Cosmetology Salaries per State

cosmetology salaries

Are you passionate about the world of beauty and dream of turning your love for cosmetics, hair, and skincare into a rewarding career?

A career in cosmetology might be just the ticket to a fulfilling and lucrative future. Cosmetology offers a wide array of opportunities and has become a thriving industry across the United States.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down the cosmetology salaries across the U.S., so you can make an informed decision about where to begin your beauty career.

Understanding Cosmetology

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of cosmetology salaries, let’s establish a clear understanding of what cosmetology entails. Cosmetology is a multifaceted field that encompasses various beauty services, such as hair cutting, styling, coloring, makeup application, skincare, and nail care. Cosmetologists are skilled professionals who help clients look and feel their best. But what about their own financial well-being? Let’s explore the salary landscape for cosmetologists.

Factors Affecting Cosmetology Salaries

When it comes to cosmetology salaries, several factors come into play, influencing how much a cosmetologist can earn in a particular state. Here are some key determinants to consider:

1. Location Matters

The geographic location of your cosmetology career is pivotal. Larger cities often offer more significant earning potential due to a higher cost of living and increased demand for beauty services.

These cities often offer higher earning potential for cosmetologists:

StateCityAverage Annual Salary Range
CaliforniaLos Angeles$40,000 – $50,000
FloridaMiami$30,000 – $40,000
IllinoisChicago$35,000 – $45,000
New YorkNew York City$45,000 – $55,000
TexasDallas$35,000 – $45,000

2. Level of Experience

Like many other professions, experience matters in cosmetology. As you gain more expertise and build a loyal clientele, your income can substantially increase.

3. Education and Licensing

Completing a reputable cosmetology program and obtaining the necessary state licensing are crucial steps. A strong educational foundation can positively impact your earning potential.

4. Specialization

Cosmetologists can choose to specialize in areas like hair, makeup, or skincare. Specialized professionals often command higher salaries.

Cosmetology Salaries by State

Now, let’s explore cosmetology salaries across different states in the U.S. Remember that these figures can vary based on the factors mentioned earlier.

High-Earning States

  1. New York – The Empire State offers some of the highest cosmetology salaries in the country, with an average annual income of around $40,000 to $50,000.
  2. California – The Golden State is another lucrative option for cosmetologists, with average salaries ranging from $35,000 to $45,000 annually.
  3. Texas – The Lone Star State boasts a thriving beauty industry, providing cosmetologists with an average income of $30,000 to $40,000 per year.

Mid-Range Earning States

  1. Florida – The Sunshine State offers competitive salaries, with cosmetologists earning between $25,000 and $35,000 annually.
  2. Illinois – The Land of Lincoln is another favorable destination, with average earnings falling between $28,000 and $38,000 per year.
  3. North Carolina – Cosmetologists in North Carolina enjoy an income ranging from $26,000 to $36,000 annually.

Lower Earning States

  1. Montana – Montana offers a picturesque landscape but lower cosmetology salaries, with annual incomes averaging between $20,000 and $30,000.
  2. Mississippi – The Magnolia State provides lower earning potential, with cosmetologists making around $18,000 to $28,000 per year.
  3. West Virginia – Cosmetology salaries in West Virginia tend to be on the lower side, with annual incomes ranging from $18,000 to $26,000.

The average cosmetology salaries in all 50 states across the United States:

StateAverage Annual Salary Range
Alabama$22,000 – $32,000
Alaska$30,000 – $40,000
Arizona$26,000 – $36,000
Arkansas$22,000 – $32,000
California$35,000 – $45,000
Colorado$28,000 – $38,000
Connecticut$28,000 – $38,000
Delaware$26,000 – $36,000
Florida$25,000 – $35,000
Georgia$24,000 – $34,000
Hawaii$28,000 – $38,000
Idaho$24,000 – $34,000
Illinois$28,000 – $38,000
Indiana$24,000 – $34,000
Iowa$23,000 – $33,000
Kansas$24,000 – $34,000
Kentucky$24,000 – $34,000
Louisiana$24,000 – $34,000
Maine$25,000 – $35,000
Maryland$28,000 – $38,000
Massachusetts$28,000 – $38,000
Michigan$26,000 – $36,000
Minnesota$26,000 – $36,000
Mississippi$18,000 – $28,000
Missouri$24,000 – $34,000
Montana$20,000 – $30,000
Nebraska$24,000 – $34,000
Nevada$28,000 – $38,000
New Hampshire$27,000 – $37,000
New Jersey$28,000 – $38,000
New Mexico$24,000 – $34,000
New York$40,000 – $50,000
North Carolina$26,000 – $36,000
North Dakota$24,000 – $34,000
Ohio$24,000 – $34,000
Oklahoma$23,000 – $33,000
Oregon$28,000 – $38,000
Pennsylvania$26,000 – $36,000
Rhode Island$27,000 – $37,000
South Carolina$24,000 – $34,000
South Dakota$22,000 – $32,000
Tennessee$24,000 – $34,000
Texas$30,000 – $40,000
Utah$26,000 – $36,000
Vermont$26,000 – $36,000
Virginia$26,000 – $36,000
Washington$30,000 – $40,000
West Virginia$18,000 – $28,000
Wisconsin$24,000 – $34,000
Wyoming$25,000 – $35,000

How Are Cosmetologists Paid?

Cosmetologists can be compensated through various methods, and their income may include the following:

  1. Hourly Wages: Some cosmetologists are paid an hourly wage. This is common in salons or spas where they may work a fixed number of hours each day. Hourly wages can vary significantly depending on the employer and location.
  2. Commission: Many cosmetologists earn a percentage of the total services they provide. Commission-based pay can be advantageous as it allows professionals to increase their income as they attract more clients and offer a wider range of services.
  3. Tips: Tips can make up a substantial portion of a cosmetologist’s income. Providing excellent customer service and building a loyal client base can lead to higher tips.
  4. Salary: Some cosmetologists, especially those working in upscale salons or as part of larger beauty establishments, may receive a fixed salary. This provides financial stability and may come with additional benefits like health insurance or retirement plans.
  5. Booth Rental: In certain cases, cosmetologists rent a booth or chair within a salon or spa. They pay a rental fee to the salon owner and then keep all the income from their services. This can be a lucrative option for established professionals with a strong client base.
  6. Freelancing: Cosmetologists who offer on-location services or operate their own beauty businesses have the freedom to set their pricing and payment structure. They may charge per service or have package deals for their clients.
  7. Product Sales: Many cosmetologists earn extra income by selling beauty products. They receive a commission on the products they sell to their clients, further boosting their earnings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is cosmetology a rewarding career choice?

Absolutely! Cosmetology offers the opportunity to turn your passion for beauty into a fulfilling career.

What are the typical work environments for cosmetologists?

Cosmetologists can work in salons, spas, beauty schools, or even as freelance professionals.

Do cosmetologists need to continually update their skills?

Yes, staying updated with the latest beauty trends and techniques is crucial for success in the cosmetology industry.

Can I specialize in multiple areas of cosmetology?

Yes, many cosmetologists choose to specialize in hair, makeup, and skincare simultaneously.

How do I find the best cosmetology program in my state?

Research accredited cosmetology schools in your area and consider factors like curriculum, reviews, and alumni success.


Choosing a state to kickstart your cosmetology career is a significant decision. Consider your personal preferences, financial goals, and lifestyle when evaluating the earning potential in different states.

Remember that while some states offer higher salaries, they may also have a higher cost of living. Weigh the pros and cons to make an informed choice and pursue a successful and rewarding career in cosmetology.

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