How Much Does a Cosmetologist Make

With the booming population, cosmetologists and other beauty professionals are in high demand. One of the great things about cosmetology is the flexibility that comes along with it; because beauty services are requested in the evenings and weekends in addition to normal daytime hours, many cosmetologists are able to create a "non-traditional" work schedule that allows them to work during the days and times they prefer. This also typically means that earnings can be dependent on how much a cosmetologist works. The national median salary for a cosmetologist is currently $24,300 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

How Much Does a Cosmetologist Make?

There are a few factors that will determine a cosmetologist's salary:

Type of Employer

Cosmetologists most commonly work in spas and salons, but they can also be self-employed. Other employers may include beauty or fashion magazines, haircare and cosmetics companies, and the entertainment industry. Salaries can fluctuate wildly between these industries. Even within spas and salons, a cosmetologist can earn significantly more at popular, upscale establishments.


City and state play a key role in a cosmetologist's salary. Generally, densely populated cities and urban areas tend to pay cosmetologists more, while more rural states and areas with a lower cost of living will not pay as much. Per the BLS, the top paying states for cosmetologists include:

  • Washington, D.C. with an annual mean wage of $43,630
  • Washington, with an annual mean wage of $38,160
  • Hawaii, with an annual mean wage of $38,080
  • New Jersey, with an annual mean wage of $36,960
  • Virginia, with an annual mean wage of $36,060


It stands to reason that a cosmetologist with lots of experience will earn more money than one who is fresh out of beauty school. The good news for newbies is that by building up a good base of clients and a sterling reputation, wages and tips will only go up, and you may have a better chance at landing a job in a posh salon or other establishment. Payscale reports that cosmetologists typically earn anywhere from $16,195 to $46,917 annually, with experienced, senior-level cosmetologists earning at the top of that pay range.

How Much Does a Cosmetologist Make an Hour?

Cosmetologist salaries can vary significantly from one state to the next, and many cosmetology students are curious about how much they will be earning once they graduate from beauty school. The BLS reports that the national mean hourly wage for cosmetologists lands at $14.23, as of May 2016 (latest available data). However, to give you an idea of how wages can fluctuate, the mean hourly wage for a cosmetologist in Tallahassee, FL is $20.66, while the mean hourly wage in Akron, OH is $11.76. This goes to show that it's a good idea to thoroughly research average salaries in your state and region to get a true picture of what a fair cosmetology wage is for you.

Cosmetologist Salary by State

Location plays a big role in how much a cosmetologist can earn on average, though as we discussed above, there are so many factors that can ultimately affect your pay. Our salary table below will help you pinpoint how much you can expect to make in your particular state. Use this as a guideline for determining average cosmetology salaries.

Cosmetology Salary Table

Location Total Employment Annual Salary
United States 348,010 $23,660
Alabama 3,350 $21,260
Alaska 460 $31,700
Arizona 7,420 $20,010
Arkansas 1,900 $21,690
California 26,340 $23,310
Colorado 6,670 $21,860
Connecticut 5,940 $25,440
Delaware 1,750 $30,350
District of Columbia 1,050 $26,660
Florida 23,840 $23,320
Georgia 8,460 $23,220
Hawaii 890 $31,630
Idaho 1,450 $20,200
Illinois 16,770 $22,640
Indiana 6,410 $22,360
Iowa 3,600 $21,280
Kansas 3,310 $21,110
Kentucky 3,400 $21,580
Louisiana 3,000 $22,150
Maine 1,240 $23,320
Maryland 8,960 $24,970
Massachusetts 10,860 $31,420
Michigan 11,120 $22,950
Minnesota 9,430 $23,620
Mississippi 1,240 $19,110
Missouri 6,450 $23,150
Montana 580 $24,990
Nebraska 2,750 $23,860
Nevada 3,050 $22,600
New Hampshire 1,920 $24,830
New Jersey 15,090 $31,700
New Mexico 1,270 $23,760
New York 25,420 $22,720
North Carolina 6,980 $22,910
North Dakota 1,210 $26,960
Ohio 17,700 $20,990
Oklahoma 2,680 $20,940
Oregon 2,740 $24,450
Pennsylvania 24,210 $23,990
Rhode Island 1,090 $25,360
South Carolina 3,620 $19,490
South Dakota 930 $28,200
Tennessee 5,710 $23,250
Texas 22,050 $22,330
Utah 2,600 $23,980
Vermont 650 $25,980
Virginia 10,610 $28,540
Washington 7,980 $29,720
West Virginia 1,410 $19,770
Wisconsin 9,940 $23,980
Wyoming 500 $27,400
Guam 80 $19,250
Puerto Rico 850 $18,250

Table data taken from 2015 BLS (