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Barbers, Hairdressers, and Cosmetologists Job Outlook

Overall employment of barbers, hairdressers, cosmetologists, and shampooers is expected to grow 14 percent from 2010 to 2020, as fast as the average for all occupations. Growth rates will vary by specialty.

Employment of barbers is projected to grow 7 percent, slower than the average for all occupations. The need for barbers will stem primarily from an increasing population, which will lead to greater demand for basic hair-care services.

Employment of hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists is projected to grow 16 percent, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Demand for hair coloring, hair straightening, and other advanced hair treatments has increased in recent years, a trend that is expected to continue over the coming decade.  

Employment of shampooers is projected to decline 9 percent as more barbers, hairdressers, and hairstylists perform shampooing services themselves. 

Job Prospects

Overall job opportunities for barbers, hairdressers, and cosmetologists are expected to be good. A large number of job openings will stem from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations, retire, or leave the occupations for other reasons. However, workers should expect stiff competition for jobs and clients at higher paying salons, of which there are relatively few and for which applicants must compete with a large pool of experienced hairdressers and cosmetologists.

Because employment of shampooers is expected to decline, job opportunities should be somewhat limited, available only from the need to replace those who leave the occupation.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition