You’ve come to the right site if you’re seriously thinking about a career in the beauty industry and you’re wondering what kind of salary you might expect to earn. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Pennsylvania is the US state with the highest concentration of beauty jobs. In addition, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have the nation’s third and eighth highest employment level in the salon industry, and East Central and Far Western Pennsylvania have the fourth and fifth highest employment levels among nonmetropolitan areas.
Figures shown here are before tips, which add an average of 15 to 25 percent to take-home pay for salon professionals in Pennsylvania.
Cosmetologists are trained in all aspects of the beauty field, including hairdressing. hairstyling, skin care, nail technology and makeup. In order to become a licensed cosmetologist in Pennsylvania you’ll need to successfully complete 1,250 hours at a state-approved beauty school and pass both written and practical board exams.
The BLS reports that the 24,850 cosmetologists employed in Pennsylvania in 2013 were earning the following annual salaries and hourly wages. It is worth noting that this does not include those that work independently by renting a chair or opening an independent salon.
Annual salaries of cosmetologists in different Pennsylvania cities are:
Estheticians (skin care specialists) focus on beautifying the skin by providing services like facials, masks, scrubs and peels. You’ll need to complete 300 hours of beauty school training and pass the state board esthetician exam to earn your esthetician license.
The BLS reports that 1,060 estheticians were employed in Pennsylvania in 2013, earning the following annual salaries and hourly wages:
Like with cosmetologists (and the following occupations) you will add 15 percent or more to the cost of the service in tips, which considerably increases your total income.
Nail Technician Salaries
As a nail technician you will provide clients with manicures and pedicures, including the application of false nails. You need a license which requires completion of 200 hours of beauty school training and passing the manicurist/podiatrist board exam. There are approximately 2,390 nail technicians employed in Pennsylvania where you can expect to earn the following annual salaries/hourly wages.
Makeup Artist Salaries
You do not need a license to become a makeup artist in Pennsylvania; however, receiving proper training at a beauty school or community college makeup program is essential. The Keystone groups the application of permanent makeup with tattoo artistry rather than cosmetology so if that is your interest you will need to secure a license from the health department in the county in which you intend to work.
Theatrical makeup artists need more advanced training and they earn a mean annual salary of $66,330 with top artists bringing in over $122,910 (BLS/2013). Most Pennsylvania makeup artists focus on personal appearance and work in salons, spas, hotels, bridal boutiques, cosmetics stores, etc.
The following are makeup artist annual salaries in different cities based on an aggregate of available jobs.
- Erie – $39,000
- Philadelphia – $37,000
- Harrisburg – $33,000
- Allentown – $32,000
- Pittsburgh – $31,000
As a barber you would shampoo, cut, style and color head and facial hair and give custom shaves. You would serve mostly male customers in barber shops and salons. The Pennsylvania requirements for a barber’s license are the same as for cosmetologists – 1,250 hours of beauty school training and passage of the state board exam.
According to the BLS, barbers in Pennsylvania earn approximately the same salaries as cosmetologists, however this doesn’t include those that are self-employed or otherwise own a barbershop independently.