Hair stylists are workers in the beauty industry who trim and perform treatments on hair. Hair stylists are also called barbers, hairdressers or cosmetologists, depending on the type of services they perform. For instance, barbers specialize in men's hair styling, while cosmetologists may provide extra services in addition to hair styling, like skin treatments. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that all states require hair stylists to be licensed, which requires graduation from a state-approved cosmetology program.
Income data gathered by the BLS show that the average annual income of hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists was $26,460 in May 2011. Workers in in the occupation made $12.72 an hour on average. The median income of hair stylists was $22,570 and half of workers in the field made between $18,420 and $30,000 a year. Eighty percent of all workers in the occupation had an income between $16,710 and $41,490, so hair stylists should expect to earn a salary within this range. Ten percent of workers earned more than $41,490 and 10 percent made less than $16,710. Hair stylists can earn thousands of dollars a year in the form of tips; BLS income data include tip income.
The BLS reports that the District of Columbia was the highest paying area for hair stylists in May 2011 and that workers there made $48,720 a year on average. Top paying states included Hawaii, where workers earned $34,670 on average, Washington, where workers made $34,160 on average and South Carolina, where workers made $30,970 on average. New York employed the most hair stylists of any state, where workers earned $29,000 on average.
The majority of hair stylists work in the personal care service industry at stand-alone salons and barbershops. The BLS says that hair stylists in the personal care services industry made $26,550 a year on average, while workers at department stores earned $22,880 on average. Stylists working at nursing care facilities earned $28,410 on average, workers at health and personal care stores made $32,140 on average, and workers in the motion picture and video industries made $69,780 on average.
The BLS expects employment of barbers, hairdressers and cosmetologists to increase by 14 percent from 2010 to 2020, which is on par with the average for all occupations. It predicts 7 percent job growth for barbers and 16 percent job growth for hairdressers, hair stylists, and cosmetologists, since advanced hair treatments like hair coloring and hair straightening are increasing in popularity. Job opportunities for hair stylists are expected to be strong as current workers retire or switch careers.