Employment Outlook for Beauty and Hairstylists

Good opportunities for skilled professionals

Job opportunities are expected to be good for cosmetology school graduates in the next decade. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, average job growth overall will be due to population increases, higher income and more demand for appearance-enhancing techniques and services.

The only trade expected to see slow growth is barbering, which fewer students are receiving training in. Hairdressers and hair stylists are erasing the need for male-specific hair specialists (which a barber is often considered to be) since many offer cutting and styling for both sexes. Hairstyling jobs will see average growth, while esthetician positions will grow faster than average.

The best opportunities

Jobs in upscale salons and areas with affluent clientele will experience the most competition. Cosmetology graduates who will fare best are those with previous working experience and the ability to perform a broad range of services. It's important for these professionals to have the right skills in order to find the job they want.

Where cosmetology students will find jobs

Beauty and hair salons and barber shops will still employ the majority of these professionals. Many estheticians will work in nail salons, day spas and resort spas, department stores, drug or cosmetic stores and in different retirement or long-term care homes.

Most jobs (and the best opportunities) will be found in cities, but almost every town is home to at least one beauty salon or barber shop.

Almost 50 percent of cosmetology workers are self-employed, working in their own salons or from their own homes.

Hairdresser, hairstylist, cosmetologist wages (salary - including tips and commission)

  • Median annual earnings - $19,800
  • Middle 50 percent - $15,480 to $26,600
  • Top 10 percent - over $35,990
  • Bottom 10 percent - under $12,920

Barber wages (salary - including tips)

  • Median annual earnings - $21,200
  • Middle 50 percent - $15,380 to $30,390
  • Top 10 percent - over $43,170
  • Bottom 10 percent - under $12,950

Skin care specialist wages

Manicurists earn a median annual salary of $24,010 and pedicurists earn $18,500. Shampooers make the least by far with mid-level wages being only $14,610, but they also don't require any education.

Statistics courtesy the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2004