If you’re one of those people who cut all your friends’ hair and have mastered the fine art of trimming your own bangs, maybe you should consider getting your cosmetology license.
“I would definitely recommend a career in hair,” says Genai Canale of Bree Salon in Studio City, Calif. “It’s an amazing atmosphere to work in. It’s fun, creative and artistic. You can go as far as you want if you have the ambition.”
If you’re going to be a higher-end stylist, picking the right school can be important. “Aveda and Redken have schools and that can give you a built-in job opportunity. If you’ve been educated in a product that sells to salons that are exclusively selling that product, they’ll want to hire you,” says Todd Barnes, a stylist who has worked in salons throughout New York City and Colorado.
Once you graduate, there are a variety of options for where to cut hair: You can rent a booth at a salon, in which case you are running your own business and are responsible for your taxes and marketing. Or you can work at a salon on commission, where you’re getting a percentage — anywhere from 40-60 percent — of everything you bring in. There are also corporate places, like Supercuts, where you make an hourly wage.
Wherever you work, if you put the time, energy and commitment into the job, you can make a good living — even in today’s market. “Salaries can vary depending on clientele, city and salon,” says Canale, “but I know single mothers who take care of their families and own their own homes just from their careers as hair stylists.”