Apprentice hairdressers work alongside established hairdressers to learn various techniques and the daily operations of a hair salon. They often prepare clients for hair appointments by shampooing, apply or remove hairdressing treatments, and sterilize equipment. They might also work partially as receptionists, taking appointments and greeting clients. Salaries vary by employer and experience.
Basic Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for hairdressers in May 2010 was $22,760, while the mean salary was $26,510. The lowest-paid 10 percent earned $16,350 or less, while the highest-paid 10 percent earned $41,540 or more. The middle 50 percent earned between $18,320 and $30,490. Apprentice hairdressers commonly are paid a salary on the lower end of this range, and work their way to higher salaries with experience in the field and promotions to regular hairdresser jobs.
Many hairdressers and apprentices are paid by the hour. According to the BLS, the median hourly wage for hairdressers in 2010 was $10.94, while the mean hourly wage was $12.74. The lowest-paid 10 percent earned $7.86 an hour or less, while the highest-paid 10 percent earned $19.97 an hour or more. The middle 50 percent earned between $8.81 and $14.66 an hour. Apprentices typically earn an hourly wage on the lower end of this pay range.
The location of employment also affects the salaries for hairdresser apprentices. For example, according to the BLS, Washington, D.C. was the highest paying area in 2010 for hairdressers, with a mean annual salary of $37,680 and a mean hourly wage of $18.11. Hairdressers in Hawaii earned a mean annual salary of $34,490 and a mean hourly wage of $16.58, while those in Washington state earned a mean annual salary of $33,680 and a mean hourly rate of $16.19. Hairdressers in Vermont earned a mean annual salary of $31,150 and a mean hourly wage of $14.98, while those in South Carolina earned a mean annual salary of $31,000 and a mean hourly wage of $14.90. Apprentices typically earn less than these mean salaries, but these locations are still the highest paying areas for this profession.
The job outlook for hairdresser apprentices is positive. According to the BLS, job opportunities for hairdressers are expected to grow 20 percent between 2008 and 2018. New jobs for hairdressers allow current apprentices to get promoted to hairdressers, which makes room for new apprentices to find work. Most job opportunities will be entry-level jobs, which is perfect for aspiring apprentices. Also, those with a license will have the best job opportunities, according to the BLS.
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