Let’s start with the obvious: once you’ve secured your cosmetology certification you will have an overwhelming amount of career options. Whether you choose to be a stylist, a color expert, a manicurist, or take your expertise to trade shows or beauty columns, one of the first and most important things to figure out is how much money you’re expecting to send to the bank every year.
While your earnings will vary based on your location, your employer’s bonus structure, and the tips you bring in, there are some estimates out there, like the below chart borrowed from an excellent cosmetologist salary article on My Social Beauty showing the range of salaries for a variety of cosmetology career options (pink dots show general range).
As you can see, there is a huge range of potential for cosmetology earnings. The higher salaries are likely a result of experience, location, and specialization, so don’t get discouraged if you start out on the lower end of the spectrum. The average starting salary for a cosmetologist is likely to be somewhere around $20k per year, which is similar to the average starting salary for a college graduate heading into an administrative role.
Your cosmetology certification alone won’t carry you to the bigger earnings. You’ll need to build and refine your skill set to get to those management and owner levels that push the cosmetology earnings scale above into the higher scale.
Consider your options, because as you can see above (and in the connecting link), specializing in beauty has a wide spectrum of possibility. Cosmetology career options span from hands-on to mentoring to becoming a professional expert in your field. Never stop educating yourself and learning the new trends and rules of the industry.
Perhaps most importantly, remember that cosmetology is a field of personal relationships and networking. Your work and your client relationships will speak for themselves, and ideally create the stepping stones you need to accomplish your ultimate goal. The top-of-the-line cosmetologist salary is within your reach, as long as you keep your goals in sight and continue to build up your experience.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to start early. Prepare for your certification exam through a course like Salon Prep. Once you’ve passed the test with flying colors, you’ll be much more competitive when for the most desirable entry-level jobs at salons around the country. Best of luck, and be sure to let us know how you do!