Cosmetology Schools in District of Columbia

If you want to begin a career as a cosmetologist in the U.S. capital, now could be a perfect time. As of 2018, D.C. cosmetologists made an average of $39,290 per year ($18.89 per hour), which is about $15,000 more than the national average. The job is also expected to grow by 12% between 2016 and 2026, also higher than the national expectations. Though most tourists come to the city for the history, many enjoy some pampering while vacationing. Plus, the city has a population of over 700,000 people, with a larger population in the entire metro when you include the outlying neighborhoods in V.A. and M.D.—not to mention the political bigwigs who may also need help with makeup, hair, or relaxation. This means you may have quite a large client base to work with.

Washington D.C. requires 1,500 hours of training, or 500 hours plus 1,500 hours of apprenticeship practice, to qualify for licensure.

Washington D.C. requires 1,500 hours of training, or 500 hours plus 1,500 hours of apprenticeship practice, to qualify for licensure. (If you hope to practice in nearby Maryland or Virginia, your requirements may be different.) The schools below will all help you not only fulfill these requirements for D.C. but to prepare for your practical and written exams.

Browse our directory of cosmetology schools in District of Columbia, or skip ahead to learn about the state's cosmetology licensing requirements and job outlook.

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How to Become a Cosmetologist in District of Columbia

District of Columbia Cosmetology Careers At a Glance
  • 1,500 education hours or 2,000 apprentice hours are required to become licensed.
  • You must renew your license every 2 years.
  • 6 continuing education hours are required to renew your license.
  • The average salary for cosmetologists in Washington DC is $31,960 ($15.37/hour). This is higher than the national average of $26,090 ($12.54/hour).
  • There is a predicted 12% job increase between 2016-2026 for cosmetologists. This is higher than the expected national growth of 9%.

If you can work quickly, respond to requests, and prioritize customer service, you could be a natural fit in the world of cosmetology. Washington DC has a huge beauty industry.

Legislators, lobbyists, and others in the political sphere need to maintain a professional appearance at all times and they need to get beauty services that fit their schedule. As a licensed cosmetologist, you can make the most of their time and put your skills to the test.

Can I Attend Beauty Schools in Virginia or Maryland if I Want DC Licensure?

What if you want to attend cosmetology school in D.C. but work in Maryland or Virginia—or vice versa? Fortunately, you can usually take advantage of the states’ reciprocity programs to obtain a license in your employer’s location—subject to approval from the state cosmetology board of the area in which you want to work.

For example, suppose you want to obtain your cosmetologist license to work in Washington D.C., and you have your license in another state. In that case, you can apply for a license by reciprocity if you can provide a letter of good standing from a state cosmetology board that has equivalent cosmetology licensing requirements to D.C. This means you’d be eligible for a reciprocal license if you’ve completed a program that includes 1,500 or more hours of training and passed your state’s comparable licensure exam.

Maryland has similar requirements—you must have a license in another state and provide a letter of good standing that you’ve completed 1,500 or more hours of training. Virginia requires that your original licensing state has substantially equivalent cosmetology training and examinations, defined as at least 80% (1,200) of Virginia’s required 1,500 hours.

Since all three states have the same number of required training hours, licensure by reciprocity may be an easy way to work in any jurisdiction in the D.C. metro area. However, each state requires an application and board review before granting a reciprocal license, so decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. Check with the relevant states’ cosmetology boards to determine your best course of action.

State License Requirements

1,500 Education Hours OR 2,000 Apprentice Hours

Required to earn a cosmetology license

Licensure goes through the Board of Barber and Cosmetology. If you go the traditional route, you need 1500 hours of education. If you become an apprentice, you must complete a 2000-hour curriculum. The licensing board also outlines the topics you must study as a student. The final step in getting a license is passing your written and practical tests.

Education Details

Before you can even get close to a client with a pair of shears, you must complete quite a bit of training at an approved beauty school in Washington DC. The topics below outline Washington DC training requirements. Your education should cover theory and hands-on practice.

Required Topics in Cosmetology Schools in Washington DC

  • Shampooing
  • Scalp treatments
  • Chemical straightening
  • Personal hygiene
  • Ethics in cosmetology
  • District of Columbia Law
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Chemistry of cosmetology products
  • Sanitation and safety
  • Haircutting and styling

License Renewal

2 Years

License renewal period

6 Hours

Continuing education required

Barbering licenses expire on September 30 of odd-numbered years. Cosmetology, esthetician, nail technician, electrologist, and permanent makeup licenses expire on April 30 of even-numbered years. Washington D.C. requires 6 cosmetology continuing education hours during each renewal period. Two hours must be in sanitation and hygiene, and the other four hours can be in any subject or area of study.

District of Columbia Cosmetology Careers


Average yearly salary for cosmetology in District of Columbia

In Washington DC's high-end and fast-service salons, you can build a base of loyal clients that trust you to get them in and out quickly. With national growth in the beauty industry, Washington DC has seen an increase in demand for beauty professionals. Job openings for cosmetologists are expected to swell 12% between 2016 and 2026 (O*Net, 2019). The average salary for a Washington DC cosmetologist is $31,960 per year, which is well above the national average (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2020).

There are lots of great ways you can use your beauty education in Washington DC. This area is the political center of the beauty industry, legislating different careers and setting standards for state licensing boards. Your experience can help you be a voice for the beauty industry and professionals all over the United States. National groups like the Professional Beauty Federation give beauty professionals access to legislative updates and ways to get involved.

Contact the District of Columbia State Board of Cosmetology

Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs

The District Of Columbia boasts a vibrant cosmetology industry which is respected nationwide. Their stylists are highly adept and influential. With that in mind, those looking to become barbering professionals utilize the following information.

National Beauty Culturists League
Professional Beauty Association

District of Columbia

How to Become a Cosmetologist in Your State

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