How a Makeup Artist Certification Can Increase Your Salary

Developing skills as a makeup artist is a never ending process that pays off big time. Find out how a makeup artist certification can give your salary boost!

The makeup artist industry has reached a pivotal point in time.

It’s become divided between the amateurs and professionals.

Those that flock to local gigs or produce online makeup tutorials versus those that have found placement in larger industries such as fashion, film, or broadcasting.

Specialization increases the wage gap (current median: $17.34/hr).

The way to increasing salary? You guessed it: a makeup artist certification.


Through continued education and certification, a budding makeup artist can make their way into exciting, niche career paths such as:

  • Theater and film
  • Fashion
  • Special effects
  • Funeral home (weird, right?)
  • Runway

… and much more.

It often begins with experimentation and a love for the art. You may discover a certain understanding and “knack” for makeup. As time goes on you ask the question “Could I turn this into a career?”.

Although amateur makeup artistry has no pre limiters, it’s wise to take a makeup training program. This means covering dozens – hundreds of hours of learning the material to provide services honored by State requirements.

You may be thinking “But I love doing makeup, I’m good at it, why do I have to go through all these loops and hurdles?”.

Glad you asked.

This article will cover:

  • A quick look at the differences in certification and licenses
  • What to expect in a makeup artist certification course
  • How to apply those new skills and cert for a bump in pay

Have I got your attention? Good, let’s get to it!

Let’s Talk about Makeup Artist Certification vs. Licenses

There’s a huge difference between a makeup artist certification and a license though both provide a path to increasing your salary.

Here’s a quick run-down of the two.


A licensed individual would be if you take the extra step between an AA and BA degree. Licensing is done on a State level to form to the Department of Health standards in providing services.

Licensing takes thousands of in-school hours of theory and clinical hours. You are on the path to becoming a Cosmetologist (more or less) which includes state exams.

This places you in the everyday business ventures like spas or salons. It’s a great career path, no doubt, where you can practice your skills in the real-world while making good money.

Though, the shift in industries, for almost all of them, has allowed the amateurs into what was once cornered off.


Certifications do not have the same requirements in education. These courses help enthusiastic, up-and-coming makeup artist learn techniques to improve what they have to offer.

You will find yourself needing an Esthetics License or completing a Cosmetology License in order to work in a professional environment either way. Don’t let this deter you from reaching a professional level, though.

The certification also works as a refresher, too. It’s a great way for those that may have become too refined to the techniques required at a retail position or within a specific part of an industry.


Which one is best?

It’s up to you to decide but what you may want to consider is the streamlined approach to improving your skills.

A makeup artist certification course requires a fraction of the time and money versus full licensing. Yet, the two overlap. So think of it like the difference between community college and a university. One covers the basics (and more) while the later refines your talent and potential.

The makeup artist industry has plenty of space for you whichever direction you choose. The most important part, just like any skill, is practice and recognition.

Can you achieve these two with a certification? Of course!

Which brings us to the next section…

Makeup Artist Certification Course Overview

There are hundreds of services and providers to help you gain a grasp of the intricate details of good makeup artistry. Some are quick and punchy, focusing on the basics, while others go into great detail, to help you develop an edge on the competition.

Consider the Makeup Artist Certification course here on

The Author/Expert

Who you learn from can make all the difference.

A well-versed and experienced individual that has shown their stripes within the industry provide the insider tips and strategies to hit the ground running.

In the course, here, you have Megan. She has over 12 years of experience has landed her a career path as the Key Makeup Artist in LA and Europe. Already you know you’re off to a good start.

The Course

This is where you begin to find the tidbits that will turn your skills into a true money-maker. The strategies and techniques to be a professional versus an e-celeb on YouTube peddling freebie makeup for views.

The course covers the basics like:

  • Cosmetic fundamentals
  • Natural makeup techniques
  • Color theory

But then takes a fun and wild turn into:

  • Special effects makeup
  • Theater makeup
  • Working on a set

These are the skills and knowledge that make you an industry player.

Best part? It’s $99.99. Yup, you heard that right.

We had fun with that — let’s dig a little deeper into how you could apply these newfound skills into claiming higher salary in the makeup industry…

Using Makeup Artist Certification to Command Better Pay

Now we get to the fun part.

The part where you find yourself at a crossroads on where to go in your makeup artist career. Do you stick to the steady path or take the bumpy road that may yield greater rewards?

First and foremost… it has to start somewhere.

That somewhere is likely retail.

Retail gives you the first glimpse into the practical application of your skills. It gives you a wide variety of choices in products. Each tailored to the clients. Every day becomes a new lesson.

Here you will develop the critical skills:

  • Selling yourself
  • Selling the product
  • Selling the feelings

Later down the line, you will need this ability to sell because competition becomes fierce. You could draw an amazing brow or perfectly match complexion — it won’t matter when they can do it too. What matters is if you can convey that expertise and quality to the person doing the hiring.

So already you’re setting a baseline. Good.

Now you’re getting into the split:

  • Staying educated
  • Promotion and networking

These are like two peas in a pod. The more you learn the more you have to deliver to clients. The more you promote the more opportunities you have to learn and develop high-end experience.

Where does the certification fit in?

You already have the answer (hint: the two above).

With a certification, you continue your education which provides a better skillset to potential clients and employers. It shows you are committed to the industry.

Since anyone can call themselves a “makeup artist” these days — clients and employees want a solution to find the true professionals. The ability to list your experience AND a certification allow you to demand a higher salary.

You’re able to woo the employer with quips like:

  • I studied under (name-drop)
  • I worked alongside (increasingly well-known artist)
  • I can (wow them with advanced techniques)

The certification gives you the platform to hone and specialize skills. A way to build your portfolio as you go and learn the inside lingo and etiquette to catch the attention of the industry players.

The other part is the networking.

You will work alongside other up-and-comers. These aren’t necessarily your competition. They could be the ones that help you gain a footing in the industry so keep them close and tap into those contacts!

Before long you’ll develop a client list and have industry professionals on speed-dial. A new gig will open and your name is first to pop in their head.

Where does it go from here?

The sky is the limit.

Look around. You notice something? We consume media at an unimaginable rate. Between binge watching Netflix to endless YouTube videos — weekly blockbuster releases to live shows and fashion.

Behind all that glitz and glamor is a makeup artist like you. You could be the one that creates the dream… and you’ll get paid handsomely for it.

The professional industry is tight-knit but grows with each passing year. Those in the upper percentile hit the six-figure mark. For doing makeup?! Yup!

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Make a commitment to the art (really take the time to learn everything you can about it and practice every day).
  2. Get your start on something low-end like retail so you can learn how to interact with others and pitch your skills.
  3. Take it up a notch and get yourself the Makeup Artist Certification.
  4. Refine your skills, find an industry you love, follow the leaders, and make your mark by going above-and-beyond with your presentation.
  5. Make the move to hubs of activity (hellooooo California and New York!).
  6. Network, build that portfolio, and keep on the bleeding edge of design.

You totally have this!

Who knows… maybe you’ll work alongside your favorite celebs. Or maybe you’ll be the one owning the business they come flocking to. It has to begin somewhere and that somewhere is a Makeup Artist Certification.

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