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Occupational Outlook

Job Outlook

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Barbers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists

Percent change in employment, projected 2020-30

Personal appearance workers - 22%

Barbers, hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologist -19%

Hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists -19%

Barbers - 18%

Total, all occupations -8%

Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Overall employment of barbers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists is projected to grow 19 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 85,300 openings for barbers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.


Much of the projected employment growth in these occupations is due to recovery from the COVID-19 recession that began in 2020 and is likely to occur early in the decade.

The need for barbers and hairdressers will stem primarily from population growth, leading to greater demand for basic hair care services. In addition, an increased demand for hair coloring, hair straightening, and other advanced hair treatments is expected to continue over the projections decade.

Hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists continue to compete with providers of specialized services, such as nail and skin care. Consumers often choose manicurists and pedicurists and skincare specialists for these services, rather than to visit hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists for them. Still, employment is expected to grow to meet increased demand for personal appearance services.

Occupational TitleSOC CodeEmployment, 2020Projected Employment, 2030Change, 2020-30


Barbers, hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists39-5010622,700742,40019119,800


Hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists39-5012569,600680,10019110,500


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Barbers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists,

at (visited February 15, 2022).

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, September 8, 2021


Barbers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists, Median hourly wages, May 2020

Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics

The median hourly wage for barbers was $15.61 in May 2020. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.48, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $30.51.

The median hourly wage for hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists was $13.16 in May 2020. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.06, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $25.68.

Job Title2020 Median Pay

Per Year2020 Median Pay

Per Hour

Barbers, Hairdressers, Cosmetologists27,622$ 13.28


Physical demands of the industry require a great deal of standing, stooping, and reaching throughout the workday. It also requires normal or corrected vision and good hand‐eye coordination. The work is usually performed in attractive, well lighted, clean, well ventilated, and air‐conditioned salons. Exposure to chemicals may cause allergic skin and lung reactions in some individuals; therefore, protective clothing, plastic gloves, masks or aprons should be worn. Being a “people person” is a must. Many licensed graduates are self‐ employed and determine their own work schedules.


Barbers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists typically do the following:

Inspect and analyze hair, skin, and scalp to recommend treatment, Discuss hairstyle options, Wash, color, lighten, and condition hair, Chemically change hair textures, Cut, dry, and style hair, Receive payments from clients,

Clean and disinfect all tools and work areas. Barbers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists provide hair and beauty services to enhance clients’ appearance. Those who operate their own barbershop or salon have managerial duties that may include hiring, supervising, and firing workers, as well as keeping business and inventory records, ordering supplies, and arranging for advertising. Hairstylists offer a wide range of hair services, such as shampooing, cutting, coloring, and styling. They often advise clients, both male and female, on how to care for their hair at home. Hairstylists also keep records of products and services provided to clients, such as hair color, shampoo, conditioner, and hair treatment used. Tools include hairbrushes, scissors, blow dryers, and curling and flat irons.

Cosmetologists provide scalp and facial treatments and makeup analysis. Some also clean and style wigs and hairpieces. In addition, most cosmetologists actively recommend professional hair care products or salon hair care products.

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