If you’re wondering how much a cosmetologist needs for education and training, it might make more sense to think of educational costs as an investment, says Millie Haynam stylist, beauty educator, and owner of MDBeauty&Wellness in Cleveland, Ohio. Cosmetology jobs can be very rewarding, both financially and personally, she says, speaking from experience. “It’s just like any other career choice, when taken seriously and worked as a professional, one can be very successful.”
That being said, if you’re considering a cosmetology education, you can expect it to cost anywhere from around $3,000 to $10,000+ depending on the length of the program, the location, and the institution. During the program, you may have to pay for supplies and kits, so plan for that added expense as well. Financial aid may be available for students who qualify.
“Most schools’ main objective is to train for the state board exam. Higher end schools do offer better learning programs and better teachers, but that is no guarantee of success for the individual”, says Haynam. In other words, the key is to look for a quality, accredited program, not necessarily the most expensive one. “My best advice is to find the right network. Read trade publications, try and get to trade shows, research tutorials on the Internet, and never stop learning”, she adds.
Once you do graduate, your income is heavily dependent on what you put into the field. “The salary in cosmetology ranges, but the starting salary for a cosmetology job in a salon generally ranges from $15,000 to $25,000, depending on the salon”, says Haynam. But don’t panic! As a cosmetologist builds clientele and earns a reputation as a professional, the salary will continue to increase, she assures. “If a cosmetologist chooses self-employment, once established [with a booth/chair rental], the cosmetology salary can double. Salon ownership is another option, which can then include rental fees from other stylists who rent, as well as commission from employees”, she says. The math is simple: The harder one works in a cosmetology job, the more money he or she will be able to earn.
Other income boosts come to cosmetologists who work in high end salons and resorts, as the tip money is often generous. Additional skill sets and specializations help, too, notes Haynam. “If a cosmetologist is licensed to cut and style hair and also does weaves, extensions and color it would be very realistic to assume a cosmetology salary of anywhere from $40,000 to $60,000 per year.”
While your thoughts right now might be on how much a cosmetologist needs for education and training, think ahead to some of the career paths that a cosmetology education can offer:
- Beauty sales consultant for department store
- Beauty manufacturer
- Beauty school instructor/recruiter
- eauty educator for a manufacturer or distributor
- Beauty writer for trade publications and blogs
- Celebrity stylist
- Fashion show, TV, or theatrical stylists
Maximize your cosmetology education to the fullest, keep learning, and the professional rewards will follow. In addition, your continuing education as a cosmetologist is equally important during cosmetology license renewal.