How Much Money Does a first year Cosmetologist Make?

Posted on: January 20th, 2021 by admin No Comments

By Beauty CE on March 27, 2015

Cosmetologists study and work hard to become accredited professionals in their chosen field. It’s an exciting field where there is room to customize a career to fit the kind of a lifestyle that a cosmetologist wants for herself. Although many cosmetologists have the same exact tasks, how much they’re paid may depend on luck, experience, location, and a few other factors.

Average Earnings

Cosmetologists who worked as hairdressers or in other general occupations within the field earned an average of $10.91 in 2012. Those who work as barbers command an hourly wage of about $12.06. Since that is an average, of course, the hourly rate does vary widely from employer to employer and among locations. The most successful cosmetologists earn over $20 per hour.

First-Year Cosmetologists

In your first year as a cosmetologist, as is true with most professions, you can’t expect to command a very high salary that you may be able to work your way up to earning. The lowest 10 percent of earners who work as cosmetologists earn less than $8.11 per hour. Since those who are just starting out are likely to be on the low side of the pay scale, new cosmetologists may expect a similar wage for their first year.

Experience and Reputation

As cosmetologists establish themselves among clients in a salon, they can attain a very good reputation. Word of mouth recommendations and high praise from satisfied clients can lead to higher earnings from salons that are willing to pay more to in-demand cosmetologists. If a cosmetologist decides to also run her own salon, she will also enjoy higher earnings when she becomes known and requested locally from clients who recommend her services to others.


How much a cosmetologist earns can be greatly influenced by their geographical location. For example, cosmetologists who become successful in show business stand to earn top salaries. What may be surprising, though, is that the places that pay cosmetologists the best in the United States are Hawaii, Washington, and District of Columbia. In fact, the average yearly salary for cosmetologists in the District of Columbia is $48,720.

Other Factors in Earnings

A lot of cosmetologists work only on a part-time basis for salons based on when their services are needed. This is oftentimes a desirable arrangement for cosmetologists who have other priorities, such as arranging their work schedules around another job or their children’s activities. It can be harder to command higher earnings when only working part-time, though.

Also, some cosmetologists work evenings and weekends in order to accommodate their clients’ schedules. Because the clients know and appreciate that the cosmetologists are making this special concession, they may be willing to pay a premium rate and also tip more generously.


In order to earn as high an annual salary as possible, as a beginner cosmetologist, it’s really important to study at an accredited school, do well in your classes, and make connections.

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