California Occupational Guides

Summary Guide  (Printer Friendly)
Detailed Guide   (Printer Friendly)
   Summary Report-Jump to: 
         Top of Page
         What Would I Do?
         Wages and Benefits
         Job Outlook
         How Do I Qualify?
         What Employers Say...
Job Search Tips

I want to: 
   Search by Topic
   Search by Keyword

 

Change Your Area:

Select your county from the list:

Change Occupation:

1. Enter a keyword and click the "GO!" button:

2. Select an occupation from the results listed
below and click the "Get Information" button.


Summary Guide for

Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists in California

May also be called: Beauticians; Colorists; Beauty Operators, and Stylists.

What Would I Do?

Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists offer services to improve the physical appearance of their clients. These include shampooing, cutting, coloring, and styling hair, and massaging and treating the scalp. Note: This guide does not cover manicurists or skin care specialists.

Cosmetologists generally work in attractively decorated, well-lit, clean, air-conditioned salons. In most salons, Stylists have their own work stations. The work of the Cosmetologist requires a great deal of standing, stooping, and reaching throughout the workday. Exposure to coloring and curling chemicals may cause allergic skin and lung reactions in some individuals. Personal tools are usually furnished by the Cosmetologist. Salon owners may provide most other equipment.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Cosmetologist will appeal to you if you have an enterprising, artistic, and social nature. Enterprising jobs involve starting up and carrying out projects. Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs, and patterns. Social occupations involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

The wages listed in the table below do not reflect the earnings of self-employed Hairdressers and Cosmetologists, which can be higher depending on the location of a salon, customer tipping practices, and competition from other salons. A Cosmetologist’s initiative and ability to attract and hold regular clients are key factors in determining his or her earnings. Earnings for entry-level workers are usually low; however, for those who stay in the profession, earnings can be considerably higher.

The median wage in 2016 for Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists in California is $23,770 annually, or $11.43 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2016Low
(25th percentile)
Median
(50th percentile)
High
(75th percentile)
California$20,140$23,770$31,438
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2016 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
View Wages for All Areas

Full-time Cosmetologists who are salaried often receive medical and dental benefits, sick leave, and vacation credits. Those who work part-time and Cosmetologists who own their own businesses generally must purchase their own health and dental insurance.

What is the Job Outlook?

The job outlook for Cosmetologists is favorable. Factors that contribute to a demand for cosmetology services include a growing population with higher incomes, more styling services for men, the increasing number of working women, and a general expansion of the beauty salon industry.

How Do I Qualify?

To become a licensed Cosmetologist, a person must pass an examination given by the California Board of Cosmetology. Both a written examination and a practical demonstration of the candidate's ability are required. To qualify for the examination, a candidate must have at least a 10th grade education, 1600 hours of approved cosmetology instruction, and be at least 17 years of age.

Finding a Job

Direct application to hair salons remains one of the most effective job search methods. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).


Learn More About Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists