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Hair Stylist Career Profile and Salary Information

Hair stylist professionals require some formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and licensing requirements to see if becoming a hair stylist professional is the right career choice for you.

Essential Information

Hair stylists perform a variety of services, such as coloring and cutting hair. They also recommend products and techniques that help with hair maintenance. While many hair stylists work in salons, employment opportunities are available in other settings. In addition to salary, these professionals may earn commissions and tips.

Required EducationPostsecondary non-degree award
Other RequirementsState license
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)*13%
Average Salary (2013)*$27,530

Source:*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Hair Stylists Career Information

Hair stylists are the appearance professionals who cut and style hair. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), hair stylists are sometimes referred to as cosmetologists, although cosmetologists may give additional treatments like manicures and pedicures (www.bls.gov). Hair stylists use a variety of styling techniques to change or maintain a client's hair style, such as straightening and highlighting.

Hair stylists often begin with a consultation to determine the needs of a client before deciding which treatment method to take. After styling, they may give advice on how to maintain the look at home. These individuals need to be able to market themselves to recruit and maintain a clientele base. The BLS indicates that hair stylists who open their own salon or mange have additional duties, including record keeping, ordering and supervising personnel.

Career Outlook

The BLS states that employment opportunities for hairdressers, hair stylists and cosmetologists were expected to increase 13 percent from 2012-2022, which was about the average for all occupations. The BLS indicated that a majority of these professionals are self-employed or work for barbershops or salons, but others work in hotels, spas or resorts. Increased demand for hairstyling services will lead to an increase in employment opportunities. Hair stylists may also find work in other appearance related industries like modeling and television.

Education Information

The BLS indicates that most states require hair stylists to graduate from an approved school. The curricula of hair styling programs combine traditional classroom lectures with hands-on practice. Coursework topics include popular techniques in haircutting, styling and coloring. After students have completed their coursework to a satisfactory level, they may practice on mannequins and live models.

Licensing Requirements

The BLS reports that all states have varying licensing standards for appearance industry workers. Many states have qualifying examinations and require applicants to serve as apprentices for a specified number of hours. Additional requirements may include a minimum age and education level. Some states require continuing education credits that may be offered in the form of approved courses.

Hair Stylists Salary Information

In May 2013, the BLS reported that the average annual salary of a hairdresser, hairstylist or cosmetologist was $27,530, while those in the top paying performing arts industries earned $72,580 on average. Hair stylists may earn additional income by selling products or bringing in new clientele. Experienced individuals may advance to higher paying management or lead stylist positions.

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