From salon owners to hair stylists to makeup artists and nail technicians etc, there are a variety of creative career options in the cosmetology industry. If you have an affinity towards fashion and make-up trends then a career as a cosmetologist would suit you well.

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Cosmetologist Salary Trend in the U.S

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Hairdressers, Hairstylists and Cosmetologists earned a national annual mean salary of $30,190 in 2018. To get a better idea of the career outlook for this profession, take a look at the detailed salary trend of the past few years given below.

Hairdressers, Hairstylists and Cosmetologists

Year National Annual Mean Salary
2016 $29,590
2017 $30,490
2018 $30,190

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

In 2016, the national mean annual salary for cosmetologists was $29,590. A slight increase in this figure was observed in 2017 as it rose to $30,490. However, it slightly decreased in 2018 as it dropped to $30,190. In 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also reported that Performing Arts Companies are the highest paying institutions in this occupation with the annual mean salary of $66,830.

Cosmetologist Salary Comparison among Different States of the U.S

To give you an idea about the difference in annual mean income of Hairdressers, Hairstylists and Cosmetologists in various states of the U.S., here is a bar-chart that depicts a comparison of annual mean salaries in the top paying states.

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

The bar-chart shows District of Columbia ranks at the top as the highest paying state whereas, Delaware ranks as 5th highest paying state for cosmetologists.

What Is the Career Outlook of a Cosmetologist in the U.S?

In accordance with data reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2018, an 8% employment growth for Barbers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists is expected over the decade from 2018 to 2028. This employment growth rate is said to be much faster than the average for other occupations.


What Type of License Do I Need as a Cosmetologist in the U.S?

There are generally 2 types of licenses. Candidates of a particular state may either obtain an Individual-Native (State) License or a Reciprocity License (only for non-native cosmetologists who relocate from state to another).

  1. Individual-Native (State) License

To sit for this exam, candidates must fulfil the state requirements. For instance, most states require candidates to:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Have completed at least 1,500 hours of cosmetology education.
  • Pass the exam with at least 70% score.
  1. Reciprocity License

This license is for candidates who complete their education from a state which is different from the one they want to work in. Those professional cosmetologist who relocate to a different state for work also acquire this license. To sit for the exam, the candidates must possess at least 1,500 hours of formal cosmetology education or work experience in the field.