The beauty industry remains stable in West Virginia and the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts it will grow 13 percent between 2012 and 2022. Now is a great time to join this expanding field which currently boasts 9,500 actively employed licensed professionals.
The first step toward realizing the dream of a successful career in cosmetology is to get the right education. West Virginia is home to 18 licensed beauty schools conveniently located throughout the state. The West Virginia Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists, which regulates and oversees the industry, determines the number of beauty school hours required for license eligibility in each specialty.
Salaries are competitive in the Mountain State and the cost of living is 13.90 percent lower than the national average. In addition, most federal and state salary tables do not include tips which significantly increase the income of beauty professionals. Average tips are between 10 and 20 percent of the cost of the service performed.
You can elect to work full or part-time and to be a salaried employee or work independently. There are many choices; including renting a salon booth for a monthly fee, in which case it would be wise to take a few business courses. In any case you must first consider the pros and cons of each occupation and decide which best suits your interests and abilities.
West Virginia Cosmetologist Salaries
You are required to spend 1,800 hours in beauty school in order to qualify to take the cosmetologist licensing exam in West Virginia. 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 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), cosmetologists in West Virginia earn the following averages:
The annual salaries of cosmetologists in various West Virginia cities are:
West Virginia is one of the few states that offer a separate hairstylist license. It requires 1,000 hours of beauty school training which focus on all aspects of hairdressing but does not include skin or nail care. The following annual salaries for hairstylists are based on an aggregate of job listings in various West Virginia cities.
West Virginia Esthetician Salaries
The BLS reports that there were 80 estheticians (skin specialists) working in West Virginia in 2013. You will need to complete 600 hours in beauty school and pass the board exam in order to earn a license, after which you can expect to earn a very comfortable salary. Earnings vary with location and estheticianpay.com reports the following annual salaries in various West Virginia cities.
Nail Technician Salaries in West Virginia
You will have to spend 400 hours in beauty school learning all aspects of nail care and giving manicures and pedicures, after which you must pass the board licensing exam. The BLS reports that the 100 licensed nail technicians working in West Virginia in 2013 earned the following salaries statewide:
Annual salaries in the capital city of Charleston are:
- Entry-Level – $15,575
- Mean – $17,448
- Experienced – $22,353
Makeup Artist Salaries
You do not need a license to practice makeup artistry in West Virginia but finding a salon or other good job will almost always require you to have a cosmetology or esthetician license. A career as a theatrical makeup artist is not viable; however, there are many opportunities for a career as a personal appearance makeup artist. Potential employers include salons, spas, resorts, bridal boutiques, cosmetics shops, modeling agencies and even morticians.
An aggregate of job listings indicate the following average annual salaries for personal appearance makeup artists in West Virginia.:
- Statewide – $34,000
- Charleston – $36,000
- Huntington – $38,000
- Morgantown – $31,000
- Parkersburg – $37,000
- Wheeling – $31,000
If you wish to become a barber in West Virginia you’ll need to spend 1,200 hours in barber college and pass the state board licensing exam. There are numerous barber schools in West Virginia where you can learn all aspects of hair and nail care as well as specific services that only apply to men, such as trimming/dyeing facial hair and providing straight-razor shaves. As a barber you can find work at both salons and barber shops which are found throughout the Mountain State, even in very small towns. According to an aggregate of job listings, the annual salaries of barbers in various West Virginia cities and towns are: