Virginia is a good state for electing to pursue a career as a beautician. Salaries tend to be higher than in most states and there are beauty schools scattered throughout the state. One advantages of beauty work is the ability to choose not only how many hours you work but also whether you wish to be a regular employee or an independent contractor.
As a licensed cosmetologist, esthetician or nail technician you can rent a salon booth for a monthly fee, effectively creating your own “mini-salon” for which you build your own clientele and cover your own expenses. You can also develop your own business by offering services in client homes, an arrangement especially appreciated by shut-ins and the elderly. However, you’ll need reliable transportation, an organized way to carry needed equipment and some marketing skills.
Virginia offers many job opportunities as salaried employees at salons, spas, resorts, etc. Your salary will be augmented by tips which are usually between 10 and 25 percent of the cost of the service. A friendly, customer-oriented disposition goes a long way in encouraging higher tips. If the beauty industry sounds like the right career path you’ll need to choose a specialty and fill the requirements for licensure. The following will help you make that decision.
Cosmologist Salaries in Virginia
The Virginia Board of Cosmetology requires completion of 1,500 hours at a licensed beauty college and passing the board exam in order to be granted a cosmetologist license. You will not only learn all aspects of hairdressing/hairstyling but also the basics of skin care, nail technology and makeup application. According to the 2013 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the salaries of cosmetologists in Virginia are considerably higher than national averages.
BLS annual salaries for cosmetologists in different Virginia cities are as follows:
Salaries in the cities of Alexandria and Arlington, which are part of the Washington D.C. metropolitan area are the highest in the state:
- Entry-Level – $17,500
- Mean – $36,200
- Experience – $63,590
Please note that the BLS salary tables do not include tips or other gratuities.
Virginia Salaries in Esthetician
You will have to spend a minimum of 600 hours in beauty school and pass the board exam in order to earn your esthetician license. As a skin care specialist you will be qualified to provide such services as facials, masks, peels, waxes, facial massages, etc. The BLS reports that the 1,125 estheticians employed in the state of Virginia and selected cities earn the following annual salaries.
Experienced estheticians in the Alexandria/Arlington/DC metro area can earn $77,740.
Nail Technician Salaries
You can earn your Virginia license to give manicures and pedicures by either spending 150 hours in beauty school or 2,000 hours as an apprentice with a licensed nail technician after which you must pass the board exam. The BLS states that there are 1,330 nail technicians employed in Virginia (2013). Annual salaries are:
In order to become a licensed barber in Virginia you must either spend 1,500 hours in a barber college or 3,000 hours as an apprentice to a Master Barber. Barbers learn all of the same functions as cosmetologists but work primarily on male clients who also require facial shaves and trimming/dyeing/styling beards and moustaches. Although barbers work primarily in barber shops you might be employed by a salon, spa or resort.
The following annual salaries of barbers in various Virginia cities are based on an aggregate of job listings.
Virginia Makeup Artist Salaries
The state of Virginia does not require makeup artists to be licensed; however, jobs with good salons, spas, resort, or bridal boutiques usually look for makeup artists to have a cosmetology or esthetician license.
Theatrical/production makeup artists must attend special makeup schools that teach the special techniques needed to be able to transform an actor to fit the character he/she is portraying. There are a limited number of professional theatrical makeup artist jobs in Virginia for which the BLS (2013) records the following salaries statewide.
The following table of the annual salaries of personal appearance makeup artists in various Virginia cities is based on an aggregate of listed job openings.
- Alexandria/Arlington – $45,000
- Lynchburg – $40,000
- Richmond – $36,000
- Roanoke – $35,000
- Virginia City – $26,000