Business Category Business: career motivation and tips to move ahead

How much does a beautician make?

A beautician is also known as a cosmetologist, and provides services designed to help people look their best, such as make-up advice and application, trimming and colouring of nails, facials and skincare treatments, or hair cutting, colouring and styling. Beauticians must be customer-focused, up-to-date with the latest fashion trends, and adept at offering advice to suit each individual client. Salary levels for beauticians vary according to employment factors like location and industry sector.

Average earnings

In its May 2010 survey of employment in the United States, the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics classified beauticians as cosmetologists and categorised them along with hairdressers and hairstylists. It calculated that the average annual pay across the category was £17,250. This translates into a monthly wage totalling £1,435 and an hourly rate averaging £8.20. In May 2011, pay analysis website reported that the average yearly wage for a beautician specifically was £20,150.

Earnings by industry

The highest employment by far for beauticians was in the sector of personal care services, according to the report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with 315,540 positions paying an average of £16,900 a year. The distant second employment sector, department stores, had 17,410 positions, with an average annual wage of £13,675. Practitioners employed in health and personal care stores received an average salary of £17,650 per annum, while positions in nursing care facilities offered £17,450. There were only 210 beauticians employed in the sector of death care services, but they were among the best-paid in the profession, earning an average of £21,050.

Earnings by geography

Wage comparison website analysed beautician pay levels in certain large cities in May 2011. It reported that salaries were highest in New York City and Phoenix, Arizona, averaging £30,375 and £26,225, respectively. Pay rates were comparable between Houston, Texas, at £23,700, and Atlanta, Georgia, at an average of £23,650 a year, while in Charlotte, North Carolina, salaries averaged £21,225. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that among states and districts, the District of Columbia had the highest rate, where cosmetologists averaged £24,500 a year. Hawaii and the state of Washington came in next, at £22,400 and £21,900, respectively, while annual wages in Pennsylvania averaged only £16,000.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects to see a 20 per cent increase in employment opportunities for beauticians, as well as for hairdressers and hairstylists, in the decade from 2008 to 2018. A growing population and an increased demand for techniques such as hair colouring will be the motivation for this growth, which is significantly faster than that predicted across all professions in the country, likely to be between 7 and 13 per cent through 2018. As such, beauticians should continue to be competitively compensated for their services.