Business & Careers

Esthetician Salary: How Much Can You Really Make?

John Hayden

Decoding Esthetician Salary: Understanding the Factors and Possibilities

Are you considering a career as an esthetician but curious about the financial prospects? The median salary of estheticians was $34,090 per year in 2019. 

So let’s dive into an in-depth look at how much you can really make as an esthetician and factors that impact these earnings. Stay tuned to discover how to maximize your earning potential in this rewarding field.

Key Takeaways

  • The median salary for estheticians in 2019 was $34,090 per year or $16.39 per hour.
  • Factors such as industry, location, skills, and experience can greatly impact an esthetician's salary.
  • Estheticians working in physicians' offices or specialized industries like medical spas generally earn higher wages.
  • Specializing in high - demand services and gaining advanced certifications can increase earning potential.
  • Estheticians have the potential to earn over $100k per year with the right skills and opportunities.

Understanding the Role of an Esthetician

As healthcare and beauty professionals, estheticians or skincare specialists play a vital role in the wellness industry. 

Their primary duty is to enhance an individual's skin health through various treatments such as facials, exfoliation treatments, pore cleansing, waxing, and aromatherapy body wraps. They may also help with more advanced procedures like microdermabrasion and acid peels.

Other duties include imparting pre-operative care instructions to clients undergoing surgical procedures aimed at improving appearance.

Medical estheticians provide services within physicians' offices — including dermatologists and plastic surgeons — where their tasks often extend beyond traditional beauty therapies to include Botox applications or post-operative care for cosmetic surgery patients.

The comprehensive skill-set of these skincare experts not only contributes significantly toward individual self-esteem but also affects public perception about overall well-being. 

So with job growth predicted at 17% per year by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), it represents a lucrative career path option offering both personal satisfaction and financial rewards.

Esthetician Average Salary: A General Overview

The pay range for estheticians is broad, with the highest earners making more than double their lesser-paid counterparts. Specifically, the top 10% of skin care specialists rake in over $30 per hour while those at the bottom 10% make under $9.85 hourly.

While it may seem daunting initially, there are numerous pathways within this field that lend themselves to higher earning opportunities such as medical or nurse aesthetics roles which typically command an average hourly wage of $19.80.

Suffice to say, stepping into an esthetics career opens doors not only professional growth but also financial prosperity if navigated strategically.

Factors Affecting Esthetician Salaries

Factors such as industry, location, and skills and experience can greatly impact an esthetician's salary. Want to know how these factors affect your earning potential? Keep reading.


The industry in which an esthetician works holds significant sway over their salary. Notably, those who find employment in physicians' offices, such as medical and nurse estheticians, often enjoy higher wages with an average hourly rate of $19.80.

Conversely, estheticians working in the travel or hospitality industry generally earn less — their average hourly pay settles around $13.67. 

Additionally interesting is that skin care specialists operating within nonmetropolitan areas like Northeastern Wisconsin can achieve substantial annual salaries up to $62,090 per year or a respectable $29.85 per hour.

Therefore, the chosen workplace drastically influences the amassed income for professionals in this field.


Esthetician salaries can vary significantly based on the location where they work. Factors such as cost of living and demand for estheticians in specific areas play a role in determining salary levels.

For example, estheticians working in upscale resort towns or high-income areas tend to earn higher wages due to the clientele they serve and the higher prices they can charge for their services.

On the other hand, those working in less affluent regions may have lower earning potential. According to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, professionals in Olympia/Tumwater, Washington had the highest mean salary for estheticians at $114,120 per year or $54.86 per hour in 2019.

Skills and Experience

Skills and experience are vital factors that can greatly impact an esthetician's salary. Estheticians with advanced skills and experience in specialized areas of esthetics, such as microdermabrasion, chemical peels, or laser treatments, often have higher earning potential.

By acquiring additional certifications and attending continuing education courses through local beauty groups or specialized esthetician schools, estheticians can expand their skill set and open doors to higher-paying job opportunities within the industry.

Furthermore, work experience plays a crucial role in determining an esthetician's salary. Those with longer employment histories are more likely to receive higher pay as they bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to their clients' skincare needs.

In addition, it is important for estheticians who are employed by a company to continuously update their skills through ongoing learning and professional development opportunities. This not only demonstrates dedication but also shows employers that they are committed to staying up-to-date with the latest techniques and trends in the field.

Skills and experience can greatly impact an esthetician's salary
Skills and experience can greatly impact an esthetician's salary

How Estheticians are Paid

Estheticians can be paid through various compensation structures such as booth rental, commission-based pay, or hourly pay.

Compensation Structures

Estheticians can be compensated in various ways, depending on their employment arrangement. Here are the common compensation structures for estheticians:

  1. Independent Contracting: Some estheticians choose to be self-employed and work as independent contractors. They set their own prices and pay a booth or rental fee to the salon or spa where they operate.
  2. Team Member Compensation: In salons or spas that employ multiple estheticians, team member compensation is common. Estheticians receive a portion of the revenue generated from their services, usually based on a commission structure.
  3. Hourly Pay Plus Commission: In this compensation structure, estheticians receive an hourly wage along with a commission based on the services they provide. This can offer stability through the hourly pay while still providing opportunities for additional income through commissions.
  4. Straight Salary: Some estheticians may be offered a straight salary, where they receive a fixed amount of money regardless of the number of clients or services provided. This can provide predictability in income but may not offer as much earning potential as other compensation structures.
  5. Tips: Regardless of their employment arrangement, estheticians often receive tips from clients for their services. Tips can significantly impact overall earnings and are typically given directly by clients as an appreciation for excellent service.

Part Time & Remote Jobs

Here are some related job opportunities you may find of interest.

Social Media Manager

  • Job Description: Manage and grow social media presence for businesses, create engaging content, schedule posts, and analyze performance.
  • Requirements: Strong understanding of popular social media platforms, excellent communication skills, and ability to create compelling content.
  • Estimated Salary: $20-30/hour (depending on experience and client base)
  • Benefits: Flexible working hours, work from home, potential for long-term partnerships.

Online Tutor

  • Job Description: Teach students of various ages in subjects like math, science, or language. Conduct lessons via video calls or pre-recorded materials.
  • Requirements: Strong knowledge in the subject, ability to explain concepts clearly, and good communication skills.
  • Estimated Salary: $15-40/hour (depending on subject and experience)
  • Benefits: Flexible schedule, work from anywhere, opportunity to make a positive impact on students' lives.

Virtual Assistant

  • Job Description: Provide administrative support remotely, including managing emails, scheduling appointments, and organizing documents.
  • Requirements: Excellent organizational and communication skills, proficiency in productivity tools, and ability to multitask effectively.
  • Estimated Salary: $15-25/hour (depending on experience and tasks)
  • Benefits: Flexible working hours, work from home, potential for long-term partnerships.

Content Writer

  • Job Description: Create engaging and informative articles, blog posts, or website content for businesses or publications.
  • Requirements: Strong writing skills, ability to research and produce high-quality content, attention to detail.
  • Estimated Salary: $20-40/hour (depending on expertise and project)
  • Benefits: Flexible schedule, work from anywhere, opportunity to showcase writing skills and build a portfolio.

Online Survey Taker

  • Job Description: Participate in online surveys and provide feedback on various topics, products, or services.
  • Requirements: Internet access, willingness to share opinions, and attention to detail.
  • Estimated Salary: $5-20 per survey (depending on length and complexity)
  • Benefits: Work on your own time, potential for additional rewards or gift cards.

Virtual Bookkeeper

  • Job Description: Manage financial records, reconcile accounts, and provide bookkeeping services for small businesses or individuals.
  • Requirements: Strong knowledge of accounting principles, attention to detail, and proficiency in bookkeeping software.
  • Estimated Salary: $20-35/hour (depending on experience and client base)
  • Benefits: Flexible working hours, work remotely, potential for long-term partnerships.

Online Language Instructor

  • Job Description: Teach language lessons to students worldwide through virtual platforms, focusing on grammar, vocabulary, and conversational skills.
  • Requirements: Native or near-native proficiency in the language, teaching experience, and ability to plan engaging lessons.
  • Estimated Salary: $15-30/hour (depending on language and experience)
  • Benefits: Flexible schedule, work from anywhere, opportunity to connect with students from diverse backgrounds.

Remote Customer Support Representative

  • Job Description: Provide assistance to customers via phone, email, or chat, addressing inquiries, troubleshooting issues, and ensuring customer satisfaction.
  • Requirements: Strong communication and problem-solving skills, patience, and ability to work well under pressure.
  • Estimated Salary: $15-25/hour (depending on experience and company)
  • Benefits: Flexible working hours, work from home, potential for long-term employment.

Online Fitness Instructor

  • Job Description: Conduct fitness classes, personal training sessions, or provide workout programs remotely through video calls or pre-recorded sessions.
  • Requirements: Fitness certification or relevant experience, ability to create effective workout routines, and good communication skills.
  • Estimated Salary: $20-40/hour (depending on expertise and client base)
  • Benefits: Flexible schedule, work from anywhere, opportunity to inspire and help others achieve their fitness goals.
Being an online fitness instructor
Being an online fitness instructor

E-commerce Store Manager

  • Job Description: Manage online stores, including product listings, inventory management, customer service, and order fulfillment.
  • Requirements: Familiarity with e-commerce platforms, basic marketing skills, and attention to detail.
  • Estimated Salary: $15-30/hour (depending on experience and store size)
  • Benefits: Flexible working hours, work remotely, potential for growth in the e-commerce industry.

These job opportunities provide a range of options for part-time or remote work, catering to different skills and interests. Remember to thoroughly research each job, including the specific requirements and estimated salaries, to make informed decisions.

You may also want to consider applying for jobs such as travel agent jobs, tik tok moderator jobs, or other jobs that pay over $20 an hour.

What People Say

Here’s what people have to say, based on their own personal experiences: 

"I absolutely love working at Serenity Spa. The esthetician salary is competitive, and the tips are generous. The working conditions are top-notch, with a serene and tranquil atmosphere that enhances both the clients' and employees' experience. 

The management team is supportive and understanding, and they prioritize employee well-being. The only downside is that the schedule can be a bit unpredictable at times."

Sophia Rodriguez, Charleston, South Carolina

"I'm thrilled to be part of Glamour Beauty Salon. The esthetician salary is quite lucrative, and there are opportunities for commission-based earnings as well. The salon provides a comfortable and stylish workspace, complete with state-of-the-art equipment and high-quality products. 

The clients are wonderful, and it's incredibly rewarding to see their satisfaction after each treatment. The only challenge is the occasional long hours during busy periods."

Liam Thompson, Boulder, Colorado

"At Oasis Skincare, I have found a fulfilling career as an esthetician. The salary is fair and reflective of my skills and experience. The company truly cares about work-life balance, offering flexible scheduling options that accommodate personal needs. 

The team is supportive, and we have regular training sessions to enhance our skills and stay up to date with the latest trends. The only minor drawback is the limited opportunities for growth within the company."

Ava Nguyen, Portland, Oregon

"I couldn't be happier working for Bellezza Spa. The esthetician salary exceeds my expectations, and the performance-based bonuses provide additional motivation. The work environment is luxurious, and the clientele is upscale. 

I appreciate the comprehensive benefits package, which includes health insurance, retirement plans, and discounted spa services. The only downside is that the location is quite remote, which can be challenging for commuting."

Elijah Patel, Austin, Texas

"I feel privileged to work at Éclat Cosmetics, even though it's located overseas in bustling London. The esthetician salary is excellent, and the company offers a supportive and inclusive work culture. 

I appreciate the emphasis on professional development, as they provide opportunities for attending industry conferences and workshops. The only drawback is the occasional high-stress situations during busy periods, but the team always comes together to support one another."

Nora Jensen, Madison, Wisconsin

Top Opportunities

You can undertake remote jobs and work from home positions from anywhere in the world. But to give you further insights into the best opportunities, here are the top 20 locations where demand is high in this sector:

  • New York City, NY
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Houston, TX
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • San Antonio, TX
  • San Diego, CA
  • Dallas, TX
  • San Jose, CA
  • Austin, TX
  • Jacksonville, FL
  • Fort Worth, TX
  • Columbus, OH
  • Charlotte, NC
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Seattle, WA
  • Denver, CO
  • Washington, D.C.

Many large corporations also offer remote jobs you can do from anywhere. Look out for opportunities with major employers of work-from-home professionals, such as:

  • Amazon
  • Apple
  • Microsoft
  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Salesforce
  • Adobe
  • IBM
  • Cisco Systems
  • Dell Technologies

These companies offer full-time, part-time, and entry-level remote jobs in customer service, data entry, virtual assistant, transcription, and administrative assistant roles.

How to Improve Your Salary as an Esthetician

  • Specialize in high - demand services such as microdermabrasion, chemical peels, or medical esthetics.
  • Take advantage of continuing education classes and certifications to expand your skill set and offer more advanced treatments.
  • Network with local beauty groups and attend conferences to stay updated on industry trends and build connections with potential employers.
  • Consider working in higher - paying industries such as physicians' offices, medical spas, or dermatologists' clinics.
  • Gain relevant work experience through internships or part - time positions to enhance your resume and increase your earning potential.
  • Avoid employment gaps by consistently seeking out new clients and maintaining a strong customer base to ensure a steady flow of income.

Esthetician Salary Variances by State

The salaries of estheticians vary significantly from state to state. This variation is largely due to factors such as the cost of living and the state's minimum wage. Here is a summary of the average esthetician salaries in various states:

It's important to note that these salaries can further vary within each state. For example, estheticians in metropolitan areas often garner higher wages than those in nonmetropolitan areas due to a higher cost of living and increased demand for their services. 

Also, estheticians who work in certain industries, like physicians' offices, generally earn higher wages than those working in the travel or hospitality industry.

Top Cities for Esthetician Salaries

Salaries for estheticians can vary significantly based on the city they work in. Some cities, especially those with a high concentration of luxury spas and salons, offer estheticians the opportunity to earn higher salaries. The table below outlines some of the top cities for esthetician salaries in the United States.

Keep in mind, this data includes base pay as well as potential bonuses, commissions, and tips. For estheticians, these additional earning opportunities can significantly boost the overall salary.

Potential for Earning Over $100k as an Esthetician

Estheticians have the potential to earn over $100k with the right skills, experience, and opportunities. While the median salary for estheticians is around $34,090 per year or $16.39 per hour, there are several factors that can contribute to higher earning potential.

For example, estheticians who work in physicians' offices, such as medical and nurse estheticians, tend to earn higher wages with an average hourly rate of $19.80.

Additionally, specializing in certain areas of skin care services can also lead to increased earnings. Estheticians who offer treatments like microdermabrasion, acid peels, Botox assistance, and pre- or post-operative care instructions can command higher rates for their expertise.

Furthermore, working in upscale resort towns or high-income households can result in more lucrative opportunities due to a greater demand for luxury skincare services.

Self-employed estheticians also have the potential for higher earnings by renting booths or setting their own commission structures. By building a loyal client base and offering additional retail products alongside their services, estheticians can increase their income through repeat clients and upselling.

It's important for aspiring estheticians who aspire to earn over $100k to pursue continuing education classes and stay up-to-date on the latest trends and techniques in skincare. 

Networking within local beauty groups or attending conferences can also provide valuable connections and insights into hot markets where demand is high.

In conclusion, while it may require dedication and ongoing professional development efforts; an ambitious esthetician has a realistic chance of surpassing the six-figure mark by leveraging specialized skills along with strategic career choices.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some of the most common queries we receive on this topic.

Q. What’s the best way to find a high-paying job I can do from anywhere?

A: We recommend you sign up for remote job alerts (free) to get notified of new work-from-home jobs matched to your needs.

Q: What is an esthetician?

A: An esthetician is a licensed skin care professional who is trained to provide various cosmetic treatments and services to their clients.

Q: How much can a licensed esthetician make?

A: An esthetician's salary can vary depending on location, years of experience, and type of compensation structure. The national average salary for estheticians is around $34,000 per year.

Q: What is the typical compensation structure for estheticians?

A: Estheticians can be paid in a variety of ways, including hourly wage, straight commission, independent contractor pay, and a blend of these payment types. Some estheticians may also set their own fees or work on a flat rental fee or premium service percentage basis.

Q: How does the salary of a medical esthetician compare to a regular esthetician?

A: Medical estheticians typically earn a higher salary than regular estheticians due to their specialized training and ability to perform more advanced procedures. The average salary for a medical esthetician is around $50,000 per year.

Q: What is the required education and licensure to become an esthetician?

A: To become an esthetician, you must complete a state-approved training program in esthetics, cosmetology, or a related field. You must also obtain a state license to practice as an esthetician.

Q: Can an esthetician work in a hospital or medical clinic?

A: Yes, estheticians can work in a variety of settings, including hospitals and medical clinics, where they may provide skincare and rejuvenation treatments under the supervision of a physician or medical professional.

Q: How much does an esthetician make in a commission salary package?

A: Estheticians who are paid on a commission salary package earn a percentage of their gross sales. The amount they can earn can vary widely depending on their sales volume and type of services offered.

Q: What are the top 10 earning states for estheticians?

A: The top 10 earning states for estheticians are Alaska, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Oregon, Colorado, Washington, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Delaware, and Rhode Island, with salaries ranging from $40,000 to $56,000 per year.

Q: What is an esthetician school?

A: An esthetician school is a training program that provides students with the education and training they need to become licensed estheticians. These programs typically cover topics such as skincare, makeup, waxing, and business insurance.

Q: Can you become an esthetician without a high school diploma?

A: Some states may allow individuals to become estheticians without a high school diploma, but most states require at least a high school diploma or equivalent to enroll in an esthetician training program.

A Competitive Salary

In conclusion, a career as an esthetician offers the potential for a competitive salary and job growth. The average salary for estheticians varies depending on factors such as industry, location, skills, and experience.

By improving specialized skills and seeking opportunities in top-paying cities or industries like medical spas, estheticians have the potential to earn over $100k per year. 

Whether you choose self-employment or work for an employer with various compensation structures, there are plenty of avenues to maximize your earning potential in this rewarding field.

John Hayden

John Hayden is a seasoned entrepreneur, business strategist, and career success blogger. He leverages his decades of experience in the corporate world to guide aspiring entrepreneurs and career professionals.

John's writing is fueled by his real-world experiences, including both his triumphs and setbacks in the business landscape. Known for his insightful and straight-shooting style, John offers readers a unique blend of hard-earned wisdom and actionable strategies to navigate the complex world of business.

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