Friday, October 5, 2012

How Much Do Estheticians Make?

I've had a number of emails from readers asking how much estheticians make. It's a fair question to ask for someone who is trying to decide if they want to invest in beauty school and start a new career in esthetics. I come from the school of thought that knowledge is power. The more knowledge you have on a subject, the more likely you are to make the best, educated choice for yourself.

When it comes to making money in esthetics (and in any field for that matter), it really depends on what part of the country you live in. I found this great image on www.GoToBeautySchool.com that breaks down how much estheticians make on average in 13 major cities:


I was surprised to see San Francisco on the low-end of the pay spectrum. Especially since the cost of living is so high here. It's no wonder why many people in this industry work at multiple salons. I knew coming out of beauty school that I wouldn't be making my millions right away. This industry is all about paying your dues. You have to be willing to put in the time, make the sacrifices and work really hard. This is why it's so important that you have a lot of passion for this industry and line of work.

I love how, in addition to providing salary averages by city, this image also breaks down how to become an esthetician in five easy steps. If only those five steps were all that easy. Beauty school is no joke. I put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into my program as a student. Looking back, I have no regrets. If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't change a thing. All of the time and hard work I put in as a student is definitely paying off for me now.

I hope this provides some inspiration for any of you out there considering a career in esthetics.

14 comments:

  1. I am truly greatful for this site such a wealth of information. I will be attending school soon and I am excited and nervous...your blog always inspires me to press on!

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    1. That is such an awesome compliment. Thank you!! Good luck with starting school. Get ready for the fun!

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  2. It's important to note that while those may be averages, you can well exceed these averages with hard work and honing your ability to be able to sell. Retail sales is your ticket to a happier payday! And you don't have to "hard-sell" either; just know your products and educate your client why to use them, what are the benefits to them...they will love you for it. I always tell people that coming in to see me is great, but it's what you do, or don't do, at home that makes the biggest changes. Make sure you negotiate for a fair commission on retail sales when you go for a job.

    Kathleen, what is a going rate for retail sales commission these days?

    Another thing to mention is upselling services such as adding a collagen treatment for eyes, while your client is masking; a hand and foot treatment with heated mitts on a cold day, yum! It only takes a few extra minutes and can add some nice extra dollars!

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  3. Hi! I am finding your blog to be very informative. I'm trying to figure out if I want to go into esthiology, and I'm getting mixed reviews from things I read online. Do you have any opinions on the Aveda Institute? Would it be better to go to a private institute or a technical college?

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    1. HI! I actually wrote a blog on that very question because it's easily the number one question readers ask me. Check out my blog post (appropriately titled):

      The #1 Question Readers Ask Me
      http://www.mylifeasanesthetician.com/2012/09/the-1-question-readers-ask-me.html

      My best advice is to visit all of the school in your area, do you research, ask questions and go with your gut feeling. Good luck!

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  4. Hi Kathleen!

    Thanks for this info. I am a newly licensed Esthetician in Massachusetts and I have had a few interviews so far. All of these spas have told me the same thing, I need to have a part time job while I build my clientele with them. I am nervous doing 20-25 hours at a spa and I am concerned as to how much I am going to take home during this time. I have been offered on a commission base and hourly base. On average, I have been offered 35-55% commission. I am wondering if you were struggling starting out and if you have any idea roughly how much I would take home. I know that's a tough question since it all depends on how busy the spa is, etc. I am just concerned if I will be able to pay my bills or not! I am also wondering how long it took you to build your clientele. Thanks for your knowledge. Love your blog. Great info. Thanks a bunch. -Laura

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    1. It's really hard to say because the amount of money you bring home will depend on you. When you first start out, it's up to you to bring in clients and keep them coming back. Plus, most spas and salons will offer you monetary incentives to retail product.

      When I first started working professionally in this industry, I wasn't in the treatment room. I worked as a waxing specialist a couple of days a week for three months. I didn't bring home a whole lot of money because I only worked about 14 to 16 hours each week. I made sure that the time I was in the salon, I was busy. You'll need to reach out to your Circle of Influence and bring people in for services.

      It might be wise to work at two spas or salons. part-time, in the beginning. There's a couple of reasons why. First, this will help you get a feel for the type of spa or salon you want to work in. Secondly, you'll get exposed to a variety of clients. And of course the more you work, the more money you'll make.

      If you can only get part-time at one place, pick up another part-time gig some place else. Eventually with your experience and expertise, you'll find a place that will want you to see clients at their spa or salon full-time. You just have to prove how valuable you are to them and get a little higher on the schedule food chain at work. Trust me, it doesn't matter where you go. We ALL have to pay our dues when first starting out in this industry. It's all part of the journey.

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  5. HI Im Dr. Enfry Salas, and I practice Aesthetic Medicine and also Cosmetic Surgery my plans are to start several sap in the usa, I wanna know which cities are the best for that business according to your opinion. my email is enfrysalas@gmail.com thank you!

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  6. Thanks for this great post! I've been asked this question before on my blog and never knew what to answer. I'm going to share this post with my readers via my Facebook page.

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    1. The topic of compensation is always a tricky one. There are so many different factors to consider when trying to calculate what one takes home in any given position-where they live, how long they've been in the position, the payment structure (hourly, salary or commission), etc. I figured this post was a great conversation starter. I hope it gives you some good ideas.

      Remember, it's never going to be exact, but this should give you a pretty good idea.

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  7. Good day Kathleen,

    I'm also going through a mid-life change. I made a very good living at being a Exec Asst to a millionaire but at 40 now want a change in my life to actually enjoy my job. My old boss gave me the opportunity to live in South FL for free and I found that Estheticians are very popular in that area of the US and make quite good. I have since moved back to TN and found that it is becoming quite popular here too. My main question is, I want to be a Medical Esthetician, so do I attend regular school then piggyback a secondary school in the Medical field? Thanks in advance for your information!! Sheila in TN

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    1. It depends on the state you're in. In California, there isn't a legal definition of a "medical esthetician." We only have estheticians who work in a medical setting like a doctor's office or medical spa. I'd recommend getting your esthetician license first. You'll need that no matter which state you're in. Then, if you want to focus solely on the medical side, try finding an esthetician that you can mentor or find a doctor's office that's willing to train you. Perhaps offer you an internship of some sort?

      The best way to get into a medical setting of esthetics is either through experience or knowing the right people. Start networking now. Good luck!

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    2. Thanks for the reply!! Sheila in TN

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  8. This can't possibly include potential tips and commission off of retail sales?

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