How Much Money Can an Esthetician Make? Unmasking the Industry’s Earning Potential.

You’ve decided to become an esthetician and are in the process of learning everything about a career in aesthetics. But you might have taken a peek at how much estheticians make and found yourself somewhat disappointed. 

Don’t be discouraged from a career in esthetics because the pay does not seem to meet your expectations. 

The data on the income of estheticians can be skewed. The reported salary for estheticians may ignore various factors like:

  • Tips
  • Specialty; and 
  • Where you practice. 

Keep reading to find out how much estheticians earn, the factors that can dictate income, and why being an esthetician is a good career for you.

How Much Does an Esthetician Make?

Many careers have different fields of expertise, many avenues of practice, and different levels of income. The field of esthetics is no different.

It can be difficult to generalize how much an esthetician makes without considering these factors:

  • Type of esthetician
  • Experience
  • Advance aesthetic certifications
  • Location
  • Client base
  • Tips 

What Kind of Estheticians Make the Most Money?

There are several types of estheticians all varying in educational background, additional certifications, and niche specialties. The two main types of estheticians are standard estheticians and estheticians who work in medical aesthetics. Those who work in medical aesthetics, on average, make more than most other types of estheticians.

They have the same base training as a standard esthetician, but with advanced medical skincare training. How much you make as an esthetician will vary depending on specialty, experience, and job environment. 

Consider these types of estheticians when researching what kind of estheticians make the most money:

  • Medical Aesthetics: As an esthetician who works in Medical Aesthetics you might work with dermatologists, oncologists, or cosmetic surgeons to assist and treat patients. Some treatments you might provide are skin rejuvenation, lasering, and chemical peels. As of May 2023, it has been reported that estheticians who work in medical aesthetics earn a median of $51,349 a year, $46,447 a year as a low, and $65,984 a year as a high. <
  • Eyelash/brow esthetician: As an esthetician working with the beautification of eyebrows and eyelashes you might work at a salon or own your own business as a ‘technician’. As of May 2023, it has been reported that eyebrow/lash technicians make an average of $55,520 a year. The lowest reported income is $49,151 a year and the highest reported income is $62,473 a year. 
  • Standard esthetician: As a standard licensed esthetician you might work in a salon or spa setting providing clients with treatments like facials, hair removal, and skin care consultation. As of 2023, it has been reported that standard estheticians make an average of $51,991 a year. Reported income ranges from $43,574 a year as a low and $60,838 a year as a high. 
  • Skin care consultant: As a skin care consultant you might work in a dermatology or plastic surgery office consulting clients going through medical skin treatments. As of May 2023, the reported salary for skin care consultants is an average of $44,228 a year. The lowest reported salary for consultants is $36,027 a year and the highest reported salary is $56,734 a year.

4 Factors That Determine How Much an Esthetician Makes


#1 Location

Location is one of the biggest factors when it comes to the question: “How much does an esthetician make?” It is important to know your target audience and where to position yourself to make your services the most available to them. Remember, certain demographics will yield a larger customer base. 

Consider these demographics when deciding where you want to work:

  • Income: Areas consisting of high-income earners will be more profitable because the customer base has more money to spend. 
  • Population: Areas with larger populations will yield a larger and more diverse client base. You’re likely to get more clients if you are practicing in a city rather than in a rural area.
  • Age: Adult women under the age of 65 make up 50% of spa attendees.

Where you would like to work matters just as much as the location. When considering a field in esthetics consider whether you want to work in an office, start your own business, or work as an independent contractor. 

#2 Client Base

A solid client base is key to earning more as an esthetician. To grow your client base you might consider these factors and tactics:

  • Social media: a strong social media presence will help you gain a greater following. Social media sites like Instagram or Tik Tok are excellent ways to promote yourself. You can advertise new treatments or sales, show off your work, and keep up with new trends and treatments. Social media also gives your current clients a way to keep up with what you are doing and connect with you and your work.
  • Giveaways: You’ve likely been tagged in one before. Giveaways are great ways to spread awareness of your brand or business on social media. Simply offer a service you could afford to give away and make a social media post. Those who want to be in a ‘drawing’ for that service must share the post and tag a certain number of friends. It is a more modern way to spread awareness than solely by ’word-of-mouth’. 
  • Loyalty programs: Loyalty programs are effective at retaining customers and even curbing your clients away from your competitors. They can also create incentives for your customers to spend more.

#3 Experience and Specialization

Gaining more experience and additional certifications for estheticians can help increase both income and client base. If you can provide a greater array of services, you will have more impact in your area. 

Beauty trends are rapidly evolving so researching what trends are gaining traction will help you decide what certifications would be most beneficial to you.

Trends you might consider receiving certifications for:

  • Lash extensions
  • Microneedling
  • Brow lamination
  • Dermaplaning
  • Hydrafacials
  • Spray tans

#4 Wages, Tips, and Upselling

Expect wages for esthetician work to vary. You will likely receive hourly wages while working at an office/spa/salon. If you decide to work independently: do not be afraid to increase your rates. The growing need for estheticians means there is more demand for esthetic services. You do not need to keep your rates lower than competitors to gain more clientele. 

Tips will help supplement your wages if you are working for a business. Tips may sometimes be misreported which could cause inaccuracies in income data for estheticians. You might receive commissions while working for another practice. 

Businesses may sometimes give additional commissions to estheticians that sell skin care products carried or made by the company. As an independent esthetician, you can also make additional income by selling skin care products to your clients.

If you’re interested in a highly versatile career with a lot of options, then this is the field for you. There are many reasons why being an esthetician is a good career: 

You get to decide where you want to work.

You determine what area you want to specialize in.

You can start your own business. 

The need for estheticians and skin care professionals is rapidly increasing.

Estheticians are in great demand since beauty trends have shifted focus to skin care and rejuvenation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job growth for estheticians is projected to increase an estimated 17% from 2023 to 2031. 

The aesthetic market is reflecting incredible growth in a post-pandemic ‘beauty boom’. The medical-dispensed skincare market showed an increased growth of 26% in 2021 compared to 2020, and the U.S. laser aesthetic market has increased in market size and is expected to increase its compound annual growth rate by 16.6% from 2022 to 2030.

At Spectrum Advanced Aesthetics in Portland, we are dedicated to providing everything you need to take advantage of this growing market. Our highly skilled teachers and state-of-the-art equipment will provide you with all the knowledge and training needed to become a successful esthetician.

Where Do Estheticians Make the Most Money? 

Estheticians make the most money, on average, in these states:

  • District of Columbia: $57,876 annually
  • California: $57,346 annually
  • New Jersey: $57,237 annually
  • Alaska: $56,722 annually
  • Massachusetts: $56,582 annually

Estheticians make the most money, on average, in these cities:

  • San Jose, CA: $65,249 annually
  • Santa Clara, CA: $65,249 annually
  • Fremont, CA: $65,082 annually
  • San Francisco, CA: $64,989 annually
  • Daly City, CA: $64,989 annually

Tips for Maximizing Your Earning Potential as an Esthetician

Here are some tips that can help you maximize your earning potential as an esthetician:

  • Continue to expand your education: Advancing your career as an esthetician means cultivating new knowledge and experience. The more certifications you have under your belt, the more you will be able to make.
  • Know your niche: Find out what you do best and expand on it. You can make more if you become the local expert in your specialty.
  • Upsell and bundle: Upsell your services and products by bundling services. Providing package options to your clients might make them more amenable to spending more.
  • Stand out: Stay on top of trends and keep an eye on the market and more importantly, your competitors. Find out what you can offer to your clients that other estheticians cannot.

Start Your Career off Right at Spectrum Advanced Aesthetic — The Pacific Northwest’s Pre-Eminent School for Aesthetic Education

Are you considering a rapidly growing career with limitless options? Do you want to be a part of the skincare and beauty revolution? 

You might be wondering: Where is the best place to begin my education in aesthetics?

Spectrum Advanced Aesthetics is ready to help begin your rewarding and lucrative career as a licensed esthetician. Our highly trained staff will help you explore your interests and find your niche. We offer multiple programs and certifications.

Programs we offer:

As the first advanced aesthetic institute in Oregon, it is our mission to supply the industry with talented professionals. Join us on our mission today!

The content in this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.