How Much Do Aestheticians Make in a Year?

by Aurelio Locsin

When people want to minimize wrinkles on the face, remove unwanted hair, or improve skin color, they consult with aestheticians, also known as skin care specialists or clinical estheticians. In 2010, over a third of these professionals were self-employed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Their compensation comes from salaries, consulting fees and commissions on sales of skin-care products.


Aestheticians averaged $32,080 per year, as of May 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lowest-paid 10 percent made less than $17,620 annually, while the highest-paid 10 percent made more than $51,110 yearly. They earn their pay by beautifying, toning and cleaning their clients' skin. They start by evaluating the appearance of clients, and then offer possible treatments and results. Some of their methods include massages, scrubs, peels and the use of cleansers and lotions. Their working environments are well lit so they can visually discover problems; well-ventilated to carry away the smell of chemicals; and pleasant for the comfort of customers.


More than two-thirds of the 31,450 aestheticians worked in personal care services and averaged $30,340 per year. More than 11 percent worked in doctor’s offices and averaged $38,680. The highest paying jobs were with outpatient care centers, at $40,490, and general medical and surgical hospitals, at $39,300 per year. Employers require aestheticians to take a state-approved cosmetology exam. Some high schools offer cosmetology courses, although most workers take courses from post-secondary institutions. All states, except Connecticut, require a license for the profession. Aestheticians must pass written and practical exams to obtain a license.


The state with the most opportunities for aestheticians was California. It offered 4,220 positions earning a mean $33,850 per year. Florida ranked second, with 2,560 jobs, averaging $31,220. The top paying states were New Mexico at $46,680 and Alaska at $42,200. In metropolitan areas, Los Angeles boasted the most jobs, with average pay at $31,780. New York City was next, averaging a yearly $37,220. The urban area with the best pay was Virginia Beach, Virginia, at $55,850, and Oakland, California at $49,260.

Job Outlook

Jobs for aestheticians are projected to grow by 25 percent through 2020, which is far more rapid than the 15 percent expected for all personal appearance workers, and more than the 14 percent predicted for all occupations. An aging baby boomer population is calling on the services of these skin care specialists to counteract the effects of aging. In addition, lower-cost mini sessions, such as quick facials, are becoming more popular.

About the Author

Aurelio Locsin has been writing professionally since 1982. He published his first book in 1996 and is a frequent contributor to many online publications, specializing in consumer, business and technical topics. Locsin holds a Bachelor of Arts in scientific and technical communications from the University of Washington.

Photo Credits

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