receive commissions. Commissions are based on the price of the services you provide, or you may earn a salary based on hours worked. Nearly every professional in the cosmetology industry receives tips and commissions for the products they sell and those tips often go unreported.

You can also get bonuses for referrals and sales…

Some salons pay bonuses or commissions to employees on top of their regular cosmetology salary if you bring in new business or sell products. In fact, boosting retail sales is a way for salons and spas to cushion their profits. Even if you work as an independent contractor or freelance beautician, consider how you can boost revenue by promoting products you believe in.

What are my cosmetology career options after attending beauty school?

You know what’s amazing about earning your cosmetology license?

With a broad spectrum of skills, you can pursue more careers than most people imagine, once you complete your beauty school training.

Here is a list of some of the top beauty jobs you can think about:

  • Cosmetologist
  • Hairstylist
  • Barber
  • Esthetician,
  • Nail Care Artists
  • Manicurist
  • Salon Owner orSalon Manager
  • Salon Coordinator
  • Salon Sales Consultant
  • Manufacturer Sales Representative
  • Makeup Artist
  • Director of Education at Beauty School
  • Distributor's Sales Representative
  • Fashion Show Stylist
  • Photo and Movie Stylist
  • Platform Artist and Educator
  • Beauty Magazine Writer/Editor
  • Cosmetology School Owner
  • Cosmetology Instructor
  • Beauty Care Marketing
  • Salon Franchisee
  • Salon Chain Management
  • Beauty Care Distributor
  • Salon Computer Expert
  • Beauty Care PR Specialist
  • Research Chemist
  • Beauty Product Designer
  • Beauty Business Consultant
  • Trade Show Director

That’s a lot of options…right?

Now take some time to read about what these jobs entail, to figure out which suits your personality and desire!


Cosmetologists can provide a variety of services, but typically focus on one area, like hairstyling or makeup, in their work. Having your cosmetology license and professional experience could open up doors to becoming an instructor later in your career.


If you want to give facials, help with skin conditions or apply makeup, earning your esthetician license is the best move. You can find work in salons, spas, and sometimes dermatologists’ offices. Your training may include extractions, and other techniques that patients need for skin treatments.

Hair Stylists & Barbers

Do you want to work in a salon, providing women and men’s styles, or work as a master barber and focus mainly on men’s services? Either way, seek training that focuses mainly on these areas. As long as the program includes safety, sanitation, and the hours for licensure you’ll be good to go.

Manufacturer, Distributor, & Trade Show Director

These sound like wildly different jobs – and they are. But putting them together shows how diverse the field cosmetology can be. With your knowledge, experience, and passion for beauty, you can work in many types of roles. There are countless companies that make and promote beauty products. They need people like you to represent their brands. And think about all the trade shows that beauty professionals flock to. Highly organized, strong leaders who love hustling products and showing off the latest beauty supplies and trends should consider becoming a trade show director.

Beauty School or Salon Owner

After gaining experience in the field, you might decide to teach beauty classes to aspiring students. Many cosmetologists are free spirits who prefer to set their own rules, hours, and services. You can also choose your own clients, and set other preferences as an owner. You can also use your creativity to the max when you open and own your salon or spa. If you have this goal, seek training that includes professional skills, such as management, simple accounting and computer skills.

Which jobs in the field of beauty and cosmetology are in most demand?

This is a topic that is likely to produce a different answer, depending on where you live. Every community has its own employment landscape that affects which kinds of cosmetology careers are most in-demand.

That’s why many students earn a cosmetology or esthetician license. Having one of these two licensures can qualify you for work in the following areas:

  • Hair design
  • Nail technology
  • Esthetics
  • Makeup

According to the United States Department of Labor, the U.S. employment rates for personal appearance workers such as hairdressers, hairstylists, cosmetologists, skin care specialists and shampooers are projected to grow. Job growth in cosmetology is expected to rise at a rate of 13% between 2012 and 2022 (BLS, 2017) which could lead to greater demand for hairdressers, stylists, barbers and cosmetologists over the next decade. 

Employment of manicurists and pedicurists is expected to show a similiar increase, with jog growth predicted to continue at a rate of 16% through 2022, which is faster than average for all occupations in the United States.

Want to learn more about careers you can pursue with cosmetology training? Check out this cool video right now…

VIDEO: Cosmetology Jobs & Careers

Find Cosmetology Schools


So the low down is this: It’s a good time to start finding the school that can get you ready for the beauty career you want. Jobs are expected to keep growing, and the best way to succeed at the beauty career you want is to get your education.

Contact beauty schools near you today to get the ball rolling!

Contact the schools on our website that interest you to learn more about getting your start in cosmetology today.

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