With job growth of 16 percent, hairdressers will find good opportunities from 2010 to 2020 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is slightly better than the 14 percent increases expected for all occupations. A growing population will fuel the growth, as will the trend toward advanced treatments such as hair straightening. Competition and pay will be strongest at high-end salons.
As of May 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, hairdressers earned a mean $12.72 per hour, or $26,460 per year, with a low of $8.04 per hour, or $16,710 per year, and a high of $19.95 per hour, or $41,490 per hour. They received their income in the form of a salary and tips from grateful clients. Their wages were more than the average $11.84 per hour, or $24,620 per year earned by all workers in the personal care and service sector. However, their pay was under the mean $21.74 per hour, or $45,230 per year earned by all workers in the U.S.
Hairdressers need a maximum of a high-school diploma to enter the profession. However, before they can earn salaries, aspiring individuals need to go through a training program as specified by their state regulatory board. This may lead to either a certificate or an associate degree, and typically requires nine months or more at state-licensed beauty schools, technical institutes or community colleges. Graduates must then pass a written test and, in some states, an oral exam and a practical demonstration of their skills. Some states have reciprocal agreements that allow those licensed in one state to work in others.
Almost 89 percent of the country’s over-357,000 workers were employed in personal care service, which includes those in business for themselves and those in beauty parlors and hair salons. At the time of publication, salaries averaged $12.76 per hour, or $26,550 per year. With 6 percent of the positions, department stores offered the next highest employment, with lower mean wages at $11 per hour, or $22,880 per year. The highest pay was earned in the high-paying motion picture and video industries. Averages here ran $33.55 per hour, or $69,780 per year.
New York boasted the highest number of hairdressers, with 7 percent of the total jobs. Pay here was $13.94 per hour, or $29,000 per year. The District of Columbia, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies with the states, boasted the highest pay at $23.43 per hour, or $48,720 per year. As for cities, the most populous one in the nation, New York City, held the most positions at 4 percent of the total. Pay here was $15.57 per hour, or $32,380 per year. The highest-paying metropolitan area was around Cape Girardeau, Missouri, where wages ran a mean $20.01 per hour, or $41,620 per year.