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How Much Does an Esthetician Make in a Year

Updated: Nov 17, 2020

Portrait of beautiful young redheaded female esthetician doing makeup on a female client.

If you're looking into becoming an esthetician, chances are you've been asking yourself “how much do estheticians make a year”? The truth is, an esthetician's average salary varies depending on lots of different factors. These include how many years of experience they have, where they're working, and whether or not they have specialized. This article will help you get a clearer idea of how much you could earn as an esthetician, and what the differences in salary expectations are between spa estheticians and paramedical estheticians.

How much do estheticians make?

Average esthetician pay in the United States is $31,290 a year according to the latest figures that were released in 2018. According to data on esthetician salaries, the bottom 25% of estheticians make an average salary of $23,210, while the top 25% earn approximately $44,580 annually. Starting salaries are usually around $18,000 to $20,000 a year; this is the amount you can expect to earn straight after becoming a licensed esthetician.

What determines an esthetician's salary?

An esthetician's salary is based on their experience, their location, and their pay structure. Estheticians working in wealthy areas often have several upmarket salons that cater to well-off clients, and therefore can pay their staff higher salaries than rural salons. Estheticians' salaries can also increase with the addition of tips from their clients.

Choosing whether to work for an employer or as an independent contractor or 'booth renter' will also determine your salary. Self-employed estheticians can earn an average of $52,100 a year, but this relies on you having a good following of loyal clients. Some salons also offer team members a commission structure that rewards employees for getting clients to book their next appointment before leaving, selling premium services, or up-selling retail product. Self-employed estheticians can make upwards of $100,000 per year once they are well-established and have a good reputation, or if they open their own successful salon.

How does an esthetician's salary evolve with experience?

Esthetician salary evolution depends on experience and specialization. A great way to increase your salary as a licensed esthetician is to specialize in a particular service and follow trends in that area. At the moment, clients are particularly interested in skincare, so enhancing your experience in that area can be a good investment.

As you gain experience and establish a good reputation, not only will you be able to charge more for your services, you will also be likely to earn more in tips too.

How much do medical estheticians make?

The average salary of estheticians who work in a medical setting is higher than those working in spas and salons. According to figures released in September 2020, the average medical esthetician pay in the United States is $47,882. The lowest-paid quarter of paramedical estheticians earn $43,240 or less, while the highest-paid 25% earn over $55,000 a year.

What determines a medical esthetician's salary?

The setting that you work in as a medical esthetician is a key factor in determining your potential salary. If you work closely with a leading dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon your earning capacity will be very attractive. To secure these jobs, it is important to have good basic training, and follow up with further courses to specialize in an area you enjoy.

In terms of locations, medical estheticians earn the most are Hawaii and Colorado. The latest statistics from BLS show that medical estheticians earn a median salary of $17.96, versus $14.55 for regular estheticians, making it particularly interesting if you are exploring the option of working part-time.

How does a medical esthetician's salary evolve with experience?

There are good prospects for medical estheticians, the market is evolving by 17% annually according to the BLS which is much faster than other industries. This means there are good opportunities for growth throughout your career, with the top 10% of medical estheticians earn between $61,000 and $85,000 annually. Of course, these numbers do depend on which state you practice in, and whether you work for yourself or as an employee.

How can I become an esthetician?

If you're looking into becoming an esthetician, you need to think about which part of the job particularly interests you. You need to think about whether you would prefer to work in a medical or spa environment, and which type of client you would like to work with. This being said, of course, the potential for earning a higher salary as a paramedical esthetician is an exciting and attractive opportunity. It's a good idea to check whether there is a good job market for each of these two specialties in your location before settling on training in one area or the other. Request more information from Cortiva Institute to get started on your new career.

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