All You Need To Know About A Hairdresser Career

You think about becoming a hairdresser but are still not sure whether this will be the right career path for you or not?

Great! Stick with me since I will show you everything you need to know about being a hairdresser in the following chapters.

Not only will you learn how much you can make as a hairdresser, but we will also talk about job satisfaction, working hours, work-life balance, future outlook, educational requirements and much more.

I also provide you with an extensive FAQ section where I answer the most common questions about working as a haircutter.

After reading this article, you will have a much better idea of whether you still want to become a hairdresser or rather want to go for a different career instead.

Without further ado, let’s get right into it!

Table of Contents

What does a Hairdresser do?

Hairdressers cut, trim, style and color hair and make sure that clients look as nice as possible.

They also consult their clients on different styles and build a strong relationship with their clients to bond them to their shops so that clients come back for a long period of time.

Responsibilities & Duties of a Hairdresser

  • Welcoming clients and making sure that they feel comfortable
  • Consulting clients on different styles
  • Washing hair
  • Cutting hair
  • Coloring hair
  • Styling hair
  • Drying hair
  • Advising people on skincare
  • Meeting hygienic requirements
  • Meeting legal rules and regulations related to hairdressing

What a Typical Day of a Hairdresser looks like?

Hairdressers usually start their workday between 9 and 11 a.m.

After getting to work, they first make sure that everything is clean and meets hygienic requirements.

After some cleaning, haidressers often get straight to work and have many different clients per day.

Hence, you should be an open and outgoing person to make people feel comfortable in your presence so that your clients will have a good experience and will come back to your barbershop.

After dressing, cutting, styling and coloring hair for many hours, you will usually finish your shift between 5 and 7 p.m.

Hairdresser Salary 2021

Hairdresser salary brackets 2021

Salary BracketsSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Top 10 %> $48,000> $23.93
Top 25 %$38,000 – $44,000$18.89 – $21.91
Bottom 25 %$27,000 – $31,000$13.44 – $15.42
Bottom 10 %$20,000 – $23,000$9.88 – $11.39
Range$20,000 – $52,000$9.88 – $25.95
Average (Mean)$34,000$16.92
Median$33,000$16.43

Hairdresser salary 2021 by expert level

Level of ExperienceSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Entry level$20,000 – $24,000$9.88 – $11.91
Junior$23,000 – $29,000$11.45 – $14.38
Professional$28,000 – $35,000$13.92 – $17.44
Senior Professional$33,000 – $42,000$16.45 – $20.97
Expert$40,000 – $46,000$19.78 – $22.93
Top Expert$44,000 – $52,000$21.89 – $25.95

Hairdresser salary by state 2021 (average)

StateSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Alabama$33,400$16.68
Alaska$31,800$15.89
Arizona$35,900$17.93
Arkansas$32,700$16.32
California$45,600$22.78
Colorado$32,200$16.09
Connecticut$33,800$16.88
Delaware$31,700$15.83
District of Columbia$35,100$17.54
Florida$37,600$18.79
Georgia$32,700$16.32
Guam$33,900$16.93
Hawaii$36,400$18.17
Idaho$34,200$17.07
Illinois$32,300$16.11
Indiana$35,800$17.86
Iowa$34,900$17.38
Kansas$31,700$15.83
Kentucky$30,400$15.17
Louisiana$32,500$16.24
Maine$33,800$16.89
Maryland$36,100$18.03
Massachusetts$35,200$17.56
Michigan$33,900$16.93
Minnesota$31,700$15.84
Mississippi$29,800$14.89
Missouri$30,600$15.27
Montana$32,400$16.18
Nebraska$33,900$16.94
Nevada$31,700$15.82
New Hampshire$33,200$16.53
New Jersey$35,800$17.88
New Mexico$31,400$15.69
New York$47,800$23.89
North Carolina$36,500$18.24
North Dakota$34,900$17.42
Ohio$33,800$16.89
Oklahoma$35,200$17.53
Oregon$32,700$16.33
Pennsylvania$37,600$18.78
Rhode Island$35,300$17.64
South Carolina$33,900$16.92
South Dakota$32,500$16.23
Tennessee$34,100$17.02
Texas$36,200$18.08
Utah$33,300$16.63
Vermont$32,600$16.27
Virginia$31,800$15.87
Washington$42,500$21.24
West Virginia$33,700$16.83
Wisconsin$34,200$17.08
Wyoming$31,300$15.62

Job Security of Hairdressers

Hairdressers don’t have a high level of job security.

Instead, they often have to fear losing their jobs since educational barriers to entry are rather low and almost everyone can work in this field.

Consequently, if you search for a job where you don’t have to worry about getting unemployed, you should not become a hairdresser but rather go for a demanding office job instead.

Future Job Prospects of Hairdressers

Not only current job prospects are rather poor, but also the future outlook for hairdressers is not much better since almost everyone can work in this field and there are just many people who want to work in this industry.

Consequently, wages and working conditions are poor and you may also get fired anytime soon.

Working Hours of Hairdressers

Most hairdressers start their workday between 9 and 11 a.m. and finish their workday between 5 and 7 p.m.

Hence, you will work in a classical 9 to 5 environment and will not have to work much overtime.

Instead, you can enjoy lots of leisure with your loved ones after work.

Job Satisfaction of Hairdressers

While many hairdressers are happy with their tasks, they are not happy with overall working conditions since they are not able to make lots of money and also have to worry about getting laid off on a constant basis.

Promotion Opportunities of Hairdressers

There are almost no promotion opportunities for hairdressers.

You will just do the same work for many years or even decades without having a chance to climb the ladder anytime soon.

Career Levels of Hairdressers

  • Hairdresser intern
  • Junior hairdresser
  • Senior hairdresser
  • Manager of a barbershop
  • Owner of a barbershop

Fields and Types of Hairdressers

  • Hairdressers specialized in cutting hair for women
  • Hairdressers focused on cutting hair for men
  • Hairdressers focused on current trends
  • Hairdressers specialized in short hairstyles
  • Haircutters focused on long hairstyles
  • Hairdressers focused on exotic hairstyles
  • Hairdressers focused on wealthy clients
  • Hairdressers focused on mass audiences
  • Employed hairdressers
  • Hairdressers who work self-employed

Educational Requirements for Hairdressers

You don’t need to get any fancy education as a hairdresser.

Instead of going to college as many other people have to do for getting their dream jobs, you will not have to spend lots of time and money on education but can rather start your hairdresser career right after finishing high school.

How to become a Hairdresser

  1. Inform yourself about the advantages and disadvantages of being a hairdresser
  2. Apply for an internship at a local barbershop
  3. Make a good impression during your internship
  4. Stay in touch with your colleagues
  5. Finish high school with decent grades
  6. Apply for jobs as a hairdresser
  7. Master the job interview
  8. Choose the best offer
  9. Sign your labor contract
  10. Hone your craft
  11. Open your own barbershop (optional)

Character Traits you need as a Hairdresser

  • Passion for hairdressing
  • Patience for difficult people
  • Empathy for insecure clients
  • You should have a strong client focus
  • Willingness to hone your craft
  • You should be a trustworthy person
  • You should be an open and outgoing person
  • Ability to deal with drawbacks in a healthy manner
  • Willingness to work in a low-wage environment
  • You should be willing to work with your hands

Hard Skills for Hairdressers

  • Expertise in cutting hair
  • Knowledge of how to style hair
  • Expertise in coloring hair
  • Knowledge of how to bond your clients to your barbershop
  • Digital skills help you promote your business
  • Math skills can help you run your business profitably
  • Knowledge of tax codes
  • Knowledge of legal rules and regulations related to hairdressing
  • Accounting skills can help as well

Soft Skills for Hairdressers

  • You should be willing to listen to people
  • Empathy for people who go through difficult periods of their lives
  • You should be communicative and interesting
  • You should strive to provide the best service to your clients
  • Creativity helps to get outstanding results
  • Good time management skills help you keep up with your schedule
  • Confidence in time of drawbacks
  • Good conflict resolution skills to deal with difficult clients
  • You should know how to lead a team if you want to have your own barbershop

Exit Options for Hairdressers

Hairdressers don’t have many exit options since they simply don’t learn many skills on the job that are valuable in different fields.

Instead, once they work as haircutters, most of them are no longer able to switch fields and will be trapped in this industry for many years or even decades.

Hairdresser – Similar Careers

  • Style advisor
  • Nail salon worker
  • Cosmetologist
  • Fashion designer
  • Makeup artist
  • Painter
  • Tattoo artist
  • Singer
  • Cashier at a hair saloon

Hairdresser Career FAQs

Is working as a hairdresser physically demanding?

Working as a hairdresser can be physically demanding since you will have to work with your hands for most of your workday and you will get barely any rest.

Consequently, while working as a haircutter is not as physically demanding as working in construction or as a welder or roofer, you should still not underestimate the physical component of this job.

Is working as a hairdresser mentally demanding?

Being a hairdresser is not heavily mentally demanding.

You will just do the same things over and over again and after a few years, you will have developed a certain routine and will also know most of your customers well.

In turn, you will not have to think a lot at work but will rather be able to relax mentally as well as emotionally.

Is it dangerous to work as a hairdresser?

Working as a hairdresser is not dangerous at all.

Even though you might have to deal with minor scratches quite often, you will not be at great risk of serious accidents at work as police officers or firemen often have to deal with on a regular basis.

How long do hairdressers stay in their jobs?

Hairstylists often stay in their jobs for quite a long time.

However, this is often not due to the fact that they are happy with what they are doing but rather due to the fact that hairdressers have a pretty hard time finding a job in a different industry and may just get trapped in the barber business.

Is it easy for hairdressers to find a new job?

In case you get fired, it will not be that easy to find a new job as a hairdresser since many other people want to work in this field as well and competition is fierce.

Moreover, there are no high educational barriers to entry and almost everyone can do this job, which can make it hard for you to find a new job since so many other people may apply for the same job.

Is it hard to switch from being a hairdresser to another field of work?

It is pretty hard for hairdressers to find a job in a completely different field since they often just lack the skills to work in a different industry.

Consequently, hairdressers often don’t find anyone who would be willing to employ them in a different field and would have to get lots of additional education.

Do hairdressers have a high social status?

Haircutters don’t have a high social status at all.

Even though they can make many clients happy on a regular basis, many people out there will just belittle your work and may even make fun of you.

Can you help out your family and friends as a hairdresser?

You can help out your loved ones as a hairdresser since you can cut and style hair of your family and friends who will no longer have to go to the barbershop and spend lots of money on something they can also get for free from you.

Can hairdressers work remotely?

Hairdressers are not able to work remotely.

Instead, haircutters have to be present at their workplace in person since they can’t do their work on a computer as many other people out there who work in classical office jobs.

Consequently, haircutters have to spend lots of time and money commuting to work and back.

Is it easy to find a partner as a hairdresser?

It is pretty hard for hairdressers to find a partner since they always have to fear losing their jobs, don’t make lots of money from what they are doing and also have a rather low social standing.

Therefore, not many other people will be willing to get into a long-term relationship with hairdressers since they are just not considered good providers.

Do hairdressers have to work on weekends?

Haircutters sometimes also have to work on weekends. However, this greatly depends on your shift and many hairdressers also only work from Monday – Friday.

If you have your own barbershop, it will be on you to determine your working hours and whether you want to work on Saturdays or Sundays or rather want to spend your time on other things during weekends.

Do hairdressers have to work on holidays?

Hairdressers don’t have to work on holidays.

Instead, you can spend this time with your family or friends and also make nice city trips while other people like waiters or train drivers often have to work during those days.

Do hairdressers have to work at nighttime?

Hairdressers don’t have to work at nighttime.

Instead, they can work in a classical 9 to 5 job and most haircutters come home from work relatively early.

Consequently, you will have more than enough time to meet up with your favorite people after work while investment bankers or consultants who have to work long hours every day don’t have this kind of luxury.

Do you have to travel as a hairdresser?

There is no need to travel as a hairstylist.

Instead of doing business trips as many other people who work in demanding office jobs have to do, you will be able to stay at home and spend precious time with your loved ones on a regular basis.

Are hairdresser pensions good?

Since hairdressers are not able to make good money during their active careers, also their pensions will be rather poor.

Moreover, hairdressers are often also not able to save and invest enough money for retirement and may really struggle to cover their bills once they get older.

Are hairdresser salaries going up?

Hairdresser salaries have not been going up significantly over the past years since many people out there want to become hairdressers and educational barriers to entry are rather low.

Consequently, many hairdressers are willing to work at a rather low wage and overall salaries are pretty low in this industry in general.

Can you have a positive impact on society as a hairdresser?

While you will make many clients happy, you will still not have the same high social impact as doctors or teachers who can really impact the lives of people in a significant manner in the long run.

How long does it take to become a hairdresser?

Since you will not have to spend many years on college education, you can become a haircutter pretty soon.

All you need to do is finish high school and you will be good to apply for jobs in this industry.

Is it difficult to become a hairdresser?

Becoming a hairdresser is not difficult at all.

Since you will not need to get fancy education, almost everyone will be able to work in this field and you just need to apply to as many jobs as possible and the more applications you send, the higher your chances of getting a job in this field.

Do you need to be smart to work as a hairdresser?

You don’t need a high IQ for working as a haircutter.

What’s much more important is your emotional IQ and that you are an open and outgoing person so that your clients feel welcome and will come back to your barbershop for quite a long time.

Do hairdressers have a good work-life balance?

Hairdressers have pretty decent work-life balance since they don’t have to work on weekends and holidays most of the time and also come home from work relatively early.

Consequently, most hairdressers have more than enough leisure to spend with their families or their friends.

Do hairdressers have to work many extra hours?

Hairdressers don’t have to work many extra hours.

Instead, you will have a fixed schedule and once your shift is over, you will just finish your workday and will get back to your workplace the next day.

How to maximize your chances of becoming a hairdresser?

If you really want to maximize your chances of becoming a hairdresser, you should gather experience in this field as early as possible.

Hence, you should apply for an internship while you are still at school to make valuable contacts and to already have a foot in the door once you finish school and officially apply for jobs in this field.

Can hairdressers work part-time?

Hairdressers are not able to make a living from a part-time job since hourly wages are pretty low.

Consequently, most haircutters work full-time since they would not be able to pay their bills otherwise.

Do hairdressers work indoors or outdoors?

Hairdressers work indoors and therefore don’t have to care about weather conditions outdoors.

This can be quite convenient, especially during times of bad weather when many other people like construction workers often have to work outdoors in the rain or during times of extreme heat.

What does the workplace of a hairdresser look like?

During your workday, you will meet many new people in your barbershop and you will also be surrounded by strangers on a regular basis.

Hence, you should be an outgoing and open person so that your clients feel comfortable in your presence and you should also not be a shy person to bond your clients to your business in the long run.

Do you have to look good for working as a hairdresser?

While your looks are not of main priority when it comes to succeeding as a hairdresser, your looks will still matter to a certain extent since only if you look good yourself, your clients will have trust in you and will come back many times.

Is a hairdresser career beneficial for your private life?

Working as a haircutter is not beneficial for your private life since you will not be able to make good money and also always have to fear losing your job.

In turn, your spouse may cheat on you soon to find a better deal and you may end up alone.

Do you need a college degree for becoming a hairdresser?

You don’t need to get a college degree for becoming a haircutter.

Instead, you just need to finish high school and you will be good for applying for jobs in this industry.

Do you need to be certified to work as a hairdresser?

You also don’t need any certifications to be able to work as a hairdresser.

In fact, what’s much more important than looking good on paper is that you are really passionate about hairdressing and that you also have some talent to really deliver good work and to make your clients happy.

How much does it cost to become a hairdresser?

Due to the fact that you don’t have to go to college, you also don’t have to spend lots of time and money on education for becoming a hairdresser.

Instead, you just need to get a high school diploma with decent grades and you will be good to go.

Is being a hairdresser a good career?

Many people would not consider being a hairdresser a good career since you will not be able to make good money and you will also have to fear losing your job on a regular basis.

Is it easy to start your own business as a hairdresser?

It is pretty easy to start your own barbershop since initial startup costs are relatively low and you don’t have to spend lots of money on equipment.

In turn, once you are an experienced haircutter, it will be easy for your to manage your own business, at least if you have the entrepreneurial type of mindset and are also willing to work hard.

Can hairdressers teach themselves?

You can also teach yourself many skills valuable for being a hairdresser.

However, you will still learn a lot during your first years on the job and only if you practice a lot, you will really become better in the long run.

Do hairdressers make good money?

Haircutters don’t make good money.

In fact, most hairdressers are barely able to make a living from what they are doing and are not able to afford any luxury.

Is it ever too late to become a hairdresser?

It is never too late to become a hairdresser since you will not have to spend lots of time and money on education but can rather start your career in a spontaneous manner.

Consequently, you will be able to become a hairdresser in your 40s or 50s, at least if you have enough talent and experience in this field and are also able to convince barbershops that it would be a good decision to employ you.

Do hairdressers have to quit their careers early?

Haircutters don’t have to quit their careers early most of the time.

While working as a hairdresser involves a certain physical component, you will still not have to stress your body as much as carpenters or roofers who really have to work with their hands in a heavy manner.

What is the most challenging thing about working as a hairdresser?

The most challenging thing about being a hairdresser is that you will have many different clients and will also have to figure out what they like and what they despise on a continuous basis.

Can you provide for your family by working as a hairdresser?

Providing for your family is almost impossible as a barber.

You will just not make enough money from what you are doing and will not be a good provider. Hence, your spouse may have to work as well to cover your bills.

Will hairdressers suffer from old-age poverty?

Many hairdressers also have to worry about old-age poverty since their pensions will be pretty low and once they quit their active careers, many hair cutters will no longer be able to pay their bills.

Can hairdressers retire early?

Most hairdressers are not able to retire early since they simply don’t make enough money during their active careers and will therefore have to work during their 60s or even 70s so that they are still able to pay their bills.

Do hairdressers get a fixed or variable salary?

Most hairdressers just get a fixed salary and even if you get a variable portion, this variable fraction of your salary will be rather low.

Can you get rich as a hairdresser?

It is not possible to get rich if you work as an employed hairdresser.

However, if you start your own business and scale it quite a lot, you may get to a stage where you will become wealthy or even make a small fortune from what you are doing.

Do hairdressers need a second job?

Many hairdressers also need to work a second job to pay their bills.

This is especially true if you live in expensive regions where living costs and rents are high and your haircutter salary will not be enough to make a living.

Do you get continuous training as a hairdresser?

You will get lots of training during the first years of your hairdresser career.

However, once you get more experienced, it will be on you to hone your craft.

Do you get sick pay as a hairdresser?

Most hairdressers don’t get sick pay.

Hence, you should have an emergency fund that you can use once you get sick and are not able to make money from your job anymore.

Do hairdressers have a high level of responsibility?

Hairdressers don’t have a high level of responsibility.

Even though their performance will be crucial for the success or failure of the barbershop they work for, hairdressers will still not have as much responsibility as doctors or other people who could take away the lives of people on a daily basis.

Can hairdressers work abroad?

Hairdressers are also able to work abroad since haircutters are needed all over the world.

However, before you move to a different country, make sure to inform yourself about the working conditions so that you are not disappointed later on in this regard.

Is it stressful to work as a hairdresser?

Working as a hairdresser is not that stressful since you will do the same things over and over again and after a few years in your job, you will just develop a certain routine and can do your job in a rather relaxed manner.

Is it boring to work as a hairdresser?

Working as a hairdresser may become boring if you don’t have a passion for working in this field.

In such a case, you would be better off going for a job which you really have a deep interest in so that you stay happy with what you are doing in the long run.

Is being a hairdresser hard?

Working as a hairdresser is not hard.

While you will have to work with your hands, you will not have to stress your brain that much and can rather work in a relaxed manner.

Are hairdressers at risk of burnout?

Haircutters are not at great risk of burnout since they don’t have to work in a stressful environment and can rather do their work without having that much time pressure compared to demanding office jobs out there where you have to meet strict timelines.

Is there a dress code for hairdressers?

You don’t have to meet a certain dress code for working as a hairdresser.

However, the barbershop you work for will often provide you with clothing so that you can represent the barbershop in the best possible manner.

What kind of hairdressers are paid the most?

The more experienced you are and the more value you can provide to customers, the more you can make as a hairdresser.

However, you will still not make good money from what you are doing and if money and luxury are really important to you, you should not become a haircutter but rather become a doctor or financial analyst instead.

What percentage of hairdressers are women?

Over 90% of hairdressers are women will less than 10% are men.

Hence, this industry is dominated by women.

However, this doesn’t mean that women have an easier time finding a job in this industry.

It rather means that this field is traditionally more attractive to women than men and you can still succeed as a man in this industry, even though you might have to deal with snarky comments from time to time.

Do I need a mentor to succeed as a hairdresser?

You don’t need a mentor to succeed as a hairdresser.

However, it can still help to have experienced colleagues on your side whom you can ask in case you have a difficult job to do or don’t know the perfect solution to an issue.

Will you be personally liable for mistakes as a hairdresser?

Most of the time, you will not be personally liable for mistakes you make as a hairdresser.

However, if you want to be completely sure in this regard, you should ask a lawyer.

Do hairdressers have a high life expectancy?

Hairdressers have pretty decent life expectancy since they don’t work in a risky environment and also don’t have lots of stress at work, which makes it less likely that they suffer from serious health problems.

Do hairdressers suffer from sleeping problems?

Hairdressers don’t suffer from sleeping problems that much since they work in a standard 9 to 5 environment most of the time and can therefore maintain a steady sleeping pattern.

What states are best for working as a hairdresser?

Since hairdressers are not able to make much money, no matter in what state they work, you should choose a state or a region where living costs are pretty low so that you are able to make a living from your hairdressing job and don’t need a second job to pay your bills.

Who do hairdressers work with?

Hairdressers work with many different clients.

Thus, you should be an open and outgoing person so that customers feel welcome and will come back to your barbershop.

Is working as a hairdresser cool?

Being a hairdresser is not considered cool by most of the general public.

However, you should still not care about the opinion of others but rather do what’s best for you regarding your future career choice.

Can you start a side hustle as a hairdresser?

You could also start a side hustle as a haircutter.

In fact, you can do many jobs on the side after finishing your workday or also on weekends.

You could also start a digital channel, build an audience and monetize this audience in the long run.

Do you have to be creative as a hairdresser?

Being creative really helps for succeeding as a hairdresser since only if you are creative, you can reinvent yourself on a regular basis and stay up-to-date with latest trends.

Do hairdressers suffer from being overweight?

Hairdressers often don’t suffer from being overweight since they have to work in a physical manner quite often and will therefore burn enough calories at work.

How employable are hairdressers?

Haircutters are not that employable.

Even though there is a high demand for hairdressers, there are also many people who want to work in this field and since barriers to entry are pretty low, many other people will compete for jobs with you and you may just get laid off sooner or later.

Are hairdressers happy with their jobs?

Most hairdressers are not really happy with their jobs since they are not able to make good money while they also have rather low job security and a poor future outlook.

Is working as a hairdresser exciting?

Working as a hairdresser is not that exciting.

Once you work in this field for a few months, your initial level of excitement will drop significantly and you will just develop a certain routine.

Can you have a positive impact on our environment as a hairdresser?

You will also not have a positive impact on our environment as a haircutter since you will only care about the looks of people instead of focusing on something that really makes the world a better place.

What are the pros and cons of working as a hairdresser?

If you still want to become a hairdresser, you should also check out additional pros and cons of a hairdresser career.

Sources

https://www.statista.com/statistics/1086926/share-hairdressers-hairstylists-cosmetologists-united-states-gender/

https://www.statista.com/statistics/1221846/hair-salon-market-size-usa/

Interviews and own research.

About the author

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.

This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.

Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.

I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.

Wanna support my blog? Share it!

Pin It on Pinterest