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Hairdressers and Cosmetologists provide a wide variety of beauty services to customers, much of which is focused on hair care. Among the services they offer are hair cutting, trimming, styling, shampooing, and advising customers how to care for their hair at home. In addition, cosmetologists are often trained in giving manicures and pedicures; providing skin and facial treatments; and applying makeup.

Some cosmetologists and hairdressers are specialists who focus on one primary aspect of personal care and grooming. 

  • Barbers are individuals who primarily cater to male clients and who focus on cutting hair, giving shaves, and trimming beards. 
  • Shampooers who work mostly in large salons, specialize in shampooing and conditioning hair. 
  • Manicurists and Pedicurists (also referred to as Nail Technicians) work exclusively on nails and provide their customers with manicures, pedicures, nail polishing, and nail extensions. 
  • Estheticians (also known as Skin Care Specialists) concentrate on skin care and facial treatment.

Hairdressers And Cosmetologists picture    Hairdressers And Cosmetologists image

Hairdresser and Cosmetology Schools

A high school diploma or GED is the minimum educational requirement to work as a hairdresser. However, many salons hire only hairdressers who have completed a cosmetology school program. Many high schools and vocational schools offer hairdressing programs.

  • Full-time hairdressing programs can take anywhere from nine months to 24 months, and can often lead to an associate degree.
  • Full-time cosmetology programs can last anywhere from 9 to 24 months, while an apprenticeship program can last from one to three years.
  • Continuing education classes are recommended for hairdressers to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and styling techniques.

Those who choose to become hairdressers should have a firm grasp of fashion, technical design and various forms of art. Good communication skills and the ability to sell and market yourself are also qualities that can contribute to the success of a hairdresser.

Hairdresser and Cosmetology Training and Courses

Formal training programs typically include a mix of classroom study, demonstrations, and practical work. Students typically undertake supervised practice on customers in school-sponsored clinics, studying basic techniques such as:

  • Hair cutting
  • Shaving
  • Facial massaging
  • Hair and scalp treatments

In addition to hands-on learning, most schools also include coursework covering:

  • Unisex hairstyling
  • Chemical styling
  • Use and care of instruments
  • Sanitation and hygiene
  • Chemistry
  • Physiology
  • Anatomy
  • How to recognize simple skin ailments

Additional instruction in communication, sales, and general business practices is usually provided as well. Those who choose to run their own salons should consider taking their education further and earn a business degree. Courses in finance, business, sales, marketing and promotion are all good options for those who are pursuing a business degree with an eye toward running their own hairdressing salon.

Hairdresser and Cosmetology Licensing

Every state requires hairdressers, cosmetologists, and most other personal appearance workers to be licensed. Qualifications for a license vary by state, but here are some of the common licensing requirements:

  • Graduate from a state-licensed cosmetology school
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Pass a written test
  • Demonstrate an ability to perform basic cosmetology services

Some states allow hairdressers and cosmetologists who are already licensed in one state to apply for and obtain a license in a different state without additional formal training. It is important for anyone wishing to work in a particular state to carefully review the laws of that state before entering a training program.

Graduates of a training program are usually eligible to take the state licensing examination. This exam consists of a written test and in many states also includes a practical test of styling skills. A few states include an oral component to the exam, where the applicant is asked to explain the procedures he or she is following during the practical test. Many states require separate licensing examinations for those who intend to qualify as manicurists, pedicurists, and skin care specialists.

Resources for Cosmetologists and Hairdressers

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for:
Hairdressers and Cosmetologists

Listed below are metro areas sorted by the total number of people employed in Hairdressers and Cosmetologists jobs , as of 2015

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

     
Metro Area (Alabama) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Birmingham 800 $19,620
Hoover 800 $19,620
Montgomery 500 $26,260
Huntsville 430 $26,850
Mobile 380 $19,960
Tuscaloosa 190 $18,480
Foley 180 $22,030
Fairhope 180 $22,030
Daphne 180 $22,030
Dothan 150 $19,660
Muscle Shoals 120 $20,480
Florence 120 $20,480
Decatur 70 $23,200
Gadsden 40 $23,220
Oxford N/A $21,810
Jacksonville N/A $21,810
Anniston N/A $21,810
     
Metro Area (Alaska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Fairbanks 30 $57,250
Anchorage N/A $30,130
     
Metro Area (Arizona) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Scottsdale 6060 $19,740
Mesa 6060 $19,740
Phoenix 6060 $19,740
Tucson 980 $22,540
Prescott 120 $21,920
Yuma 90 $21,620
Flagstaff 70 $19,310
Douglas 70 $22,850
Sierra Vista 70 $22,850
     
Metro Area (Arkansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Conway 650 $21,680
North Little Rock 650 $21,680
Little Rock 650 $21,680
Hot Springs 100 $18,640
Pine Bluff N/A $24,440
     
Metro Area (California) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anaheim 9940 $22,680
Long Beach 9940 $22,680
Los Angeles 9940 $22,680
Hayward 4440 $28,180
San Francisco 4440 $28,180
Oakland 4440 $28,180
Sunnyvale 2530 $22,900
San Jose 2530 $22,900
Santa Clara 2530 $22,900
Carlsbad 2490 $22,900
San Diego 2490 $22,900
Ontario 1700 $22,860
Riverside 1700 $22,860
San Bernardino 1700 $22,860
Arcade 1430 $24,110
Roseville 1430 $24,110
Sacramento 1430 $24,110
Arden 1430 $24,110
Santa Rosa 390 $23,760
Oxnard 380 $22,340
Thousand Oaks 380 $22,340
Ventura 380 $22,340
Vallejo 370 $19,430
Fairfield 370 $19,430
Fresno 340 $25,760
Santa Barbara 290 $22,330
Santa Maria 290 $22,330
Salinas 260 $21,850
Modesto 250 $19,860
Lodi 220 $19,980
Stockton 220 $19,980
Santa Cruz 200 $21,990
Watsonville 200 $21,990
Redding 190 $22,200
Bakersfield 190 $22,320
Merced 110 $21,850
Yuba City 100 $22,610
Chico N/A $21,210
Hanford N/A $22,680
Corcoran N/A $22,680
Arroyo Grande N/A $34,540
San Luis Obispo N/A $34,540
Paso Robles N/A $34,540
     
Metro Area (Colorado) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Aurora 4190 $21,060
Lakewood 4190 $21,060
Denver 4190 $21,060
Colorado Springs 730 $20,390
Boulder 540 $33,300
Fort Collins 400 $23,580
Pueblo 150 $22,600
Grand Junction 130 $19,600
Greeley N/A $25,550
     
Metro Area (Connecticut) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Norwalk 1990 $23,780
Stamford 1990 $23,780
Bridgeport 1990 $23,780
Hartford 1330 $25,250
East Hartford 1330 $25,250
West Hartford 1330 $25,250
New Haven 930 $30,920
Danbury 510 $31,640
Waterbury 350 $20,980
     
Metro Area (Delaware) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dover 290 $23,710
     
Metro Area (Florida) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Miami 7290 $22,790
Fort Lauderdale 7290 $22,790
West Palm Beach 7290 $22,790
Tampa 4150 $23,710
Clearwater 4150 $23,710
St. Petersburg 4150 $23,710
Kissimmee 3270 $21,830
Sanford 3270 $21,830
Orlando 3270 $21,830
Jacksonville 1540 $23,730
Fort Myers 1130 $28,390
Cape Coral 1130 $28,390
North Port 1110 $24,900
Sarasota 1110 $24,900
Bradenton 1110 $24,900
Titusville 800 $26,230
Melbourne 800 $26,230
Palm Bay 800 $26,230
Ormond Beach 620 $22,180
Daytona Beach 620 $22,180
Deltona 620 $22,180
Marco Island 520 $28,400
Immokalee 520 $28,400
Naples 520 $28,400
Port St. Lucie 470 $19,330
Ferry Pass 360 $23,030
Brent 360 $23,030
Pensacola 360 $23,030
Fort Walton Beach 360 $23,280
Crestview 360 $23,280
Destin 360 $23,280
Gainesville 350 $24,530
Winter Haven 330 $23,290
Lakeland 330 $23,290
Tallahassee 320 $22,930
Vero Beach 180 $19,000
Sebastian 180 $19,000
The Villages 150 $29,450
Sebring 130 $18,670
Homosassa Springs 130 $32,820
Panama City 120 $21,920
Punta Gorda 100 $26,210
Ocala N/A $21,910
     
Metro Area (Georgia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Roswell 5980 $23,650
Sandy Springs 5980 $23,650
Atlanta 5980 $23,650
Savannah 280 $23,690
Gainesville 270 N/A
Clarke County 240 $22,360
Athens 240 $22,360
Valdosta 140 N/A
Macon 130 $19,050
Brunswick 60 $18,220
Albany 60 $18,280
Rome 30 $18,380
Warner Robins N/A $25,760
     
Metro Area (Hawaii) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Urban Honolulu 730 $33,840
Lahaina N/A $20,570
Wailuku N/A $20,570
Kahului N/A $20,570
     
Metro Area (Idaho) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Boise City 680 $22,460
Coeur d'Alene 250 $19,460
Idaho Falls 100 $18,030
Pocatello 80 $24,940
     
Metro Area (Illinois) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Springfield 550 $35,450
Rockford 330 $25,890
Peoria 320 $18,890
Bloomington 280 $19,510
Urbana 170 $26,310
Champaign 170 $26,310
Kankakee 110 $21,870
Decatur 100 $25,300
Carbondale N/A $26,770
Marion N/A $26,770
     
Metro Area (Indiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anderson 2140 $25,690
Indianapolis 2140 $25,690
Carmel 2140 $25,690
Fort Wayne 510 $22,500
West Lafayette 280 $18,640
Lafayette 280 $18,640
Terre Haute 180 $27,000
Goshen 150 $22,010
Elkhart 150 $22,010
Kokomo 130 $18,960
Bloomington 130 $22,780
Michigan City 80 $19,800
La Porte 80 $19,800
Muncie 50 $20,480
     
Metro Area (Iowa) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Des Moines 900 $28,180
Des Moines 900 $28,180
Cedar Rapids 320 $18,500
Iowa City 230 $23,970
Cedar Falls 170 $23,130
Waterloo 170 $23,130
Dubuque 150 $21,760
Ames 150 $21,870
     
Metro Area (Kansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Wichita 650 $23,290
Topeka 290 $25,490
Lawrence 180 $26,250
Manhattan 160 $19,760
     
Metro Area (Kentucky) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Fayette 600 $22,830
Lexington 600 $22,830
Fort Knox 190 $18,960
Elizabethtown 190 $18,960
Bowling Green 120 $18,000
     
Metro Area (Louisiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Metairie 920 $23,350
New Orleans 920 $23,350
Baton Rouge 710 $20,120
Lafayette 350 $21,720
Bossier City 300 $21,130
Shreveport 300 $21,130
Lake Charles 140 $23,050
Monroe 110 $24,330
Thibodaux 100 $22,600
Houma 100 $22,600
Alexandria 70 $24,620
     
Metro Area (Maine) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Portland 460 $27,260
Portland 460 $27,260
Bangor 150 $19,970
Auburn 90 $26,070
Lewiston 90 $26,070
     
Metro Area (Maryland) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Baltimore 4250 $24,770
Towson 4250 $24,770
Columbia 4250 $24,770
Lexington Park 190 $21,040
California 190 $21,040
     
Metro Area (Massachusetts) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Barnstable Town 470 $25,540
New Bedford 210 $28,330
Pittsfield 130 $28,730
Gardner 80 $28,890
Leominster 80 $28,890
     
Metro Area (Michigan) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Wyoming 1170 $24,500
Grand Rapids 1170 $24,500
Ann Arbor 480 $20,060
Lansing 420 $22,750
East Lansing 420 $22,750
Portage 360 $26,120
Kalamazoo 360 $26,120
Flint 350 $22,170
Saginaw 210 $25,300
Muskegon 170 $24,680
Niles 130 $22,180
Benton Harbor 130 $22,180
Battle Creek 90 $24,500
Jackson 90 $29,200
Bay City 80 $19,560
Midland 80 $29,230
Monroe 40 $19,410
Dearborn N/A $23,330
Detroit N/A $23,330
Warren N/A $23,330
     
Metro Area (Minnesota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
St. Cloud 320 $20,250
Rochester 300 $19,820
North Mankato 160 $24,380
Mankato 160 $24,380
     
Metro Area (Mississippi) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Jackson 320 $18,120
Gulfport 190 $18,520
Pascagoula 190 $18,520
Biloxi 190 $18,520
Hattiesburg 130 $17,840
     
Metro Area (Missouri) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Springfield 780 $22,020
Columbia 310 $20,770
Joplin 230 $19,600
Jefferson City 120 $22,430
     
Metro Area (Montana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Billings 150 $26,390
Missoula 130 $22,750
Great Falls 70 $30,480
     
Metro Area (Nebraska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lincoln 470 $21,500
Grand Island 100 $21,730
     
Metro Area (Nevada) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Paradise 2480 $22,780
Henderson 2480 $22,780
Las Vegas 2480 $22,780
Reno 390 $22,260
Carson City 70 $22,540
     
Metro Area (New Hampshire) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Manchester 240 $30,030
     
Metro Area (New Jersey) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Trenton 590 $28,210
Bridgeton 450 $31,500
Vineland 450 $31,500
Atlantic City 400 $31,380
Hammonton 400 $31,380
Ocean City 240 $35,030
     
Metro Area (New Mexico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albuquerque 760 $23,700
Las Cruces 180 $24,310
Farmington 80 $27,770
Santa Fe N/A $22,520
     
Metro Area (New York) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Niagara Falls 2130 $20,360
Buffalo 2130 $20,360
Cheektowaga 2130 $20,360
Rochester 1510 $22,130
Albany 960 $27,110
Schenectady 960 $27,110
Troy 960 $27,110
Syracuse 600 $19,400
Binghamton 360 $23,290
Kingston 280 $23,740
Rome 230 $20,030
Utica 230 $20,030
Ithaca 130 $24,550
Elmira 80 $18,980
Glens Falls 60 $21,250
Fort Drum N/A $33,690
Watertown N/A $33,690
     
Metro Area (North Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Raleigh 1200 $22,400
High Point 600 $23,360
Greensboro 600 $23,360
Salem 500 $24,140
Winston 500 $24,140
Chapel Hill 460 $24,530
Durham 460 $24,530
Asheville 410 $21,730
Fayetteville 270 $28,820
Jacksonville 220 $19,930
Wilmington 210 $20,890
Greenville 110 $28,790
Morganton 100 $18,530
Hickory 100 $18,530
Lenoir 100 $18,530
Burlington 90 $17,960
Goldsboro 50 $18,090
Rocky Mount 50 $18,710
     
Metro Area (North Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bismarck 240 $26,690
     
Metro Area (Ohio) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Cleveland 3830 $25,620
Elyria 3830 $25,620
Columbus 3060 $20,530
Akron 1670 $20,290
Dayton 1290 $19,390
Toledo 760 $18,900
Massillon 540 $21,190
Canton 540 $21,190
Mansfield 240 $20,210
Lima 230 $19,220
     
Metro Area (Oklahoma) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Oklahoma City 1150 $21,210
Tulsa 940 $21,070
Lawton 90 $19,920
     
Metro Area (Oregon) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Eugene 200 $23,980
Salem 190 $23,010
Medford 160 $26,430
Corvallis 160 $27,930
Bend 130 $22,480
Redmond 130 $22,480
Albany 70 N/A
     
Metro Area (Pennsylvania) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Pittsburgh 6130 $22,960
Carlisle 1050 $27,210
Harrisburg 1050 $27,210
Lancaster 1000 $21,990
Wilkes 880 $25,580
Hazleton 880 $25,580
Barre 880 $25,580
Scranton 880 $25,580
Reading 750 $25,420
Hanover 690 $24,790
York 690 $24,790
Erie 550 $25,760
Waynesboro 230 $20,480
Chambersburg 230 $20,480
State College 230 $20,490
Johnstown 230 $29,130
Altoona 220 $21,960
Lebanon 180 $19,420
East Stroudsburg 170 $22,830
Williamsport 160 $19,260
Gettysburg 90 $27,850
Bloomsburg 80 $28,680
Berwick 80 $28,680
     
Metro Area (Puerto Rico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Caguas 640 $18,070
Carolina 640 $18,070
San Juan 640 $18,070
Ponce 50 N/A
Guayama 40 $18,040
     
Metro Area (South Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbia 800 $18,870
Anderson 650 $19,850
Mauldin 650 $19,850
Greenville 650 $19,850
Charleston 650 $24,280
North Charleston 650 $24,280
Spartanburg 190 $17,930
Bluffton 190 $24,580
Beaufort 190 $24,580
Hilton Head Island 190 $24,580
Florence 80 $18,110
Sumter 70 $22,320
     
Metro Area (South Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Sioux Falls 330 $30,130
Rapid City 220 $29,200
     
Metro Area (Tennessee) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Murfreesboro 2290 $24,680
Franklin 2290 $24,680
Davidson 2290 $24,680
Nashville 2290 $24,680
Knoxville 890 $19,070
Johnson City 400 $20,020
Jackson 50 $23,080
     
Metro Area (Texas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dallas 6370 $22,310
Arlington 6370 $22,310
Fort Worth 6370 $22,310
Sugar Land 6300 $21,820
The Woodlands 6300 $21,820
Houston 6300 $21,820
Austin 2700 $29,910
Round Rock 2700 $29,910
New Braunfels 2340 $21,880
San Antonio 2340 $21,880
El Paso 360 $18,170
Corpus Christi 360 $22,970
Mission 330 $22,370
Edinburg 330 $22,370
McAllen 330 $22,370
Lubbock 290 $20,750
Waco 260 $18,710
Brownsville 230 $19,130
Harlingen 230 $19,130
Killeen 230 $23,290
Temple 230 $23,290
College Station 200 $23,380
Bryan 200 $23,380
Amarillo 180 $20,420
Abilene 170 $28,060
Laredo 150 $18,370
Longview 150 $23,280
Port Arthur 110 $23,380
Beaumont 110 $23,380
Victoria 100 $21,410
Midland 100 $28,120
Wichita Falls 90 $22,070
Odessa 90 $27,790
Sherman 50 $19,920
Denison 50 $19,920
Tyler N/A $28,150
     
Metro Area (Utah) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salt Lake City 1400 $23,420
Clearfield 460 $23,490
Ogden 460 $23,490
Provo 400 $25,270
Orem 400 $25,270
St. George 120 $27,860
     
Metro Area (Vermont) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Burlington 230 $33,660
Burlington 230 $33,660
     
Metro Area (Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Richmond 1960 $28,230
Roanoke 510 $27,330
Charlottesville 340 $28,380
Radford 190 $21,310
Christiansburg 190 $21,310
Blacksburg 190 $21,310
Lynchburg 190 $36,720
Waynesboro 120 $24,000
Staunton 120 $24,000
Harrisonburg 80 $22,390
     
Metro Area (Washington) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Seattle 5260 $31,660
Tacoma 5260 $31,660
Bellevue 5260 $31,660
Tumwater 390 $25,840
Olympia 390 $25,840
Spokane 350 $28,400
Spokane Valley 350 $28,400
Kennewick 240 $27,340
Richland 240 $27,340
Bellingham 230 $27,290
Silverdale 230 $31,710
Bremerton 230 $31,710
Longview 140 $27,820
Walla Walla 90 $29,750
Mount Vernon 90 $32,790
Anacortes 90 $32,790
Wenatchee 60 $27,990
Yakima N/A $35,540
     
Metro Area (West Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Charleston 240 $21,920
Morgantown 180 $19,310
Beckley 90 $19,060
     
Metro Area (Wisconsin) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Milwaukee 3200 $25,070
Waukesha 3200 $25,070
West Allis 3200 $25,070
Madison 1170 $24,930
Green Bay 430 $20,020
Eau Claire 400 $26,740
Appleton 350 $21,460
Neenah 310 $22,430
Oshkosh 310 $22,430
Sheboygan 290 $24,800
Racine 260 $27,700
Janesville 230 $20,370
Beloit 230 $20,370
Fond du Lac 220 $23,100
Wausau 180 $23,260
     
Metro Area (Wyoming) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Casper 120 $27,110
Cheyenne 120 $29,630

Career Stories (Job Profiles) for Hairdressers and Cosmetologists

To find out more about building a career as Hairdressers And Cosmetologists, we spoke with professionals in the field across a variety of specialties. Learn about their experiences on the job, the steps they took to complete their education, and what it takes to excel in this industry. Click the link to see a story.

All Types

Most Popular Industries for :
Hairdressers and Cosmetologists

Industries representing at least 1% of total jobs for the occupation.

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Personal Services 323,400 91% $23,440
Department And General Stores 17,410 4% $16,110
Drug Stores 4,600 1% $24,590
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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Hairdressers and Cosmetologists.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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