Make-Up Artist: Average Salary of a Make-Up Artist

Published Sep 08, 2009

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Make-Up Artists apply cosmetics to performers, broadcasters and individual clients. The average salary of a Make-Up Artist is around $39,000 a year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), www.bls.gov.

Make-Up Artist Career Summary

Make-Up Artists are cosmetic experts, applying make-up to models, performers and other clients. They may also be called estheticians or cosmetologists, though these terms typically refer to workers who perform additional beauty-related services, such as facials or hairstyling.

Some Make-up Artists work in salons, spas and department stores, doing make-up for individual clients. Others work on television and film sets or behind the scenes of photo shoots or theater performances, providing make-up services for actors, broadcasters and models.

Make-Up Artists who do not provide additional beauty-related services are not required to have state licensure or a formal education, though many professionals choose to take courses in cosmetology. Completion of a certificate or associate's degree at a state-licensed cosmetology school typically is required to gain state licensure as a cosmetologist. Additionally, applicants must pass a written and/or practical exam to receive a cosmetology license. Exact requirements vary by state.

Make-Up Artist Career Outlook and Salary Information

The average salary of a Make-Up Artist depends on which type of make-up the individual specializes in, though many artists have a variety of specializations. In 2008, the overall average salary of Make-Up Artists was around $39,000 per year, according to data gathered by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Make-up Artists employed in the film industry earned the most, with an average salary of around $80,000 annually. Make-Up Artists employed in the broadcasting industry made an average of $41,000 a year, and independent artists earned approximately $36,000. Professionals working in personal care facilities, like spas and salons, earned an annual average salary of around $26,000.

Personal appearance workers, including Make-Up Artists and cosmetologists, should have relatively strong employment opportunities at the entry-level, though applicants at high-end establishments should expect keen competition. Overall, jobs for Make-Up Artists were expected to grow by 40% between 2006 and 2016, according to the BLS. However, because of the field's small size, that number is equivalent to only a few hundred new jobs.

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