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How much does a cosmetologist make | Average cosmetology salary

How much does a cosmetologist make | Average cosmetology salary

Hair and nail care, as well as skin care, are areas of expertise for cosmetologists, who are highly skilled individuals.  As with any profession, the salary of a cosmetologist will depend on a variety of factors.

So, how much does a cosmetologist make? In this article, we will review the average salary, as well as the key factors that will determine a cosmetologist's salary. Additionally, we will provide some tips on how to maximize your earnings as a cosmetologist. With this information in hand, you can be better prepared to make the most of your career and increase your earning potential.

Factors that determine a cosmetologist's salary

Many factors determine a cosmetologist's salary. The most important factor is experience. Other factors include the cosmetologist's education, training, and certifications. But these are not the only ones. Therefore, below, we present a detailed list of all the elements that may potentially ascertain how much money cosmetologists do make.


It is reasonable to expect that a cosmetologist with substantial experience will earn more than one who has recently graduated from beauty school. Fortunately, for those who are new to the profession, increasing clientele and developing an excellent reputation can lead to higher cosmetology salary and tips. According to PayScale, cosmetologists have a yearly salary ranging from $16,000 to $50,000, with experienced professionals at the higher end of the range.


Qualifications are the foundation of a successful career in the cosmetology industry, so it is essential for cosmetologists to stay up to date with the latest trends and techniques: from understanding the basics of the industry to taking specialized courses, having the right qualifications is key to earning a competitive salary.

For instance, a cosmetologist with a degree in cosmetology may earn more than one with just a few courses in the field. Similarly, those who have achieved advanced certifications can expect to receive a higher cosmetologist yearly salary.


A cosmetologist salary is often dependent on the city and state in which they work. Urban areas with high populations tend to offer higher salaries, while rural states with a lower cost of living typically offer lower wages. For example, the average salary for a cosmetologist in California is $31,000, while in Texas, it is $26,000. The cost of living also plays a role in how much a cosmetologist makes. A cosmetologist in a city with a high cost of living, such as New York City, will make more money than a cosmetologist in a city with a low cost of living, such as Wichita, Kansas.

Work environment

Most people believe that cosmetologist’s pay depends on the level of their experience or the number of clients. However, in reality, the salary depends to a greater extent on the work conditions and environment. There are three main work environments for cosmetologists: salons, spas, and resorts. Each one of these environments has its own unique set of factors that can affect a cosmetologist's salary.

So, as you can see, the work environment a cosmetologist chooses can have a significant impact on their salary. If you're a cosmetologist, make sure to consider all of your options before deciding on a work environment.

How much does a cosmetologist make on average

As a cosmetologist, you have a few different options when it comes to getting paid. The most common ways are to receive a commission or salary based on the services you provide. You can also choose to work as a freelance cosmetologist, either working out of your own home or renting a booth in a salon. In this case, you will typically charge by service or hour. More info about each of these options you can find below.


The salon is responsible for bringing in customers, and accordingly, employees are normally compensated on an hourly or salaried basis, regardless of the number of clients seen. The benefit of both of them is that you, as a cosmetologist, can expect consistent payments and will not be required to engage in self-promotion. However, you may find yourself working outside your comfort zone due to a lack of control over clients and the fact that your hours are paid on an hourly basis and can be cut by the employer as desired.


Some cosmetologists may also earn a salary, although this is less common. Salaried positions are typically found in high-end salons, spas, and resorts. If you are paid a salary, your earnings will be based on a set amount per year rather than hourly. 

In the United States, the average cosmetologist's salary is $26,000 per year. However, this does not take into account the tips that cosmetologists typically earn. When tips are factored in, the average salary of a cosmetologist jumps to $33,000 per year or higher.


A job that pays on commission typically offers lower, less consistent cosmetologist pay and depends on the ability to attract and make sales to clients. In this arrangement, a portion of commissions is typically paid to the salon in exchange for the use of the facility. The benefit of working as a freelancer is that you have considerable control over the scheduling of your assignments and the fees charged for your services. The disadvantage for those new to the business is the lack of an established customer base, and for all professionals, the need to constantly update their portfolio and make contacts.


Performance-based cosmetologist pay is relatively uncommon but typically involves a combination of salary or hourly wages and commission. The advantage of doing hands-on work is the guarantee of compensation. Nevertheless, the downside is the need to promote yourself in order to secure the highest salary possible. For self-employed individuals, such as those paid on commission, freelancers, and speciality cosmetologists, there is a need to consider numerous factors.

To be successful in the beauty industry, one must not only be able to demonstrate their skills, but must also be willing to actively market themselves. This may include commission or performance-based compensation, as well as creating and managing an individual customer base. Working on your own allows for flexibility when considering hours and rates while staying in line with local standards and customer expectations. For many, the greatest challenges are maintaining consistent employment and understanding proper tax filing. In times of financial instability, it is important to be creative with income sources, such as offering virtual tutorials or increasing marketing efforts.

How much do cosmetologists make in different states

When looking at cosmetologists' salaries by state, it's important to keep in mind that the cost of living can vary greatly from one place to another. For example, cosmetologists in New York City are likely to earn more than those in rural areas because the cost of living is higher in the city.

With that said, here is the table with the cosmetology salary table:




























District of Columbia































































New Hampshire



New Jersey



New Mexico



New York



North Carolina



North Dakota















Rhode Island



South Carolina



South Dakota





















West Virginia









Best cities for the job

The cosmetology industry is booming and there is a great demand for qualified cosmetologists. If you're thinking of pursuing a career in cosmetology, you'll be happy to know that there are many high-paying cities for cosmetologists near the United States.

New York, NY is the highest-paying city for cosmetologists, with an average hourly wage of $30.00. Other high-paying cities include Atlanta, GA ($28.00/hour), Las Vegas, NV ($26.50/hour), and Phoenix, AZ ($24.50/hour).

If you're looking for a city with a lower cost of living, you may want to consider Amarillo, TX ($24.00/hour), Austin, TX ($23.25/hour), or Spokane, WA ($21.50/hour).

No matter what city you choose to pursue your cosmetology career, you can be sure that you will be in high demand and well-compensated for your skills.

How to become a cosmetologist

Being a cosmetologist is not only a great way to make a living, but it also allows you to express your creativity and make other people feel good about themselves. With the right skills, training, and dedication, you can become a successful cosmetologist. 

Education requirements

The qualifications to become a cosmetologist differ depending on the state but typically include a high school diploma or GED, a cosmetology training certificate or associate degree in cosmetology, and supervised practical training. Upon meeting these criteria, aspiring cosmetologists can take the applicable state licensing exam. A list of approved cosmetology training programs can be found on the website of the relevant state's Cosmetology Licensing Board.

An Associate Degree in Applied Science from a technical college typically requires two years of study, while the certificate programs generally take less time to complete. In addition to acquiring knowledge about hair, skin and nail care, cosmetology students take classes on customer service, bookkeeping, marketing, government regulations applicable to the field of cosmetology, and safety measures when using and handling chemicals. In California and other states, cosmetology apprenticeship training programs that pay students minimum wage while they gain on-the-job experience under the guidance of a licensed cosmetology trainer have been approved.

Skills required

To be successful, certain qualities and skills are essential. Creativity, customer service, physical stamina, cleanliness, and organization, as well as time management, are all important for a licensed cosmetologist. If you possess these qualities and skills, you are well-suited for the job.

However, even if you don't have all of them, you can still pursue a career in this profession. Cosmetology school will provide you with the opportunity to refine your existing talents and acquire new ones. So, if you have a passion for beauty, don’t hesitate to take steps towards cosmetology training. 

Start your business easily with suplery

Have you ever dreamed of owning your own cosmetology business? Well, now is your chance! With Suplery, starting your own business has never been easier. Suplery is the major cosmetology business startup platform, and we are here to help you every step of the way. As a fully automated solution, we offer you access to a business intelligence system that will suggest, plan, and execute reorders better than a human. You can find, compare, choose and buy products and tools you need online with a beautiful online store. Furthermore, you can easily manage all your orders in one place and access your payment and order history whenever necessary. 

Receive insights about your product usage and ordering, and get timely reorder alerts so you don’t miss any important stock changes. To make data processing easier, Suplery also integrates with your CRM, and you can use their mobile app to make inventory management easy, quick, and accurate.

Start your business as a cosmetologist easily with Suplery and make sure that you have access to the right products and tools in no time.

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Frequently asked questions

Which factors determine a cosmetologist's salary?

There are a variety of factors that determine how much cosmetologists make - experience, qualification, location, and work environment.

How much does a cosmetologist make on average?

There is no definitive answer to this question as salaries vary with states. However, according to the National Cosmetology Association, a cosmetologist making an average salary of $40,000 annually may be around $20.00.

Which states offer the best cosmetology salary?

The five best states for cosmetology salaries are California, Florida, Texas, New York, and Illinois. These states offer salaries that are above the national average, and they also have high concentrations of cosmetology schools.

How much does a cosmetologist make an hour?

The hourly wage of a cosmetologist varies widely, typically ranging from $10 to $24. Factors influencing pay include location, experience, and workplace, with those running their own salons potentially earning more.

How much money does a cosmetologist make a year?

A cosmetologist annual salary can vary widely. On average, they might earn between $20,000 to $50,000. Factors influencing this range include experience, location, whether they work in a salon or are self-employed, and the amount of tips received.

How much is the starting salary for cosmetologist?

The starting salary for a cosmetologist often depends on various factors including location, type of employment, and hours worked. Entry-level cosmetologists typically earn between $18,000 and $26,000 per year, with the potential for tips and commission on product sales to increase their overall income.

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Last updated on Mar 21, 2023

“What Changed” in this article? Everything. It's packed with the latest findings, the ripest data, and a fresh analysis you won't find anywhere else.

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