What Is the Average Yearly Income of a Hair Stylist?

Although the monetary compensation can be modest, a job as a hair stylist may be a good choice for those who enjoy working with their hands, conversing with clients and following fashion. Learn about job duties, employment options and salary ranges. Schools offering Culinary Arts degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Salary Can Hair Stylists Earn?

According to May 2009 figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary in the category of hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists was $27,070 (www.bls.gov). The median salary was $23,330 and the middle range was $18,290-$31,460. The bottom 10% earned $15,980 and the top 90% earned $43,250. April 2011 figures from Salary.com show compensation changed little in the following years. The median was $23,527, the middle range was $19,535-$28,889, the bottom 10% earned $15,900 and the top 90% earned $33,771.

The very highest average salary at $60,110 was paid to hair stylists in the movie and video industry, according to the BLS. However, this industry accounted for only about 180 workers. More typical was the average of $27,240 paid to the approximately 318,600 workers in personal care services. Department store hair stylists, comprising about 14,510 workers, were below the national average at $22,430.

Salaries varied somewhat by geography. In the top five states, hair stylists in the District of Columbia earned $43,330 and those in Hawaii earned $39,390. In comparison, those in Delaware earned $33,800 while those in Washington earned $32,680. Finally, hair stylists in South Carolina earned $31,340. The bottom five states were Nevada at $23,510, North Dakota at $23,280, Kansas at $22,370, West Virginia at $20,780 and Oklahoma at $20,550.

Years of work experience had a much larger effect on salary. According PayScale.com as of April 2011, hair stylists with less than a year of experience earned $20,198-$28,900, those with 1-4 years earned $14,193-$32,556 and those with 5-9 years earned $17,337-$32,854. Salaries jumped to $20,642-$46,957 for those with 10-19 years of experience and $22,510-$46,303 for those with more than 20 years of experience.

Where Do Professionals Work?

Hair salons, spas, department stores, employment services and nursing homes are some of the businesses where you are most likely to find a job. You could also lease chair space at a salon or open your own business. The BLS reports the number of people employed as hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists declined from around 630,700 in 2008 to about 349,210 by May 2009. Total employment in the category was projected to reach 757,700 by 2018, but projections haven't been revised since 2008.

What Will My Job Duties Be?

Cutting, styling, bleaching, dyeing and tinting the hair of your clients will be your main duties. You might also shampoo their hair if shampooers are not employed on the premises. The client may give you styling directions or leave them to your discretion, in which case you will analyze the shape and proportion of their face, head and neck to choose or invent something compatible. During or after styling sessions you might recommend hair care products.

Other duties are clerical or not directly related to styling. For example, you might have to set appointments and work a cash register to accept payments. You will always be responsible for keeping your work area and equipment clean and sanitary. Ordering supplies, keeping tax records and promoting your services will be among your duties if you're self-employed.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:

 More Schools