What Is the Job Outlook for a Cosmetologist?

The future looks bright for cosmetologists.
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Cosmetologists provide beauty services and treatments to clients. Examples of cosmetology services include hairstyling, makeup application and nail care. To work as a cosmetologist, you need a professional license issued from the state you intend to work in. These license are only available after you complete a state-approved cosmetology training program. Before investing your time and money in a training program, it is wise to know the career outlook for the field, including industry growth, where to work and the average pay.

Job Growth

    According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS, there were 627,700 working cosmetologists in 2010. The BLS predicts an increase of 98,400 additional cosmetologist jobs, a growth rate of 16 percent between 2010 and 2020. The average 10 year increase for all U.S. occupations is 14 percent.

Pay & Work Categories

    In 2010, the median pay for a cosmetologist employed in the United States was $10.94 per hour, $22,755.20 per year. This pay is comparable to hairdresser and hairstylist pay, and slightly more than what barbers make. The highest paying industry for cosmetologists is the motion picture and filmmaking industry, with a mean wage of $33.55 per hour. In 2010, there were only 400 cosmetologists reported to be working in the motion picture and video industry. Other top-paying industries include scientific/technical services, physician offices, death care services and amusement/recreation industries.

Highest Paying States

    According to the BLS, the top five highest paying states for cosmetologists were the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Washington, South Carolina and Maryland. The mean wage in the District of Columbia, the highest paying state, is $23.43 per hour. In Hawaii, it was an average of $16.67 hourly; in Washington, $16.42 hourly; South Carolina, $14.89; and Maryland, $14.56 hourly.

Lowest Paying States

    The five lowest-paying states for cosmetologists were, in order from the bottom, Nevada, Idaho, Georgia, Kentucky and Alabama. The hourly mean wage for Nevada cosmetologists is $10.35. In Idaho, it was $10.60. Cosmetologists in Georgia receive an hourly mean wage of $11. In Kentucky it was $11.02, and in Alabama, $11.10 per hour.

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