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How to Maximize Your Esthetician Salary and Feel Like a Boss!

Esthetician Salary
In this article I’m going to show you how you can maximize your esthetician salary and feel like a boss! I’m also going to show you:

  • The variations in esthetician salary according to job types
  • How your esthetician salary can vary greatly from state to state and city to city
  • The awesome job benefits you can expect to receive as an esthetician
  • The highest paying esthetician jobs currently available in your state (according to Glassdoor)
  • The different costs you can expect to incur if you decide to become a self-employed esthetician
  • Four things you can do to increase your esthetician salary and possibly even double it

But, first, let me show you what kind of esthetician salary you can expect to make depending on which sector of the esthetics field you choose to work in.

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Are you ready to take the next step and begin your career as a well-paid esthetician? Esthetician Schooling has partnered with some of the best esthetician schools in the nation.  Our huge network of nationally recognized esthetician schools will make it easy for you to find the right school and get started training immediately!

The beauty schools in our network contain one or more of the following high quality standards:

  • State Board Recognition
  • NACCAS Accreditation
  • Student Financial Aid
  • Job Placement Assistance for Those Who Qualify

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Esthetician Salary: The Future Looks Bright
While your passion for skin care, beauty, and helping people look and feel their best is what likely drew you to this profession, you are probably curious about esthetician salaries. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May of 2015, skincare specialists within the United States made a median wage of $30,090 per year, which equates to $14.47 per hour.

While the employment of cosmetologists, barbers, and manicurists will grow by about 10%, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the employment of skincare specialists will grow by about 12 percent between 2014 and 2024. That’s faster than average for all occupations! This is due to several factors, including an aging population, innovations in the industry to help people look and feel younger, and the rise of skin care and beauty routines in men. While you may not strike it rich as an esthetician, you can still make a great living and enjoy a rewarding career.

Variations in Esthetician Salary and Medical Esthetician Salary
Esthetician salary can vary widely depending on where you live, what type of industry you work in, whether you are a medical esthetician or not, and how much experience you have. According to BLS statistics, the lowest paid estheticians make just under $9 per hour while the highest make almost $30 per hour. In addition to their hourly wage, most estheticians are tipped. Believe it or not, tips can add an extra 10 to 25 percent onto your hourly income. There’s nothing like going home each day with some extra cash in your pocket!
Esthetician Salary Statistics from State to State
Surprisingly, estheticians in Wyoming are the highest paid estheticians in the country with a median annual wage of $55,330 and a median hourly wage of $26.60 (according to This is impressive, considering that Wyoming has one of the lowest cost of living expenses at $18,468 for a single adult after taxes (according to the MIT Living Wage Calculator).

In contrast, Indiana is the state with the lowest salary for estheticians at only $21,240 per year. The living expense for a single adult in Indiana is $20,637. Interestingly, estheticians in Puerto Rico are paid a higher salary on average than estheticians in Indiana with an annual wage of $21,770.

Esthetician Salary Map

The top-paying non-metropolitan area is that of Northern Colorado. Here estheticians can expect a median hour salary of $19 per hour which equates to $39,510 per year. In contrast, the highest-paying metropolitan area is the Burlington-South Burlington, VT area where estheticians have a median salary of $61,880 per year or nearly $30 per hour!

The table below shows you the number of estheticians that were employed in each state as of May 2015. It also shows you the mean (average) hourly wage for estheticians, the average monthly wage, the average yearly salary, location quotient, and the average living wage for single adults in each state, as well as the average living wage for 2 adults with 2 children.

Esthetician and Skin Care Specialist Job Statistics
StateSchool HoursApprenticeship Hours
Alabama1500 hours2000 hours
Alaska350 hours350 hours
Arizona500 hoursN/A
Arkansas600 hoursN/A
California600 hours3200 hours
Colorado600 hoursN/A
Delaware600 hours1200 hours
District of Columbia125 hoursN/A
Florida260 hoursN/A
Georgia1000 hours2000 hours
Hawaii600 hours1200 hours
Idaho600 hours1200 hours
Illinois750 hoursN/A
Indiana700 hoursN/A
Iowa600 hoursN/A
Kansas1000 hoursN/A
Kentucky1000 hoursN/A
Louisiana750 hoursN/A
Maine600 hours1000 hours
Maryland600 hours12 months
Massachusetts300 hoursN/A
Michigan400 hours6 months
Minnesota600 hoursN/A
Mississippi600 hoursN/A
Missouri750 hours1500 hours
Montana650 hoursN/A
Nebraska600 hoursN/A
Nevada900 hoursN/A
New Hampshire600 hours1200 hours
New Jersey600 hoursN/A
New Mexico600 hoursN/A
New York600 hoursN/A
North Carolina600 hoursN/A
North Dakota600 hoursN/A
Ohio600 hoursN/A
Oklahoma600 hours1200 hours
Oregon500 hoursN/A
Pennsylvania300 hoursN/A
Rhode Island600 hoursN/A
South Carolina450 hoursN/A
South Dakota600 hoursN/A
Tennessee750 hoursN/A
Texas750 hoursN/A
Utah600 hours/1200 hours800 hours/1500 hours
Vermont600 hours12 months
Virginia600 hoursN/A
Washington750 hours800 hours
West Virginia600 hoursN/A
Wisconsin450 hours450 hours
Wyoming600 hoursN/A
StateSchool HoursApprenticeship Hours
Esthetician Salary by Experience
The amount of experience you have can make a significant difference in how much you get paid as an esthetician, just as it can in many other careers. Generally, the more experience you have, the more money you will make.

For those in the field with a year or less of experience, an entry-level esthetician salary starts at around $8 per hour and goes all the way up to nearly $20 per hour. For those estheticians with five to nine years of experience, the median esthetician salary is $12 per hour. For mid-career estheticians with nine to nineteen years of experience, the esthetician salary range is between $8 and $22 per hour with the median being $14 per hour. Experienced estheticians with twenty or more years of experience can expect to make between $9 and $26 per hour with a median salary of $16 per hour.

Salon and Spa Esthetician Salary
Out of the 55,000 estheticians employed in 2014, nearly half of them worked in personal care services such as salons and spas. In these settings, estheticians are either self-employed and renting booth space or they are an employee of the spa or salon making an hourly wage plus tips.

If you work in a salon or a spa you will see individual clients to perform skin care treatments. You may also have your own clientele or serve clients on a walk-in basis. Estheticians working in these types of establishments made a median wage of $14.47 per hour, not including tips or bonuses.

Job Expectations
In general, estheticians must be friendly and happy, always exuding a sunny disposition, no matter what is going on in their personal life. You may be required to stand for long periods of time and although much of the job is hands-on work with your clients, you will also need to spend time cleaning and disinfecting your tools and workspace. Most estheticians working in salons or spas will be required to work some evenings and on weekends.

You should enjoy meeting a variety of people from all walks of life and take their skin and beauty concerns seriously. You must also have the ability to treat other people with dignity and respect, no matter the condition of their skin as you will likely be aware of some of their most embarrassing flaws like severe acne or upper lip hair.  Not keeping a poker face and reacting negatively to such situations is the quickest way to offend a client and lose your job.

Estheticians are armed with the knowledge and the tools to help make themselves look and feel good, which is one perk of working in this industry. Making others look and feel good is another. In addition, many estheticians trade services with other professionals in the beauty industry, such as cosmetologists or manicurists, in order to get out of paying for their hair color or french tips.

The Highest Paying Esthetician Jobs in Each State
To give you a closer look at the kind of salary you can make as an esthetician employee, we went to Glassdoor and dug up the information for esthetician jobs in each state. The table below shows you the state, city, and company where the employees work. The table below also shows you how much each esthetician makes per hour on average at that company, their average yearly salary, how many employees that company has working for them, the company’s quality rating (submitted by the employees), the company’s employee benefits quality rating (submitted by the employees), the total number of reviews submitted to Glassdoor for that company, and finally, the percentage of employees that would recommend that company to other people looking for a job.

StateEmploymentHourly Mean WageAvg Monthly WageAnnual Mean WageLocation QuotientALW Single AdultALW Family of 4
New Hampshire310$14.30$2,288.00$29,7501.65$23,213$31,512
New Jersey1,500$19.06$3,049.60$39,6401.32$26,291$33,446
New Mexico160$22.40$3,584.00$46,5900.70$21,299$29,744
New York3,280$19.15$3,064$39,8301.25$27,248$38,397
North Carolina890$16.23$2,596.80$33,7600.74$21,902$29,994
North Dakota30$15.40$2,464.00$32,0400.24$20,904$29,640
Rhode Island110$16.02$2,563.20$33,3100.77$23,234$33,446
South Carolina350$13.62$2,179.20$28,3300.62$21,840$27,456
South DakotaN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A$19,843$27,518
West Virginia40$24.03$3,844.80$49,9800.20$20,550$29,328
StateEmploymentHourly Mean WageAvg Monthly WageAnnual Mean WageLocation QuotientALW Single AdultALW Family of 4
Medical Esthetician Salary
Medical estheticians work in physician offices and medical spas and make up about 7 percent of employed estheticians, while 5 percent work in health and personal care stores. Estheticians working in doctor’s offices make the highest median wage out of the entire profession at $17.74 per hour. Those working in health and personal care stores received a median income of $11.89 per hour.

Like other esthetician salaries, your medical esthetician salary increases with experience. For medical estheticians with less than one year experience, an hourly wage just under $12 is average. With one to four years of work experience, your medical esthetician salary will likely be between $12 and $18 per hour. For medical estheticians with five to 19 years of work experience a salary of $12 to $25 can be expected on average. With 20 years or more of relevant work experience, your medical esthetician salary will be, on average, around $25 per hour.

Job Requirements and Benefits for Medical Estheticians
If you work in the field of medical esthetics, you will need to be compliant with additional requirements such as HIPPA, infection control/sanitation, as well as proper documentation. You should be friendly, welcoming, and sensitive to the skin problems your clients may be facing.

In addition to getting paid a medical esthetician salary, there are other benefits to this job. Depending on where you work, you may get free or reduced-fee services for yourself. Working in a medical type office will usually give you Sundays, evenings, and holidays off as well. Working as a medical esthetician can help you get your foot in the door if you aspire to work in the medical field.

Self-Employed Esthetician Salary
It is quite common for self-employed estheticians to work full-time. However, one benefit of being a self-employed esthetician is that you can generally set your own work hours. While the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not collect data on self-employed estheticians, many hard-working self-employed estheticians report making $50,000 to well over $100,000 per year, depending on the wealth of the clientele they serve, and the area in which they practice.

Some self-employed estheticians will set up shop in their own home, rent booth space in an already established salon or spa, or lease their own office space. They perform various skin treatments and hair removal, apply makeup, and educate their clients on how to keep their skin beautiful and healthy for years to come.

Job Requirements and Benefits
If you work in a hotel or at a health club you will likely be required to work some evenings, weekends, and on minor holidays. Working as an esthetician in this particular industry can also require you to be on a cruise ship for weeks at a time. You must be willing to travel and may be required to learn some foreign languages. You must also have a happy disposition and be willing to work with many different types of people from various cultures. While some estheticians consider the travel a benefit, others prefer to stay at home and work locally.

Not only will you need to like people and be sociable as a self-employed esthetician, but you must also have some business skills and high motivation. You must seek new clientele and build your own business. You will need to be flexible with your own schedule and be willing to work around the schedules of your clients. However, this can also be seen as a benefit that allows you to choose which days to take off. Other benefits include autonomy on the job and the potential to work from home to avoid a commute.

Costs Incurred by Self-Employed Estheticians
If you are considering starting your own business and becoming a self-employed esthetician, there are several out-of-pocket costs that you should be aware of. In addition to the licensing and continuing education fees you already pay in your state, you will also need to cover:

  • Monthly rent for a booth or office (usually includes a security deposit)
  • Additional licensing for operating your own business
  • Insurance
  • Salaries of other employees if your business grows
  • Supplies and Equipment
  • Marketing

These costs can quickly add up, so it’s a good idea to plan for the future and be well-prepared for any unforeseen business expenses that may arise.

While one of the main benefits of being a self-employed esthetician is that you don’t have to answer to anyone but yourself, the downside is you don’t have the cushion of a steady paycheck an employee has. Many times, the life of a self-employed esthetician is feast or famine, there is no middle-ground. It’s always a good idea to start out as an employee and hone your business skills before you venture out on your own.

Recreation and Amusement Estheticians
Estheticians also have the opportunity to work in hotels, on cruise ships, and in recreational facilities. Only about three percent of all employed estheticians work in these sectors of the skincare industry. In 2015, Estheticians working in the recreation or amusement industry, such as a health club or on a cruise ship, earned a median hourly income of $16.21.
Maximizing Your Esthetician Salary
Like many other wage-earning Americans, there are estheticians out there looking for ways to increase their earnings. While you could moonlight and drive for Uber, deliver pizza, or even pet sit, it would make much more sense to enrich your esthetician career and perfect your skills in the field that you already love and enjoy. Far too many estheticians sell themselves short, not realizing their earning potential.

Here are some ideas to help you put more money in your pocket while working as an esthetician:

Sell Products

If you are already employed at a salon or spa, you may be able to earn commissions or bonuses by selling skincare or makeup products. While this step may not be for everyone, you have significant potential to make more money by doing so. Your clients are already using a skin care and makeup line on their face, it might as well be the one you recommend and educate them about. Remember, if you aren’t willing to market these products to your clients, someone else will.

If you are a self-employed esthetician, you can also purchase skin care products and makeup lines at wholesale cost and sell them to your clients at a retail price. You may even find that many of your repeat clients come to you for product recommendations. Since these types of products are a consumable good, you will get repeat business from clients buying more once they have run out. Some industry experts believe you can increase your wages by as much as 50% if you apply yourself when it comes to selling products.

Find Your Niche… and Master It

If there is a service you provide that you love doing so much, that you would almost do it for free, that is the service you want to focus on. Find out if there are additional licenses or certifications to be obtained, specifically pertaining to that service. You can also attend seminars on it, or complete continuing education and training on that service.

Whatever that service is, make yourself an expert on it. Potential clients who need that service done are more likely to come to an experienced and specialized esthetician. For instance, some family doctors deliver babies. However, most expecting moms tend to go to an experienced OB/GYN due to their advanced knowledge and expertise. When it comes to estheticians, the same logic can be applied to microdermabrasion, waxing, or makeup application.

Attend Esthetics Trade Shows

Have you ever heard the business adage, “you have to spend money to make money”? while, the same thing can be said about the skincare industry. At trade shows, you can discover the latest and greatest procedures, treatments, and products to breathe new life into your business. Clients are always on the lookout for that next “miracle cream” or space-age treatment to make them look and feel their best. Attending trade shows can help you bring your clients whatever is new in the skincare industry… at a fair price, of course. Attending trade shows and staying up-to-date with the latest industry trends also shows that you take pride in and are passionate about your esthetics career.

Make Your Move

Depending on your current situation and your long-term career goals, you may even want to consider moving out of state to increase your earnings and decrease your cost of living… all at the same time. For example, if you were living and working as an esthetician in Indiana, moving to a state like Wyoming where the salary is higher and the cost of living is lower would increase your annual wage and overall cash flow.

Making this move would change your median salary from $21,240 (the mean annual wage in Indiana) to the Wyoming mean annual wage of $55,330. That’s a 62% increase in annual earnings! In addition, the annual cost of living prior to taxes for one adult in Wyoming is $20,867 and $42,689 for two adults and one child. Compare that to Indiana, where the annual cost of living before taxes for one adult is $20,637 and for two adults and one child it is $43,894 on a yearly esthetician salary of $21,240. What a difference!

No matter where you choose to live, or the environment you choose to practice in as an esthetician, you have the power to grow your own esthetician salary. By receiving the proper education and training, applying yourself, and working hard, you can determine how much money you make in this exciting and rewarding field.
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