Esthetician Salary

According to experts, the global skincare industry is worth a whopping $128 billion and its growth is not expected to slow down anytime soon.

A recent desire for natural skin care products and services means that there has never been a better time to pursue a career as an esthetician (or aesthetician, as it’s sometimes spelled). 

Estheticians are professional skin care technicians that are trained to perform therapeutic skin treatments.

As an esthetician, you will be working alongside clients to provide therapeutic skin treatments and skin care advice.

Estheticians typically face good starting salaries and show great potential for career advancement.

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How Much Do Estheticians Make a Year?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent data, the annual median salary for skincare specialists in the US is $31,290.

Estheticians employed in physician offices typically have the highest salaries at an average of $40,248 and the top 10% of estheticians earned more than $59,800. The lowest 10% earned less than $19,323. 

Note that these figures are assuming a typical 40-hour workweek.

In reality, estheticians often work more than 40 hours a week, often working nights and weekends. 

How Much Do Estheticians Make an Hour?

The average hourly pay for estheticians in the US is $15.05 per hour.

Estheticians employed in physician offices make an average hourly wage of $19.35, while the top 10% of earners make approximately $29.00/hour.

The lowest 10% of estheticians make about $9.29/hour.

Again, these hourly figures are based on assuming a 40-hour workweek. Many estheticians work more than 40 hours a week.

Starting Esthetician Salary

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industry with the lowest average salary for estheticians is in the traveler accommodation business with an average hourly pay of $12.01.

In general, these kinds of occupations require the least amount of education to work, while higher-paying positions require more formal schooling. For example, the highest-paid estheticians are employed in physician offices, which requires a good deal more experience and training. 

Esthetician Salary by State

StateHourly median wageAnnual median wage
District of Columbia
New Hampshire$13$27,930
New Jersey$15$31,130
New Mexico$15$32,060
New York$18$37,740
North Carolina$19$39,440
North Dakota$15$30,500
Puerto Rico$9$19,100
Rhode Island$12$25,610
South Carolina$13$26,640
South Dakota$21$42,900
West Virginia$22$44,940

Estheticians in the state of New York face the highest average annual salaries at $38,617 ($18.57/hour), followed by Massachusetts ($38,382, $18.45/hour), Maryland ($36,190, $17.40/hour), and Nebraska ($35,558, $17.10/hour). According to the data, estheticians face the best average salaries in New England and on the West Coast. The state with the lowest average salary for estheticians is North Carolina with an average annual salary of $27,152 ($13.05/hour).

Similar Occupations Compared

Barbers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists$24,830
Manicurists and Pedicurists$24,330
Massage Therapists$41,420

Best Industries for Estheticians

The majority of estheticians (~47%) are employed in the personal care industry, which includes occupations in hotels, spas, wellness clinics, etc.

About a third (~28%) of estheticians are self-employed, and a smaller portion work in physician offices, personal care stores, and traveler accommodations. 

As of 2018, the top industries for estheticians were:

  • Offices of physicians: $19.35/hour
  • Personal care services: $14.61/hour
  • Health and personal care stores: $13.73/hour
  • Traveler accommodation: $12.01/hour

Esthetician Demand and Job Outlook

Estheticians face great career growth potential. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the esthetician field is expected to grow by 14% from 2016-2026, faster than the national average for most professions. This increase in demand is driven largely by the emergence of new skincare services such as minisessions and in-home mobile facials.

Also, the desire to combat the detrimental effects of aging in both men and women have led to an increased demand for healthy skin care and relaxation services. 

Additionally, the number of spas in the US and worldwide is expected to grow by 5.66% from 2017 to 2021, which means a significant uptick in the number of estheticians jobs available. In today’s fast-paced stressful world, more and more people are looking for ways to take care of their mental and physical health and skincare treatments are one of the most popular growing de-stress methods. A focus on tailoring spa treatments to individuals and better brand positioning is also likely responsible for the growth of the esthetician field. 

Where Do Estheticians Work?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 61,300 esthetician jobs in 2016.

The majority of these skincare specialists (47%) were employed in personal care services, which include spas, hotels, wellness clinics, and other personal care occupations.

Around a third (28%) are self-employed and either run their own business or rent out a studio space for their work. A smaller percentage (~10%) are employed in physician offices, and the minority are employed in health and personal care stores and traveler accommodations. 

How Can I Start Working as an Esthetician?

Prospective estheticians must first complete a state-approved cosmetology or esthetician program.

Estheticians programs are offered at technical colleges, vocational schools, community colleges, and traditional universities. After completing an approved program, you have to take a written and practical exam to receive your state license.

Licensing requirements differ depending on the state so make sure you check with your state licensing board for the requirements. 

Once you get your state license, you can legally work as an esthetician in your state. Most of the time, if your move, you will have to take another licensing exam for the state you move to.

Most states require estheticians to periodically renew their licenses and require them to take at least some continuing education courses between periods of renewal. 

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Noel Griffith, Ph.D.
Noel Griffith in Doctor of Philosophy with a strong interest in educational research. He has been an editor-in-chief of since 2014. Noel is an avid reader (non-fiction), enjoys good food, live theatre, and helping others make wiser career decisions.

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