Cosmetologists specialize in coloring, cutting and styling hair, but they may also offer a variety of other beauty services to their clients. All states require cosmetologists to be licensed, which involves training in areas such as scalp treatments, skin care, nail services, hair removal, wig dressing and makeup application. Although nearly half of all cosmetologists were self-employed in 2012, the average salary was below the national average.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics groups cosmetologists with hairdressers and hairstylists. According to the BLS, workers in this group earned an average annual income of $27,530, as of May 2013. The BLS reports that the highest- paying state is the District of Columbia, where cosmetologists, hairdressers and hairstylists made an average annual wage of $43,830.