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Cosmetology School Graduates: How Much Do They Make

A major consideration when you choose a career is the amount of money you can make. You want to be sure that you make enough money to support yourself, pay off your debt, and fulfill any other financial obligations you may have. There is no simple way to determine the exact amount of money you will make as a cosmetology school graduate, but there are ways that you can estimate how much you can earn once you finish your education.

The Median Salary

Cosmetology school

The first step in seeing how much money you can make is looking at national averages

The first place to look to get an idea of how much you will make as a cosmetology school graduate is to look at the national averages. The Bureau of Labor Statistics through the United States Department of Labor reports the average salary and occupation outlook every year based on the national census data. The median salary for cosmetologists, barbers, and hairdressers is $22,770, which breaks down to just over $10 an hour. The top 10 percent earned double that, with an average of more than $20 an hour.

What Type of Cosmetologist Career You Have

Cosmetology education and licenses cover several different jobs, including hairdressers, cosmetologists, manicurists, pedicurists, estheticians, and more. Some of these jobs require additional education and training. The average salary on the BLS and other estimates are typically further divided into different areas of concentration. For example, barbers tend to make about two dollars more an hour than hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists. Manicurists and pedicurists make less than hairstylists, with a median pay of $19,220 per year, while estheticians typically make more money.

Your State

Cosmetology school

The state in which you live plays a significant role in your earning potential

One significant factor determining how much money you will be able to make as a cosmetology school graduate is the state in which you live. Some states have a much higher median salary than others, although some of this difference is mitigated by the difference in the cost of living. Therefore, to get a better idea of your potential earnings, you should look at your state percentages, rather than just the national averages.

The Job Situation

The location in which you work will also affect how much you earn. A higher end establishment that charges clients more will typically pay their staff more. Working in a salon also has a different pay rate than if you work in the healthcare industry, travel and tourism, or other industries beyond just personal care services in which cosmetology graduates may work. Typically, the best industries in which to work are traveler accommodation or nursing care facilities. The performing arts industry is also a lucrative area for those with a cosmetology degree.

Cosmetology school

Working as a makeup artist in the theatre can earn you a much larger salary

Additionally, whether you are an employee, an independent contractor, or go into business on your own also affects the amount of money you earn. If you work as an employee, your employer determines how much you can charge your clients, and how much you make for each client. You may be paid hourly or by commission, with the final amount determined by your employer. You will also have taxes, social security, and more taken out of your paycheck. As an independent contractor or your own boss, you can decide how much to charge your clients, even if you work in another person’s salon. You may have to pay a chair fee, but the rest of the money goes directly to you, although you will eventually have to pay taxes.

How to Determine How Much You Will Make

The best way to determine how much money you can earn is to ask people who work in a job similar to the one you want in your area their typical salary.

Cosmetology school

Ask some of the cosmetology school graduates in your local area their annual salary

However, many people do not like to discuss their earnings, so when you inquire you should be sure to be respectful and not push if they decline to answer. If people do not wish to give you an exact amount, you can inquire about how much they charge, what percentage of the client fees they receive, and other associated information. According to, you can also use the Education Department’s Gainful Employment database to see how much people made versus their education loan repayments to get a fuller picture of the potential earnings.

No matter where you live or work, you need to ensure that you have the required hours of training and pass your state license exam so that you can legally practice. This not only helps you be employable but also protects you and your clients. You also need to keep up with required continuing education requirements, which you can do with Beauty Academy’s cost effective and hassle free online courses.

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